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bazli21

Skate Sharpening 101

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Hi! I've just purchased a second hand portable Blademaster 850 as a first step towards my ultimate dream of owning a hockey shop. There was no instruction book but basically I received a 1 hour lesson from the previous owner but I'm still unsure about how to get started and how to improve my sharpening skills. Do you have any tips on additional equipment that i need and how to improve my skills?

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take old skates that you dont need. Practice slow strides. Look at the sparks, remember your goal is to get best edge in the fewest strokes possible.

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as a first step towards my ultimate dream of owning a hockey shop.

hey, its always good to have dreams. good luck.

as for the instructions. if you are in the US, contact NESSI for an instructional video, if in CAN, contact Guspro, INC / Blademaster

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Here a few things you want to remember when sharpening:

-light pressure when grinding.

-grind with the wheel, not against it

-hold the skate clamp with very light pressure

-hold the skate clamp handles with your finger tips(this will ensure light pressure)

-your passes should evenly paced, dont speed up toward the end

-last but not least, do not grind off the back of the skate. Hockey companies spend millions in research and design and they shape the blades that way for a reason. if a blade needs to be profiled, it should be profiled in the toe only. The back of the blade acts like a rutter for stability. Some people may disagree with me on this, but this is what i have found works the best in my 22 years of skating and my 7 years of sharpening. Good luck

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-last but not least, do not grind off the back of the skate. Hockey companies spend millions in research and design and they shape the blades that way for a reason. if a blade needs to be profiled, it should be profiled in the toe only. The back of the blade acts like a rutter for stability. Some people may disagree with me on this, but this is what i have found works the best in my 22 years of skating and my 7 years of sharpening. Good luck

You're right, a lot of people here are going to disagree with you.

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-light pressure when grinding.

        -grind with the wheel, not against it

        -hold the skate clamp with very light pressure

        -hold the skate clamp handles with your finger tips(this will ensure light pressure)

I see no reason to use light pressure. I think the important thing is even pressure and movement along the entire blade. I use as little pressure is as necessary but add more pressure when I need more metal off.

Also, griding against the wheel is absolutely fine. It takes more metal off but it sometimes that is what you need to get down to the problem areas.

I do use lighter pressure and go with the wheel on my final pass.

Edited by analog999

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Don't forget to check that the edges are level.

After you have practiced a bit, sharpen your own skates and then take them for a test drive. That is when you will know if you are getting the hang of it.

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Also don't forget that it takes a lot of practice and patience. It is definately not something that you are going to get good at over night or over a long weekend you are looking at months and months of practice at the wheel so don't get frustrated. Once you "have it" and can do it beautifully each time, it will all pay off.

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Agreed. I have an employee that has been practicing for the past couple of months. I am not going to turn him loose until he has practiced enough.

My credo is that you must mentally understand what you are trying to accomplish when you are sharpening skates. It isn't all about the physical act of doing it.

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Since you are just getting started, wear a mask over your mouth and nose. Skate dust will be the death of all sharpeners. I wear one when I'm sharpening.

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-light pressure when grinding.

        -grind with the wheel, not against it

        -hold the skate clamp with very light pressure

        -hold the skate clamp handles with your finger tips(this will ensure light pressure)

I see no reason to use light pressure. I think the important thing is even pressure and movement along the entire blade. I use as little pressure is as necessary but add more pressure when I need more metal off.

Also, griding against the wheel is absolutely fine. It takes more metal off but it sometimes that is what you need to get down to the problem areas.

I do use lighter pressure and go with the wheel on my final pass.

Well going against the wheel and putting any more than slight pressure does nothing but heat up the blade and have more metal clogging the wheel.

I would say that this method that you use is not the best IMO for the machine the runner or the wheel life.

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Since you are just getting started, wear a mask over your mouth and nose. Skate dust will be the death of all sharpeners. I wear one when I'm sharpening.

Although our company plicy is to wear them we make sure in MOST stores the filters are cleaned twice a week in season and find that the dust is to a minimum.

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The best is cleaning the filter on a semi-never basis and then getting so filthy its disgusting. My old Fleming-Gray machine had the seperate vacumn/filter system with the baffles inside. The baffles would hold so much skate dust that I never wanted to clean it. Whenever I did the job I would start off looking like I was going in with a Hazmat suit on. By the time I was done, the only thing to do was trash your clothes. And who says skate sharpening is only fun?!

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Even minimal dust is too much and disgusting. I would like a sonic jet engine to suck the dust off the wheel while I'm sharpening. I'm not worried about the noise. My old machine was louder than a 747.

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Funny that something important has not been mentioned - heat. You do not want to overheat the blade.

Different types of wheels will call for different types of pressure.

The guy who sold me the machine told me that i'll definitely be breaking blades the first time i do it.. now i'm not living in canada or us where skates are readily available.. so i'd like to avoid this as much as possible. is overheating a cause of blade breakage?

can i cool it down with a wet towel or something?

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Yes, it causes breakage.

Seriously, keep your table clean (minimizes friction, allows the sharpener to make cleaner passes) and don't go to town on the wheel and you should be fine. Take a few seconds between every pass as well.

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Fine grit sandpaper and WD-40 should take care of the table. Clean it off with stainless steel cleaner and you should have a rust-free table to work with. Some guys use car wax. I use Blademaster's Slick-It and graphite powder.

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Is there really that much dust? I sharpen on a brand new blademaster and it doesnt seem like there is any dust at all.

BTW, slick-it works great. keeps the surface smooth and glides well

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Is there really that much dust? I sharpen on a brand new blademaster and it doesnt seem like there is any dust at all.

BTW, slick-it works great. keeps the surface smooth and glides well

yea, but you are spoiled... not everyone gets to start on a brand new machine, although I love to sharpen on that machine

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