Speed Skating Sharpening and You!Gavin Thulien
One of the questions which skaters frequently ask is how often should they get their skates sharpened? When do they know it’s time to sharpen their skates?
Well, the answer needs some trial and error. Keep reading to find out!
In general, you should sharpen speed skates every 20-40 skating hours. However, a number of factors play a major role in it such as how many times a week a skater skates on the ice, the build of the skater and the elements he/she is working on. Every factor wears the edges and should be kept in mind when thinking about sharpening inclinations.
For instance, an 8-year old skater skating once in 7 days, working on crossovers will require a different sharpening frequency over a 21-year old muscular skater skating thrice in a week working on Lutz and Axel. Sharpening kids’ speed skates may be different from a full-fledged adult’s speed skates.
So, what should your sharpening frequency be?
Skaters should feel the edges and get used to detecting what it feels like when the edges begin to shed their bite. Usually, skaters get a feel for it, when they reach the age of 10, depending on their frequency of skating. The dull edge skate is considered slippery when the skater tries to turn or hook a spin.
Practicing too long on dull sets will not help you make the best of your practicing time. Also, switching to a new set of speed skates will take up your time in training and re-adjusting.
You should occasionally check your blades for depreciation on the edges to know it’s time to sharpen them. Tiny chips in the edges may develop in weeks of wear and tear or from blades striking each other. Ignoring them for too long will make your skating quality suffer.
How does the sharpening process work?
If your blades no longer feel like the edge of a knife or axe, then you need to sharpen them. You can reshape it by passing the blade along with a grinding wheel. When you break the wheel into two semicircular parts, you will get the rounded cross-sectional edge.
Passing your skate runner along with the wheel simultaneously to the wheel’s travel direction creates this rounded shape in your blade’s bottom. Your skate is attached to a jig that is aligned with the finishing wheel. The blade is passed along the finishing wheel say 10 times, till the edges are sharp and the bottom is completely hollowed out. The speed skate sharpening jig helps you prepare the blade for sharpening and finishing.
You can also use a cross-grinder to sharpen your blade more. Though it is an unnecessary step for sharpening, it is highly recommended to remove defects like bad sharpening, rust, or burrs.
A major priority factor when getting your cheap speed skate sharpened is if there is an event coming up so that you can time your sharpening accordingly. Make sure you don’t get them sharpened just before the event. It should be at least a week before so that the skaters can re-adjust.