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Sparx Skate Sharpener - At home sharpener

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OK, back on topic.  I am following this thread because I will very likely be buying a machine before next season.  I wanted to make sure my son was going to keep playing but now he is and we have 5 cousins and some neighbors that will probably make use of it so beyond the convenience which is the primary driver, the economics look ok too.

My question is, at this point, has anybody spent significant time with both the Sparx AND the ProSharp Home?

One strike against the PS was that you only got a single pass per button press.  That may not be a dealbreaker but now their website says programmable up to 5 passes.  The price difference is another thing, but it looks like you also get three rings with the PS now, although that still doesn’t even out.

So just looking for actual head to head experiences.

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16 hours ago, colins said:

 

https://www.sparxhockey.com/pages/faq-grinding-ring

2. How long does a Grinding Ring last?

A Grinding Ring (Radius Ring or FIRE Ring) will last for 320 cycles. If you’re freshening up your blades after every skate, you’ll get 50-60 sharpenings (or even more!) per ring and if you’re sharpening your skates after every 5-6 hours of ice time, you’ll get about 40 sharpenings.  We like to say its about $1 per sharpening.

 

 

I do one pass after ~4-5 hours skating and that keeps the edges nice. So I think Sparx are in my case underselling the machine. However, I can see that each use case is different, so their figures are quite reasonable. 

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16 hours ago, lfc26 said:

It's a usage scenario! The results have to add up from ring to ring/profile to profile and therefore the number of sharpenings is much more valuable. How do I even control the outcome of my programmed cycle number given different skate blade conditions and all sort of parameters??? How do I know if an 11/16 profile gets perfectly done with the same number of cycles compared to an 1/2 ring which states a 33% increased number of average sharpenings. The documentation on that has to be consistent. You can't sell a product for the same amount of money, stating 20 less cycles and at the same time publishing contrary information on your packaging,online and telling people all is good it's just the packaging.

That's all from my side. I'm not going to bother you guys anymore. I'll leave you with my  main statement!

How do these guys even think a customer will react when he opens his  2 piece 180€=200$ grinding stone delivery, just to find out both rings have a different stated lifespan????

For so long, I'm waiting for their official reply via email and depending on that I'm going to consider my options!

Thanks guys so far and sorry for taking over here with my findings and concerns!

There is one small bit of truth in your rantings, namely that changing the estimated number of sharpenings on the box from 40 to 60 is potentially confusing. However, the rest of your ranting is just nonsense, you seem incapable or reading the other posts that correct your misunderstandings. You’ve made your point, so why not move on?

Oh and I do agree that Europeans pay a lot for the machine compared to North Americans, and yet at about £1200 it is much cheaper than the ProSharp. Why is it so expensive here? I assume that is because Americans buy direct, whereas we buy from an intermediary who has to take a cut on each machine sold. It is also possible that Russ at Sparx had a bad experience with a European and is taking revenge. Probably not. It’s still worth the money IMO. 

 

Edited by JR Boucicaut
Quit feeding the trolls

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47 minutes ago, BenBreeg said:

OK, back on topic.  I am following this thread because I will very likely be buying a machine before next season.  I wanted to make sure my son was going to keep playing but now he is and we have 5 cousins and some neighbors that will probably make use of it so beyond the convenience which is the primary driver, the economics look ok too.

My question is, at this point, has anybody spent significant time with both the Sparx AND the ProSharp Home?

One strike against the PS was that you only got a single pass per button press.  That may not be a dealbreaker but now their website says programmable up to 5 passes.  The price difference is another thing, but it looks like you also get three rings with the PS now, although that still doesn’t even out.

So just looking for actual head to head experiences.

HockeyTutorial on YouTube have a review of each machine, and a head to head review. They like both. Ring costs work out similar (ProSharp claims make it sound like they last much longer than Sparx rings). The only advantage I could see is that the ProSharp is half the weight, and much slimmer, so if you want to carry it around, it would be the better choice. The Sparx is mostly made in China (maybe partly assembled in America), the ProSharp is made in Sweden, Chinese production costs are much lower.

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Yeah, I have watched that before, just wondering if anyone had some long term personal use. I will watch it again, it has been a while, even though I tend to take official review channels with a grain of salt.

The weight to me is interesting.  In woodworking, things like table saws, jointers, and planers are heavy.  The higher end ones are even heavier.  The weight gives stability as it reduces vibration and increases accuracy.  So the weight of the Sparx to me is a plus.

