Do new skates need to be sharpened? It is a very reasonable question that must have come to your mind, especially after getting a new pair of skates. Of course, you need to get your new skates sharpened. It is because no matter how good a brand you are getting your skates from. You cannot just go on the ice without sharpening your skates.
A fresh pair of skates feature blades on the bottom that come rounded and a little flat. So, it would be best if you got them sharpened to make a hollow groove in them. But, you cannot just go to anyone to get your skates sharpened. It would be best to take the new pair of skates to a professional with the proper equipment.
Are skates sharpened when you buy them?
A new pair of skates come with plastic holders and blades for skating. It may look very tempting to take your new skates and hit the ice. But, your skates are not ready yet to go on the ice. New skates have a blade that is flat and rounded on its bottom. It doesn’t have an edge or a hollow concave shape yet.
The blades of the skates need to dig in the ice. Every Time you stop or pick up speed on the ice. You maintain your balance by digging in the skate blade in the ice. Before you take your new skates to sharpen, make sure to remove the thin plastic coating. You need to prep your skates for sharpening by a process called cross grinding. It is beneficial as it removes and even out any rough edges and imperfections on the blade.
Prep Blades for sharpening
For cross grinding, the blade runs perpendicular to the grind. It doesn’t work like the finishing wheel. So, don’t worry about your blade getting an altered shape due to cross-grinding. It makes the bottom of the blade get flat to work well with the finishing wheel. Be aware, as this can remove more steel than your liking. As a result, it shortens the lifespan of your skates. So, it’s better to go for a light cross-grind to take only the edges off.
How does sharpening work?
The bottom of your skates has blades with two edges, unlike the one edge of a knife. The two edges have a hollow in between, forming a concave shape. This specific shape gets made when the blade goes through a grinding or finishing wheel.
When the blade gets passed along the wheel, a round shape gets formed. The skate is then fixed in a jig while the blades pass through the finishing wheel. It takes about ten goes off a finishing wheel before the bottom parts get hollow and sharp.
Some people even get cross-grinding done before putting their skates through a grinding wheel. During cross-grinding, the blade runs perpendicularly along the cross-grinder. It helps to reset the shape of the blade and make it round.
Why do skates need to be sharpened?
Sharpening your skates help enhance your performance on the ice. But, it raises the question: Do brand new skates need to be sharpened? Especially if your skates are new, then it is essential to get them sharpened. Sharpening helps to build a hollow on the button part of the blades of your skates. A hollow is a gouge on both ends of the blade.
It helps to make your blade shape look like an arc, having sharpened edges both inside and outside. The process involves grinding the steel blades of the skates. Every Time you get your skates sharpened. You get to have a new blade edge.
After too much sharpening, the blades likely get worn out and lose their height. Now, you may need to replace new blades or get a new pair of skates. But, don’t worry as this doesn’t happen too frequently. It takes years of sharpening before the blade gets close to the ground.
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How often do the skating blades need to be sharpened?
It is a fairly tricky question to answer. As different factors can affect how often you need to get your skates sharpened. The answer to the question is different for every person. Factors such as weight, height, and your playing style impact how often your skates lose their edges.
To find out the sharpness of your blade, just run a finger on it. It helps you to figure out how sharp the blade is.
Feel on ice
Also, it would be best if you were mindful of how your skates perform on the ice after some time. If you feel any difference in how the blades bite into the ice, then it’s Time for sharpening.
Problems during stopping
If you are facing issues when stopping or if you feel yourself sliding in one direction. It clearly shows that the blades are not sharp enough.
How long since the last sharpening
In case you don’t remember when was the last time you got your skates sharpened. Then you need to take into account the Time you spend skating. Suppose you skate about 4 to 6 hours a week. Then getting your skates sharpened once in two months is good enough.
Some coaches and skating experts advise getting skates sharpened after spending 15 to 20 hours on ice. You will get a feel for yourself whether or not your blades require sharpening. Also, if you skate for long on hard ice, you may feel the need to get your skates sharpened. It happens mostly in outdoor skating rinks, as indoor rinks have a standard temperature.
