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Proper Skate Sharpening
(65 votes)
skate sharpening - toronto hockeyIf you haven't paid much attention to your

skate sharpening

, you are neglecting a key part of your performance. Proper fitting skates and a proper sharpening can impact your hockey game as much or more than any other piece of equipment. Consistency is one of the keys to a good

hockey skate sharpening

. Square edges, a proper hollow, and good contour are all parts of a well tuned skate.


Toronto area skate sharpeners

try to compensate for a poor sharpening by sharpening with a deeper hollow, but this only compounds the problem. The deeper hollow gives the skater an increased edge, but the skate controls the skater, and makes stopping and transitions much more difficult. To deep a hollow will cause the skate blade to bite and dig into the ice surface more. This will affect your ability to stop and pivot from forwards to backwards.

What radius or hollow is right for you?

The selection of a proper radius or hollow for your skate blades is an individual decision. THN can give you an overview and recommendations to help make your decision easier. Defined: the radius or hollow of your hockey skate blade determines the depth of the blade edge. The correct hollow will result in a skate blade with sharp edges and allow for a smooth glide, easy stops, and quick starts. A smaller radius of 1/4" will give you a blade with edges that have more bite and a deeper groove, than a blade with a larger radius of 1". The deeper the groove will result in edges which penetrate the ice deeper increasing drag and requiring more energy to accelerate.

What radius or hollow do the NHL players choose?

The most common choice of radius of hollow for hockey players is 1/2". According to a recent study of all NHL players 47% choose to skate on a 1/2" radius. The next most common hollow in the NHL is 5/8" radius.

Beginners and recreational skaters should try a radius or hollow of 5/8" or 3/4". This is a shallower cut then 1/2" radius and will allow the beginner skater to glide better, stop and pivot easier. As you progress and become a stronger skater you can move towards 1/2" or as many NHL'ers do use 5/8".


Toronto area skate sharpeners

use a deeper 3/8" cut as standard dressing. When bringing your skates to be sharpened simply ask for a 5/8" or 1/2" cut. If the sharpener gives you a funny look or declines you might be better off letting someone more experienced sharpen your blades.

In simpler terms, for better glide, skaters select a higher radius or hollow (5/8" for example) when they are looking for increased glide. For more bite, and more friction - skaters choose lower radius or hollow (3/8" or even lower) when they are looking for more bite and control.

Inconsistent Radius or Hollow

Due to a combination of factors in skate sharpening equipment, such as lack of operator training and poor settings, radius can vary from machine to machine, operator to operator, and shop to shop. Even though a skate can be perfectly sharpened, a change in the radius will give the hockey player a different feel due to change in bite. This may give the impression of an improper sharpening, which is why consistency is one of the keys to good skate sharpening.

Proper Skate Sharpening

For proper sharpening, the radius of hollow must be centered down the middle of a skate blade. This results in a level edge on both the inside and outside skate blade edges. An off-center skate sharpening will result in one edge being higher than the other. This is a common fault of many skate sharpenings. Most 

skate sharpening

 machines require the operator to center the grinding wheel on the skate blade by eye. Therefore, the training, judgement, and conscientiousness of the operator can greatly affect the quality of the skate sharpening. Inexperienced skate sharpeners, or casual skate sharpeners, the kind commonly found in , often don't take the time necessary to center the blade properly.

Poorly Dressed or Worn Grinding Wheels

This is another common fault seen in many skate shops. The radius or hollow must be applied to the grinding wheel with a diamond stylus. Poor operation techniques and/or out of sync stylus can result in poor profiles being applied to the grinding wheels. Frequent wheel dressing is required to maintain the proper shape. With repeated use and many sharpenings, the grinding wheel profile will wear and change. This can result in incorrect or uneven blade angles. Many of the larger skate sharpeners may sharpen 100's of pair of hockey skates a day. It's not uncommon to cut corners and dress the grinding wheel less frequently than is necessary.

