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Nothing As It Seems 10-25-2010 01:59 PM

Sharpening Logic
 
One thing I've never had a good understanding of is skate sharpening. I've played my entire life, always getting a 5/8 cut and always not liking my skates when they're freshly sharpened. I used to get them sharpened and than rub my feet on the rubber mats in the locker room before getting on the ice as a kid. As I got older and my dad was no longer telling me when to get my skates sharpened, I simply started putting off getting my blades cut for longer periods of time. While teammates were getting their skates sharpened every 1-2 weeks I would wait a month between sharpenings, despite being on the ice 3-5 times per week, year round.

I've played at various high levels throughout my life, up through DI club and have always been one of the best skaters on my teams. The biggest strengths of my entire game have always been agility, balance, speed and acceleration. I rarely lose an edge (certainly not noticeably more than any of my teammates) and have very good speed and balance on tight turns at high speeds. My skating has never suffered no matter how long I've put off sharpening for.

Well... that brings me to today, and this topic. Following my usual habits, after my most recent sharpening I continued to skate on my dulled edges long after most friends/teammates would have re-sharpened. Between practice, games and pick-up (which still amounts to between 3-5 days on the ice, 2 hours average, a week) I didn't notice my edge feeling any worse for wear as time wore on so I just kept putting off getting a sharpening. I occasionally hit my skates with the stone before a game or practice to take off burs, but otherwise just kept skating without feeling my game decline one bit. In fact, if anything, I would say that my game has slowly, slightly improved (not because of the non-sharpening, just in other facets). So here's the kicker... I recently noticed that it has been a full year since my last sharpening. I have skated an average of 3 days a week, during that entire year with few exceptions. As I mentioned, I've played at fairly high levels and am a good skater, so this is not a case of not being good enough to notice the difference. Am a I freak?

I have read that Messier and Coffey barely used any hollow on their skates and that good natural skaters don't necessarily need much of an edge to skate well. I'm not claiming to have that kind of natural ability, but is that true? I swear to you, I haven't sharpened my skates in just over a year now and I can still outskate most of my teammates if not a good portion of my entire league. How is this possible? My teammates won't get over it and say that I'm lying or they can't believe I'm able to skate on these blades. What's the consensus?

Crosbyfan 10-25-2010 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zetterqvist24 (Post 28530340)
One thing I've never had a good understanding of is skate sharpening. I've played my entire life, always getting a 5/8 cut and always not liking my skates when they're freshly sharpened. I used to get them sharpened and than rub my feet on the rubber mats in the locker room before getting on the ice as a kid. As I got older and my dad was no longer telling me when to get my skates sharpened, I simply started putting off getting my blades cut for longer periods of time. While teammates were getting their skates sharpened every 1-2 weeks I would wait a month between sharpenings, despite being on the ice 3-5 times per week, year round.

I've played at various high levels throughout my life, up through DI club and have always been one of the best skaters on my teams. The biggest strengths of my entire game have always been agility, balance, speed and acceleration. I rarely lose an edge (certainly not noticeably more than any of my teammates) and have very good speed and balance on tight turns at high speeds. My skating has never suffered no matter how long I've put off sharpening for.

Well... that brings me to today, and this topic. Following my usual habits, after my most recent sharpening I continued to skate on my dulled edges long after most friends/teammates would have re-sharpened. Between practice, games and pick-up (which still amounts to between 3-5 days on the ice, 2 hours average, a week) I didn't notice my edge feeling any worse for wear as time wore on so I just kept putting off getting a sharpening. I occasionally hit my skates with the stone before a game or practice to take off burs, but otherwise just kept skating without feeling my game decline one bit. In fact, if anything, I would say that my game has slowly, slightly improved (not because of the non-sharpening, just in other facets). So here's the kicker... I recently noticed that it has been a full year since my last sharpening. I have skated an average of 3 days a week, during that entire year with few exceptions. As I mentioned, I've played at fairly high levels and am a good skater, so this is not a case of not being good enough to notice the difference. Am a I freak?

I have read that Messier and Coffey barely used any hollow on their skates and that good natural skaters don't necessarily need much of an edge to skate well. I'm not claiming to have that kind of natural ability, but is that true? I swear to you, I haven't sharpened my skates in just over a year now and I can still outskate most of my teammates if not a good portion of my entire league. How is this possible? My teammates won't get over it and say that I'm lying or they can't believe I'm able to skate on these blades. What's the consensus?

Are you heavier or use more rocker? Both give you more relative bite.

