DG Tips: Skate Sharpening
Ottawa Pacers: Skate Sharpening Video
Blog (Courtesy of Tim Cooney, Lethbridge Speed Skating Club)
-information on how to sharpen and set up blades
Border Blades Skate Care and Maintenance:
(To print: Care and Maintenance of Club Skates)
Whether you have rented a pair of the Club’s speed skates or you have purchased your own, they are an expensive piece of equipment that you rely on to skate your best. The better you care for them, the longer they will last and the better they will serve you. A few simple precautions will suffice to keep new speed skates in good condition over the years. First, the blades should never be allowed to get dirty or rusty and the boots should be kept clean and dry so that the leather remains in good condition.
1. To care for your rental speed skates properly, you will need to have an old towel or rag, a set of soft blade covers, and a set of hard guards.
2. You should never walk on your speed skate blades on any surface without having a set of skate guards on them. Speed skating blades are not as tough as hockey or figure skate blades and will lose their edge or be further damaged if you walk on the rubber mats in the dressing room or halls (the dirt on them from shoes is enough to dull the blades). You should always put your guards on before tying on your skates. Walk to the edge of the rink and only take them off when you are ready to go on the ice. You should put your guards on as soon as you leave the ice.
3. When you take off your skates, you should dry off the boots and the blades with the old towel that you keep in your bag. This is important to prevent rust. Then, you should put the soft blade covers on your skates. DO NOT store your skates in plastic or leather skate guards. If rust does develop on the blades, put some oil (mineral oil/baby oil) on the blade and rub the spot with a burr stone. Rust acts like a cancer on the steel, eating at the surface and weakening the blade, so it is best to get rid of rust as soon as it develops.
4. When you get home, you should open your skate bag and let your skates and equipment dry out properly after practices. Coating the blades with WD40 is encouraged.
5. Every few weeks check that your blades are still on tight. Try to wiggle or move them – if they shift, check with one of the coaches to make sure the position is correct or return them to the correct position. Do not over-tighten the bolts or you will strip them.
6. Depending on how you treat your skates, how much you weigh, and how often you skate, your skates will need to be sharpened between every couple of practices and every couple of months. Your coach can show you how to tell if your skates are in good shape and if they need to be sharpened.
7. Speed skates cannot be sharpened the same way as hockey skates and must be sharpened in a special speed skating jig. Older skaters are expected to start learning how to sharpen their skates and may borrow a Club jig to sharpen their skates. Alternatively, many of the older skaters will sharpen skates for a small charge (usually $8).
8. All club skates must be returned at the end of the year so that we have an opportunity to check them over. PLEASE DO NOT KEEP YOUR CLUB SKATES UNTIL NEXT YEAR.
9. When storing skates for the summer, make sure they are clean and dry. Coat the blades with a lite oil (WD40) to prevent any corrosion caused by damp conditions. Make sure there is no weight acting upon the blades, which might bend them during a summer in storage.
If you have any questions, please see the equipment manager.
Border Blades Equipment Summary
(To Print -with photos –Border Blades Equipment Summary)
1. Protective Helmets: Must be worn by all skaters, coaches and parents on the ice. For skaters in I Can Speed Skate, a hockey helmet can be used. If you would like to purchase a speed skating helmet, please contact your coach. All helmets must be CSA approved.
2. Elbow Pads: Recommended for younger skaters.
3. Neck Guards: Bib style is required. The neck guard is to be cut resistant, made of ballistic nylon, Kevlar or Dyneema material. It has to cover the neck and the upper chest area. Neck only guards are not acceptable. Any sports store selling hockey equipment will have these.
4. Cut Resistant Gloves: Acceptable styles are padded ski mitts, leather gloves or Kevlar speed skating gloves. In Lloydminster, Mark’s Work Warehouse, and Northern Factory Workwear are businesses that carry this style of glove. Hockey gloves are not allowed. You can purchase speed skating gloves on the websites listed on borderblades.ca such as Red River Speed and I Love Speed Skating.
5. Shin Pads: Required for all skaters. Please purchase hard plastic soccer shin pads that are available at any sports store. Wear them under your sweat pants or speed skating skin. Hockey shin pads are not acceptable for speed skating. Do not purchase soft shin pads or soft shin pads that have plastic strips.
6. Kneepads: Required for all skaters. Soft volleyball style kneepads (Nike, Asics etc) or speed skating kneepads are preferred. Hockey shin pads are not acceptable, as they slide on the ice and can be dangerous in a racing situation. Soft kneepads protect and slow the skater during a fall.
7. Protective Eye Wear: Safety glasses or goggles are mandatory for all skaters. Full face protection in the form of a hockey mask is also acceptable for beginning skaters. All glasses or goggles must be held on with a strap. Glasses cannot usually be worn with hockey helmets as there is not enough room and it puts a lot of pressure on the skater’s temples, often giving skaters a headache. Glasses can be purchased at Northern Factory Workwear for under $10.
8. Kevlar Ankle Guards: mandatory for any skater wearing speed skates (short track and now long track). They are not required for those wearing hockey skates, as those skates protect the Achilles tendon. These guards can be purchased online from a speed skating outlet, but you can purchase these at a store like Northern Factory Workwear. They are yellow, cut resistant (Kevlar) welder sleeves and are relatively inexpensive.
Hockey or speed skates are both used in the ICSS and SSI groups. Speak with your coach if you wish to rent a pair of speed skates for the season. Sharp skates make happy skaters. Please make sure your child’s skates are sharpened regularly and by hand (see above article on this page).
For ICSS participants, warm, stretchy, water resistant clothing is best. Nylon wind pants will help keep skaters dry. Long sleeves are always mandatory. Wind suits tend to be too warm for skaters and catch too much wind. In the older divisions, skaters generally wear some form of skin suit and a long sleeved t-shirt or hoodie in practice. If you are wondering what is best to wear, watch or talk to some of the older skaters. Hockey pants should be avoided.