If you haven't found a hollow or radius that is comfortable to you, THN recommends that you experiment with different hollows to find one that is comfortable and gives you maximum performance. Half inch is a good place to start since it's in the middle. If you would like more bite try 3/8". For less bite try 5/8". We also recommend you find a skate sharpener that takes the time to dress the stone properly and consistently gives you a proper radius. A sharpener that spends the necessary time to properly dress and center the grinding wheel, will give you the edge that your game needs.

Make a Comment
joechrissy@verizon.net - dressing the grinding wheel   | 141.149.56.xxx | 2007-09-13 09:07:04
how do you dress the grinding wheel to give a 1/2 inch grind, or a 3/8 grind?please email me @ joechrissy@verizon .net thanks, joe
Bryan - Dressing a stone   | 74.107.124.xxx | 2007-09-16 22:19:48
Hi Joe,

Dressing a stone is done with a diamond bit. You can purchase this at skate sharpener suppliers. The bit is threaded and has markings 1/2 inch, 3/8 inch etc. you simply turn the bit to your desired setting and align it so it is touching the stone. Turn the grinding wheel on and move the bit up and down the wheel, shaving it to it's desired radius.

Shawn Milligan - Coach   | 65.87.243.xxx | 2007-09-24 22:30:37
I have a classic CCM portable skate sharpener that needs a new diamond bit dresser. How can I find one that will fit this machine?

My sharpenings seem to result in blades being off balance. What causes this?
JOE   | 151.204.152.xxx | 2007-10-17 09:33:35
Philly Rich - Even Edges   | 68.236.3.xxx | 2007-10-26 09:29:46
I have been doing sharpening/custom contour work for a long time, and even edges are one of the most easy things in the world, for an average joe to check. Easiest thing to do.....hold your skate upside down in good light, and center a credit card on the blade. The naked eye can simply see if its off of the 90 degree angle. Good Sharpeners should ALWAYS return skates with perfectly even edges (except for the very very very rare goalie who likes their inside/outside edge slightly off because of style of play/sliding). Feel free to ask follow up questions.
JOE - SHARPENING   | 151.205.183.xxx | 2007-10-26 16:23:24
Philly Rich - Sharpening/Even Edges   | 68.236.58.xxx | 2007-10-29 16:43:19
First of all....the Wissota is a GREAT machine (as you are learning, don't hesitate to call Bill there...he is a sharpening guru, and can help you easily on the phone). As for your sharpening...the "science" is easy (you learned that on the Wissota DVD)....the "art" is the hard part. Comes with time/experience. Its a slight pressure (no matter what machine you use)....so it can glide smoothly and evenly on each pass. The waves on the blade are from you not using a consistent pressure on each pass. My recommendation, is to call Bill, and sharpen one, with him on the phone with you.
Philly Rich - One other thing....   | 68.163.52.xxx | 2007-10-30 11:30:05
Another way to stop the "chatter" on your blades.....make 4-6 passes from right to left (against the turn of the wheel....I'm 99.9% the Wissota turns counter-clockwise)....then make 1...ONLY 1...pass slowly (about 1/2 the speed) with the grain (from left to right). Then use a stone to rub and release all the burs.
JOE   | 141.149.48.xxx | 2007-11-01 10:20:20
Levi Oliver - Young Skater   | 70.50.37.xxx | 2007-12-04 21:23:04
Hey there, great site...I have a young hockey player, very young...4 going on 5 actually and I am trying to determine the best hollow for him. He is a great skater for his age and I just found out the place where I get them sharpened use 1/2 standard. On poor advice I had them sharpened to one cut deeper, and they used 3/8 - This did not work out well for the little guy at all..he was tripping and falling all over. What would you recommend for him, the standard 1/2? Appreciate any advice and thanks
Philly Rich - For the Young Skater   | 68.236.13.xxx | 2007-12-12 09:49:01
Bottom line (I have a 5 year-old who started last year too).... 1/2 inch is kind of standard, but choose a hollow...AND STICK WITH IT. 3/8 is too deep (totally my opinion...others will say, that 3/8 for any child under 50 lbs. is appropriate). If you live in a cold environment, and you are dealing with rock hard ice, the whole winter, stick with 1/2. Whatever you choose for the little one, keep doing it.
BK - Fleming Gray   | 66.235.60.xxx | 2007-12-14 23:20:28
Picked up an old Fleming Gray B-3 and not seeing the markings on the thread to dress the wheel. Anyone got an experience with one of these? Got a brand new diamond bit that came with the machine- tip had wax on it still. Everything is old as dirt but the machine is solid. Bit so old it isn't marked or....? Any help appreciated, thanks in advance!
JB - Hard Ice Vs. Soft Ice   | 209.23.168.xxx | 2008-01-17 16:03:37
When I skate on hard ice should I have my sharpener deepen the hollow? What is your opinion on hollows vs. ice conditions? Thanks
Tim - Flemming Grey Changing Wheel n   | 216.185.88.xxx | 2008-02-08 12:38:55
Hello, I have purchased an older FLemming Grey Skate sharpener for the kids out in the rural area. It needs the wheel changed. I have a new wheel and went to remove teh nut but the nut does not come off.