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39 minutes ago, Leif said:

changing the estimated number of sharpenings on the box from 40 to 60 is potentially confusing.

At least it’s an increase instead of a decrease, so those who don’t understand why it was done will just find it to be a nice surprise 

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If anyone is interested, 2 indepth break downs on cost and break evens based on the NA market (the OP provides a link to the 2nd break down at the bottom of his post).

 

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That’s a great breakdown, and while I agree that you obviously can’t directly correlate time wasted to your hourly salary, my time is definitely worth SOMETHING, and keeping my sanity is worth even more. Not having piss poor sharpening done, or showing up during posted business hours to find the shop closed “because it was slow so the guy went home” after the 30+ minute to drive there.

Bottom line, for me: I didn’t buy a Sparx to save money. Not even close.

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On 1/18/2020 at 1:38 AM, IPv6Freely said:

Jesus Christ this thread needs to die. One person not being able to read simple English is starting to add up to multiple pages of junk that benefits nobody. 

21 hours ago, Leif said:

There is one small bit of truth in your rantings, namely that changing the estimated number of sharpenings on the box from 40 to 60 is potentially confusing. However, the rest of your ranting is just nonsense, you seem incapable or reading the other posts that correct your misunderstandings. You’ve made your point, so why not move on?

Oh and I do agree that Europeans pay a lot for the machine compared to North Americans, and yet at about £1200 it is much cheaper than the ProSharp. Why is it so expensive here? I assume that is because Americans buy direct, whereas we buy from an intermediary who has to take a cut on each machine sold. It is also possible that Russ at Sparx had a bad experience with a European and is taking revenge. Probably not. It’s still worth the money IMO. 

 

to keep this simple for you

1. a vastly differing number of sharpenings on the packaging may seem dubious for a non blind consumer that actually pays a lot of money for these rings

2. again and again... the total number of cycles has nothing to do with the amount of material a "newer" 60 sharpenings 1/2, 3/8...ring may be able to remove in one cycle vs. an "older" 40 sharpenings 1/2, 3/8,11/16, 5/8... ring therefore 40 vs 60 doable sharpenings are perfectly possible and I truly want this to be proofed with data.( you can switch "newer" and "older" around. choose for yourself. no one knows for sure)

21 hours ago, stick9 said:

 

So I checked all my rings, they all say 40 per ring. Can someone hook me up with some of those sweet 60 per rings? 🙄

3. All I want from them is to come out on their website and publish information on the fact that both variants are in circulation, and as I've already said, proof the fact that an "older production" 1/2 ring will yield the same number of sharpenings, under isolated conditions, compared to the "new" 1/2 ring.
Additionally,it remains to be proven if it takes the same amount of cycles with the "newer production/new packaging" 1/2'' rings to reach the desired radius of hollow than with the lesser agressive 11/16,5/8...1 inch rings in the "old packaging". All of these tests have to be done under isolated conditions, using new identical blades.

This would help us to make a qualified buying decision in the future. Maybe there are some differences maybe not? how can we know this as consumers?

The goal here is that nobody has to feel like a piece of crap after spending 200$ including shipping on two of these rings just to find out that the stated number of sharpenings varies by 33% from ring to ring.


that's it. As long as these things aren't published and proved, I'm awaiting a serious apology from their side.

I just had to answer on that. no worries,I'll discuss the rest with Sparx directly.


 

Edited by lfc26
  • Facepalm 2

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6 hours ago, lfc26 said:

to keep this simple for you

1. a vastly differing number of sharpenings on the packaging may seem dubious for a non blind consumer that actually pays a lot of money for these rings

2. again and again... the total number of cycles has nothing to do with the amount of material a "newer" 60 sharpenings 1/2, 3/8...ring may be able to remove in one cycle vs. an "older" 40 sharpenings 1/2, 3/8,11/16, 5/8... ring therefore 40 vs 60 doable sharpenings are perfectly possible and I truly want this to be proofed with data.( you can switch "newer" and "older" around. choose for yourself. no one knows for sure)

3. All I want from them is to come out on their website and publish information on the fact that both variants are in circulation, and as I've already said, proof the fact that an "older production" 1/2 ring will yield the same number of sharpenings, under isolated conditions, compared to the "new" 1/2 ring.
Additionally,it remains to be proofed if it takes the same amount of cycles with the "newer production/new packaging" 1/2'' rings to reach the desired radius of hollow than with the lesser agressive 11/16,5/8...1 inch rings in the "old packaging". All of these tests have to be done under isolated conditions, using new identical blades.

