Not all popsicle sticks are equal
If you have been given a project of building a popsicle stick bridge, there is something you should know. Probably one half of the popsicle sticks that come from Wal-Mart or other store are bent, twisted, or otherwise deformed. And obviously deformed popsicle sticks won’t be as strong as straight ones. If you don’t pay attention to what popsicle sticks you are putting on your bridge, you could end up with a weak bridge.
Examine the popsicle sticks
Simply looking at the popsicle sticks will give you a good idea on which ones are good and bad. I normally start sorting the popsicle sticks into two piles. All the popsicle sticks I definitely will not use go into one pile, and the better ones into another pile.
You want to eliminate popsicle sticks that are bent, twisted, or have knots. Twisted popsicle sticks are a big problem because they don’t glue flat to each other. This creates a much weaker joint. Some popsicle sticks are shaped in a “U” down their entire length. It could be said these popsicle sticks are shaped like a trough. These are almost as bad as twisted popsicle sticks for the same reason.
- Bad grain structure
Sorting the popsicle sticks
I mentioned above that I make two piles of popsicle sticks: a “bad” pile and a “good” pile. And if I want the bridge to be extremely strong, I split the “good” pile into two new piles. In this second round of sorting, I will examine the grain structure of each popsicle stick, and make sure that each one is perfectly straight. The extra time taken ensures I will have the best of the best popsicle sticks.
The grain structure on popsicle sticks can be hard to see. But if you really want the absolute best sticks, you need to consider the grain. You want the grain to be parallel to the stick, and not on a diagonal. This is especially important for popsicle sticks that will be in tension.
How much does a popsicle stick weigh?
I found the average weight of a popsicle stick to be 1.49 grams. To find this average, I weighed 71 popsicle sticks picked randomly from my box of 1000 and weighed them with my gram scale.