Everytime I turn the nut the whole head (wheel) moves. Is there a way to lock the head or is there a trick to changing these things. Also WHich way should I be turning. I don't want to over tighten it by accident.

THanks for your help
Ferns - Second Grind Wheel   | 24.36.177.xxx | 2008-02-24 15:54:58
Hello, I have seen many skate sharpeners use a the second grind wheel on the machine. Is this for skates that have large nicks in them?

Secondly do skate sharpeners always have to sharpen skates from toe- to - heel. I find that they grind down the toe so much more this way. Can it be sharpened from heel to toe?

Thanks for your help
Bryan - hollow   | 74.210.34.xxx | 2008-03-06 18:51:03
definitely ice conditions play a role a deeper hollow will bite more - on good fast ice it can be great but on soft ice it can be to much
Bryan - wheel   | 74.210.34.xxx | 2008-03-06 18:51:53
try holdong the wheel when you loosen the nut
Bryan - second wheel   | 74.210.34.xxx | 2008-03-06 18:53:35
second wheel usually one is a coarse stone used to take more blade off do the bulk of the work and the other is a finer stone used for finishing and putting on a smoother finish
Jiminy16   | 70.49.59.xxx | 2008-03-17 23:09:17
Hi: My skates have lost their contour. Can you recommend a good place to have them reshaped?
Bryan - Contour   | 206.126.88.xxx | 2008-03-18 08:27:25
Hi Jiminy,

I would recommend Majer Hockey at Dufferin and Finch. They have a computerized machine that does it for you. Just tell them the contour you like, they program it, and that's it.

Just Hockey is also very good at sharpening skates etc. They have a couple locations. Yonge and Steels, Don Mills and Eglington.

You may want to call ahead and check the pricing. Pricing for contours can vary.

Let me know if these locations aren't suitable I can recommend somewhere else.
jim p   | 99.231.126.xxx | 2008-03-20 20:30:25
I just came back from canadian tire...I don't think I'm looking at my blades properly...is it possible there is nohollow on them? will I be able to skate on these things?
p.s. I have been skating for 20 years.
Bryan - No Hollow   | 74.210.34.xxx | 2008-03-20 20:42:49
Hey Jim,

It's possible. If you bought them new they definitely need to be sharpened. They don't come from the factory sharpened.

It's also possible if you got them sharpened at Canadian Tire it was probably done by a sales clerk not someone trained well at skate sharpening.

I suggest you take them to someone that does a fair bit of skate sharpening not your local big box store.
alex F - Training classes (help)   | 140.247.172.xxx | 2008-03-26 07:31:43
I have a few question on Training classes, please email me afergus@fas.harvard.edu
Steve - Goalie Skates!!!!   | 69.157.110.xxx | 2008-04-01 18:31:24
I work at a store, we had our first goalie in today to get his skates sharpened... we have never been trained to sharpen a goalie skate (so we sent him elsewhere) is there a difference between a skate and a goalie skate. Help we look like idiots!
Bryan - Goalie Skates   | 206.126.88.xxx | 2008-04-03 14:10:54
Hi Steve,

Goalie skates are really defendant on the individual goalie and what he likes. Many old school goalies don't get any hollow when sharpened. For a long time it was common for goalies to get there skates cross-grinded (grinded flat). They used this to shuffle accross the crease.

