Every pair of Hockey or figure skates purchased from us have the option of having the first sharpen done for free by us at your chosen radius! To have your skates sharpened to your specifications either let us know when you buy your skates in our showroom or specify your radius when ordering the skates via drop down boxes on the individual items on this site. Further sharpens or to sharpen a pair you already own will only be £6 for customers visiting our Showroom!
For information and help on selecting the correct radius for you please see the below article.
EVOLUTION SKATES would like to help players understand the technical side of sharpening to better determine what is the right fit for them.
The radius may be the most important thing regarding skate sharpening, yet also the most misunderstood. Most skaters don't know about setting up for a custom radius to suite your specific skating style. However, even minor changes in the radius will make the skate react and feel very differently. Therefore, we thought we would take a short bit of time to explain this to people if they are interested.
What is the Radius?
The radius is sometimes referred to as the hollow or groove. I'm willing to bet that you were never asked by a local shop or rink what radius you would like ground onto your skates!! That's partially because a lot of the people working there don't understand it properly. Also, the skate shops & rinks don't want to take time to readjust and re-dress their wheels to a new radius. this results in using up the wheel much more quickly, again cutting into their profit margins! So, most skate shops simply leave their diamond dresser set up at a "mid-point" around 1/2" which is a 8/16th" radius.
A SMALLER RADIUS results in a "deeper hollow", more pronounced tips, a "sharper" feel (we'll address sharpness next), and more edges (surface area). With more surface area in contact with the ice, the skater feels more grip, but also results in more drag (slightly slower).
A LARGER RADIUS results in the opposite: a more "shallow hollow", less pronounced tips, a "no so sharp feel", and less surface area in contact with the ice. This gives the feeling of less grip, but also gives much less drag (faster).
What is Sharp?
If someone makes a comment after a new sharpening that their skates aren't "sharp", what they really mean to say is that "This skate does not have enough edge to suit my skating style". Olympic speed skaters actually have their skates honed with no radius (just flat). They are looking for maximum glide. Obviously they have to be extremely careful in corners without the benefit of even a small radius to help in grabbing the ice (that is why when they fall it is almost always during a cross over in a corner). But, don't ever think these skates aren't sharp!
What Size Radius is Right for Me?
So, the all important question becomes: "What radius should I have on my skates?" The local shops & rinks don't even ask you what you want. Instead, they just stick with one size and sharpen all their skates to that size. When it comes to radii, one size does NOT fit all! There are many different things to take into account in determining the proper radius. Even after settling on one, you may want to make small adjustments on subsequent sharpenings to "fine tune" to your personal taste.
The factors that go into determining your radius include weight, skating style (skater assignment), and ice temperature, and skill level. We will look at these in more detail here.
WEIGHT-an extremely light skater can tolerate very small radii (deep hollow). Because of their lighter weight, they do not cause the skate to "dig" into the ice as much. A heavy skater trying to skate on a small radius will bite into the ice so hard they will have trouble stopping without chatter or going over the top of their skates. They will also lose glide to excess friction and be working harder. Of course, they will hold a very tight turn! Based upon weight, a general starting point would be as follows: very light (6/16th"); average (10/16th"); heavy (12/16th"); hockey goalie (14/16th"-20/16").
HOCKEY PLAYERS- 1/2" or 8/16th" is the most common radius used however forwards will generally prefer smaller radii than defensemen of the same weight. According to a recent study of all NHL players 47% choose to skate on a 1/2" = 8/16th" ROH. The next most common ROH in the NHL is 5/8" = 10/16th" ROH. Goalies continue to have very large radii to "kick out" the puck without catching an edge.
FIGURE SKATERS: - kids under 60lbs usually skate on 6/16th" radii. A 7/16th" radius will take care of most skaters above this. When in a professional program, it is best to discuss proper radii with the instructor, based upon the type of programs they will be performing.
RECREATIONAL SKATERS: - Again the most commonly used radi is 8/16th" but some skaters may prefer more glide and may prefer a 10/16th". Again this comes down to personal preference.
BANDY: Skaters prefer very shallow hollows to permit more glide, due to the increased skating times and larger playing surface.
ICE TEMPERATURE-Optimum ice temperature for a rink is usually around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from 17-23 is considered "hard hockey ice". 25-26 degrees is considered good figure skating ice. Usually on colder/harder ice, people prefer a slightly smaller radius (and vice versa)
SKILL LEVEL-As people get advanced and along the professional ranking, they tend to use smaller radii, as they have the combination of leg/ankle strength and talent to "get away with it".
Proper Skate Sharpening
For proper sharpening, the radius of hollow must be centered down the middle of a skate blade. This results in an equal bite angle on both inside and outside edges.
An off-center sharpening will result in one edge being higher than the other and different bite angles from edge to edge. Most sharpening machines require the operator to center the grinding wheel on the skate blade by eye. Therefore, the training, judgement, and conscientiousness of the operator can greatly affect the quality of the sharpening.