What is a Curling Broom Made Of? [All Components Explained]

Curling brooms consist of a handle, head, and bristles. While wood is the traditional material for handles, fiberglass, and carbon fiber handles are much more common now. Similarly, most curling teams have switched from traditional corn and/or straw heads to synthetic broom heads. Most commonly, the bristles of a curling broom are made of synthetic materials, although horsehair is still fairly common. You may also choose to use a broom head cover to protect the bristles between curling matches.

What is a curling broom made of?

Anatomy of a Curling Broom

A curling broom is made of three main components: the handle, head, and bristles. The materials you choose for each of these can affect the effectiveness, ease of use, and comfort of the broom. Let’s get into the details:

The Handle

The handle is the long shaft that curlers grip while sweeping. It needs to be strong, lightweight, and comfortable to hold. Curling broom handles are typically made of one of three materials: wood, fiberglass, or carbon fiber.

  • Wood: Wooden handles were once the standard in curling brooms. They are durable, reliable, and provide a comfortable grip. However, they tend to be heavier than their fiberglass and carbon fiber counterparts, making them less popular among modern curlers.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass handles offer a balance between weight and durability. They are lighter than wooden handles and still provide a good amount of strength. Fiberglass handles are a popular choice for recreational curlers and those looking for a more budget-friendly option.
  • Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber handles are the lightest and most rigid option available. They are favored by competitive curlers for their excellent performance and weight-saving benefits. Carbon fiber handles are often more expensive than wood or fiberglass options, but their superior strength and lightness make them a worthwhile investment for serious curlers.

The Broom Head

The broom head is the part of the curling broom that comes into contact with the ice. It’s responsible for creating the friction needed to manipulate the ice surface and influence the stone’s path. There are two primary types of broom heads: the traditional corn/straw broom and the modern synthetic brush.

  • Corn/Straw Broom: These brooms were once the standard in curling and are still used by some players today. The head is made from natural corn or straw fibers bound together and attached to the handle. While they can be effective, corn/straw brooms are less efficient at reducing friction than synthetic brushes and can cause more wear on the ice.
  • Synthetic Brush: The synthetic brush is the modern choice for curling brooms. The head is made of a flat pad with synthetic or hog hair bristles. These bristles are gentle enough not to damage the ice but firm enough to create the desired effect on the ice surface. Synthetic brushes are considered more effective at reducing friction and are now the standard choice for competitive curlers.

Bristle Types

The type of bristles used in synthetic brushes can vary, with each offering its own advantages:

  • Nylon: Nylon bristles are the most common type found in synthetic curling brooms. They are durable and provide a good balance between ice friction reduction and longevity.
  • Horsehair: Horsehair bristles are known for their excellent ice friction reduction capabilities. They are softer than nylon bristles and can be more effective at manipulating the ice surface. However, horsehair bristles tend to wear out more quickly than their nylon counterparts.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid bristles are a combination of nylon and horsehair or other synthetic materials. These brushes aim to provide the best of both worlds, offering excellent ice friction reduction while maintaining durability. Hybrid brushes are popular among curlers looking for an effective and long-lasting option.

Broom Head Covers

Some curling brooms feature removable head covers or pads that can be replaced when they become worn or damaged. These covers are typically made from the same materials as the bristles themselves, such as nylon or horsehair. Removable head covers make it easy for curlers to maintain their brooms and ensure optimal performance on the ice.

What Materials are Used to Make a Curling Broom?

A curling broom is made of the following components:

  • A handle made of wood, fiberglass, or carbon fiber.
  • The broom head, which is typically made of synthetic material.
  • Bristles attached to the broom head are traditionally made of corn or straw. Now, they are typically synthetic or made from animal hair.
  • A detachable broom head cover is a common addition used to prevent damage to the bristles when the broom is not in use.

The differences between traditional curling brooms and modern designs can make the designs very distinct. Although you may have a hard time finding an old-fashioned straw broom in most curling leagues today, it’s worth taking a look to learn more about the sport’s roots.

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