Today with the butterfly style goalies no longer shuffle across the ice but instead push off hard and slide across on their pads. So many goalies are moving towards a deeper hollow. I have a friend that operates a goalie school and encourages all his goalies get a 1/2 inch hollow.

As mentioned though it's really a personal preference and i would ask the goalie how he likes his skates. If he can't answer then I would ask what style he plays and check the existing hollow on the skate. if it's flat - ask if he wants the same, more bite or less.

The majority of goalies skates I have sharpened put about a 3/4 inch hollow. Again depends on the goalie. The key is setting up your machine properly redressing the stone for the proper hollow but also centering the stone on the blade to make sure the edges are even. Many goalie skates have blades that are a little wider then player skates and might need the height of the clamp adjusted to make sure the blade is centered.

Alan Sheppard   | 142.68.129.xxx | 2008-04-06 19:00:07
I have played hockey for more than 40 years. I am about 135 lbs and need at least a 1/4" cut. Anything that is larger seems like I have no edge. The real difficulty is getting the 1/4". Sometimes it is a little too much or slightly less. I am trying to use the same guy that does my skates all the time. The use a numbered measurement: #2=1/4". Most time I have to say to sharpen to just under #2. Does this sound correct for my weight? My skating abilities are fine, but if too sharp I do have the trouble stopping t the hash marks for a faceoff. Alan Sheppard
Bryan - 1/4"   | 74.210.34.xxx | 2008-04-06 20:01:24
Hey Alex,

1/4" does sound sharp - many stores use 3/8" but have not head of anyone requesting a 1/4". Size and weight play a part but it's more preference then anything. I would suggest that if you are having trouble stopping your edge is too deep. At the very least you want to be able to stop without biting into the ice.

My thoughts are that you've become accustomed to your skates digging in and feel less secure when you can't feel the edge. Give a shallower hollow a try for a while. At first it may not give you the same feeling of security but there should still be plenty of bite. At the very least you should be able to stop with ease. If you are having trouble stopping your edge is to deep.

Hope this helps.

Blade Tek - 1/4" ?   | 206.126.88.xxx | 2008-04-23 08:14:18
I sharpen skates - lots of them, and to be honest 1/4" is really too much bite for anyone ! Properly done 3/8 roh provides an extreme bite even in ice as hard as Edmonton's NHL ice. . . . I will always sharpen to what my clients ask for, however from time to time I manage to convince someone to experiment with a different hollow.
Blade-Tek - +40 years   | 142.161.111.xxx | 2008-05-26 12:36:57
Alan Sheppard - here is some advice - go for a 1/2" roh. At your weight (light) this hollow will give you a fair amount of glide along with some great bite into the ice, especially artificial ice. Hopefully your guy that does them is a pro and always gives you EVEN edges! Very Critical to have even edges.
JOE   | 151.205.162.xxx | 2009-01-11 12:56:06
Bryan - Profiling   | 24.156.132.xxx | 2009-01-11 14:35:37
Profiling should be done by someone experienced. Bring it to your local hockey shop - preferably someone that deal with hockey and not your local sportchek.

Profiling determines how much blades is on the ice and if you lean more forward or sit back.

Defencemen generally prefer less blade because they pivot and turn a lot. Forwards prefer more blade for increased speed. This isn't always the case and it's more personal preference then anything else.

Cag one makes a profiling machine that is operated by computer and is in many quality hockey shops.

Hope this helps.

Daryl - Sharpening for 35 years   | 209.226.175.xxx | 2009-03-03 18:36:13
Ajax request failed.
Tim   | 76.122.136.xxx | 2009-04-02 18:50:30
You guys have to look into FBV (flat bottom V) sharpening. It is going to be the way al skates are sharpened in the future.

