Ice Quality
Ice temperature is playing a bit of a factor in today’s game. Soft ice will allow for more grip but makes the game slow. On the other hand, harder cooler ice is providing less grip but is faster.

So remember:

  • Soft and standard ice will work well with your preferred edge
  • Very hard ice will require more bite

Blade Quality
Blade brand and quality play a critical factor in skater performance. Only quality steel can provide consistent performance and hold an edge longer.

Key factors are:

  • Steel quality (Steel, Stainless Steel, Knife Steel)
  • Blade thickness (2.8mm for players, 3mm/4mm for goalies)
  • Consistent blade contour 
  • Steel hardness and treatment
  • Blade finish (brushed, polished, coating) 
  • Coating (CrN, DLC, TiN,  WCC, Paint)


Blade Thickness
Some of the brands provide poor quality blades with large production tolerances. The most critical deficiency is the blade thickness, or to be more specific, a too-thin blade. The effects seen on the ice are:

  • loosing an edge a regular basis
  • falling
  • low stability and balance
  • low speed and agility
  • choppy stride

also more frequent sharpening is needed. The below pictures illustrate the geometric effect. 

Thin blades are a major headache for both skater and skate sharpener. Most are unaware of this issue. Player blades
must measure 2.8mm or more, and goalie blades 4 or 3mm.

Example: A player blade measures 2.6 instead of 2.8mm. The skater is asking for a 5/8" ROH sharpening. This sharpening would deliver an 82.75° edge bite. However, due to the missing material, a 5/8" dressed sharpening wheel would create an 85.3° edge bite. It is, in fact, a 3/4" ROH sharpening.
This skater will be complaining about a weak edge, falling issues and that his blade feels dull early.
FBV and BFD sharpenings will end up with much smaller fangs or in extreme cases with no edge at all.
The picture to the left explains an additional issue caused by a thin blade. Most skate sharpeners do not realize the impact in regards to machine holder settings. As a result edge bite differences from one to the other edge will be even more significant.

T = Thickness of Blade
r = Radius
D = Depth
W = Width
α = Bite Angle