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Dipping my toes back into cowling-free


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Yep- you heard it first here. Of course I am taking a cowled Graf skate, removing the cowl, adding some beef to it, a holder, and an Overdrive blade (yep, I figured out how to do that) and go to town. I will be using a CCM XSG holder, which in my blunt opinion, is the very best out there if you fit it.  Options for steel are really good for  this holder. It is high, but not too high. The mechanism combines near effortless removal with a solid retention mechanism. I have to do some modding to the OD blade. Oh well. 
 
Goalie Plus has the DM 1080 for a steal right now. 
 
Stay tuned...

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If you buy the skates mentioned, Goalies Plus is having them drop shipped from Vaughn with the new Carey Price style (side cut out) cowls. Of course I just took mine off! 
 
I don’t frankly have the energy to mod overdrive blades to fit a pair of holders, so I will try them without overdrives. 

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1 hour ago, creasecollector said:

Great looking skates and holders. So fresh.

Dyed holders are the bee’s knees IMO. Green is the colour of life, so I am definitely using that. Graf always made the best looking skates out there.

Thanks for the kind words.

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Posted (edited)

I dyed the forest/kelly/neon green.

Throne Lacrosse head dye is the best I have used for this purpose. The dye stays at a relatively low temperature (200F) and good saturation isn’t a problem despite the low immersion times. 

Edited by bunnyman666
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Graf skates are a bit harder to break in than I last remember. My dogs were barking the first 20 minutes in my session. Eventually, my foot pains eased and I had a good time. My biggest gripe is that there is no grip for my narrow and small ankles. I need Stable 45 (or whatever they are called) socks for gripping my ankles and heels.

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10 minutes ago, bunnyman666 said:

Graf skates are a bit harder to break in than I last remember. My dogs were barking the first 20 minutes in my session. Eventually, my foot pains eased and I had a good time. My biggest gripe is that there is no grip for my narrow and small ankles. I need Stable 45 (or whatever they are called) socks for gripping my ankles and heels.

The DM1080s didn’t feel much like older Graf skates to me, they didn’t lock in my heel in the same way.  I returned the set I bought and went with some new old stock G9035s I bought on sidelineswap, and they are exactly what I remembered from my high school and college days. Hope you can get the DM1080s sorted out!

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2 minutes ago, AdamL said:

The DM1080s didn’t feel much like older Graf skates to me, they didn’t lock in my heel in the same way.  I returned the set I bought and went with some new old stock G9035s I bought on sidelineswap, and they are exactly what I remembered from my high school and college days. Hope you can get the DM1080s sorted out!

These wrap well. That was impressive. They still feel less stiff than the Trues these will eventually supplant. True skates fit very well from the onset but definitely started slipping on my heel. I was still on the fence, but am coming off of the fence. The heel and ankle thing has been a very contentious item for me. Reebok pump skates were best, but when they went Ribcore, they totally screwed them up.

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Nice conversion Bunny!  A few of us here have made the jump to the new/old stock Graf skates with CCM XSG holders.  I'm sure you remember my anxieties about leaving my Bauer 7000 boots for composite boots lol.  I am currently in Graf 9035 boots with XSG.  LOVE them.  I definitely need to have them baked a 2nd time though.  I didn't get a good fitting the first time around.

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The biggest benefit of no cowling is, of course, better blade attack angle on the ice. The attack angle is vastly superior to a cowled skate. But the Overdrive blade still would be a great addition to this skate. It’s just a bigger pain to install as the holder details bulge out where an Overdrive blade would be installed. A bench grinder would make short work, but then the holes need to be modified to match the spacing. I am still trying to see how difficult the transition to no Overdrives will be. I get the pushes most of the time; the Overdrive blade allows you to get a slight edge on the ball of your foot and enhance your ability to push, besides preventing slip outs. I will see how long it takes before I give in.

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As I am wearing the skate more and more, I am finding no ill effects thus far, even making a few skate saves with them. No pain what so ever. I do think the thick, traditional plastic outsole has something to do with impact absorption. The thick, padded toe cap also helps. My only beef is that my heel and ankle don’t lock in very well with these skates AT ALL. This may take some creative engineering, not limited to adding the CCM/Reebok lace locker or adapting other means to lock the skate onto my ankle. 
 
These skates have been the hardest to break in for me in my memory; I was spoiled by VH/True’s form fit and immediate comfort. But these are, for the most part, pretty nice.