This would help us to make a qualified buying decision in the future. Maybe there are some differences maybe not? how can we know this as consumers?

The goal here is that nobody has to feel like a piece of crap after spending 200$ including shipping on two of these rings just to find out that the stated number of sharpenings varies by 33% from ring to ring.


that's it. As long as these things aren't published and proved, I'm awaiting a serious apology from their side.

I just had to answer on that. no worries,I'll discuss the rest with Sparx directly.


 

This has already been explained to you by a Sparx representative. Please learn to read. The rings are IDENTICAL apart from the packaging. The only difference is the ESTIMATED number of sharpenings. 

When I questioned this, I got an email from Sparx and a post here too:

 

I saw no need to make ridiculous remarks about Sparx or to falsely question their integrity. 

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13 hours ago, Vet88 said:

If anyone is interested, 2 indepth break downs on cost and break evens based on the NA market (the OP provides a link to the 2nd break down at the bottom of his post).

 

The cost analysis obviously depends strongly on many factors. In my case the LHS I trust is 25 miles away, so to get a sharpen requires two 25 miles drives, and a wait while they sharpen them. There was usually a queue. So it would wipe out a morning, and cost £10 or more in fuel and car overheads. The sharpen is now £8, so the total cost is at least £18, let’s say £20 in round numbers. One sharpen every two weeks works out at £500 a year. The machine will easily pay for itself in three years, and that’s ignoring the benefit of getting my Saturday mornings back, and always having perfect edges. Even the LHS I trust had destroyed the profile on my last set of blades by the time they were replaced.

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4 hours ago, Leif said:

This has already been explained to you by a Sparx representative. Please learn to read. The rings are IDENTICAL apart from the packaging. The only difference is the ESTIMATED number of sharpenings. 

When I questioned this, I got an email from Sparx and a post here too:

I saw no need to make ridiculous remarks about Sparx or to falsely question their integrity. 

You have already posted this concern ages ago and yet these rings are still in circulation? and since then they haven't come forward by publishing any comparative data on that on their website?

Look, there are even some guys who have exclusively received these 40 sharpening rings in the "older packaging" to this date!

10 hours ago, lfc26 said:
  21 hours ago, stick9 said:

 

So I checked all my rings, they all say 40 per ring. Can someone hook me up with some of those sweet 60 per rings?

Guess what, I prefer not to believe marketing departments, which in the end will always target a higher product popularity and more sales. These are the only guys/girls that have come forward publicly so far. We already know Sparx has sufficient marketing capacities!

 

In order to improve the situation for myself and for future customers, they'll have to publish real data, as mentioned above, on their website!

 

If proven wrong, I'll be happy to shut up and I'll hopefully be able to enjoy my purchase again.. For so long I prefer to remain skeptical and I'll expect an apology from them and to fully understand this situation given all the expenses we've had to face to get these highly convenient products!

big promise... awaiting my answer via email now.

 

Edited by lfc26

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What a colossel waste of time... 

Anyway. On the economics or if. That 7, 8 year range is about what I figured. Money wise, I doubt I make my money back. I sharpen for me and maybe a few friends. I never charge. The convince of it though, oh hell yeah. Not having to rely on anyone else is nice and I love having fresh edges. I never put a dollar value to that but it has to be worth something. 

For me it's always been about the convince and consistency. It's the same edge every time. If they're hosed, its on me. 

Edited by stick9
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14 minutes ago, stick9 said:

What a colossel waste of time... 

Anyway. On the economics or if. That 7, 8 year range is about what I figured. Money wise, I doubt I make my money back. I sharpen for me and maybe a few friends. I never charge. The convince of it though, oh hell yeah. Not having to rely on anyone else is nice and I love having fresh edges. I never put a dollar value to that but it has to be worth something. 

For me it's always been about the convince and consistency. It's the same edge every time. If they're hosed, its on me. 

Yeah, here are only a couple places/people who do skates well even in Pittsburgh.  One is near a rink 30 mins away that we never go to and you need an appt.  The other  is a specific guy at the rink who is rarely there, and the last i over an hour away.

Go to Pure and some guy asks what hollow you want, skates get lined up with 10 other pair with no way to know what skates get which hollow, and two kids manning a machine each do your skates while BSing the whole time.

Convenience is by far the #1 motivator.  I would love to get a traditional machine just because cause I would enjoy learning to do it but without someone to mentor I don't know if that makes sense.

