Ice skating can be easy or difficult depending on the sharpness of the blades. Ice skates that aren’t sharp lack control. So, traction, changes of movement, and stopping will be extremely difficult with dull blades. It’s important for each ice skater to know and understand when and how to sharpen them.
Before going into more detail, I want you to understand when to sharpen ice skates. It’s important to know when, so you don’t sharpen them too often when they don’t require to be sharpened, as the process will wear down the blades.
When to sharpen ice skates;
- You feel a lack of control on the ice
- Your turns aren’t sharp
- You keep falling when turning
- If you feel the blade and it has dents or gouges
- You can see a clear reflection in the blade’s edge
These five things are where you know your skate’s blades need to be sharpened, and you will notice more than one when they are dull. Next, you’ll learn how to sharpen ice skates.
Instructions to Sharpen Ice Skates
You can sharpen skates in many ways, but the most difficult one is with a machine, which isn’t necessarily as self-explanatory as a portable skate sharpener. Now, let’s look at how to sharpen your skates with an electronic sharpening machine.
- Insert the skate into the sharpener: The first thing is to insert the ice skate’s blade into the skate sharpener. Be sure to secure the skate from any leavers or clamps. Also, make sure the sharpener is connected to power and turned on.
- Move the sharpening ring into position: Next, there should be a sharpening ring within the machine. Follow the instruction manual to position it in the right place against the blade. This way, your skate won’t be under or over-sharpened.
- Decide the sharpening cycle: When you’re ready to sharpen, the last thing to do before starting the process is deciding how much you want to sharpen the blade. I recommend starting with less to prevent over-sharpening, as you can always do it again when examining the result.
- Press the play button: When everything is ready, press the start button on the machine. After sharpening, examine the blade to see if it needs more cycles or not.
- Enjoy your sharp skates: That’s it! Now you can enjoy quality skating without feeling held back by dull blades.
For visual learners, look at the video on sharpening your skates with SPARX Electronic Skate Sharpener.
What Is the Best Way to Sharpen Ice Skates?
There are many methods to sharpen ice skates, which aren’t equal, yet they all work. Out of all the ways I explained, what is the best way to sharpen ice skates?
A professional electronic skate sharpener is the best way to sharpen ice skates because it makes the blades quickly sharp. They are used by hockey teams, shops, or other ice skating businesses. A skate blade sharpener and sharpening stone are other great ways to sharpen ice skates.
Think about skate blades as chef knives. You can sharpen chef knives in various ways, and so can ice skates. Now, I have shortly explained each of the three mentioned methods below.
1. Electronic Skate Sharpener
The most effective way to sharpen skates is to use an electronic sharpener such as the SPARX Skate Sharpener. It’s the professional way to sharpen skates, usually in bulk for the team or customers at a hockey shop with extreme speed.
They work by placing the ice skate on the machine, pressing a button, and in a few seconds, the skates will be sharper than with any other method. However, the effectiveness is reflected in the price.
2. Portable Skate Blade Sharpener
It’s a convenient small handheld tool that you can use to sharpen your skates by running it against the blade, removing burrs and rust from the blades.
It isn’t as effective as the electronic sharpener, but it’s much more convenient and affordable. I ice skate only recreationally nowadays, so it’s the right choice for me.
3. Ice Skate Sharpening Stone
Another great alternative to sharpening your skates is to use an Ice Skate Sharpening Stone. Sharpening stones are extremely popular in sharpening knives, and the same principles hold when sharpening skates.
Benefits include easy transportation, convenience, and affordable price. It’s quite similar to the skate blade sharpener, yet it requires more skill to use. Also, sharpening with a stone has a more exciting feel to it.
Which one of the three methods is your favorite? Take a look at each one and let me know in the comments.
How Often Should Skates Be Sharpened?
Everyones need to sharpen ice skates vary because training time, way of skating, and ice skate model will affect how much the blade will wear out. So, how do these things affect the sharpening needs, and how often should skates be sharpened?
You should sharpen skates as soon as you feel a significant decrease in performance. However, don’t sharpen skates too often as it wears down the blade. Difficult turns, ineffective snowplow stops, slow speed accelerations, and noticeable tiny dents on the blade are all indicators of a dull blade.
Let’s take a few examples. Let’s say you skate every day of the week for 3 hours, and someone else skates twice a week for two hours at a time. The amount you skate is 21h/week, whereas the other skates 4h/week. Also, let’s assume that you would play ice hockey with great effort, meaning many changes, stops, and accelerations, whereas the other would simply skate around the rink.
With this example, you would sharpen your skates over five times when the other would sharpen one time with only the skating time difference. Add the skating style difference, and it would probably rise to 8 skate sharpening when the other does one sharpening.
On average, skates should be sharpened every 20-40 skating hours, depending on the skating style (hockey, figure skating, recreational skating, etc.) and skate quality.
Now, let’s assume that you would need to sharpen your skates every 30 hours of skating time. See examples of how often you should sharpen your skates depending on the amount of skating you do.
|Amount of Ice Skating||When To Sharpen Ice Skates|
|2 hours/week||Once/4 months|
|5 hours/week||Once/1,5 months|
|12 hours/week||Once/2,5 weeks|
|20 hours/week||Once/1,5 weeks|
What Happens If You Don’t Sharpen Your Skates?
What would the results be if you used the same ice skates without sharpening them? Could you skate forever with them, or would it be impossible in the end? Let’s find out!
If you wouldn’t sharpen your skates, it would eventually become extremely difficult to skate as the blade would be so dull that it wouldn’t bite on the ice, giving you no control. Thus, accelerating, changes of movement, and stopping would become hard, and you would fall down constantly.
My ice skates on the cabinet right now are dull, yet not extremely dull. I skated on the nearby ice rink last winter and fell quite a bit, especially when trying to turn. That resulted in a premature end to my skating session.
That said, I highly recommend keeping your blades sharp if you want to ice skate without problems. The easiest way to sharpen your skates is to use a portable skate blade sharpener that is very convenient, easy to use, and affordable.