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Not All Sharpening is Equal (The Skate Doctor Difference)

posted Jul 28, 2017, 12:45 PM by Skate Doctor   [ updated Mar 7, 2018, 9:47 AM ]
When you get your skates sharpened, a pattern or "hollow" is ground into the bottom of your skate blade. The two main types of skate sharpening are traditional/conventional radius of hollow (ROH) or Flat Bottom V (FBV). Both of these shapes can have different depths, which give you more bite or more glide on the ice.

Traditional/conventional radius of hollow (ROH) on the left, and Flat Bottom V (FBV) on the right.

In order to turn, stop, accelerate and use your skates to their full potential, the edges ground into your skates during sharpening must be even and smooth! You'd be surprised how many skates are sharpened incorrectly with horribly uneven edges. This is usually a combination of improperly configured equipment, inexperienced operators, bent skate blades, lack of attention or a skate technician who simply doesn't care. Even a small degree of error can lead to a miserable time on the ice. When we put our edge-checker on your blade, we want it to be perfectly level on both sides of the gauge. If the gauge is tilted on either side, your skate is not sharpened properly!

Uneven (improperly sharpened) edges at left, and even (properly sharpened) edges at right.
See the difference?

 Some of the symptoms of a poor sharpening include:

  • Uneven edges
  • Ripples, pause marks, streaking or burns on the blade finish
  • Changes to the shape (or profile) of the blade
  • Difficulty stopping or turning in one or both directions
  • Inability to turn in one direction
  • Feeling like your skates are "slipping out" from under you
We always sharpen your skates with even edges, but can increase (from 1/2" to 3/8", for example) or decrease (from 1/2" to 5/8", for example) the hollow depth of your grind to give you more or less “bite” on the ice. In the end, you still have perfectly even edges, but they're more or less aggressive.

Feel free to ask to see our edge checker on your skates before and/or after sharpening - we want you to know that we've done our job (or how your skates looked from your previous sharpening)! That's why our experience and process leads to a better, consistent sharpening every time.

A “lost edge” is most noticeable during a tight turn or crossovers, but may be felt during acceleration or stopping, depending on the severity. You may feel that your blade edge has become slippery, you have no grip on the ice, and that your skate is sliding out from under you.

A lost edge can occur at any level, to any player and at any time. Yes, even the professionals loose edges. But, what causes a lost edge? The causes are varied and extensive, but can include:

  • Stepping on a stick, cement, arena flooring, or other foreign material
  • Colliding with the boards, a goal post, or another player’s skate blade
  • An uneven or poorly finished skate sharpening

We condone the use of the Edge Fixer or Magic stick in emergency situations only – reasons why are outlined in our Magic Stick blog post. IF you find yourself using one of these “emergency” tools, be sure to get your skates properly sharpened immediately after the ice time. Please remember that these tools are NOT substitute for regular skate sharpening and can damage your blades with repeated use.

We also recommend using skate guards on your skates when not in use, and while walking on hard arena flooring. Due to the nature of the game, no one can guarantee that you won’t ever lose an edge, but Skate Doctor takes all measures to ensure that our sharpening is consistent and level to minimize your risk. Come see us today to get an edge on your competition!