Have you ever thought what a sharpened hockey skate can do to your game? Well, if I have to define this in one line then it would be like “It can literally take your game to the next level.” So, here’s how to do this and there are two things that you will have to understand one is sharpening at home and the second is sharpening with machine. We will explain both for you here.
I will then also go into how often you should sharpen your skates as it will affect how quickly the edges of your blades degrade. When it comes down to your performance, I quickly realized it is your ability to use the edges of your skates that make the difference. There is nothing worse then when your blades are dull and nicked.
Also don’t forget to check out our article about the top rated hockey skates this year where we look at over 42 different hockey helmets on the market and pick out the best ones guaranteed to help you out on the ice.
OK, so lets get into it….
What causes the blade to degrade
I decided to do some research on the factors that could affect my blades to help extend the longevity of them and so here is what I found.
One of my findings was the big impact temperature has on my skating performance and how specific skate sharpening measures can reduce the impact temperature has on degradation.
So the temperature will affect the ice inside the rink, whether it is hard or soft. As ice hockey players, we prefer harder ice because it helps with faster and smoother skating. When the ice is softer like for our figure skaters, the skates naturally dig deeper into the ice introducing friction and drag. This would not be suitable for ice skating because it would slow down your skating. Typically, I found out that an ice rink hovers around the 25 degrees Fahrenheit which is optimum temperature for skating.
I also found out that style and experience will affect blade degradation because if you are a power skater who does a lot of hockey stops, this is going to have a heavy impact on your blade and will most likely cause them to dull the edges at a much quicker rate.
However, with experience, you will develop almost a sixth sense where you will be able to apply the right amount of pressure and feel your way round the rink in a way which doesn’t massively impact the edges.
So before we get into how to sharpen your skates, here’s how to take care of your skates so that they can last as long as possible.
How To Take Care Of Your Skates
You want to inspect your skates every time you come to the ice rink. You also want to check your laces to see none of them are cut or torn. You can also check the rivets to make sure they are all in place.
But most importantly, you want to check the blade itself. With the blade, you have an inside and an outside edge. As you inspect down the blade, you are looking for any little nicks or dings that can affect your edges.
There are many reasons why you could potentially have some nicks on your blade, ranging from walking on rubber flooring, stepping on a hockey stick and many more.
You can also take your finger and slowly rub down the skate blade itself so you can physically feel any nicks and dings on the blades. Beware not to do this fast as sharp blades can obviously cut your finger.
Both of these methods will help you indicate whether the skates need to be sharpened.
It’s very important to keep good care of your skates because looking after them will make the skates more durable as well as the blades themselves.
So, make sure you wipe the blade down after you are done skating with a skate rag. Another one that’s overlooked is taking out your insoles because you can get rust on the rivets if the insoles don’t dry properly damaging the material,
Skate guards are also vital for looking after your blades because they can get dinged up maybe in your hockey bag or in the trunk of your car. If you need some skate guards, we recommend these Ultra Skate Guards by AC. They are such good quality and pretty cheap too. Check them out here on Hockey Monkey if you are interested in a pair.
Once home, it is also a good idea to take your skate blade off, wipe it down again to make sure they are properly clean and then reattach them to your skate boot. But it’s not just the blades you want to clean when you get home, you want to make sure your skates are dry to either by putting them out in the sun or in a nice warm place.
Ok, so now you know how important it is to look after your skates, let’s have a look at how we can sharpen them.
How To Sharpen Hockey Skates at Home – The Easy Way
If you are planning to sharpen your skates at home, then you can do that with a sharpening station. The portable skate sharpeners are really helpful and you can use them to sharpen your skates with ease at home. Most people think that the hockey skates work great when they are new but this is not true.
If you are planning to refine your sharpeners or to remove burrs and knicks you can hand held sharpeners like stones and rubs. But, with a purchased sharpener you can do this at home with ease and above all you will be able to use the hockey for several years. Furthermore, for the best results try to sharpen both the ridges of the blade.