Blackstone machines are the only ones that can currently do it.

I've skated on FBV and I will never go back.
JOE   | 70.19.81.xxx | 2009-04-29 13:02:17
professioanl player - 1" inch   | 79.210.40.xxx | 2009-10-16 06:07:46
I use to get my skates 5/8 then went to 3/4 peopel told me 1inch would be even beter glide I am 6'4 220 pounds. Can you please let me know thanks. I like to almost be sliding a bit and have a lot of glide please let me know my email is scottbarney44@hotmail.com
Greg - Even edges   | 63.160.81.xxx | 2009-10-17 10:26:47
How do I guarantee that my edges are even when I am sharpening my blades?
I usually line up the blade on the fine cut wheel by slightly touching the blade to the wheel at the heel and toe. If the test spot hits the blade right in the middle then I assume I am centered. This seems to only work if I use a couple passes on the coarse wheel first.
corey - training   | 64.229.11.xxx | 2009-12-21 13:08:41
Love this site.

Do you no of any course that teach skate sharpening?

Keep up the good work..
corey - traning   | 64.229.11.xxx | 2009-12-21 13:09:57
Sorry,if you could email me any info on the coures...Peterkelly1111@gmail.com
Anonymous - Where to get it done in downto   | 99.230.246.xxx | 2010-01-09 17:05:46
Where can I get a decent grind downtown (bay/bloor)?
Bryan - Decent grind   | 69.196.178.xxx | 2010-01-17 12:38:06
Try Just Hockey at Don Mills and Eglinton
bob couture - coach   | 71.168.81.xxx | 2010-01-26 08:55:19
CAn you send me information on how to sharpen skates. I have a B-3 machine. My email is bobjc48@hotmail.com I have been sharpening skates for my kids for a few years now but want to perfect their skates with any information that I can get.
Josh Warrick   | 99.233.147.xxx | 2010-02-12 21:21:38
Hands down the best skate sharpening in Toronto is at Newson's at 612 Jane St. The staff are very knowledgeable and courteous. It is worth the trip - because they do things properly - and also have a cag one machine!

joe - profile   | 151.204.153.xxx | 2010-02-16 08:34:00
my son is 7 years old, he has been skating since he was 4, he skates on a 3/8 grind he is 60lbs and 52 inches tall he plays foward, can you tell me what kind of profile he should use. he skates well next to the kids on his team, and against other teams he plays. any advice is appreciated. thanks joe
hockman - nut on the fleming gray machin   | 24.1.10.xxx | 2010-02-20 21:52:05
the top of the shaft has 2 flat sides you can put an adjustable wrench on to hole it. than you can turn nut to get wheel off
fk - hockey stores   | 99.254.143.xxx | 2010-03-06 16:33:15
hello I just recently started to play hockey i've only been playing for about 2 years now.. my question is can anyone tell me where i can get my skates sharpened properly, I've tried canadian tire and they suck really bad.. also if you can suggest on what grind I should get my skates sharpened I'm 5"11, 185LB I play defense.

