Skate Sharpening 101 – HockeyStickMan
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Skate Sharpening 101

Skate Sharpening 101

Have you ever taken to get your skates sharpened, and when asked what cut you like you deferred to the technician's suggestion, or simply said "just the regular cut"? Well, HockeyStickMan is here to provide you with the information you need to find the best sharpen for you.

How It Works

Hockey skate blades sit on two extremely sharp edges with a rounded, hollowed-out section in between, the shape of which is determined by shape of the grinding wheel on the skate sharpening machine.  Depending on the Radius of Hollow (RoH) you select for your blades, your experience with how your skates feel and perform can greatly vary.  

Types of Sharpens

The "regular" house cut in most pro shops would typically be 1/2", which provides a great balance of both glide and bite, giving you the best of both worlds.  This is our standard sharpen at HSM, and what we would recommend to players of all levels who aren't sure which RoH to get (5/8" would be the next most common).  Beyond that, like most things when it comes to hockey equipment, it will come down to personal preference.

Firstly, the type of player you are can have an impact on what cut you should get. A lighter skater can benefit from using a sharper cut such as 7/16" or 3/8" which provides a deeper bite and allows for tighter, more responsive turns and quicker acceleration. This increased bite into the ice does create more friction which in turn causes sacrifices to your top speed.

A shallower hollow such as the 5/8" or 3/4" can be beneficial for a heavier skater as they produce enough downward force to generate bite on their own. This shallower cut can create better glide as there is less friction between the blade and the ice. This cut can slightly hinder your ability to accelerate quickly and make tight turns because of the lack of friction. Pros and other elite-level players tend to trend more towards shallower hollows, counting on their exceptional skating ability to offset any potential ability to make quick and accurate changes in direction.

How to I determine the right skating edge? — K & K Skate

These examples can provide a great starting point when considering what cut is right for you, but the reality is that there's no way to know which hollow is best for your game without testing them out.  For new players, we don't recommend getting too bogged down in thinking about how a new radius might affect their skating - you likely won't notice much difference.  For experienced players, however, a new RoH next sharpen could have subtle, but significant impacts on your skating.

Our HSM Elite Pro Shop offers a wide array of sharpens, as seen in the image above, so next time you're in, consider testing a different one, because you never know what works for you until you try it!  At the very least, we recommend checking with your pro shop technician to find out what hollow you have been using, so if you want to change in the future you'll know what your baseline is.  Of course, sharpening is only half the battle, with profiling also playing a major role in getting your steel just right.

A free first sharpen is included with all skate purchases from HockeyStickMan!  Check out our selection of skates here.

HockeyStickMan is a proud partner of Elite Blade Performance Technology, providing pro quality sharpening for your skates.



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