How sharp should the skating blades be?
The radius of the hollow helps to determine how sharp the blades of a skate are. It is the part that comes in contact with the ice. The hollow gets made during sharpening. The sharpness of your blades depends on your comfort level and your skating style.
If you want maximum speed for making swift turns, then get a hollow with a smaller radius. It is because it helps your skate bite into the ice. But it causes friction that may affect the speed and how well your skates glide. Big radius is not very durable and is more fragile in comparison.
Another factor that impacts the sharpness of your skates is your weight. The heavy you are, the larger the radius may work for you. It is because heavy skaters may face problems during stopping skating on a small radius.
The temperature of the ice you skate is also a factor that has a direct impact on the sharpness. Typically, ice skating rinks have about 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius) temperature. For figure skating, 25-26 degrees (-4 -3 degrees Celsius) is considered appropriate. Compared to hard ice temperature of 17-23 degrees Fahrenheit (-8 -5 degrees Celsius).
What happens if skates are not sharp?
When the skates lose their sharpness, this happens mainly after some time of skating. As a result, skates don’t bite that well on the ice. The friction caused by the impact of your weight on the skates causes them to get rounded.
You can get some tools that may help to keep your skates sharp until the actual process. A skate stone helps to sharpen the metal that gets hollow due to skating. Such tools ensure that your skates remain sharp till you get proper sharpening done. These are a great option to keep your skates maintained. But, you cannot entirely rely on the skating tools for sharpening. Remember, there is no replacement for the sharpening process.
Do new figure skates need to be sharpened?
Like any other ice skates, figure skates need to get sharpened when they are brand new. It is because figure skates do not come already sharpened when they are brand new. You need to take them to a sharpening professional and get them sharpened.
Never take your figure skates and get them sharpened with an automatic machine. They come with a hollow in between the blades. A figure skater’s hollow varies in size and measurement, depending on its weight and skating style. It is why you need to go for a trained and professional person to get the skates sharpened. A good sharpener knows all the minute and nitty-gritty details of sharpening.
Why can’t you use brand-new skates without sharpening?
It can be a huge problem if you use your brand-new skates without sharpening them. Because if you skate on an unsharpened skate, you may likely feel yourself slide sideways. In the worst case, there is a huge chance that you may fall even. It happens because your skates do not have an edge that you can use for stopping.
What sharpening mistakes you need to avoid?
There are two kinds of issues that you may face after you get your skates sharpened.
Alignment not done right
You may feel issues in your movement if your skates if the alignment doesn’t get appropriately done. It happens if your skate blade is not in the proper position along with the skate. As a result, it causes your skate to have uneven edges.
Another way to check if your skates are properly aligned is to look at the blade’s length. If you feel that both edges are not at the same level, one edge is higher than the other. You may need to get your skates resharpened. You can also use a flat object or balance a coin on the blade to check the tilt.
Not properly sharpened
The second issue you may face if your blade doest get appropriately sharpened. It happens when the blade doesn’t get hollow properly after cross-grinding. Typically, a cross grinding procedure helps to take away all imperfections and round them again.
If cross-grinding doesn’t get done correctly, it can make it difficult to sharpen. Make sure that your blades get properly sharpened by checking the bottom. If you notice two lines running from the edges having a different color on either of the skates.
It is possible to skate even if your blades have these issues. But, it shall have an impact on how well your skating performance is going to be. So, if you face such problems, consider changing the place from where you get your skates sharpened.
After going through my article, you can understand fully, do new skates need to be sharpened? Since your skate defines how well you perform on the ice. To reach your maximum potential, you need to get the right skates that support your ankle’s feet to feel solid enough. Also, the blades need to be sharp enough to make you feel the bite in the ice.
A good skate gives you the freedom to take swift and speedy starts and stops. In addition, allow you to take sharp turns and crossovers on ice. It is the precise reason why you don’t want to go on the ice with dull skates.