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Sparx Skate Sharpener - At home sharpener

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16 minutes ago, psulion22 said:

I paid $650 shipped for my used Sparx, two wheels no edge checker.  I've seen them go in the $600-700 range.  I bet I can find a buyer within a week for that one at $550 plus shipping if you wanted.

That’s a win all day long IMO

 

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10 hours ago, Grimstarr said:

Would accidentally turning the alignment wheel without going into alignment mode mess anything up?  I was changing rings and for some stupid reason started turning the alignment wheel.  After the sharpening I checked the edges and they were fine though.

I don't believe that will mess anything up. I move the alignment wheel a few clicks if I need to fine tune the alignment to get the edges level. I think all your alignment mode does is puts the machine into a mode to move the carriage to a position to be able to use the alignment tool.  

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Howdy,

1 hour ago, Sticktape said:

I don't believe that will mess anything up. I move the alignment wheel a few clicks if I need to fine tune the alignment to get the edges level. I think all your alignment mode does is puts the machine into a mode to move the carriage to a position to be able to use the alignment tool.  

I frequently turn the alignment clicker a few clicks one way or the other based on my edge checker / experience with specific grinding rings.  I never enter the alignment mode to do it.  I'm reasonably sure all that does is move the carriage to the right spot for the alignment tool.

For me, most rings are centered pretty well as compared to one another.  But I do have one or two that need four or so clicks to get the edges level, as compared to the other rings.  YMMV.  Given the required tolerances, this really isn't surprising to me at all.  And its one of the main reasons why I think anyone serious needs an edge checker.

Mark

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General question - I'm a veteran skater of 20 years and I have been skating on the 1/2" Fire recently since it works well for my kids - they had gone from 3/8" Fire which I tried and it was very sharp and caused a lot of fatigue in my legs in regular games (not while coaching).  So we switched and they are currently fine with the 1/2" Fire but 11yo kids aren't very particular with the nuances.  While the 1/2" Fire is better with regard to glide, I still feel like it's not quite the same as the 100/50 FBV Blackstone sharpening which I (and they) loved before getting the Sparx. 

It's not just the fatigue factor but I feel like I can't accelerate forward the same either (although crossover acceleration is ok) and it's hurting my game since I can't get up and down the ice as fluidly.  I thought it was just because I hadn't played in games a few months and I'm out of shape but even when fresh in a game (2nd week in a row) last night I couldn't do the same up and down that I was used to.  Other than the time off, the only thing that has changed is my sharpening.  Will the regular 1/2 Radius (non-Fire) wheel help with this at all?  Even if I don't go back to 100/50 FBV, I feel like anything is better than what I'm getting now.  I feel like maybe I'm hindering my kids' skating too with it - if I can feel it, they have to be feeling it but they wouldn't know from better.

Edited by rh71el2

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1 hour ago, rh71el2 said:

General question - I'm a veteran skater of 20 years and I have been skating on the 1/2" Fire recently since it works well for my kids - they had gone from 3/8" Fire which I tried and it was very sharp and caused a lot of fatigue in my legs in regular games (not while coaching).  So we switched and they are currently fine with the 1/2" Fire but 11yo kids aren't very particular with the nuances.  While the 1/2" Fire is better with regard to glide, I still feel like it's not quite the same as the 100/50 FBV Blackstone sharpening which I (and they) loved before getting the Sparx. 

It's not just the fatigue factor but I feel like I can't accelerate forward the same either (although crossover acceleration is ok) and it's hurting my game since I can't get up and down the ice as fluidly.  I thought it was just because I hadn't played in games a few months and I'm out of shape but even when fresh in a game (2nd week in a row) last night I couldn't do the same up and down that I was used to.  Other than the time off, the only thing that has changed is my sharpening.  Will the regular 1/2 Radius (non-Fire) wheel help with this at all?  Even if I don't go back to 100/50 FBV, I feel like anything is better than what I'm getting now.  I feel like maybe I'm hindering my kids' skating too with it - if I can feel it, they have to be feeling it but they wouldn't know from better.

You're absolutely right that the Sparx Fire is not the same as an FBV. I would probably consider going with the 5/8 either with the Fire or traditional ROH. 

I am honestly shocked when people tell me they skate on 1/2 or less. I feel like I am sinking into the ice and every stride is sucking the life force out of me.... 

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I've played around a bit with the Fire rings. Mixed results really. First off, nothing at all like a Blackstone FBV.  

Coming from a 3/4ROH I found the 3/4 Fire did not have the same level of grip as the 3/4ROH. I switched to the 5/8 Fire which felt fairly close to my 3/4ROH. So if you want a Fire ring that's close to your regular hollow, I suggest going one step sharper. So if you're using a 5/8ROH, get a 1/2 Fire.

My advice would be to dial in what ROH works then make the switch to a Fire ring....remember to go one step sharper. I'd start with a 5/8ROH.

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29 minutes ago, Nicholas G said:

You're absolutely right that the Sparx Fire is not the same as an FBV. I would probably consider going with the 5/8 either with the Fire or traditional ROH. 

I am honestly shocked when people tell me they skate on 1/2 or less. I feel like I am sinking into the ice and every stride is sucking the life force out of me.... 

