September 28, 2012 HQ SecureProperly sharpened ice skates are necessary to ensure smooth movement over the surface of the ice. While some people may believe that skates are sharpened to a point, the blade is actually flat and a half-circle groove is cut into it. After regular use, the two points on either side of the groove become worn down and the skate will need to be sharpened. Though it is not a difficult process, skate sharpening requires skill and training to be carried out properly.
Use Correct Radius
Finding the correct radius for the skater who will be using the skates is extremely important to how well the skates glide on the ice. Using a narrow radius grinding wheel will make a deep cut into the blade. This is better for light skaters that need help cutting down into the ice. According to author Bryan Patterson in his book “Pick Up Hockey,” the amount of grind you want to put on the blade is also affected by how soft the ice is.
Using a wide radius grinding wheel creates a shallower cut, which is useful for heavier skaters like hockey players to keep them from sinking too far into the ice and inhibiting turning. Take all these factors into consideration to find your ideal radius.
Check And Recheck
The grinding wheel must be perfectly centered on the skate blade during a cut or the finished product will not maneuver properly. Before you start grinding, place the skate in the guide and mark it with a permanent marker.
Lightly touch the wheel on the mark to see where it will grind at. If the mark is not centered, make adjustments on the ]guide before you begin grinding the blade deeply. Every few cuts, you need to recheck the grinding wheel to see if it is centered on the skate. Light Touch for Even Pace One of the most difficult parts of skate sharpening is being able to move the blade across the wheel at an even pace and pressure. Many rookie craftsmen are inclined to push the blade through the grinding wheel, but the best way to cut the skate is to apply only a light amount of pressure against the wheel and let it pull the blade through. This ensures that the cut is made evenly across the blade and there are no valleys to correct.
Check for Flat Spots
Once you have finished sharpening the skate, ensure that you have evenly cut the blade. While visually inspecting it will reveal large flat spots, smaller areas may be difficult to see. To find these areas easier, set the blade on a level surface and rock it from the heel to the toe like a rocking chair. If there are no flat spots, the blade should rock smoothly.
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