Bryan   | 76.10.171.xxx | 2010-03-06 16:36:52
Try Just Hockey or Majer Hockey.
Randy - Hockey Stores   | 67.70.93.xxx | 2010-03-16 05:54:29
If you are looking for a quality alternative, try The Stater's Performance in Newmarket. You can look them up on the web for more detail....
Randy - Hockey Stores   | 67.70.93.xxx | 2010-03-16 05:56:42
If you are looking for a quality alternative, try The Skater's Performance in Newmarket.
steve - cummer pro shop   | 174.89.159.xxx | 2010-04-10 07:56:16
Hey,I was just at Cummer arena.They just reopened the pro shop...While I was there Two NHLers where there getting there blades done.I had my sons done,one went on the ice after the sharpening and said it was the best job ever.Trying the other one sunday.Don't be scared of the guy,big,bald and tat;s
very nice,makes u fill out a player card so
he know every time..price $5.
Mike - sharpening   | 99.244.149.xxx | 2010-10-25 16:36:02
Somone asked in an earlier post if there was a difference in starting at the heel vs starting at the toe. Did not see a repsonse and have the same question.
RWH - Sharpening   | 174.94.12.xxx | 2010-10-29 20:42:31
I would suggest toe first, yuo get a better read on carrying the skate across the wheel.....
RWH - Sharpening   | 174.94.12.xxx | 2010-10-29 20:46:07
In addition it really boils down to technic and knowing how to apply prorper pressure.
mike   | 70.26.64.xxx | 2010-12-13 00:55:22
try fisher sports he been teaching for the last 30 years
helped both majer & just hockey get started..
godfather of skates
J.G.   | 174.91.125.xxx | 2010-12-14 13:31:15
One of the best sharpeners in Toronto is Newson Bike and Skate exchange at 612 Jane St. (Jane and Dundas). They will also profile your skates with a computerized cag 1. Soon they say they will also have the Flat Bottom V sharpening.
rwh - honestly   | 174.89.48.xxx | 2011-02-12 21:51:38
Look if you would like a proper skate assessment, ask the people who know. In toronto that woudl be Just Hockey and north of T.O. The Skater's Performance
rje - how often   | 99.243.45.xxx | 2011-03-04 17:06:57
how often do skates need to b sharppened ?
rje - ps   | 99.243.45.xxx | 2011-03-04 17:09:30
my son does not play hockey just skates for fun. so he has been 5 times
do they need to b sharppened
Nick - how to learn   | 136.183.79.xxx | 2011-04-11 15:21:12
How does a person go about learning how to sharpen skates? would like to eventually open my own hockey store and want to have a solid knowledge and skill at sharpening and profiling skates... please get back!! Thanks!!
rwh - Nick - how to learn   | 184.146.169.xxx | 2011-04-11 19:34:58
Nick, to really do it right you need to seek proper training, not video sessions. I will suggest you google 'skate sharpening training'. In addtion you would need to work in a solid shop for a year and develop your technic. Even then you still need to understand your equipment thoughly. now you are on the road to being a skate maintenance specialist. GOOD LUCK!
Friday - skate sharpeners   | 216.55.212.xxx | 2011-04-15 18:55:24
Which electric skate sharpeners are good.What is the wissota machine like
Frank - to sharp?   | 173.164.27.xxx | 2011-06-03 07:04:58
I currently use a 3/8' cut on my skates but after reading this column and comments I'm not sure if that should be the cut I go with.

I'm 6'0 175lbs and I play centre.

I like to have a lot of bit for control and quick cuts. Is 3/8'ths the correct cut for me?
Bryan - 3/8 or 1/2?   | 69.165.152.xxx | 2011-06-03 07:12:04
Many of the top skate sharpeners out there are moving to 1/2 as the standard grind. Try 1/2 inch -- it won't offer as much bite -- but there's still plenty of edge and you get a better flow. With less bite it's easier to transfer and pivot.

Above all don't be afraid to experiment -- I've tried 3/4 -- a really shallow groove that figure skaters use. Plenty of edge and good transfer but I found I needed a little more bite for those battles in front of the net and in the corners.

I think you'll like 1/2.
Frank - RE: Bryan   | 173.164.27.xxx | 2011-06-03 08:21:40
Thanks for the input. I'll try 1/2' on the next sharpen and let everyone know.

I think I used 1/2' before but I can't remember why or when I made the switch.

Thanks Bryan.
Bruce   | 24.108.146.xxx | 2011-09-26 21:15:45
When sharpening, should the blade be sharp all the way around the curved ends of the blade? Or, should the sharpening stop just a little after the blade starts to curve at the end?
BAP   | 66.227.146.xxx | 2011-09-28 19:26:55
I picked up a used ez-sharp the other day. Can anyone give me an idea of what the 3 markings on the dresser relate to? I get that they are reference points for hollow but does anyone know what hollows each mark is suppose to represent. Called ez-sharp but no one has gotten back to me yet.
TommyG   | 61.8.15.xxx | 2011-10-05 22:30:41
I'm new to Hockey and buying my first pair of skates. I'm just wondering what sort of cut would be good for me.