I do have a 5/8" Fire as well but that was barely any grip in comparison which is how I ended up in between at 1/2 Fire.  Perhaps I'll give it another go and get used to that.  I'm disappointed that the Fire rings DO make you give up glide for sharpness, which was the whole point of FBV where you don't have to compromise (at least not to this degree).

Is the acceleration/push supposed to feel the same regardless of Fire vs Radius?

Is the Sparx traditional ROH (say 1/2) exactly what you get at a proshop's sharpening (traditional 1/2)?  Or is that a bit off too?

Edited by rh71el2

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57 minutes ago, rh71el2 said:

I do have a 5/8" Fire as well but that was barely any grip in comparison which is how I ended up in between at 1/2 Fire.  Perhaps I'll give it another go and get used to that.  I'm disappointed that the Fire rings DO make you give up glide for sharpness, which was the whole point of FBV where you don't have to compromise (at least not to this degree).

Is the acceleration/push supposed to feel the same regardless of Fire vs Radius?

Is the Sparx traditional ROH (say 1/2) exactly what you get at a proshop's sharpening (traditional 1/2)?  Or is that a bit off too?

I would say 1/2 is generally the same regardless of the machine.

However, depending on the weight being applied it can be slightly affected. On the ProSharp you can increase or decrease the weight being applied to the wheel/steel which will remove more material in a pass and will also cut slightly deeper. Think of when someone sharpens by hand having one person pushing the blade into the grinding wheel vs someone gently gliding the blade across the face of the grinding wheel. 

The Sparx has no ability to adjust for wheel tension. 

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Does anyone use anything like graphite lube, pro-glide, Teflon, or something else when you sharpen your skates on a Sparx? I know the grinding wheels are basically "diamond dust" and thus you don't need to use any additive or lubricant but I am wondering if anyone does regardless and if it gives better results. I had my first experience with a Sparx this week and the finish is decent but doesn't meet my expectations for what I would use in a retail environment for my teams or customers. 

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9 hours ago, Nicholas G said:

I would say 1/2 is generally the same regardless of the machine.

However, depending on the weight being applied it can be slightly affected. On the ProSharp you can increase or decrease the weight being applied to the wheel/steel which will remove more material in a pass and will also cut slightly deeper. Think of when someone sharpens by hand having one person pushing the blade into the grinding wheel vs someone gently gliding the blade across the face of the grinding wheel. 

The Sparx has no ability to adjust for wheel tension. 

 

 

There's no adjustment called tension, but moving the skate blade up or down in the clamping mechanism or adjusting the wheel height up or down both affect the tension on the wheel when it contacts the blade (Hooke's Law - the amount of stretch on the spring which applies force on the wheel/blade changes).

That said, on the Sparx you don't really want to apply more pressure than necessary as you'll cause the wheel to chatter or drag on the blade and you won't get a perfectly smooth mirror finish pass.

As I've stated before, for very tall new LS3/4 or Step I prefer to use the goalie risers so I don't have to lower the wheel too much and I find that allows both a high contact point on the toe and a nice light pressure on the blade for a perfectly smooth pass. The Sparx seems to be dialed in from the factory for "standard" height steel, and is easily adjustable to handle well worn steel. But I find new "tall" steel to work best with the goalie risers installed.

YMMV

 

colins

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12 hours ago, rh71el2 said:

General question - I'm a veteran skater of 20 years and I have been skating on the 1/2" Fire recently since it works well for my kids - they had gone from 3/8" Fire which I tried and it was very sharp and caused a lot of fatigue in my legs in regular games (not while coaching).  So we switched and they are currently fine with the 1/2" Fire but 11yo kids aren't very particular with the nuances.  While the 1/2" Fire is better with regard to glide, I still feel like it's not quite the same as the 100/50 FBV Blackstone sharpening which I (and they) loved before getting the Sparx. 

It's not just the fatigue factor but I feel like I can't accelerate forward the same either (although crossover acceleration is ok) and it's hurting my game since I can't get up and down the ice as fluidly.  I thought it was just because I hadn't played in games a few months and I'm out of shape but even when fresh in a game (2nd week in a row) last night I couldn't do the same up and down that I was used to.  Other than the time off, the only thing that has changed is my sharpening.  Will the regular 1/2 Radius (non-Fire) wheel help with this at all?  Even if I don't go back to 100/50 FBV, I feel like anything is better than what I'm getting now.  I feel like maybe I'm hindering my kids' skating too with it - if I can feel it, they have to be feeling it but they wouldn't know from better.

 

Where are you skating? Have you factored in whether any change in temperature has caused the ice you're skating on to be noticeably softer this time of year than when you last skated? If the ice could be softer than before, try going up to 9/16 or 5/8 and see how it feels.

colins

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Has anyone ever had the Sparx unit not even recognize a grinding wheel being present?  It’s like the chip is bad in the ring. Usually, when the unit looks for the ring, the circular red light flashes 5-6 times, then after a few seconds it turns white and displays the remaining life. I have one wheel that doesn’t even make the red light flash, which is what it does when no wheel is present. I’m planning to contact Sparx tomorrow about the problem, but I was hoping someone here had a trick up their sleeve to get the machine to run in this situation. There is no way I’m at the actual end of life with this ring. Thanks. 

