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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble


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About stevebalchunas

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    Sparx Hockey


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    HTX CLR 75 E28
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    Toronto Vapor Pro Series 14" / -1" Cuff
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    Bauer Pro
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    Nike Bauer
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    17" Easton Stealth
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    Eagle Team Canvas

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  1. Hey ya'll, I just wanted to thank all of you who were up in Toronto this weekend (especially JR for the invite). I had a blast and you guys made me feel like I was part of the gang. We were all over the place in terms of hollows used. I'm pretty sure I did at least one of the following: 3/8", 7/16", 1/2", 5/8", 9/16", 1/2" FIRE, and 3/4" FIRE. If any of you mind sharing your experience, maybe tell me what you skated on before and what we tried over the weekend and what the final verdict was. Wish I could have hung around, but I had a flight to catch. Again, couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to show you guys the machine. Thanks!
  2. You're in luck, we're starting to roll out a reviews feature on all of our product pages. I think it'll be extremely valuable on the Grinding Ring pages where I think it'll be more of people giving their opinion on hollow depths/profiles than comments on actual Grinding Ring quality. We're pretty excited about it for all products to be honest.
  3. No, we haven't done any sled testing, nor do we think anyone else has on exactly how much longer certain flat widths last compared to others. Please, anyone, chime in if you know different. In theory, ROH should last the longest, then all flat bottom profiles starting with the narrowest flat all the way up to the widest, with widest being the worst performer. We were more concerned with having both edges when putting on a fresh/level sharpening. With some of those wider flats, it's easy math when you consider almost all blades are bent to see that you're not always going to have both edges on the entire blade. I don't know about anyone else's experience on here, but I would say, almost exclusively, I lose edges when I hit things (skates, posts, cement, etc.), not when they finally end up wearing down. So, for me personally, I'm more concerned with having edges after a sharpening than I am worried about some edges lasting 4 hours versus 6, etc. I'm always fixing a lost edge within the first two to three skates (usually first). It' not, it's very similar (in theory, right?) to moving between 85/1 > 85/75 > 85/50 I would assume is much like moving between our FIRE hollows ( the only difference being we have 4). I have never tried going from a 100 to 85, have you? I would be interested to see how much bite you gain and glide you actually lose when making that change. My assumption, knowing what I know now, would be that there's not that much of a tradeoff. This would be an interesting thing to test out.
  4. I just had a full three paragraphs typed up, hit submit and it posted a copy of the last reply I made... weird.
  5. 1/2" FIRE is the best place to start. If you're super comfortable with FBV and how it feels, then I'd say you can try 5/8" or 3/4"... they are just super slippery feeling for someone trying a flat bottom profile for the first time, that's why I suggest 1/2" FIRE.
  6. 1/2" FIRE is the best place to start. If you're super comfortable with FBV and how it feels, then I'd say you can try 5/8" or 3/4"... they are just super slippery feeling for someone trying a flat bottom profile for the first time, that's why I suggest 1/2" FIRE.
  7. Almost. I'd agree with you when you said there's no direct equivalent. There's no magic chart that will tell you which FBV is which FIRE. They are different, so plan accordingly. I always suggest starting with a 1/2" FIRE and going from there (ship me some steel if you want to try before you buy, just shoot me a message). We just did our first real video explaining our FIRE profile here, check it out. It's pretty interesting and really the only place you'll find in-depth info on our FIRE profile (sorry, our fault). We do cover some FBV/BFD/original flat bottom patent info too. But, to be clear, we are not the same as FBV OR BFD. Hope that helps!
  8. Sure thing. I'll try to bring one of everything.
  9. Just an FYI for anyone heading up to Toronto this weekend, thanks to JR, I'll be at the rink demoing the sharpener and sharpening skates for anyone that is interested. Please come by and say hi and have some good questions/comments!
  10. Thanks, that really means a lot. I'm just trying to be honest and share what I'm learning :).
  11. You're spot on. Those smaller shops are perfect fits. That medium sized store that already has a triple head machine is most likely going to want to use that since they spent so much on it. I've seen both sides in person when it comes to customer reactions. If you're timid about it and make a big deal say "Would you like the Sparx or the Big Machine?", the customer is probably going to question you and why you are unsure and stick with what they are used to. The shops that stick with it/are confident with the results and put our in-store marketing materials to good use have little to no issues. The Free-Standing Sparx is tough because you need ~10/15 minutes of learning about the process (selecting height, hollow info, de-burring) to do it right. It's *just* hard enough to where this idea has kind of been on the back-burner because we feel it needs something else to be a great idea. Those old automated machines were terrible but pretty easy. Stick it in and when it's done, you take it out and skate. I've written your name down on an old dirty napkin, if this idea ever comes to life, hopefully, I'll still have it and remember to get you what you're owed :).
