The art of sharpening ice skates!

13/02/2017

Each sport on ice asks for its own particular way of sharpening.

In general, hockey players and figure skaters use ice skates with the "hollow" blades on the inside and sharpen them using a machine called skate sharpener. This means that each leaf is connected to the ice at two points with a center line that has been ground or "hollowed out". On the contrary, the speed skaters use skates with the blades without holes, "planes" that must be sharpened by hand. The hollow blades give the skater greater grip and maneuverability, while flat blades reduce the resistance to allow greater speed. Although the equipment needed to sharpen the two types of skates can be expensive at first, learning to do this skill on your own will ultimately save you time and money.

1. Protect yourself adequately. At a minimum, you should wear break-proof glasses when sharpening skates with a machine. Hearing and respiratory protection is also recommended. Do not wear loose clothing or accessories that may get caught in the grinding wheel. Tie long hair and consider a protection for the hair

2. Turn on the machine. Make sure your work area is free of clutter. Before starting the machine, check that there is nothing in contact with the grinding wheel. Make sure the wheel is balanced before you start.

3. Calculate the size of the radius you need. Most skate shops use a 1/2 "radius, which is standard for young skaters. A smaller radius will create a deeper hole, creating a better grip and more resistance. A larger radius, on the other hand , will produce a shallow hole with worse grip and lower resistance, More resistance determines the maneuverability, while less resistance allows a higher speed.

  • The "radius" refers to the shape that the wheel takes out of the skate that is brushed against it. You will remember from your geometry classes that the radius of a circle is half its width. Think of a circle with a small radius and how you can cut at the end of a rectangle. It can be superimposed much more than a circle with a larger radius. Thus, the smaller radii create much sharper edges (a deeper hole) than the blunt edges of larger radii (a shallow hole).
  • Typical spokes include: 3/8 "for very light skaters, 5/8" for average skaters, 3/4 "for heavy skaters and 7/8" - 1 1/4 "for hockey goalies. For a better glide, select a radius of 1 "or higher. For a better grip and control, choose one that is 3/8" or smaller.

4. Adjust the diamond sideboard. Change the position of the diamond inside the arm of the dresser to achieve the proper radius size. In general, fastening the diamond arm with a thumbscrew will be loosened and the chest can be moved backwards or forwards. The diamond sideboard will be marked with the lines according to the size of the radius.

5. Dress the grinding wheel. Press the diamond hanger on the moving wheel for a few seconds. In general, the dresser will be attached to a tool that will move up and down through the wheel. 

The exact method to dress your wheel, and to sharpen the machine in general, will vary depending on the model you are using. Always consult the user guide and documentation of your machine for more information.

6. Mount and black one skate. Most likely, your sharpener has come with a special skate or sharpening jig. Make sure the blade aligns with the center of the grinding wheel. Use a black marker to color the edge of the sheet to serve as a guide.

7. Sharpen your skate. Starting with the toe, lightly touch the edge of the blade to the abrasive wheel turning. Move the skate support so that the entire length of the skate has been run through the grinder. Try to do this as smoothly and consistently as possible to avoid irregularities. Do this two or three times.

8. Check the sheet. If you have successfully sharpened the entire length of the skate, there should no longer be any visible black markings. If there is one, make one or more passes until it disappears. Look down the center of your sheet to make sure the hole is in the middle. If not, adjust the bracket to better align the skate with the wheel and try again.