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Bladetech Initial Thoughts

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12 hours ago, Jeff Azzolin Bladetech said:

Usually in life, you get what you pay for, 

Can you give us any information about the steel you use, hardness, source etc. As a skater and a sharpener, the ability of the steel to - 1: sharpen easily 2: retain its edge - is more important to me than a potential 5% performance margin, especially for those grinding it out at a beer league level. If the steel is top quality, this alone is worth any uptick in price.

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13 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

Have you ever condisdered offering profiled steel much like Tydan does? 

We do profile yes. Only for Pros usually or sometimes customers who email/call and ask for it. We dont have it as a typical website adder right now, but we are considering adding it for the masses as another dropdown menu, but everything takes time/resources so we are more focused on providing premium steel than a profiling service that the customers local shop could easily be doing. The customer is eventually going to need to find a shop to sharpen at several times throughout the year, so we just let their shop do that work for the most part. Also gets away from any confusion on how the toes are blended/rounded...etc..etc which can cause extra emails/calls which again, takes time. On a second note, our profile is triple blended already on the Edge (most common steel) with a 9-11-13 on senior sizes and 9-10-11 on junior sizes (254 and down), so the customer is already getting something that on average, works very well for the masses.

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11 hours ago, Vet88 said:

Can you give us any information about the steel you use, hardness, source etc. As a skater and a sharpener, the ability of the steel to - 1: sharpen easily 2: retain its edge - is more important to me than a potential 5% performance margin, especially for those grinding it out at a beer league level. If the steel is top quality, this alone is worth any uptick in price.

Vet88, to provide further education on metallurgy let me first start by outlining this. Hardness is a great factor to consider, but it is not the only factor. There are other mechanical properties such as toughness for a quick example which are critical in the making of a good steel. Hence if I simply told you my steel has a Rockwell of 55 and then you asked "OEM-B" who said that their product called "LS4" had the same Rockwell, you might be compelled to think both companies blades will hold the same for edge retention and durability. Which is far from the truth.  It would be like saying plexiglass and wood have the same hardness value and hence are the same material and will behave the same way. Which, is far from the truth; if you try to bend both, snap both, or bang both against each other, very different things will be found. A prime example is the breakage rates on LS4s which were snapping like candy sticks and had high volume warranty issues. Our steel holds its edge much longer not only due to our hardness, but also the other mechanical properties and our processing techniques. By using a high carbon stainless, and having a good ratio of Fe, C, Mn, Si, P, S, Cr, Mo, Ni...etc...etc. alloying elements we make a great steel. We used to publish extensively what we used and our processing techniques, but really now, not even 1% of people would comprehend or appreciate the subject matter, so it doesnt make sense to communicate it in depth and in fact it only harms us by allowing new entrants (who are all copy-cats anyways) a quicker advantage to follow our recipe. Sorry to not be of more help, but hope that gets your head into the brief underworld of metallurgy. Onto some facts now, I can say our warranty is 1 year (go beat that) and even with that time, Im very proud to say we've had an extremely low number of issues and most issues were more in our early days when we were still tweaking and refining our process. On the edge side, one fun example is an NHL EM we work extensively with ran a player for 3 games (+ the practices in between) on a single sharpening (yes he checked thoroughly after every session, he is a pro, but the steel didnt need a tune). And yes, we find many beer leaguers / all players are able to cut sharpening  down in frequency, or in keeping the same frequency, the edges only need a slight tune-up, it might be a 3-pass sharpen, instead of a cross grind and 8 pass re-hollow for example. We formed our company to serve the strict needs and demand of the NHL and other high calibre pro leagues.  We want to not only be effective for its players (speed, performance, health benefits), but to make the life of the EM's more efficient and hopefully save them valuable time too. Again, tried to shed the light I can, hope it helps. Cheers 🙂

Edited by Jeff Azzolin Bladetech
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For those who have expressed interest in trying it; at some point we may be able to start a Long-Term Review.

