How Do You Know If Your Ice Skates Need Sharpening? Here’s How!

How Do You Know If Your Ice Skates Need Sharpening? Here's How!

Skate Sharpening

Skating with blunt blades can not only impact your performance but also result in severe consequences. Therefore, you need to understand how to tell if your ice skates need sharpening. Once you know these tell-tale signs, you will be able to keep your ice skates sharpened and enjoy a better skating experience.

If you have spent more than 15 to 20 hours on the ice, you need to sharpen your ice skates. Moreover, if you constantly keep falling, your ice skates need sharpening to form a better grip with the ice. If you are experiencing any difficulty making turns on the ice, your ice skates need to be sharpened. Lastly, you can do the thumb check to determine whether or not you need to sharpen your skates.

Today, you will learn how to know when your ice skates need sharpening. Moreover, you will also understand why you need to sharpen your ice skates to get the best performance possible on the ice rink. Sharp ice skates make all the difference in ice hockey, and you will learn how to stay in sync with your ice skates’ performance and sharpen them on a regular basis.

How Do I Know If My Ice Skates Need Sharpening?

Several signs might indicate the need for sharpening your ice skates. The majority of professionals recommend sharpening your ice skates every 15 hours of ice time. Ice can take a toll on the blades, and you need to keep your ice skates in a pristine condition for peak performance. Let’s take a look at some other signs to understand when your ice skates need sharpening.

You Have Spent More Than 15 Hours on The Ice.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are on the rink for ice hockey practice for a total of more than 15 hours, you need to sharpen your ice skates. However, this depends on the intensity of your training and several other factors, such as:

  • How hard was your practice on the ice?
  • What is your size and weight?
  • How do you protect your blades off the ice?
  • What is the hardness level of the ice?

If you are on the skating rink and you are giving it your best, you may need to sharpen your ice skates even earlier, or every 8 to 10 hours. On the other hand, if you do not push yourself too far, anything between 15 to 20 hours will do. Therefore, the average time to sharpen your ice skates after being on the ice is around 15 hours.

You Keep Falling Constantly.

If you have dull blades, your ice skates will not be able to form a powerful grip with the ice. Therefore, you could keep falling over while skating at the rink.

If you have nicks in your blades, this could require you to sharpen your ice skates as well. Dull blades with nicks in them can cause an imbalance in the skates. These nicks prevent adequate adherence between the blades and the surface of the ice. This is why if you feel an imbalance in your ice skating practice, you need to sharpen your ice skates properly.

You Can’t Make Quick Turns on Ice.

We have all seen ice hockey players move on ice as if they were free from any form of friction. They can make sudden stops and turns without falling over. This is all because they keep their ice skates in a pristine condition by keeping the blades sharp.

If you have trouble making sharp or quick turns, it might indicate a problem with your blades. You can sharpen your ice skates to get a better grip over your movement, and easily make turns without losing your balance.

If you keep your ice skates sharpened, your uniform blades will allow for agility and precision on the ice skating surface. So, sharpen your ice skates if you do not have the same control as you did in the past.

You Can Do the Thumb Test to Check the Blades.

This is the most common way of checking whether or not your ice skates require sharpening. You have to:

  • Place your thumbnail on the blades
  • Slide them across gently without cutting your thumb
  • Check if the blade shaved off part of your nails or not

If the blade shaves off some portion of your nail, it means that there is a suitable edge present to offer you maximum agility and control over your ice skates. However, if your thumbnail slides across with minor signs in the middle of the nail, it is time to sharpen your ice skates.

Moreover, professionals recommend doing the thumb test on 3 to 5 different spots on your blades. Try to even them out from one edge to the other.

Why Do You Need to Sharpen Your Ice Skates?

You are probably wondering the reason behind sharpening the ice skates. Well, aside from offering you a better performance on the ice, sharpening ensures that skates do not lose their life span or result in severe consequences for the wearer. You can fall and injure yourself if you continue to wear dull blades.

Ice skates have two parallel running blades with a hollow place in between them. When the wearer places any weight on these blades to move forwards, the body weight can force the edges to “round out.” Moreover, the friction between the blades and the ice can also speed up this process, and your blades can get rounded edges rather than sharp edges.

Therefore, sharpening can remove these rounded edges and return sharp edges that can easily dig into the ice and give you a better grip. Additionally, there can be nicks on your blades due to:

  • Hockey pucks
  • Sticks
  • Other skates
  • Hitting hard surfaces other than ice.

These nicks take away the uniform level of the blades and result in an imbalance. This is yet another reason to sharpen your blades as it will remove those nicks and give you uniform sharpness all over the blade.

How Can You Sharpen Your Ice Skates?

You can either get these sharpened by a professional or use a re-edger tool at home. There are hundreds of different tools available online that can help you keep your ice skates sharp at home.

These re-edging tools come with a sharpening stone at one end that you can use to sharpen your blades. However, professionals recommend wearing protective gloves to protect your hands from the sharp blades.

You can also try the old way and take any stone to sharpen your blades. This may not be a professional idea, but it works. If you run a sharp stone against your ice skates’ hard and dull edges, it can take care of the rounded out edges and give you a better performance.

What is the Bottom Line Here?

Sharp ice skates are extremely important in hockey and other ice-related sports. These can make all the difference, and dull or blunt blades will always lose to sharp ones. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on your ice skates and make sure to keep the blades sharp for enjoying peak performance at all times.

Having dull blades on the ice could make you lose your balance and speed. Therefore, if you are looking for the utmost agility and control at all times, you can keep an eye out for the signs mentioned above. These will let you know when to sharpen your ice skates.