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Howdy,

23 minutes ago, BenBreeg said:

Convenience is by far the #1 motivator.  I would love to get a traditional machine just because cause I would enjoy learning to do it but without someone to mentor I don't know if that makes sense.

I bet Sean would give you lessons after the morning skate on Thursday...

Mark

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Okay guys just leave it alone. Don’t feed trolls. We don’t need to waste another four pages on this. At this point it doesn’t benefit anyone to reply to ridiculous statements.

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Lol.  Yeah, this kinda went off the tracks.  At any rate, even with all the back and forth banter, as a relatively new Sparx owner I was able to take some information from this post that was helpful.  The multiple people which have vouched for 1-2 passes being sufficient every few hours of ice time will surely save me money over time, so it was worth sifting through everything else for that.  Several years back I purchased a Blackstone X01 and roughly learned on my own how to sharpen skates.  Even once I did I found myself spending much more on spinners and grinding wheels as it required more work for me to get an even finish and even edges and I imagine my pressure application wasnt the most even, changing the shape of the steel over time.  For the common person willing to drop the coin the Sparx machine is great.  The simplicity, consistency, and convenience for me makes it worth every penny.  

Edited by ricepow
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2 hours ago, ricepow said:

Lol.  Yeah, this kinda went off the tracks.  At any rate, even with all the back and forth banter, as a relatively new Sparx owner I was able to take some information from this post that was helpful.  The multiple people which have vouched for 1-2 passes being sufficient every few hours of ice time will surely save me money over time, so it was worth sifting through everything else for that.  Several years back I purchased a Blackstone X01 and roughly learned on my own how to sharpen skates.  Even once I did I found myself spending much more on spinners and grinding wheels as it required more work for me to get an even finish and even edges and I imagine my pressure application wasnt the most even, changing the shape of the steel over time.  For the common person willing to drop the coin the Sparx machine is great.  The simplicity, consistency, and convenience for me makes it worth every penny.  

You make a lot of really solid points.

I know many people who have kids playing high-level hockey but do not have access to skilled pro shops for sharpening, and they all buy Sparx units. In many cases there are pro shops in the area but when it comes to sharpening its just not consistent quality. These are areas like Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, very big cities. The fact is most hockey moms/dads have families with multiple kids and they dont want to learn to sharpen skates or simply dont have the time. However, they do want to give their kids and teams access to quality skate sharpening.

I see more parents investing in Sparx units lately for their kids entire team and then sharing the cost. Overall, people are making a mountain out of a molehill in many of these arguments. If we are complaining about $1-$2 then we are all involved in the wrong sport. Hockey is not cheap by any means and surely is not going to become cheaper any time soon. 

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I live in MA and struggle to find quality and consistent sharpenings. When I was still having a shop do my skates. I would drive about an hour north, bypassing a half dozen or so places that sharpen. It was a PIA. If that guy was having an off day or they were closed (which actually happened) I was screwed.

There was this one time I was forced to go to PH. I asked for something that was not their standard cut. She took em and put them in the window. No marking the cut. I asked and she said "yeah, they know". 

Its a dying art. 

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Just now, stick9 said:

I live in MA and struggle to find quality and consistent sharpenings. When I was still having a shop do my skates. I would drive about an hour north, bypassing a half dozen or so places that sharpen. It was a PIA. If that guy was having an off day or they were closed (which actually happened) I was screwed.

There was this one time I was forced to go to PH. I asked for something that was not their standard cut. She took em and put them in the window. No marking the cut. I asked and she said "yeah, they know". 

Its a dying art. 

Agreed. I travel all over North America and always bring a few sets of steel with me but enjoy going into shops to see which ones are progressive when it comes to profiling and sharpening. It's shocking how many stores I have been to that are clueless when it comes to the art of profiling and sharpening. I have gotten into arguments with shops telling me profiling is all BS and its not needed, its a gimmick. I also had shops tell me "no good players" skate on anything over 1/2" and so they offer only one standard cut, 1/2". 

I think this is why many stores are slowly adopting machine sharpening like Pro Sharp and Sparx units. 

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You have to also consider the employee pool; you're dealing with people who have grown up with computers and technology; they're not going to want to learn a manual process when a semi-automated one is easier and of decent quality.

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On 1/18/2020 at 3:09 PM, Vet88 said:

If anyone is interested, 2 indepth break downs on cost and break evens based on the NA market (the OP provides a link to the 2nd break down at the bottom of his post).

