Consider a new sharpening technique

by barbaragarn

By Mark Chapin, JMSer and a founder of Lifetime Hockey

Would you like your skates to bite into the ice more when you turn? Would you like more glide when you are on the flats of your blades?
You can have these things–with a new skate sharpening technique: the flat bottom v method, or the v-edge.

Skates have been sharpened pretty much the same way for the past 50 years. A half-moon arc is cut into the bottom of the skate blade, which gives two edges for skating. This traditional approach has worked pretty well, but when you are gliding straight on the flats of your blades, they tend to sink and create drag. 

This is where the v-edge comes in.  When the v-edge is sharpened, the blade is left flat on the bottom with two “fangs” on each edge.

The v-edge was first introduced in early 2009 by Blackstone Sports in Kingsville, Ontario. Most NHL teams have adopted it. Personally, it took me about 20 minutes at open skating to adjust to it.  

I have noticed that the blades really bite when I turn. My crossovers are much stronger. I thought my skates “chattered” a bit more when I stopped, but that went away quickly as I adjusted to the new edges. When I am on my flats, I glide like a dream. The advantages of the v-edge that I have noticed are:

  • better gliding ability,
  • better turning (more bite), and 
  • less fatigue.

The v-edge is the first skate sharpening innovation in a long time. Maybe you are a traditionalist and you want to stick to the tried and true, but I urge you to try this technique. It does not take off more steel than traditional sharpening, so if you don’t like it, you can easily switch back. The v-edge costs a few dollars more than traditional sharpening.  I know that Dave’s Sports Shop in Fridley has the equipment to do v-edge sharpening. If you tell them your skill level, they will help you choose the right cut ratio. I use the 90/75.