Jarick 10-25-2010 02:12 PM

I also go a long time between sharpenings. I had mine done probably five weeks ago, which was maybe 10-12 skates, and they still feel fine. I also don't like the new sharpening "edge", although it's got to be the edge and not the hollow because I'm on FBV. I usually don't feel I have enough edge if I go any "shallower", but after about one skate I'm good to go.

I do use the stone every couple skates and if I get a bad nick, I'll sharpen them up. Usually though, when I lose an edge, there's NOTHING back there.

But going a full year without a sharpening is not possible for me, since I play outside in the winter and that will wreck the edges fairly quickly.

Gino 14 10-25-2010 02:13 PM

Big difference between not using much of a hollow and not having a sharp edge. That says that they still sharpen their blades, they just don't use the hollow. Since the edge is what allows you to push off the ice, I'm not really sure how you manage to skate as well as you think.

ponder 10-25-2010 04:01 PM

I have in the past gone LONG periods (like 20+ skates) without sharpening, but I definitely feel I'm a worse skater on dull skates, lose and edge much more easily and thus can't really turn as aggressively. If skates are sharpened well/evenly I feel great on them the moment I hit the ice, nothing like a pair of freshly sharpened skates *IF* they're done well, but if it's a bad sharpening they can feel a little nasty for the first half hour or so. Ideally I like to sharpen every 5ish games.

Gunnar Stahl 30 10-25-2010 04:11 PM

i dont go more than 3 times on the ice without sharpening my skates and i use 3/8. its weird because i played goalie from 6-12th grade and used goalie skates and would get them sharpened 5/8 and only maybe twice a season but now as a skater i like them very very sharp.

im also 6'3 185. i probably should think about sharpening them at 7/16, which i did before and liked it but then i scored 2 goals the first game i switched to 3/8 so i stuck with it, because it takes alot of energy to get moving and i dont glide alot being big with a 3/8 hollow but i like being able to dig in and not worry about sliding around on the ice

Nothing As It Seems 10-25-2010 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crosbyfan (Post 28530514)
Are you heavier or use more rocker? Both give you more relative bite.

I'm relatively small (not for my size, but overall at 5'9 185lbs) and I'm wearing stock X:60s. Honestly, I would admit if my skating wasn't good but it's fine - If I had started the thread looking for advice on why I was loosing an edge all the time or not feeling as fast as I should I'd be the first to admit that it was a case of "duh buddy, you need to sharpen your skates", but I really just started the thread to see if this was a complete anomaly since no one seems to believe it's been a year. I must have skated 90-100 times on these edges and besides using a stone once a week I honestly haven't had them cut, nor felt a decrease in my speed or agility. I'm not trying to sound impressive or trying to claim something that's impossible or anything of the sort. I just wanted to know if I was completely alone in this. I'll probably get them sharpened soon to appease my teammates and end the running joke but I'm hesitant to do so because I actually anticipate it messing up my skating at first.

rinkrat22 10-25-2010 05:35 PM

I know a guy that used to be an equipment manager for the blackhawks back in the 80's. (he had to quit because he started a family and $Bill wirtz didn't give contracts to people) anyways he used to say that some guys wanted their skates sharpened between periods and other guys would not get them sharpened at all during the season. Its probably just one of those things like how tight some guys lace their skates and others barely tie them. as long as it works for you that's all that matters. and if you played DI club, it obviously works for you.

The Spicy Shrimp 10-25-2010 05:55 PM

I haven't gotten a sharpening since I went to a 7/8 hollow this summer (I'm heavy and I play on very hard ice) and I haven't noticed any loss in ability the way I did when I was getting 1/2 or whatever was on the wheel from the last guy. So I'm with you on this. I hate having too much bite anyway.

Pog Form 10-25-2010 05:57 PM

Maybe try an even shallower hollow? That way you can reduce the adjustment period each time you have to bite the bullet and get them sharpened.

TBLfan 10-25-2010 08:05 PM

Gaborik got his skates sharpened twice last season.

If you're dulling them, you need a shallower hollow. I go a long time without sharpening my skates also, I just keep hitting it with a honing stone. I think I average 15-25 hours between sharpenings on FBV.

ean 10-26-2010 06:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TBLfan (Post 28537085)
Gaborik got his skates sharpened twice last season.

No he didn't.

Nakket 10-26-2010 07:41 AM

I'm like the OP a bit in that I can go long between sharpenings and not see performance/maneuverability dip. In fact, I actually prefer the feel after the sharpening has been "broken in" a little so to say. My only concern is, will I eventually lose the feel so bad that I cannot turn sharply or grip well enough?

