Ice hockey skating depends highly on the condition of the skates. You have to maintain your skates well to perform well.
In hockey skating, you have to have a better balance. It is vital to be able to stop and run smoothly. You need the best control of your movement to reach the top. The properties of your skate blade affect your balance and movement control.
The skate blade is not like a regular knife-like. It has two edges instead of one. In between those edges, you will find a radius called hollow. You have to sharpen these edges from time to time to keep up the performance.
How often to sharpen hockey skates?
In one sentence, it depends. Different players require a distinct sense of sharpening. You have to understand your base point. Many players struggle with highly sharped blades to move at their best potential. We will discuss that matter later in this article. Let’s focus on the question.
Most of the trainers suggest that skates need to sharp in 20-15 hours of skating period.
How to sharpen ice hockey skates?
You have to sharpen your skates for better performance. There is no doubt about it. To sharpen the hockey skates, you have to understand the “hollow.”
Hollow is what lies in the center of each blade. The skate blade is different as it has two edges instead of one. Between the sharp edges, you will find a curve. That curve is “hollow” of the blade.
Two effects of the Hollow
A skate blade is the only thing that interacts with the ice. The blade cut through the ice and help you to keep the balance. Whatever you do above is highly dependable on its nature.
You have to understand the nature and effect of the hollow. We analyzed the most common result of the groove. Those are as follows:
- Deep Hollow: A deep and sharpened hollow will give you more control. Deeper Hollow will produce more grip. You will need this in quick turns and stops.
- Shallow Hollow: On the other hand, shallow Hollow leads your skating faster. It does not cause much friction, which helps to chase the opponent.
Both effects have some pros and cons. A skate rider should not just go for one of the options and find the perfect combination for him/her.
Once you understand the hollow, it will be easier for you to get through the next step.
The sharpness of the edges is dependable on the radius of the blade. The bigger the radius is, the shallower the edges will be.
8 Steps to Sharpen Hockey Skates
Machines are commonly used for sharpening hockey skates. Let’s check out the steps:
- Caution: If you are new to use the machine, read the manual carefully. Wear masks and glasses. As the machine will be sharpening the metal blades, it will cause sparks and grinds. You should take steps to keep yourself safe.
- Power: Before putting energy into the machine, check the machine thoroughly. Check the wheel carefully, touch the wheel body for safety purposes. Some machines require to position the grinder. Do it with safety.
- Hollow Measurement: Measure the Hollow that is compatible with you. Your skate will come with default house cuts. Most standard house cut is 1/2″. But 1/2″ may not be suitable for you. If you have previous experience with different radius sizes, you will know the better matches with you. On the other hand, without having much experience, you can justify using your analytics. Analyze the properties of your skating. Ask a few questions as below:
- Are you a fast runner?
- Do you hit the ice harder?
- Do you feel that your skate bites the ice more than you need?
- Do you lose grip while cornering?
The answers will lead you to the preferable blade radius and hollow depth.
Your preference will make the changes in your grinding wheel. If you need deeper Hollow or sharper edges, you will need a smaller radius in the grinder.
4. Tuning the dresser: There will be a thumbscrew and a and a diamond dresser for the grinder. If you are not familiar with a grinder, you need to take practical lessons. For now, we will assume that you know a bit about grinder while and diamond dresser. Use the screw for radius selection and fix your desired radius.
5. Tuning the Grinder Wheel: Run the wheel and tune the grinder wheel with the diamond dresser for a few minutes. Your wheel will take the right shape and will be ready for sharpening.
6. Mounting the Skate: There will be a skate holder with the machine. Put a single skate following the manual. You can try to mark with a marker for guiding the grind.
7. Sharpening: Gently rud the blade with the running wheel. You will notice sparks and grinds. Repeat the process until you are confident enough.
8. Check: Use your finger and slide softly on the blades. Try to understand the sharpness.
How to sharpen ice hockey skates at home?
Naturally, you might not have a grinder wheel and big machine at your residence, but there are few ways you can follow to sharpen your skates.
- Handheld sharpener: You will get a handheld edge sharpener in the market. You might want to get one matching the radius size. You can easily set the skates in a jig and use the handheld sharpener following the manual. It is super easy. Any time you feel a knick in the blade, you can use such a tool.
- Portable Sharpener: For for purpose, you can purchase a portable hockey skate sharpener. It is not as manual as the handheld ones. You can use the machine at home or carry it anywhere with a little effort.
The process may vary on the tools you use. It is already said that how you should use the machine. It will be better for you, too, if we tell the process as a whole.
- Understand the blade after skating a few hours.
- Try to figure out the sharpness that suits you.
- Few skaters find comfort in shallower blades.
- Determine the radius and the hollow depth.
- Choose a device to sharpen the blades.
- Follow machine instructions to sharpen.
- Check the sharpness. If it is satisfactory, your sharpening process is done.
In the end, a properly sharpened skate will not frustrate you. The habit of sharpening the skate time to time will enhance your performance too.