I'm hoping to hit the ice next week. As some of you know, my mom is immunocompromised due to cancer and so we've been extremely cautious about us being exposed (and consequently, bringing it back to her) and she's getting another surgery at the end of next week. So I'm looking to go to the rink when there aren't many people there, and that's usually a weekday noon open skate session (which would be the best way to try these.)

I like the way this thread is going so far; there's been very good back and forth discussion.  Keep it up!

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On 7/28/2020 at 2:50 PM, Giltis said:

3 things:

- I wish there was a way to try them before buying them.

- I see that you have a goalie blade option, I feel like Goalies would benefit a lot for those hard lateral pushes.

- It would be a logistical nightmare with very low returns, but it would be cool if you could have different flex ratings.

Haha - I wish there was an easy way as well. It would be a logistical nightmare. Dont worry, put them on, give it an honest couple hours, youll love it and get used to it. If you give is a pessimistic 15 minutes sure, it might not go great, but thats the same if you tried changing from a P88 to a P92 stick curve and only fired 2 pucks as an evaluation, persay.

Yes, we have a goalie option, which is at the same price as player steel (most other companies for some reason like to charge goalies more, not sure what they have against them... lol) and our goalie steel is quite taller than OEM to improve the attack angle.

Flex ratings, I think somebody else asked this and I answered already, but yes, it is possible, its just means we have to go from carrying 100 SKUs in 2 finishes, to persay 200 or 300 SKUs as well as the different finishes and then capital inventory costs go up, order planning gets tougher, and hence product cost goes up, and not sure the extra cost would be worth the value, as regardless the spring stiffness, all customers are getting deflection/flex and benefits anyways. It would kinda of be like asking a stick OEM to offer 80,81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89,90... flex sticks, whereas they would likely say no, we will offer 80, 85, 90 only... kinda deal.  Cheers!

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11 hours ago, Jeff Azzolin Bladetech said:

We do profile yes. Only for Pros usually or sometimes customers who email/call and ask for it. We dont have it as a typical website adder right now, but we are considering adding it for the masses as another dropdown menu, but everything takes time/resources so we are more focused on providing premium steel than a profiling service that the customers local shop could easily be doing. The customer is eventually going to need to find a shop to sharpen at several times throughout the year, so we just let their shop do that work for the most part. Also gets away from any confusion on how the toes are blended/rounded...etc..etc which can cause extra emails/calls which again, takes time. On a second note, our profile is triple blended already on the Edge (most common steel) with a 9-11-13 on senior sizes and 9-10-11 on junior sizes (254 and down), so the customer is already getting something that on average, works very well for the masses.

Do any of the other offerings have a custom blend to the profile, similar to how you have the 9-11-13 on Edge steel? For example, steel for the CCM holder? 

Edited by SkateWorksPNW

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Reminds me of when I had edge holders and step steel. And how the steel would never fit properly causing up and down movement in the holders near the front. Felt like I was toe picking all the time lol. 

Still kind of interested though. 

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On 7/28/2020 at 12:46 PM, Jeff Azzolin Bladetech said:

Honestly, I would need to see some more literature on them to give you a better detailed answer. From only what I recall, their "flex" was in the mid point? And not sure if it was up and down, or side to side? Things are a bit unclear from the little i have found. BUT, in any case, those blades are attached via 2 bolts in 2 holes and the toe and heel portion cannot move up/down into and out of the holder. Bladetech has flex up into and out of the holder on the toe, so thats a clear difference. I just never found enough literature from Easton, it was all kind of washed up when we started and you just hear rumours but cant find any hard data (and you are a startup and consumed with 1000 other things to do). Sorry to have only a half-ass answer.

Don't be sorry.  I respect that you took the time to research and respond.  

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On 7/28/2020 at 5:31 AM, BenBreeg said:

I thought the parabolic steel was supposed to flex in the middle when turning, I don’t recall any spring-like effect claimed.

