Figure Sharpening

The DifferenceFigure pic

Not every skate sharpener knows how to properly sharpen figure skates. Figure skate sharpening is an art that requires precise technique with a great attention to detail.

Owner Kyle Hicks is the designated figure skate sharpener at Edges. Kyle brings over a decade of experience sharpening all types of blades for skaters participating at any level – recreationally or competitively. Kyle prides himself on three key elements of skate sharpening: machinery, technique, and communication.

The Details

Machinery

Through years of skate sharpening, research and testing and using various skate sharpening machines, Kyle has chosen the Incredible Edger machine to sharpen figures skates. Renowned engineer and skate sharpener, Sidney Boardbent, designed the Incredible Edger specifically to meet the needs of figure skaters. The small 3” grinding wheel delicately removes material to ensure no excessive removal or loss of blade profile. Traditional large skate sharpening wheels commonly remove too much material and create misshape figure skate blades after several sharpenings, hindering one’s ability to preform their best without them even knowing. The Incredible Edger is also uniquely equipped with its rod and bearing guiding system, allowing for smooth, detailed grinding throughout the sharpening process. This machine feature allows Kyle to prolong the life of your skate blades by eliminating possible errors caused by freehand sharpening. The end result is a flawless sharpening with perfectly square edges, pristine surface finish and just the right amount of “sharpness”.

Technique

The Incredible Edger machine allows Kyle to employ the most effective figure skate sharpening technique and process, coined “Skateology” by Mr. Broadbent. The process first begins with Kyle gathering the appropriate information from the skater and sometimes coach if he or she wishes to be involved for the initial sharpening. From there, Kyle shapes the grinding wheel to the appropriate radius of hollow to achieve the desired bite angle for that particular skater. Throughout the sharpening process, Kyle carefully removes troublesome blade damage, maintains the rocker profile of your blades and ensures your edges are perfectly square. To complete the machine sharpening process, Kyle slowly and delicately takes a final pass to provide a smooth, mirror-like surface finish to help aid glide and spinning rotation. Last, Kyle uses a combination of extra fine grit stones and abrasives comprised of rubber and silicone carbide particles to customize how keen (sharp) your edges feel on the ice. 

Communication

Achieving a consistent and reliable sharpening begins with gathering information from the skater, their skates, and the skating coach. It’s important to know the details of your most trusted on piece of equipment, your blades! We ask your height, weight, blade type, skating discipline, and if you have personal preferences such as how “sharp” you like your edges to feel. Compiling this information and keeping it on file allows Kyle to ensure a consistent sharpening each time, and make any necessary changes along the way to keep you preforming your best.

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Question: I hate getting my skate sharpened. Is there anything you can do to dull the edges?

 

Answer: Absolutely. If you find your skates feel too sharp after sharpening, Kyle can reduce the bite angle and/or finish the edges using a specialized technique to ensure the edges have the desired hardness feeling you are looking for. Another way to avoid this is by getting your skates sharpened on a more frequent basis. The longer you wait in between sharpens, increases the likelihood of the edges feeling too sharp because you have become accustom to duller edges.

 

Question: How often should I get my figure skates sharpened?

 

Answer: The answer isn’t as simple as you would think. The majority of figure skaters have their blades sharpened every 20-40 hours on the ice. That said, we have many skaters who choose to have their blades sharpened every 15 hours on the ice to ensure a consistent feel on the ice.

 

Question: How long should a skate sharpening last after I get them sharpened?

 

Answer: Assuming you do not damage your blades from stepping on debris, making contact with another blade (often done in pairs skating) or moisture weakening your edges, expect your sharpening to last 15 – 40 hours. Unfortunately, damage can occur at any time, meaning your sharpening could last only minutes if unintentional damage is done.

 

Question: Why are my blades rusting?

 

Answer: High carbon blades hold a strong, consistent edge, but are more likely to rust than stainless steel blades. Stainless steel blades, on the other hand, are more resilient to rusting, but do not offer the edge retention qualities as high carbon blades due to their chromium content. To decrease the likelihood of rust forming on your blades, and to prolong your edge life in between sharpening, follow these maintenance tips: 

 

Blade Maintenance:

 

Here are a few tips to prolong the life of your blades and your sharpening:

- Always use skate guards off the ice. Diligently using skate guards helps protect your edges from debris often found on hallway and change room floors.

- When transporting your skates, ensure your skate guards are securely put on.

- To prevent your blades from rushing follow these step-by-step instructions every time you use your skates:

  1. If possible, immediately after you step off the ice put your skate guards on to walk to the dressing room.
  2. Remove skate guards and whip blades diligently until clean and dry. Secure skate guards on once again before putting them in your skate bag.
  3. When you get home, remove your skate guards and whip the blades clean and dry one last time. Leave your skates guards off to let the blades air-dry. It is best to let your skates dry in room temperature and not in a hot or cold garage. Last, leave your skate blades pointing upward and not flat on any surface to ensure moisture doesn’t gather between the blades and flat surface.