Sharpening speed skates is both an art and a science. You will see many different styles as you travel around the speed skating world. All speed skaters should eventually learn how to sharpen their own speed skates. The Club occasionally offers sharpening clinics, but one of the best ways to learn is to sit down with an older skater or coach who knows how to sharpen skates. Skaters in the competitive program will also sharpen skates for a small fee (usually $5 a pair). It really makes a difference to have sharp skates, so please remember to keep your skates sharp. Once skates get really dull, they can take a long time to sharpen.
Speed skate blades are flat ground as opposed to the hollow ground hockey and figure skate blades. A flat ground blade reduces the friction on the ice and is a major reason why the speed skate will glide further than the hockey skate for a given amount of force. A speed skate will glide further than the hockey skate for a given amount of force. A speed skate cannot be sharpened effectively on a hockey skate sharpening stand and a hockey sharpening apparatus will likely destroy the blade. The skates must be simultaneously sharpened in order to assure that the blades are mirror images of one another, both in the rocker and in the amount of blade on each skate. Sharpening each skate individually as done by a hockey stand cannot guarantee that the blades have the same rocker or amount of steel. The objective of sharpening speed skates is to sharpen them perfectly flat, with a 90 degree angle on each side. During the sharpening procedure, it is important not to change the rocker on the skates or to damage the bend.
Difficulty in sharpening is directly proportional to the length of the time between sharpening and the care that the skate blade gets. If you cannot shave any fingernail on the edge of your skate, it is too dull to skate on and should be sharpened. The duller a skate gets, the more grinding must be done to produce a burr and the greater the chance of changing the position of the high point of the rocker.