I have a bit of work to do on my hockey stops to get them right so I want something that will help them not hinder. I'm 6'1 and 183LBS

Bryan   | 76.10.142.xxx | 2011-10-06 06:09:28
Hi Tommy,

It's harder to stop the sharper your skates are -- the deeper the groove. I'd recommend a 1/2 hollow and let your skates get a little duller -- it'll be easier to turn and stop. You won't be able to stop as quick with duller skates -- they don't dig into the ice as much -- but once you start getting the hang of it you can sharpen them up and stop quicker.

Hope this helps.

Bryan   | 76.10.142.xxx | 2011-10-06 06:12:15

Try this e-zsharp.com/QuickActionClamp.htm

TommyG   | 124.171.186.xxx | 2011-10-06 16:26:43
Thanks Bryan, I'll give it a go.
Ed J - EZ-sharp clamp problems   | 137.100.121.xxx | 2011-10-13 15:53:32
I've got an older (15yrs) EZ sharp portable machine and clamp. Many of the new skates coming out today are too wide to fit in the clamp without hitting the adjustment knob, meaning I can't square the blade on the wheel. Workaround is to remove the blades from the holders and do them that way, but it's a real pain (plus I can't do that with some blades like Tuuk).

Anyone know of a better solution, or an alternate clamp that will fit the EZ-sharp's wheel height?
TommyG   | 61.8.15.xxx | 2011-11-07 22:55:29
Hey Bryan, just wanted to say thanks for your advice. I got my skates sharpened to the 1/2" hollow and they are great. Really starting to nail my hockey stops now too. Appreciate your help.

Pat - Sharpening Info   | 66.103.39.xxx | 2011-11-19 13:24:32
A lot of good info here, sharpened skates and tools for many years, used a Fleming Grey swing arm, CCM table top and another machine for profiling. It is a skill and an art form.
Many factors must come together to complete a quality job, I would take 15 to 20 minutes per pair, depending on condition of skates, and encouraged competitive figure skaters to use a specialist in that field.
Most skates are stainless steel today, carbon steel is still out there, some are chrome coated or contain a higher nickel content. This can affect stone choice and how easy it is to get a good edge, I settled for the red(ruby) or even the pink stone for general sharpening, at 80 grit for a good edge on all steel. I used other stones as well, depending on my preference, customer preference and task trying to accomplish.
Grit is another factor, a smooth grind results in a sharper edge and less resistance for a better glide.
How you dress the wheel affects grind quality. I dressed the wheel for every skate(consistency), a slower dressing speed gives a smoother grind(edge and glide). Beware, finer grit and smoother dressing will allow the wheel to load or plug up quicker, this can cause burning of the blade because the wheel is not cutting cleanly, a loaded or plugged wheel creates heavier burring of edges.
Direction of travel. Most sharpeners using a swing arm or table top will move the skate in both directions traveling against and with the direction of wheel spin. Speed of travel and pressure against the wheel are factors you will learn, art form and skill you must practice. The last pass on the blade will normally be in the same travel direction as the wheel spin, be slower and sometimes lighter in pressure. This will result in a smoother grind, remember glide and edge. More travel pressure will sharpen quicker but create more heat, remember burning and burring. A coarser wheel will help if speed is more important but results in a coarser grind with more glide resistance and a more ja...
Pat - Sharpening Info   | 66.103.39.xxx | 2011-11-19 13:30:45
A coarser wheel will help if speed is more important but results in a coarser grind with more glide resistance and a more jagged edge. If the person is walking across the road in their skates to the rougher pond ice, they will likely not notice or care. Lesser skilled skaters may not notice either. Yes pond ice dulls skates faster due to the water quality, more mud, and sand and dirt that blows outside.
Travel and pressure is a skill you will acquire with practice, if it sounds like you are running a bow quickly across the strings of a violin creating a higher pitch sound similar to a Hitchcock movie, it is probably too fast and incorrect. When you are comfortable, the skate blade will stay in contact with the wheel while you change directions, stop grinding occasionally to check progress and the hollow is in the centre of the blade. Confidence will develop in time and stopping will become less frequent. Do not round off the toe and heel of the blade like the automatic sharpening machines do in some arenas. The skater will have more blade for ice contact and performance.
Burring is always a concern, the less burr left from sharpening, the easier to remove. I kept some pieces of oak or maple hardwood handy and ran it along the length of the blade before the last couple of passes if more metal needed to be removed to get rid of many nicks. I used the wood to remove burring after grinding and then used a good quality fine pocket honing stone to run along the side of the blade, flat of the stone flat against the blade side. Never use the same part of the wood twice, a burr lodged into the wood can dull you edge. Use a sander to clean up the piece of wood or start using another piece when no clean wood surface remains. This was just my method, remember, a clean cutting wheel that is not plugged will grind cooler and cleaner leaving less burr to contend with.
Blades can be a different thickness, hockey and pleasure skates are normally the same thickness or negligible diff...
Pat - Sharpening Info   | 66.103.39.xxx | 2011-11-19 13:34:46
Blades can be a different thickness, hockey and pleasure skates are normally the same thickness or negligible difference, but keep it in mind. Goalie and Figure skates are thicker, if you do not adjust the holder it will throw the centre of the hollow or v cut off.
How the holder clamps the skate. Not all holders are equal on all machines, get to know yours. Boot, blade holder on the boot and the amount of blade left on the skate can sometimes interfere with the skate clamp and tilt the blade throwing the centre of hollow off. Know your equipment.
Bent blades. Yes it can happen especially with the old tube skates, yeah you remember them, maybe you will get asked to sharpen a pair someday. Not as common today but blades can have a curve in them due to the way the holder is clamped to the boot. Different machines clamp more blade than others keeping blades straighter than others during sharpening, a skate straightener can help, or break blades, but the curve generally returns. If you get into blade replacement or boot repair, you can help repair this problem, yet another skill.

