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Sparx Skate Sharpener - At home sharpener

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6 hours ago, helmet91 said:

Dumb question...

Do you think you could use a 1-1/4 radius wheel as a de facto cross grind wheel?  I have four skaters in the house, not including me... and they're regularly dinging up their blades (5/8 Fire, 1/2 and 5/8) at no fault of their own.  The rinks here aren't the best and there's plenty of blade unfriendly things in the locker room, the halls, the benches, etc.  Most times a regular four passes cleans everything up, but on occasion it looks they ran across the parking lot (slight exaggeration) and all the passes in the world won't "fix" the issue.

Would the relative "flatness" of the 1-1/4 cleanup those stubborn dings?  Or is that going to waste passes with my other rings after using the 1-1/4?  Granted I wouldn't do it very often, just in dire circumstances.

Thoughts?  I'm just spitballing here...  And please don't suggest taking the skates to a shop - hockey shops are few and far between here; with limited hours; and questionable sharpening results.  Throw in the new COVID lockdown and getting skates sharpened outside of our Sparx here at home is pretty much not going to happen.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

It's not a bad idea. Especially if you have rings you don't use. I do the same with an Fire ring I don't like. For example. I recently got some new steel so instead of doing 10 passes with my 3/4 ring. I did 4-6 passed with that old Fire ring to flatten things out then finished with my desired 3/4 hollow. I'm still doing 10 total passes. I'm just not burning thru my good ring in the process.

I wouldn't do this every time. It actually takes more passes to cut a new hollow than it does to maintain one. I find this method works well for new steel, really bad edges or a change in hollow. I find going flatter than your normal hollow works best. 

What I am unsure of is how this affects runner life. Am I removing more steel than I need to by doing this.

 

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On 9/20/2021 at 9:18 AM, bcboy20 said:

Hey Guys, 

ive owned a sparx for 3 years now and live it. Go through about 5-6 rings a season. Has anyone had their machine start to “skip” or have the belt “skip” or click on the return pass and is almost home. I emailed sparx and they said it either needs to be returned for work or needs to be cleaned thouroghly.  I vacuum and blow the machine out regularly.  
Has anyone taken their machine apart also ? I dont want to but might have to get down to the bottom of this and oil up a bearing or something. Thanks! 

Can you take a video of this? I had an issue like this in the past when we had Sparx machines and I disassembled the machine at one point to get a better understanding of how its assembled. 

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16 hours ago, PBH said:

Can you take a video of this? I had an issue like this in the past when we had Sparx machines and I disassembled the machine at one point to get a better understanding of how its assembled. 

Hey, I got it to stop. What I found was when I had the machine run without the glass, it seemed like it was sticky and couldn’t pull the ring back to home along the blade.  I started to use a skate guard and pushed it and it had no problem. I ended up cleaning the whole machine inside and out, then used just a tiny bit of grease on the inside along the rail that it runs on.  Moved it. Sick and forth a bit and runs perfect again now. 

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On ‎12‎/‎31‎/‎2021 at 6:27 PM, stick9 said:

It's not a bad idea. Especially if you have rings you don't use. I do the same with an Fire ring I don't like. For example. I recently got some new steel so instead of doing 10 passes with my 3/4 ring. I did 4-6 passed with that old Fire ring to flatten things out then finished with my desired 3/4 hollow. I'm still doing 10 total passes. I'm just not burning thru my good ring in the process.

I wouldn't do this every time. It actually takes more passes to cut a new hollow than it does to maintain one. I find this method works well for new steel, really bad edges or a change in hollow. I find going flatter than your normal hollow works best. 

What I am unsure of is how this affects runner life. Am I removing more steel than I need to by doing this.

 

It definitely wouldn't be a regular thing.  I'd bet the 1-1/4 ring would last me a very, very long time.  I can't imagine I'd have to go this route more than once or twice a season, and that's across the board for all the skaters in the house.

 

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How many passes to change your sharpening? I used the sharpie method and after 1 pass it was completely gone so that's unreliable IMO. I'm trying to change from 5/8 fire to 3/4 fire (more glide). I did 2 passes each skate and it actually felt waaay sharper while skating than 5/8 and even when I used 1/2 fire in the past. Lots of leg fatigue in a game. Maybe it's some crazy in between because I didn't do enough passes?

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2 hours ago, rh71el2 said:

How many passes to change your sharpening? I used the sharpie method and after 1 pass it was completely gone so that's unreliable IMO. I'm trying to change from 5/8 fire to 3/4 fire (more glide). I did 2 passes each skate and it actually felt waaay sharper while skating than 5/8 and even when I used 1/2 fire in the past. Lots of leg fatigue in a game. Maybe it's some crazy in between because I didn't do enough passes?

I usually do 4 passes when switching hollows. 

If skated on the 3/4 Fire. Sharp is not a word I would use to describe it. 