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These skates are starting to feel more like the Graf skates that I remember. They are a bit stiffer than the leather ankle breakers I had well over 30 years ago, but I like these as much if not a teeny bit more than the Trues these are replacing. I was considering adding Kydex to the outside of the boot, but I feel that would be over kill. In the end, this boot with the CCM holder is a pretty solid set up, as you have a great boot and a holder that has a variety of different steels available INCLUDING the Step Fat Steel, plus other flavours of aftermarket runners by Bladetech and Tydan. I have to lace these a bit differently in order for my heel to lock in, but it does, as the feature of Graf boots is their heel in the lasting. Unless you have even weirder to fit feet than mine (low volume, wide forefoot and very narrow heel), buying this boot, removing the cowl and installing a CCM XSG holder is pretty well a great combo.

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2 hours ago, bunnyman666 said:

These skates are starting to feel more like the Graf skates that I remember. They are a bit stiffer than the leather ankle breakers I had well over 30 years ago, but I like these as much if not a teeny bit more than the Trues these are replacing. I was considering adding Kydex to the outside of the boot, but I feel that would be over kill. In the end, this boot with the CCM holder is a pretty solid set up, as you have a great boot and a holder that has a variety of different steels available INCLUDING the Step Fat Steel, plus other flavours of aftermarket runners by Bladetech and Tydan. I have to lace these a bit differently in order for my heel to lock in, but it does, as the feature of Graf boots is their heel in the lasting. Unless you have even weirder to fit feet than mine (low volume, wide forefoot and very narrow heel), buying this boot, removing the cowl and installing a CCM XSG holder is pretty well a great combo.

Did you have a chance to compare these Grafs to the Peakspeed?

Also a my hips keep getting weaker every year, do you find it easier to get up with cowlings or the new holders?

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15 minutes ago, goalie said:

Did you have a chance to compare these Grafs to the Peakspeed?

Also a my hips keep getting weaker every year, do you find it easier to get up with cowlings or the new holders?

With a lack of local Graf dealers in my locale, I could not compare to anything. Knowing that for the most part, Graf can go without cowlings with only a removal of the cowling, I felt there just was no need to go for a more expensive (thusly current and not a clearance-priced) skate in the pursuit of going cowlingless, particularly since I wanted the CCM holder. The CCM holder has a great steel selection and a very, very nice and positive retention mechanism. I am certain the Graf holder is good enough, but the lack of steel selection greatly concerns me. I would rather switch holders on a new skate than do the conversion on a skate with wear. 
 
As far as getting back up, I always used Step or Step Extreme in my cowls, so I really haven’t noticed a difference. I am eschewing the Overdrive blades for now as I can pretty well move as well in my skates with holders versus cowls, Step Extreme and Overdrives. Depends on what type of cowl and and runner you have. 

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On 7/26/2021 at 11:27 AM, bunnyman666 said:

With a lack of local Graf dealers in my locale, I could not compare to anything. Knowing that for the most part, Graf can go without cowlings with only a removal of the cowling, I felt there just was no need to go for a more expensive (thusly current and not a clearance-priced) skate in the pursuit of going cowlingless, particularly since I wanted the CCM holder. The CCM holder has a great steel selection and a very, very nice and positive retention mechanism. I am certain the Graf holder is good enough, but the lack of steel selection greatly concerns me. I would rather switch holders on a new skate than do the conversion on a skate with wear. 
 
As far as getting back up, I always used Step or Step Extreme in my cowls, so I really haven’t noticed a difference. I am eschewing the Overdrive blades for now as I can pretty well move as well in my skates with holders versus cowls, Step Extreme and Overdrives. Depends on what type of cowl and and runner you have. 

Trying to figure out how the change would be from an old school cowling (Bauer 6000) to the new style holder.)

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On 7/26/2021 at 12:48 PM, goalie said:

Trying to figure out how the change would be from an old school cowling (Bauer 6000) to the new style holder.)

Old Supreme-style cowling? Or are we talking the last generation Vertex/One100 cowling with removable runners? My Vaughn cowls are a fair bit like the old-school, which necessitated Step Extreme runners for me to even grip the ice. 

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5 minutes ago, bunnyman666 said:

Old Supreme-style cowling? Or are we talking the last generation Vertex/One100 cowling with removable runners? My Vaughn cowls are a fair bit like the old-school, which necessitated Step Extreme runners for me to even grip the ice. 

was actually a 190 cowling with removable blades. Comparing to the 2 piece "tuuk" style holders.

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4 minutes ago, goalie said:

was actually a 190 cowling with removable blades. Comparing to the 2 piece "tuuk" style holders.

Those were actually pretty high, though not as high as the current Graf cowl (as Step would not make Extreme blades for that cowl). My goalie partner switched from Graf with the One90 cowl to a CCM Tacks goal skate with the CCM XSG and notices no issues transitioning. YMMV, of course. I think if you used Step steel on your Bauer cowls, the transition *may* not be much. Of course I don’t have a One100 cowl on a skate to compare. 

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