You're right, it was in the middle.  And I think they did claim energy transfer from a "rebound" effect.  I can kind of see how having this near the toes might be better for toe flick, but I'm no engineer.  Skeptic, yes. Engineer, no.  I just feel it's fishy when a gimmick from the past is brought back w/ a "twist".  Again, I could probably be wrong b/c I have no education or experience with physics, but we'll see.  Who knows, maybe there really is a place on the pizza where no one's thought to put extra cheese....in all seriousness I suspect playing with holder/steel stiffness will come down to personal preference; for example, some pro's preferred Tuuk + b/c they were soft, some pro's preferred ICM's b/c they're stiff, etc.  I guess where companies put the flex is gonna be like how they shape the bottom third of the stick shaft; tapered, eliptical, saber taber, reebok "o" holes, etc.

Edited by Neo5370

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On 7/31/2020 at 10:13 AM, SkateWorksPNW said:

Do any of the other offerings have a custom blend to the profile, similar to how you have the 9-11-13 on Edge steel? For example, steel for the CCM holder? 

On the XS-player yes, its the same blend, and the only other one with that blend is the True / VH (old nut and bolt version) as well.
On the rest of the steel I am about to name, its the same as the OEM with minor toe and heel blend differences: Graf, Epro, LS2, SB4, Vertexx, XSGoalie.

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Went to the local rink just to find out that their roof is being repaired and won't be open til...November.

Need to figure out what options I have at this point.  Most likely will have to go to Daytona Beach.

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On 7/29/2020 at 4:35 AM, Jeff Azzolin Bladetech said:

All good. Fire the questions away, thats what Im here for. 

As someone who sharpens skates, I often see an issue with the edge holder over time. The blade starts to get loose in the holder, when I put it in the jig to sharpen the blade, the boot flops downward. This isn't a regular occurence and certainly not as bad as it was a few year ago but I am still seeing newish Bauer skates with this problem. The fix, other than replacing the holder, is to take the blade out and put teflon tape down the sides of the blade and then press fit it back into the holder. As your blade needs to move in the holder, a teflon tape repair job most likely would impact on the performance of the blade. What are your suggestions for dealing with a loose blade in a holder (other than a holder replacement)?

Edited by Vet88

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On 8/26/2020 at 7:20 PM, Vet88 said:

As someone who sharpens skates, I often see an issue with the edge holder over time. The blade starts to get loose in the holder, when I put it in the jig to sharpen the blade, the boot flops downward. This isn't a regular occurence and certainly not as bad as it was a few year ago but I am still seeing newish Bauer skates with this problem. The fix, other than replacing the holder, is to take the blade out and put teflon tape down the sides of the blade and then press fit it back into the holder. As your blade needs to move in the holder, a teflon tape repair job most likely would impact on the performance of the blade. What are your suggestions for dealing with a loose blade in a holder (other than a holder replacement)?

Over time, steel can wear out the holder channel and become loose and create the boot sag when held at the sharpener clamp as you have noted. (In fact, this is why they also say not to stand on your skates when they are heat-formed/baked as you as easily stretch out the hot plastic too). With Bladetech steel, the flex is in the front 1/3 or so of the steel. Most of the time, the wear that you see is in the middle 1/2 section, where a lot of strong stopping forces are applied, and hence the tape trick adds the meat, as you suggested to do the trick. This same trick will work with our steel as well. yes there is motion on the front, but there is meant to be that motion and flex. Its that middle section and back that need to be tight and stiff. So I would say, use the same mechanics/fixes you currently do, and apply them to us as well. We do have plenty of players (rec to pro) who have been on our steel for years (on the same holders and boots) and havent had any issues. I think the root issue, or more common problem, is more when steel is slightly loose to begin with, and that travel room and gap is then made bigger and bigger over time, as the slop allows for play and stretching to develop more easily. Hope that helps. Cheers 🙂

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