This is some of what I know and learned, be consistent, knowledgeable, listen to your customers, know you customers, know your arenas and local ice conditions, experiment and practice on old skates or a volunteers, listen for feedback and know yourself and capabilities. Sometimes you will be asked to do a custom job that goes against the rules to compensate for a persons injury or disability, be capable of working with them. Just because one leg is really crooked does not mean they cannot play.

Computerized equipment, different grooves, stones and sharpening methods change. This can bring greater consistency and can take some of the art form out of sharpening. Skill and knowledge are still required, remember personal preference, conditions, customer knowledge and equipment knowledge.

I will try posting more things I have learned later.
Dave - Fleming Gray   | 68.149.2.xxx | 2011-11-20 17:43:03
I have an old Fleming Gray swing arm Model B2 sharpener. Through conversation with a man in the business, he would like to buy it from me. I have no idea what the value is. Anybody?
Randy - Sharpening Info   | 184.146.161.xxx | 2011-12-02 23:35:33
Interesting! Ok some of the points are valid, But wood! no no and no! How about trust your instincts yes! be consistant yes! be knowegable yes! Listen to your customer concerns Abolutlely! Know what can potenially create injury yes!
Lets look at Proper Profiling/conturing/balancing by hand. Yes this really works! and it is truly more consistant than machines. I might get into a bit of BS on this but sorry I know my info. Great forum and if there are questions I don't mind anwsering from time to time.
jay barner - coach   | 70.67.227.xxx | 2011-12-20 13:00:53
where should i look to buy a used skate sharpening machine?
Natascia - Weird Noise   | 184.147.117.xxx | 2012-01-14 13:25:40
Hi there, I am sharpening and after dressing the wheel i do one skate and it sounds find and the next skate there is a rattling noise. Once I redress it goes away and comes back soon later in the same cycle.

what could be wrong here?? a loose baring? a bad dressing? please help`
ben woodman   | 74.14.131.xxx | 2012-01-14 20:25:32
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