  12. There IS a professional "Pro" version coming out in August (it's called the PS100). The short story is we never intended for our home sharpener to be used in a commercial setting. But, we've had close to 100 retailers buy them and try to use them this way, so we've got a new sharpener coming out with external filtration and a souped up motor that can handle all of the extra use. We're launching a new site on it soon that will have all the details. If you're a retailer, there's a chance you got our White Paper in the mail already and will be hearing from us again soon. If you don't want to read that paper , we talk about the benefits three different types of shops see when using Sparx. Low, medium, and high volume. Low Volume: Don't offer skate sharpening? Need an option that's not 30K and won't require months/years of training? Sparx is an excellent way to break into the market and get up and running quickly for a low cost. Medium Volume: Maybe you already own a Blademaster/Blackstone but only have one or two employees who know how to operate it well (they also tend to be your most valuable/knowledgeable/highest paid employees who would benefit your business more on the sales floor). Use the Sparx to supplement your existing machines and give every employee the ability to sharpen skates at an NHL level with minimal training. High Volume: Control your wait times by adding Sparx to your current solution. Have 30+ minute wait times on the weekends? Most folks who have to wait over 30 minutes drop skates off and come back. Now you can calculate the volume of skates, determine your ideal wait time (we've found that 15-20 minutes will usually keep those customers walking around in the store) and buy 2, 4, 6 Sparx Sharpeners to keep those wait times down AND increase throughput. Seriously, it's pretty amazing when you see one person manning 4-6 Sparx at a time... that's 2-3 pairs of skates every ~3 minutes--by one employee. So, that's my cliff notes version of the White Paper. In all of these cases, consistency and quality are huge benefits in our eyes as well. A 1/2" in California by a 17-year old will be the same as a 45-year old in New England. When we talk to consumers, almost all mention consistency and convenience as being the most important factors to them. Sparx can help retailers give them that.
  13. No, I just think we have different views on it. I have zero attachment to my skills or experience, if a better mousetrap comes along, I'm going to be skeptical, but go with it if I think it's the future. We're also in different positions. I've been here for over two years now, drilled our engineers on everything possible, sharpened thousands of skates on the Sparx... All the questions and doubts you have (and everyone else has when first seeing it), I had. It's quite possible that once you got your hands on it, we might have a similar views on it. My biggest issue with Sparx has been the height restrictions. Simply put, if you have banana blades and your steel is worn down to the plastic holder, you're not going to be able to get the whole blade. As a retailer, I'd want to be able to hit those spots to make my customers happy, since a lot of them don't care to get new steel and are happy with what they have. Nowadays, I'm pretty comfortable with it. I think, if someone buys a Sparx, they're obviously concerned with their blades and buying new steel is a pretty easy conversation to have. If you have worn down steel and you don't care about it, then there's a good chance you're not in the market to buy an in-home sharpener anyways. That's how I've rationalized it in my mind. And another point on this too, if we allowed the average consumer to be able to sharpen that high, inevitably we'd have a ton of users setting their height too high and pushing the limits on how little steel they can skate with (better instructions would only help those who read them :)). As of right now, I'm really comfortable with where we are with the product and wouldn't change much (maybe make that Grinding Ring returning home part a little faster as someone already pointed out). Shoot me a message with your address and I'll send you a demo unit with a couple Grinding Rings for you to mess around with. You keep mentioning you haven't seen one yet, we should fix that.
  14. I did take most of the week off and customer service was off Sat-Tuesday, sorry about that. We do run a pretty lean operation. Gift cards are digital, sorry if we (I) do not make that clear enough, I even made the picture look like a real card. Looking back, that actually makes zero sense. I just changed all of their names to add the word digital in there. Check your email confirmation, you should have links to the cards online where you can grab the codes. Let me know if you still can't find them. Physical cards have been in the works for a while now, I just need to follow through and get them made. Seems like I don't do much, but I swear I do :). As for the discount, we are doing a blanket no on all the requests for $100 on older purchases. Shoot me a note at steve@sparxhockey.com and we'll figure something out.
  15. Sorry, JR. No harm meant, just heading off those chirpers. I, in no way, meant to insult every skate sharpener who does honest work. I know if I were on the other side I'd inevitably have to/want to give Sparx a fair trial. That's all.
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