Learn All You Need to Know about Sharpening Hockey Skates
There are a lot of ways to sharpen skates out there, and some of them are downright wrong. Some consumers have admitted to trying to sharpen their skates with the help of a rotary tool, which only led to them purchasing a new model. Before doing any attempt on your own, it might be a good idea to perform a thorough research on the topic, be it online or by just asking for the opinion of a seller. We’ve collected several ideas that can help you complete the process, no muss, no fuss. Check them out below.
The basics of sharpening skates
Many articles online will talk about the hollow and about what it might mean depending on the user. Yet what is a hollow, anyway? In a nutshell, creating a perfectly rounded valley that is centered on the bottom of the blade is what sharpening an ice skate really means. The valley is often times defined as a hollow. The main thing to keep in mind in this case is that the radius of the hollow greatly depends on the sharpening you perform, and can vary between ¼-inch to 1 ½-inch.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of players will go for a hollow between ⅜-inch and ⅝-inch. The rule is rather simple when it comes to understanding the radius of the hollow, as the smaller it is, the less shallow could the hollow be on the blade.
Things change when you’re on the ice. A shallow hollow can allow you to glide comfortably on the ice without losing too much edge bite, while a ⅜-inch deep hollow will create a considerable edge bite.
Why you should sharpen your skates
The skates you own should be sharpened in several circumstances. If you have recently bought a pair, you should probably try them out on the ice in order to realize whether or not you need to sharpen it. In most cases, you probably do. If there is no apparent reason for you to feel suddenly insecure while you are skating, you probably need to sharpen your skates.
The important detail to consider is that most hockey players sharpen their skates before every game, regardless of whether it is necessary or not.
If you are still having trouble understanding if you should perform the operation, simply look at the skates closely and determine whether the light reflects in the blade or not. If the blade appears to be dull, you probably need to do the sharpening.
As previously mentioned, some players sharpen their skates between games. Nevertheless, you should probably keep in mind that the more often you sharpen them, the more likely they are to wear out. If, for instance, you sharpen your skates once a week, you have a high chance of being able to use them for three years. Generally, the maximum number of sharpenings for a runner is one hundred and fifty. Since every pair costs between forty and sixty dollars, consider it an investment to sharpen them once a week.
Good sharpenings vs. bad sharpenings
A good sharpening is made of two things: getting the proper hollow and having the hollow properly centered. It goes without saying that a bad sharpening lacks both of these two things.
The most important question is how you can avoid getting a bad sharpening. Several shops still perform outdated techniques such as cross-grinding hockey skates. Not only is this an old-fashioned method, but it doesn’t really do the trick as it modifies the shape of the skate rocker. By contrast, you’ll probably stumble upon a number of shops that use new technology for sharpening skates. However, a skilled operator can’t be replaced by a machine, regardless of its capabilities, as the sharpening should depend on the personal preferences of the user.
Do it at home
If you are the owner of a hand-held whetstone or a sharpening machine with a grinding wheel, you can do the sharpening in the comfort of your own home. Using a whetstone is not very complicated, as all you have to do is simply freshen the edge. On the contrary, the sharpening machine has to have the same radius of hollow you require, as well as the same width of your blades.
When using a sharpening machine, the key takeaway is to have a steady hand.
After you have wrapped up the sharpening, you need to check the centerline of the hollow, as it must be halfway between the two sides of the blade. You can do so with the help of a magnifier.