Jarick 10-26-2010 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TBLfan (Post 28537085)
Gaborik got his skates sharpened twice last season.

If you're dulling them, you need a shallower hollow. I go a long time without sharpening my skates also, I just keep hitting it with a honing stone. I think I average 15-25 hours between sharpenings on FBV.

That's because his idol/BFF Pavol Demitra never sharpened his skates :D

Oh, and when it comes to the honing stone, do yourself a favor and order a pair of Miracle Stones. They're much finer grit and more consistent than the cheap ones at the rink (which won't actually hone but scratch your blades), plus they come with a leather case. Remember to get a pair.

Last edit, I promise...I got an original copy of Howie Meeker's hockey book, where he also sees no need for frequent sharpenings and recommends the stone.

beth 10-26-2010 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jarick (Post 28544673)

Oh, and when it comes to the honing stone, do yourself a favor and order a pair of Miracle Stones. They're much finer grit and more consistent than the cheap ones at the rink (which won't actually hone but scratch your blades), plus they come with a leather case. Remember to get a pair.

Last edit, I promise...I got an original copy of Howie Meeker's hockey book, where he also sees no need for frequent sharpenings and recommends the stone.

How does one use these stones?

Jarick 10-26-2010 11:13 AM

Get the stone wet with water and rub it flat up against the side of the steel. You're not trying to sharpen anything, you just want to smooth the sides of the blade.

FF'd to 5:25 of this video...I do it like that but I take my time a little more.


WeissFC 10-26-2010 10:24 PM

I've never heard about someone not getting their skates sharpened only twice a year after skating as much as you do. I believe you, but this freaks me out. After hearing about all the injuries caused by losing an edge or having a bad edge (see Derek Zike) I'd get my skates sharpened for this reason alone.

It's whatever works for you though. You don't get any nicks that you can't stone out over the course of even a two weeks? Seems like everyone I know has that problem

Seanconn* 10-26-2010 11:24 PM

a good natural skater can skate on anything.

I've been on skates since I was 1 and a half, and have no problem skating on dull skates, but if i notice knicks or notice that i am loosing edges, i'll get em sharpened.

I'm usually only on the ice once or twice a week... 2 hours every friday teaching skating, and stick and puck sessions here and there.

and once the outdoor rinks are up... hopefully the end of november, i'll be on the ice 3+ times a week, and will get em sharpened about once a month, maybe every two months... since the ODR dulls the **** out of your blades. but ODR is only an option for not even half the year, in most of Canada... and I bet less than 2 months in a lot of the areas in the US.. or not at all in most areas in the US that get snow and a real winter.


when i was figure skating, i think i got them sharpened like 3, maybe 4 times a year, and i was on the ice 5 days a week for almost the entire year. for like 3 hours a session. no need to sharpen your skates all the time unless you have noticeable knicks.



and of course...USE SKATE GUARDS!!!! you have no idea who have been walking on the the rubber at the rink, and I guarantee you will pick up some stones or get rubber gunk on your blades. I even wear skate guards walking up to the Outdoor rink, only exception is hopping over the boards to fetch pucks... but that's usually not too bad since theres tons of compacted snow, although sometimes i get a bit lazy in January/Feb on the walk back to the car, if im frozen solid, and I don't think there's much chance of my blades coming in contact with cement. but really, you should have your skate guards on until you take one off step onto the ice with that skate, then take the other one off- and put em on the boards :laugh: might seem super anal, but you should keep care of your blades...

which includes taking a towel to them after every skate, to prevent moisture which causes rusting.

sherwood sniper 10-27-2010 12:27 AM

You're not a freak, just a good skater.

Although I don't skate as much as I'd like to (or you do), We're very similar. I too have always been one of , if not the best skater on the ice. (Thank you 3 years of Laura Stamm!) Started skating when I was 2 and played through D1 club as well. As, another poster pointed out, good skaters can skate on just about anything. To be honest I can skate almost as well without lacing my skates at all, as i can with them laced correctly. And no, I'm not trying to sound like a bad ass, just the facts.


Like you I almost instantly dull my skates ( I like my hollow, not gonna change now, lol). I actually carry a small chunk of an old wood stick in my bag to dull them. The only reason I ever get mine sharpened is when there is no edge where I stepped on a stick, net, extra. Otherwise, I could go forever without the pro shop's help.


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