Skate Sharpening

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by nlyoung, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. nlyoung

    nlyoung Active Member

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    I posted this question in the Patrick Chan thread and someone suggested I might get an answer if I posted here instead.

    Patrick has talked about how he only gets his skates sharpened in Toronto which presumably means not very often. I ask because I need to sharpen my daughter's hockey skates at least every 5-6 hours on the ice. She does like them sharp, but is it just that figure skating blades hold an edge longer, or that figure skaters don't like the edge too sharp? There is no particular reason for this question other than my idle curiosity... :)
     
  2. fan

    fan Active Member

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    the generally accepted practise is every 40 hrs. it would seem that patrick would need to sharpen every week. perhaps he fedexes them?
     
  3. Spazactaz

    Spazactaz New Member

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    That could be every day or 2 for figure skaters if they sharpened them that much... and at $700 for blades, they would be gone SO quickly. For this reason, I try to get them sharpened as rarely as possible. I think most skaters do prefer them sharp though. I would assume figure skating blades are much higher quality and do hold the sharpening a bit better, but I'm no expert on hockey skates so I can't really compare fairly. :p
     
  4. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I don't know how well-made the DD's hockey blades are, but low-end figure blades don't hold their sharpenings as long as the pricey high-level blades. It's one of the tradeoffs: the more-costly blades are not only more specialized, they're also made with metals that don't get dull as quickly. Several people who switched to Jackson Ultima blades rave about how long they can go without sharpenings. (And the pseudo-rip sound they make, lol.) If the skater wears guards to protect the blades, that also cuts down on the need to sharpen. (If your daughter likes to walk on the plastic threshold of the doorways, that also dulls the blades.) As Spazactaz points out, some people like very-sharp skates, others try to hoard the blade steel as long as possible, lol. Once the sharpening takes the blade down far enough, the metal isn't as hard, so even high-end blades don't hold the sharpening as well as they did when they were new. That's why it seems that older blades wear out quickly.

    5-6 hours is way too often - the blade will wear out quickly from all those sharpenings. Are you sharpening them because your daughter says the blades are dull, or did you have the coach/sharpener check? A lot of the feeling of sliding sideways can be attributed to poor technique; sharp blades can compensate, but it would be better to fix the technique itself. If that's not the case, changing to a deeper ROH with the next sharpening will make the edges more prominent for a longer time so she'll feel more steady. Worth a try, especially if she's heavy or tall.

    For low-end blades, 20-30 hours is the norm. Better blades...30-40 hours. Deduct 5-10 hours if the skater doesn't wear guards and another 5-10 hours if it's outdoor ice.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Hockey skates require much more frequent sharpenings, because the hollow radius is so small and they're skidding a lot? I've definitely read somewhere that some professional hockey players get their blades sharpened in between game periods! :eek: Figure skaters obviously don't get theirs sharpened as often.

    I should get mine sharpened more frequently. I wait until I start skidding on 3-turns. :eek: Then again I don't skate very regularly anymore.
     
  6. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    I have not read the P Chan interview, but with his sponsors, chances are he has more than one pair of skates.

    On mk pro's she had them sharpened every 20 hours.
     
  7. nlyoung

    nlyoung Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm still amazed at how infrequently figure skaters need to sharpen, but I suspect they are just easier on their blades given the key to success in figure skating is to skate smoothly. I would agree that the quality of the blades would make a difference if you compare figure skates to each other, but suspect the difference between figure and hockey skates has more to do with how hockey skaters use their blades. There are no toe picks which means they have to use the edges for everything including quick stops and direction changes but also just to gain speed. Lots of snow is a good thing if you're a hockey player as it means you are really using your edges well ;). If I let her blades get too dull she is slipping all over the place as she can't use the edges as much as she'd like. It's not a question of her using the skates improperly either as many hockey players go for the 4-6 hour rule. I think heavier adults can get by with less frequent sharpening as they are able to dig into the ice more. My daughter is only 8 but is an excellent skater (thanks in large part to her early years learning to skate from figure skaters through Can Skate, though she's been in hockey skates from the beginning ;)). In her case, she prefers a sharp skate because she is so comfortable on her edges. I've known other girls who find it difficult to stop when the blades are too sharp.
     
  8. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    My daughter only feels like her blades are "sharp" the first 30 minutes or so of skating after they are sharpened. After that they feel "right". Her new blades are supposed to hold a sharp edge longer. Figure skaters don't skate on the flats - they skate on edges. So I'm not sure how they would use them less... Toe picks are only used for jumping.

    We haven't tested longer time between sharpening yet.

    It might come down to the quality of ice as well. Harder ice requires a sharper skate blade.

    What is the hollow she is using? My daughter's is 7/16th...it has a grabbier bite than 1/2 for example.
     
  9. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Just because figure skates have toe picks does not mean that they should be using them to skate with. So that is not a reason why figure skates last longer between sharpenings.
     
  10. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    I think all the hockey stops where you're actually pushing on an edge to generate friction and stop also come into play. Most hockey kids I see practice dozens of them for their drills when they go down the ice, stop, double back, and stop at a further line. Skaters almost never do that, so your sharpenings do last longer.
     
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  11. nlyoung

    nlyoung Active Member

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    Sorry! I didn't mean to imply figure skaters use toe picks to stop, I was just mentioning the obvious difference in the blades (though I confess that I do use mine on occasion for this purpose as I am not a good skater at all ;)). I also agree that figure skaters also strive to use their edges, but they use them more for gliding rather than the rapid stops and starts of hockey as was pointed out by iona.

    As TheGirlCanSkate also pointed out, hard ice requires a sharper blade, and isn't figure skating ice supposed to be fairly soft? This may play a large role.
     
  12. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I would think that very few skaters have the luxury of skating on ice that is exclusively figure ice or hockey ice. But I wouldn't think the type of ice matters, unless you are skating on synthetic ice, which then really does wear the blades down very quickly (all kinds).
     
  13. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Hockey lines are a common drill for figure skaters. I've skated at 3 different rinks (in different states) and all of the coaches have used this drill.

    I sharpen my skates every 8 weeks with 6 hours of skating per week. However, I think some elite skaters just have such excellent control they can practice on dull blades. We have a coach doing double lutzes on blades that haven't been sharpened in years.
     
  14. nlyoung

    nlyoung Active Member

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    I know hockey players who sharpen rarely as well, so I guess it just comes down to what you prefer. I've noticed that with hockey skates even the smallest nick will make the skates difficult to use, impacting stopping or turning depending on the nick. I would imagine the same is true for figure skates.
     
  15. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    That might well be the case, but it's more about the nature of hockey as well. If you practice your double 3's or whatever, the only time you'd come to a complete stop is if someone cuts you off. If a hockey player tries to make his way past the blue line into opponent territory, he'll probably stop to avoid a defender, sprint to catch up to a pass, wrap around the net and then stop...All of it while at full tilt and using his/her edges. They just accelerate in spurts a lot more than figure skaters do. Sure, you have to show variations of speed during a program, but there's a lot less 0-60 type of skating. The drill was the first thing that came to mind -and maybe not the best example if you have to do it for a power skating class.
     
  16. gypsy_82

    gypsy_82 New Member

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    I get my skates sharpened every 20-30 hours.