So, first of all gather your materials and you will need a sharpening jig, a large 2-sided sharpening stone, a small burr stone and a rag to wipe everything. Now, you will have to lubricate your stones and use a really good lubricant it will help you a lot. The lubricant comes in really handy to wipe out the debris as you sharpen the skates.
Mount your skate in the sharpening jig and you can consult the user manual that comes with the sharpening jig. You should check for the existing burrs as well and after that the position of the sharpening stone is very important as well. You will have to position your sharpening stone on top of your skates.
How To Sharpen Hockey Skates – The Best Way
This is the best way of sharpening the skates. Now a day, an advance technology is available in the market that can make your old skates even better than the new ones. The machine is like a rectangular machine that locks the skates in place while the grinding ring does the work.
A sharpening machine can do wonders to your skates. If you want to do it yourself then first wear a mask to protect yourself. The most important thing to do is figure out the radius size that you need. The most common radius size is ½’’ radius. If you are looking for more drag and better grip then go for smaller radius that will create a deeper hollow. On the other hand, a larger radius will mess things up and will give you worse grip and less drag.
To sharpen the skate you will have to start with the toe. After proper adjustment of the skate, lightly touch the edge of the blade to the spinning grinding wheel. You can also move the skate holder that will help you grinding the full length of the skate. This step requires smoothness and patience in order to get the best results.
Caution: You might ruin your blades permanently. It should be done by an expert.
So, the final word on how to sharpen skate is to go for the machines. For better performance, more control and zero hassle go for the sharpening machine. Machines like the Sparx Skate Sharpening are an ideal one that you can use to sharpen your skates. So, if you have any question then tell us in the comment section.
How Often To Sharpen The Hockey Skates?
So, sharpening the skates is very important and everyone should pay huge attention to it. There is a saying that little things can do wonder for you and it is absolutely right in this case. Often, people neglect the importance of sharpening the skates and ultimately that leads to a negative effect on the game. If you are a hockey player and you want to get the best performance then believe me sharpening of skates is very important.
There is no doubt that the sharpened skates can take your game to the next level and it will surely bring positive results for you. So, when is the right time to do it? Well, this is the question that strikes the mind of every hockey player and ultimately a lot of people do it the wrong way and also at the wrong time as well.
The Best Time To Sharpen Your Skates
So, what is the best time to sharpen your skate? Well, there is no definite time of sharpening the skates. Yes, you heard it right as all the brands have their own kind of material and designs of the skates. So, every brand has different approach to their skates and that’s why every hockey skate has a different wear and tear time as well.
First of all, you will have to take in consideration the output of the skate on the field. Yes, if you think you are getting the most out of your skate and you feel like that it is affecting your skating then you should go for the sharpening of the skates. If you are skating two times a week then goes for sharpening once a month.
If we talk about the professional skaters who skate for around an hour every week then the edges of the skates dig more and more into the ice. So, there is an even bigger need for the sharpening and for that purpose 3 or 4 times sharpening a season will do the work.
On the other hand, you will also have to pay enough attention to your skate as well. If you feel some sort of dullness and poor execution then there is a need for sharpening of the blade. You can feel that with your fingers easily. Simply, run your finger width-wise across the blade but be careful not length wise as it might cut your fingers.
Where Can I Buy Sharpeners and How Much Will It Cost?
Here are some specific models which I have tested and believe work really well. Check them out to get a feel for how much your ideal sharpener might cost. They tend to vary between $15 all the way up to $170.
- Edge Again Powered Hockey Sharpener Kit – Click here for current pricing
- Edge Again Manual Player Sharpener – Click here for prices
- A&R The Re-Edger – Check out prices here which I think are good value for money
So, the conclusion is that the sharpening time is different for every player. Most players will have to sharpen their skates once or twice a month. On the other hand, the players who are skating two times a week will have to sharpen their skates on monthly basis. While, the players who are just practicing four to five times a week and their workload is obviously heavy so they will have to sharpen the blade twice a month.