All of the tips listed below have been researched at Revol. To this end, we have talked to coaches, old timers (40 or over), players at the junior level, AA players, and house league players. They have also been involved in the testing of all of our methods and products.
We have a master Tool and Die maker who provides us with information on proper grinding techniques, use of honing stones, and selection of proper materials.
At Revol, we are always learning and welcome all suggestions or tips. Please e-mail us at email@example.com with your comments.
Everyone has their own theory on skate sharpening depending on who you talk to --> players, parents or skate sharpeners.
The skate sharpening process involves the following steps:
BUT if skate sharpening is this easy to do, why does the quality of the job vary from skate sharpener to skate sharpener?
There are many reasons.
1. Improper trainingGenerally when a skate sharpener is first purchased, the first person is taught by the company that sold the machine (this is good). After that, most companies give each subsequent skate sharpener maybe one to two hours training.
2. Lack of maintenanceThese beautiful skate sharpeners do a lot of skates every week - as many as 200 to 1,000 pairs. They have become very complicated pieces of equipment which require a lot of maintenance to keep them working properly. Grinding dust from the skate blades tend to wear everything away. Maintenance work on these units sometimes is overlooked.
3. Too many customers.As mentioned above, on a busy day, your typical skate sharpener sharpens a great number of skates. If you sharpen 100 to 200 pairs of skates in your shift, does the last pair get the same attention as the first?
4. Not dressing the wheel.The grinding wheel wears out and should be dressed every two pairs of skates. With the number of skates waiting to be sharpened, this may not be done as often as it should.
5. Improper height adjustment for your skates.Large skate sharpening machines are made to sharpen every type of skate - speed skates, figure skates, hockey skates and goalie skates. All of these skates require a different setup for sharpening. If your skates are sharpened after a pair of figure or goalie skates and the machine is not adjusted properly, your skates will most likely feel sharp on only one side. These uneven edges seem to be the most common problem for skate sharpeners.
6. Smoothness on the bottom of your blade.The bottom of your blade glides on the ice surface. When this surface is not smooth, the frictional properties between the ice and the blade increase resulting in more effort required to skate which means a lower top speed. According to our Tool and Die maker advisor, surface finish is rated in micro inches. For your skates to have the best possible finish, the blades should be hand-finished on the bottom of the blade after the grinding process. This can result in a finish as low as 4 micro inches. We went out and measured a few different skate sharpeners and found the following: surface finish varies from place to place ranging from a relatively smooth 12 micro inches to a rough 40 micro inches. Most skate sharpening machines have the grinding wheel meet the blade at a single point. Smoothness of the hand, dressing of the wheel, bearings in the motor and balancing of the grinding wheel all effect the surface finish. Remember, increased friction results in you, the player, having to work harder. In the last period of a game that extra step will make a difference.
7. Removing the burr from the side of your skate bladeThis is the easiest part of the sharpening process, however problems are found even here. After doing hundreds of skates, the side honing stones tend to wear a groove in them. Using a stone like this, it is possible to break the corner of the edge that you just produced which can result in a dull skate. Yet some sharpeners continue to use these stones.
8. The radius on the skate.This topic seems to get a lot of attention. It's the big buzz word with all the hand held sharpeners out there. First of all, skate sharpeners out there sharpen hockey skates with a radius between 3/8" to 1/2". Most settle on a 7/16" radius because that's the preferred radius (and it means less work readjusting the sharpening machines). Goalies and figure skaters use a larger radius, due to the width of their blades. Their blades are 30% wider than hockey blades. The larger radius actually produces the same sharpness (You will have to trust me on this one). Our research told us that 7/16" was the preferred choice of most hockey junior teams. In fact we found with our extensive testing last year, all of the players who used our product preferred the 7/16" radius. It seemed that 3/8" or less seemed to be too sharp, 1/2" and up seemed to be too dull, while 7/16" seemed to be just right! (reminds you of the three bears doesn't it).
9. Custom rockerIt appears that not many people know much about this topic. In fact most players that we talked to had never had it done to their skates. It is a personal decision whether or not to pay a sports store $25.00 to $50.00 to grind away half of your skate blade.
10. And last but definitely not least - the burning question -How often should you sharpen your skates?Your skates are an extension of your body. They are the single most important piece of equipment that you wear. They transmit all the power of your legs to the ice. When your skates are dull, you the player are at a great disadvantage. You will not be able to accelerate as fast, stop as quickly, or turn as tightly. Remember when you played football as a child. The kid with cleats could run circles around everyone. Sharp skates are important!
So - how often? Well, you know that to play at the top of your level, your skates should be sharp all the time with a smooth finish on the bottom. So - the question is how quickly will your skates become dull? Generally we have found that, on indoor ice, you lose your edge after as little as two hours of skating. If you are skating outdoors - on the canal, on your backyard rink or at the park - skates lose their edge even faster. You should definitely sharpen your skates after every outdoor ice experience.
The reasons for not having sharp skates are numerous, but generally the story is the same for most people.
Dull skates- Need a quick fix !!!!
Listed below are two ways to correct your dull skates when you don't have a power sharpener close by!
You show up to your indoor ice hockey game....and you forgot to get your skates done!!!!!
Using a hand honing stone
Traditionally this has been the product that we are all familar with. A nick in your skate blade has happened during a game and you need a quick fix. Take a hand honing stone (Product #2112 ) and slide the stone on the side of your skate blade. It can renew your edge if it's not damaged too bad. It can also be used after ever hour of skating to ensure your edges are sharp. It will not replace a regular skate sharpening but it might get you out of a jam.
How to make your stick last longerThe fiberglass on the bottom of your hockey stick is very soft and will wear away very quickly if you do not protect it. Once the fibreglass has worn away, moisture will enter into the layers of the stick and cause the stick to split. Once this happens your stick is finished.
You can purchase a stick that has a plastic heel. Actually if you look at the stick closely you will see the entire blade is plastic and that a thin layer of laminate is placed over top to give the appearance of a wooden stick. These are great sticks because they last a long time, however many people find that the plastic is too soft so that you don't get a hard shot and also they just don't feel right. Many players place a piece of white tape along the bottom of the stick and then tape over their stick. This protects your stick for a game or two. You can also wax your stick blade. Use your left-over candles at home and rub it on the tape on your blade especially on the bottom. This will provide the protection you need for a couple of hours of hockey. Apply the wax before every game!