So where can I take my
skates to be sharpened reliably?Nantucket
Skating Club is trying to schedule monthly skate sharpening at Moon Skate Shop at the Tony Kent Arena in West Dennis, MA.We recommend that once a skater has begun Moves
in the Field/ Freeskate Level 1 they make sure whoever is doing the sharpening has experience with figure skate blades!Moon Skate Shop is the only place on the Cape/Islands
that we would recommend for figure skate sharpening.
should skates be sharpened?Typical skate sharpening frequency ranges from
every 10 hours, for a daily skater, to every two months for a once-a-week skater. In general, skates need
sharpening about every 10-15 hours of skating of skating as long as care is taken to avoid damage from stepping on metal,
concrete or any other hard or abrasive material. Pond ice may contain dirt and stones. One
accidental step on concrete will probably ruin the last sharpening. Hard guards and soakers can be used
to protect the blades while walking to and from the ice and when the skates are carried in a bag. Always
dry off the blades after skating to prevent rusting and make sure the hard guards are also dry if they are going back on the
blades. Skates need sharpening when they start to slide sideways too easily. An experienced skater can
often tell when the skates are getting dull but beginners can't, so look for feet skidding sideways when pushing or doing
Can I tell if my skates have been
sharpened correctly by looking at the blades?You can
compare the radius of the hollow with the edge of a penny. If the penny fits exactly, the radius is 3/8".
If it can roll back and forth a bit, the radius is greater than 3/8". If it touches
at both sides but doesn't reach the bottom, it is less than 3/8" and a beginner will have a lot of trouble stopping.
You can also check the levelness by balancing a pen or pencil across the blade. If the
pen slopes toward either side, the edges are not level. Two other easy things to check are to make sure
the bottom of the blade curves smoothly from front to back with no sub-curves and that the bottom toe pick hasn't been ground
off. Both of these problems will make the blade virtually useless for edges, spins and jumps.
What do I need to know about
getting skates sharpened?The first thing to find out is where. The
right place might be the rink, a skate shop or a sharpening specialist. The simplest approach is to ask
several more advanced skaters where they go. At a minimum you should make sure that you can get a correct
hollow radius and level edges. If the sharpener doesn't know what a hollow radius is or have a square to
check the levelness of the edges after sharpening, it might be better to go some place else. The grinding
stone is dressed to a circular shape to make a hollow along the bottom of the blade. The hollow radius
usually ranges from 3/8" (deeper) to 3/4" (shallower). Beginners usually prefer a 5/8 or 3/4"
hollow. Advanced skaters usually use a 3/8 to 1/2" hollow.
The best skates absolutely require
an expert to sharpen them!In figure skating, by the time you have reached
a certain level of accomplishment, perhaps Freestyle 1, you will most likely be skating on a better quality skate than the
ones you learned on. It is critical that you only take these skates to a figure skating sharpening specialist
in order to take best advantage of the high tech design of your blades, and also, so you don't ruin them. Higher
tech blades are designed to be of a specific elliptical shape along the blade, and are built with a very hard tempered steel
bottom - the spot that gets sharpened. If they are sharpened without regard to shape integrity and are
ground down too far, you can ruin the design, and also grind the blade to a fraction of its life expectancy. And
the blades are not inexpensive. A typical figure skate sharpen should cost around 20 dollars. Well
worth the cost for the performance it gives you and the life it will add to your blades.