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Howdy,

Yes, I don't think the sharpie method works at all.  My guess is that the sparks/swarf thrown from the grinding wipe out the sharpie long before the wheels actually hits the metal there.  I've done it a few times and literally have never seen sharpie remaining regardless of the number of cycles.

I've not done any microscopic analysis, but I tend to use 6 cycles when switching hollows.

I can't come up with any reason that 5/8 Fire to 3/4 Fire should have given you more bite.  I've done that same switch and not experienced that... My experience was what you'd expect... A little less bite and a more concerted effort needed to get onto your edge with the 3/4 Fire vs. the 5/8 Fire.  I suppose maybe the 3/4 Fire ring without enough passes may have skinny-ed up the "fangs" on either side while leaving the center of the runner 'deep'?  Just a guess.  I would run more cycles and re-test.

Mark

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3 hours ago, marka said:

I suppose maybe the 3/4 Fire ring without enough passes may have skinny-ed up the "fangs" on either side while leaving the center of the runner 'deep'?  Just a guess.  I would run more cycles and re-test.

I've done 2 more passes (total 4 each skate) and will test this afternoon.  But I've been thinking more logically about this.  If I was on 5/8, the hollow would be deeper than when I apply a new sharpening of 3/4. That 3/4 pass or two, if it doesn't reach down to the current hollow of 5/8, will effectively just make the 2 edges flatter & wider than it was. And that's why I was feeling more bite.

Edited by rh71el2
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18 hours ago, rh71el2 said:

How many passes to change your sharpening? I used the sharpie method and after 1 pass it was completely gone so that's unreliable IMO. I'm trying to change from 5/8 fire to 3/4 fire (more glide). I did 2 passes each skate and it actually felt waaay sharper while skating than 5/8 and even when I used 1/2 fire in the past. Lots of leg fatigue in a game. Maybe it's some crazy in between because I didn't do enough passes?

If the sharpie is gone then you are making full contact with the steel.

This however would change if going from a flatter hollow to a more aggressive hollow 3/4 FIRE -> 5/8 FIRE, for example. This is because the new hollow is deeper than the old hollow. Going in the opposite direction 5/8" FIRE -> 3/4" FIRE once the marker is gone you have removed the old hollow entirely. 

Not sure why the 3/4" FIRE felt more sharpen than the 5/8" FIRE. Maybe you rolled the edge when honing or something...

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Howdy,

56 minutes ago, PBH said:

If the sharpie is gone then you are making full contact with the steel.

I've tried this enough times that until someone posts high speed video or something I'm not going to believe that this is true.  I've literally never seen sharpie left over after a cycle.

I think its WAY more likely that the sparks/swarf from the grinding is sandblasting away the sharpie long before the wheel actually grinds the steel.

Mark

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6 hours ago, rh71el2 said:

 

I've done 2 more passes (total 4 each skate) and will test this afternoon.  But I've been thinking more logically about this.  If I was on 5/8, the hollow would be deeper than when I apply a new sharpening of 3/4. That 3/4 pass or two, if it doesn't reach down to the current hollow of 5/8, will effectively just make the 2 edges flatter & wider than it was. And that's why I was feeling more bite.

You are right until you get to your last sentence. You should be feeling less bite when the internal angle of the edges are flatter.

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5 hours ago, marka said:

Howdy,

I've tried this enough times that until someone posts high speed video or something I'm not going to believe that this is true.  I've literally never seen sharpie left over after a cycle.

I think its WAY more likely that the sparks/swarf from the grinding is sandblasting away the sharpie long before the wheel actually grinds the steel.

Mark

If the shavings are removing the sharpie that would be an issue. Not sure what markers you use but the ProSharp marker is not as easily removed. I think their marker is more of a fast drying paint pen. 

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3 hours ago, Vet88 said:

You are right until you get to your last sentence. You should be feeling less bite when the internal angle of the edges are flatter.

I do suppose that's right.  Interestingly, the 2 additional passes have made it less sharp again.  I can't quite tell a difference yet between this 3/4 and 5/8 I had been used to.  At least not after 1 [coaching] skate.

Bottom line - it takes 4 passes or more to change a hollow going shallower.  2 doesn't cut it.

Edited by rh71el2

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3 hours ago, rh71el2 said:

I do suppose that's right.  Interestingly, the 2 additional passes have made it less sharp again.  I can't quite tell a difference yet between this 3/4 and 5/8 I had been used to.  At least not after 1 [coaching] skate.

Bottom line - it takes 4 passes or more to change a hollow going shallower.  2 doesn't cut it.

You’re going from 10/16” to 12/16”, a difference of two steps. I always considered 2 passes okay for 7/16” to 8/16” and back. I guess if we knew how much metal was removed on one pass, we could calculate the precise minimum number of passes required. 

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6 hours ago, Leif said:

You’re going from 10/16” to 12/16”, a difference of two steps. I always considered 2 passes okay for 7/16” to 8/16” and back. I guess if we knew how much metal was removed on one pass, we could calculate the precise minimum number of passes required. 

