The Art of Skate Sharpening
|Richard Langlois, owner of Lou's Shoe Repair, introduced
skate-sharpening as a service in October. Since then he has built up a
growing following of people of all ages in need of sharpening. He has
several pieces of advice for people who are trying to get the most out of
|Wear skate guards, but do not leave them on after skating or the
water will rust the blade;|
|Get into the habit of drying your skates after you use them and take
them out of your bag when you get home to air them out;|
|Try to avoid walking in the lobby area where there is a lot of foot
traffic. You will step on gravel and get nicks in the bottom of your
|Outdoor ice is much harder on a blade than indoor ice. So if you do
a lot of skating on outdoor ice, you will have to get your skates
sharpened more often.|
Sharpening skates properly requires a good eye and attention. The first
thing Richard does with a skate is level the blade so that it is uniform
and flat. Then he carefully lines up the "grind" so that it is
directly along the centre of the blade and not closer to one edge or the
other. This is the critical part of the sharpening in order to give the
person good balance on the ice.
The next thing to determine is the kind of edge to put on the blade.
For example, a figure skater needs to have a deeper groove in order to
help with the sharp turns and stops. A hockey edge does not need quite as
deep a groove. Hockey players need to be able to glide more quickly and
get speed. A goalie edge is even less pronounced since a goalie must be
able to slide sideways in the net and does not want his edge to be
sticking into the ice.
|Richard warns that nicks are very hard on a blade. In order
to get rid of a nick you must grind the blade down to eliminate the entire
nick. The deeper the nick, the more blade you will lose to get rid of it.
Therefore, be extremely careful when walking around areas where there may
be gravel and avoid stepping on metal edging around the bench.
Skate sharpening can be done at Lou's Shoe Repair for $4.00 per pair.
The hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.