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25 minutes ago, Cedarwork said:

Has anyone ever had the Sparx unit not even recognize a grinding wheel being present?  It’s like the chip is bad in the ring. Usually, when the unit looks for the ring, the circular red light flashes 5-6 times, then after a few seconds it turns white and displays the remaining life. I have one wheel that doesn’t even make the red light flash, which is what it does when no wheel is present. I’m planning to contact Sparx tomorrow about the problem, but I was hoping someone here had a trick up their sleeve to get the machine to run in this situation. There is no way I’m at the actual end of life with this ring. Thanks. 

Yes, I have had that exact thing happen. The chip in the ring wasn't active. No hack, they replaced it.

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2 minutes ago, stick9 said:

Yes, I have had that exact thing happen. The chip in the ring wasn't active. No hack, they replaced it.

Stinks that I’m out of luck today, but I’m glad I’m not alone and Sparx took care of it. Thanks.

I guess I’ll have to consider having spare rings on hand.  

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2 minutes ago, stick9 said:

Yes, I have had that exact thing happen. The chip in the ring wasn't active. No hack, they replaced it.

Stinks that I’m out of luck today, but I’m glad I’m not alone and Sparx took care of it. Thanks.

I guess I’ll have to consider having spare rings on hand.  

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Does anyone sharpen Step black steel on a Sparx with a normal ring eg 7/16”? Do you have any issues? I’ve used mine on Bauer LS5 and standard Step steel, and they sharpen nicely. However, I prefer the Step blade profile, so I’d like to move over to Step black. 

Does it work okay on other brands of black steel? 

And a side question, how consistently flat are Bauer LS5 and Step black? My ordinary Step steel blades were not plane parallel, and gave different BAT readings on each face. 

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2 hours ago, Leif said:

Does anyone sharpen Step black steel on a Sparx with a normal ring eg 7/16”? Do you have any issues? I’ve used mine on Bauer LS5 and standard Step steel, and they sharpen nicely. However, I prefer the Step blade profile, so I’d like to move over to Step black. 

Does it work okay on other brands of black steel? 

And a side question, how consistently flat are Bauer LS5 and Step black? My ordinary Step steel blades were not plane parallel, and gave different BAT readings on each face. 

STEP DLC (Black) is usually very consistent, as are most other brands of DLC steel such as Tydan and Massive. 

Bauer LS5 is much more consistent than the previous LS4/3/2 but not nearly as consistent as most other major steel manufacturers. 

Sparx seems to sharpen DLC steel fine, though you may need a few more passes the first time sharpening as compared to standard stainless or polished steel to cut through the DLC coating.

I would usually recommend getting any DLC steel first sharpened at a pro shop so you don't introduce unnecessary wear on your Sparx griding ring. 

Edited by Nicholas G
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Unfortunately Massive is not sold in the UK. 🙁

Thanks Nicholas, any idea how many passes the Sparx would need on new runners? I know one local shop charges £10 for the first sharpen compared to £6 usually, but it’s free if the runners are bought from them. 

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4 hours ago, Leif said:

Unfortunately Massive is not sold in the UK. 🙁

Thanks Nicholas, any idea how many passes the Sparx would need on new runners? I know one local shop charges £10 for the first sharpen compared to £6 usually, but it’s free if the runners are bought from them. 

These guys sell overseas: https://www.nordichockey.com/

On a new runner with DLC, I would imagine at least 10 full passes to get a nice clean edge. 

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11 hours ago, Leif said:

Does anyone sharpen Step black steel on a Sparx with a normal ring eg 7/16”? Do you have any issues? I’ve used mine on Bauer LS5 and standard Step steel, and they sharpen nicely. However, I prefer the Step blade profile, so I’d like to move over to Step black. 

Does it work okay on other brands of black steel? 

And a side question, how consistently flat are Bauer LS5 and Step black? My ordinary Step steel blades were not plane parallel, and gave different BAT readings on each face. 

No problem with step black at all. 3/8 ROH. 

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On 7/21/2019 at 1:57 PM, Leif said:

Does anyone sharpen Step black steel on a Sparx with a normal ring eg 7/16”? Do you have any issues? I’ve used mine on Bauer LS5 and standard Step steel, and they sharpen nicely. However, I prefer the Step blade profile, so I’d like to move over to Step black. 

Does it work okay on other brands of black steel? 

And a side question, how consistently flat are Bauer LS5 and Step black? My ordinary Step steel blades were not plane parallel, and gave different BAT readings on each face. 

 

I sharpen Step Blacksteel with 1/2" on my Sparx and there's zero issues. Also it measures the same both ways on my Sparx Edgechecker. I have regular Step Steel as well, and it's the same both ways.

Polished CCM Hyperglide runners I found had an issue with uneven sidewalls, leading to different readings front to back than back to front. Sparx has a note about steel with treated sidewalls in their manual for the Edgechecker, so it's a not uncommon thing to run into.

No experience with LS5 personally.

 

colins

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