THE ELEMENTS OF A GOOD SHARPENING
The elements of a good sharpening can be summarized with the abbreviation ESS. ESS stands for Even, Sharp and Smooth. A properly sharpened skate should have Even Edges, Sharp Edges and a Smooth Surface Finish. It is important to check these three elements any time your skates are sharpened. Even if only one of these elements is off, your performance could be impacted.
E = EVEN EDGE HEIGHT
After having your skates sharpened, test for even edges using an edge checker. Any visible unevenness should be fixed. See Page 23 for more information on measuring even edge height, including the importance of using an edge checker.
S = SHARP EDGES
The key to confidently turning and stopping is knowing that your edge will be there when you need it. A quick test for a sharp edge is to hold the skate upside down, place one thumbnail on the edge of the blade and gently pull down and away from the blade. A good sharp blade will easily scrape a layer of your thumbnail with very little pressure.
S = SMOOTH SURFACE FINISH
The final item you want to check is the finish on the skating surface. The skating surface should be shiny and smooth. Any visible lines should run parallel to the skating direction and should be very faint and barely noticeable. If you do see other lines – especially lines in a “snake skin” pattern or lines that run perpendicular to the skating surface, your performance will be impacted. The symptom of a non-smooth finish will be a “dragging” sensation when you are gliding which is caused by the increased friction due to the pattern on the skating surface.