We can easily figure that out by measuring the height of the runner and see how many passes it takes to cut it down say a full 1/2 inch.  Volunteers?  😄

Edited by rh71el2

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2 hours ago, rh71el2 said:

We can easily figure that out by measuring the height of the runner and see how many passes it takes to cut it down say a full 1/2 inch.  Volunteers?  😄

Just use a digital micrometer and after once pass you'll know. Multiple such by the number of passes. 

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On 9/20/2021 at 12:18 PM, bcboy20 said:

Hey Guys, 

ive owned a sparx for 3 years now and live it. Go through about 5-6 rings a season. Has anyone had their machine start to “skip” or have the belt “skip” or click on the return pass and is almost home. I emailed sparx and they said it either needs to be returned for work or needs to be cleaned thouroghly.  I vacuum and blow the machine out regularly.  
Has anyone taken their machine apart also ? I dont want to but might have to get down to the bottom of this and oil up a bearing or something. Thanks! 

Having the same issue developing lately with about the same ownership timeframe. I did not clean it much though, so that's on me. After a thorough cleaning, it seems it has gotten a lot better. Mine stuttered and stopped to the point of getting the 3 6 10 error. I found that there was a lot of really hidden dust up above the grinding ring in the area the spring connects to. Must be gunking up some sensor or something.

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4 hours ago, 215BroadStBullies610 said:

I've been long overdue but I'm finally looking to purchase a Sparx machine. Are there any "must have" accessories that one should purchase?

Obviously besides grinding wheels, I would recommend a cover.  Maybe a travel case if you're going to move it around a lot.  Maybe some rubber hones if you're going to sharpen mirror finished or DLC blades. 

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9 hours ago, 215BroadStBullies610 said:

I've been long overdue but I'm finally looking to purchase a Sparx machine. Are there any "must have" accessories that one should purchase?

The Level Tool is a must in my mind. 

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Howdy,

I think the only "Must have" is an edge checker.  I have both the Sparx as well as a cheapie ebay one.  The ebay one is fine (its easy to check these... Put it on the skate facing one way, then put it on the skate on the same side of the runner facing the other way and see if it shows the same thing).  The Sparx one is much nicer to use (mostly down to the spring loaded clamp that holds it on the runner, but also that its wider than the cheapie), if you don't mind the price.

I call this a "must have" because for me, I've found that the alignment tool gets you close, but you need an edge checker to dial it in to perfect.  I've also had one ring (out of maybe 10?) where the center of the ring apparently was off 6 or so clicks from the center of the alignment ring.  Without an edge checker you basically can never know for sure if you have even edges.  Now is the alignment tool by itself 'good enough?'  My guess is frankly yes, that if the alignment tool says its centered then the range of unevenness you'll get is pretty small and probably small enough that most people would never notice.  But most people don't want to play that game and want the edges even, period.

After that its about "what's your usage?"  If you want to be able to sharpen steel not in a skate, you'll want the blade holder.  If you have coated steel you'll want a rubber stone.  If you like non-dusty things, you'll want a cover.  etc.

You'll also want to think a bit about what grinding rings you'll want, if you're planning to do friend's skates.

I plug the thing into a reasonably good surge protector.  That's more of a "protect my device" thing vs. required by Sparx, of course.

I really like using Wissota's Speed Skate to get a little better finish polish than the Sparx does by itself.
https://wissota.com/product/speed-skate/

Mark

PS... If the edge checker says you're off, adjust the alignment.  DON'T do what lots of people recommend and turn the skate around and run the same number of passes in the other direction.  Yes, that will give you even edges, but its at the expense of making a wider hollow.  Sort of a poor man's flat bottom radius, which by itself isn't that bad a thing, but its pretty much unknowable as to what you're actually getting so being consistent with it across grinding rings will be quite difficult.

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4 hours ago, marka said:

Howdy,

I think the only "Must have" is an edge checker.  I have both the Sparx as well as a cheapie ebay one. 

Mark

PS... If the edge checker says you're off, adjust the alignment.  DON'T do what lots of people recommend and turn the skate around and run the same number of passes in the other direction.  Yes, that will give you even edges, but its at the expense of making a wider hollow.  Sort of a poor man's flat bottom radius, which by itself isn't that bad a thing, but its pretty much unknowable as to what you're actually getting so being consistent with it across grinding rings will be quite difficult.

Agree with the edge checker. I have a cheapie ebay one from Canada, looks poop, works fine. I also had a ProSharp one, I sent it back in disgust as it was out, never did get a refund. The Sparx one is the mutts, but it costs a wodge.

Don’t turn the skate round, agreed, but that doesn’t give even edges, it just flips the misalignment round. 

Love my Sparx, recently I was able to test 1/2”, and 7/16” hollows, and ended up moving to 7/16” from my regular 3/8”. My edge control has improved so much that I can use a shallower hollow. Probably go to 1/2” soon. So convenient. And perfect edges every time.

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