 

When I was mulling over whether to purchase a Sparx, I remember using their cost breakdown calculator. I think it came out to 2-3 years for me - I have two sets of skates, btw, as I play both goalie and forward. 

The problem with that analysis, and I use this analogy often, is that getting your skates sharpened is like getting a haircut - at least for me. We try to prolong it as much as we can because, well, money just doesn't grow on tress for most people. Even if it did, humans are inherently cheap, always want some sort of deal, make irrational financial decisions all the time etc... 

Point being, if I owned my own barbershop, I'd be getting a beard and hair trim every morning. That's just a fact. 

So, what actually happens once you finally purchase a Sparx, and as every Sparx owner knows, suddenly you're sharpening your skates between every session. 

In the interest of not droning on, I only need 1 pass/hour of skating to reproduce the same quality of sharpening as the only "LHS" around that I trust. I put that in quotes because said LHS is about 40 minutes one way through crazy commuter traffic. 

Thus, while my original breakeven calculation was 2-3 years, and for OP it's 8, upon purchasing an actual Sparx, my breakeven cost suddenly dropped to under one year, because to replicate what I'm achieving now would require daily 2-hour roundtrip excursions to the LHS + sharpening at $6/hour of skating (with a punch card). 

Please note, this analysis holds even if the LHS were inside my local hockey rink. It's just not economical to get my skates done everyday at a pro shop. 

Right now, I'm getting 1 hour/pass from my Sparx, or well over 1 hour/day of skating on freshly sharpened skates with just one grinding ring. That's less that one grinding ring a year I would need to purchase.

I understand there will be some pushback here on how getting skates done everyday is ridiculous or whatever. Fine. I don't really care. Hockey gear costs and arm and a leg, especially if you're a goalie. The cost of a Sparx is a drop in the bucket, comparatively, for the knowledge that I have consistent, fresh edges every skate. And even though the dollar breakdown makes sense, it's irrelevant because it's a user's *utility curve* that matters.

You can't put a price on peace of mind. 

P.S. - As of writing, having finally gotten my skates dialed in, I'm able to skate on a 5/8 Fire, and if I really want, I can get 2-3 hours per single pass. At the rate I'm going, it won't be long before I'm at 3/4...

 

Edited by pgeorgan

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On 1/19/2020 at 7:03 AM, lfc26 said:

You have already posted this concern ages ago and yet these rings are still in circulation? and since then they haven't come forward by publishing any comparative data on that on their website?

Look, there are even some guys who have exclusively received these 40 sharpening rings in the "older packaging" to this date!

Guess what, I prefer not to believe marketing departments, which in the end will always target a higher product popularity and more sales. These are the only guys/girls that have come forward publicly so far. We already know Sparx has sufficient marketing capacities!

 

In order to improve the situation for myself and for future customers, they'll have to publish real data, as mentioned above, on their website!

 

If proven wrong, I'll be happy to shut up and I'll hopefully be able to enjoy my purchase again.. For so long I prefer to remain skeptical and I'll expect an apology from them and to fully understand this situation given all the expenses we've had to face to get these highly convenient products!

big promise... awaiting my answer via email now.

 

Forgive me, but if you don't trust that Sparx are being honest when they say 320 passes/ring, I don't see the point in having them publish their own "studies" to confirm this claim. 

You're only option at this point is to trust peer reviews, and so far, it seems most (if not all) Sparx owners on this thread are quite content with their purchase. 

This complaint is analogous to the time Apple changed their iPhone signal strength display from 5 dots to 4 bars after customer complaints. Customers were happier as a result, and thought they were getting a better product, despite not a single piece of hardware being altered whatsoever...

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1 hour ago, pgeorgan said:

The problem with that analysis, and I use this analogy often, is that getting your skates sharpened is like getting a haircut - at least for me. We try to prolong it as much as we can because, well, money just doesn't grow on tress for most people. Even if it did, humans are inherently cheap, always want some sort of deal, make irrational financial decisions all the time etc... 

Point being, if I owned my own barbershop, I'd be getting a beard and hair trim every morning. That's just a fact. 

So, what actually happens once you finally purchase a Sparx, and as every Sparx owner knows, suddenly you're sharpening your skates between every session. 

I'm gradually weening myself off of the 1 sharpen per session crack. I'm down to on one pass every 3-4 hours and thus far I've not gone cold turkey. As for haircuts, if only I had my own Sparx hair trimmer life would be so much easier. Mmmm, now there's a new product idea for them ...

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