Sharpening skates requires a machine designed to grind metal and an appropriate guard for setting a grinding depth for the blade.The process cuts a concave semicircle into the blade that catches in the ice and provides grip. The degree of grip depends on the depth of the semicircle cut into the blade.
- Purchase a metal grinder and a finishing stone for metal honing
The grinder is necessary for carving out the groove in the skate's blade. It should provide an adjustable grinding width, so that deeper or shallower concave shapes can be cut into the blade, as different grooves are necessary for different types of skating. Cuts using a 1-inch grind provide less bite and create a much shallower groove in the skate, while a 3/8-inch grind cuts a deeper semicircle and provides more bite. Many skating rinks or sports equipment shops provide grinding services.
- Cut the appropriate groove into the skate's blade
The proper groove depth depends on the skater's usage. Shallow grooves provide better stop and starting ability, though at the cost of grip on the ice. Shallow grooves work best for recreational skaters and hockey goalies. Deeper grooves offer a better grip on the ice, providing better turning ability and grip, though they can affect speed as the blade catches more of the ice with each movement. Deeper grooves work best for hockey players or skaters who need to make sharper turns.
- Finish the outside of the blade with the finishing stone
After the grinding process, the outside edges of the blade are often scuffed up by the tool. Smoothing the outside edge with a metal honing stone removes any gouges from the outside of the skate's blade, focusing the gripping texture at the edge of the blade.