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Author Topic: Forward scratch spin and Gold Seal spin rocker  (Read 172 times)

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Offline tstop4me

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Forward scratch spin and Gold Seal spin rocker
« on: August 26, 2017, 10:02:10 AM »
My number one goal is to nail a forward scratch spin.  My coach strongly recommends that I upgrade my blade (currently Eclipse Aurora) to Wilson Gold Seal because she believes the spin rocker on the Gold Seal gives you a much better spin.  The most info I’ve been able to find on spin rockers is from the Paramount website.  According to them, the Gold Seal has a 12” radius spin rocker and an 8 ft radius main rocker.  From a mechanics perspective, I can see where this blade profile would be advantageous for a scratch spin:  (1) the sweet spot is sharply defined and (2) the heel lift is large.  I’ve really liked the edge retention of stainless-steel blades, so I’m shying away from Gold Seal.  Of the stainless-steel blades patterned after the Gold Seal (Paramount, Ultima, and Eclipse), only Paramount appears to faithfully reproduce the small spin-rocker radius of the Gold Seal, so that leaves me with Paramount as the only option (even though I don’t particularly like the chassis design of their blades and their pricing scheme). 

Before I proceed, I would like to hear of other skaters’ experiences; in particular, I would like to hear from skaters who have skated on both Gold Seal and blades with a larger spin-rocker radius (flatter spin rocker).  Did you find it easier to pull off a good forward scratch spin with the Gold Seal?   <<I'll address Gold Seal vs Paramount in a separate post.>>

Offline Query

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Re: Forward scratch spin and Gold Seal spin rocker
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 08:55:25 PM »
I can't speak to either of the blade models you are asking about. In addition, most of my spin attempts are awful. (Oddly enough, now that I am relaxing, rather than using a lot of tension everywhere, because of my hernia, I'm actually doing a little better - by generating just a line of a little stabilizing muscle tension from the free foot and leg on up to the opposite shoulder. I'm raising the arm opposite the free leg high, high above my head, to lengthen that line of stabilized stillness. I'm also initiating the spin by turning the skating toe slightly outwards, which creates a turn without loosing speed, like tapping the toe pick would. But no one told me to do these things. These things just work better for my particular body, and are less likely than using more muscle tension to make my hernia worse.)

I'm reluctant to trust Paramount's measurements of other people's blades. In part because blades are often made inconsistently - and Paramount probably took one measurement from one blade pair - and it might not even have been completely new, since most pro shops and many mail order shops do a preliminary sharpening to what the sharpener at that shop THINKs the shape should have been. If Paramount is right, Wilson blades, like the Gold Seals, actually have TWO sweet spots up front, which might split the strength of each transition point.

It would not be at all surprising if your current blades have been worn to the point where there does not exist a sharp sweet spot transition, or the sweet spot may have been moved by your sharpeners, accidentally or on purpose. A really good sharpener could maybe correct that. If you sharpen your own with hand tools, it is relatively easy to make a strong sharp transition - a few strokes, carefully placed, starting at the sweet spot, in both directions, with extra pressure on the part further away from the sweet spot, with a tool like the Pro-Filer, or equivalent, will make all the difference. Moving the sweet spot (e.g., you might like it underneath the ball of your foot) may take a few more strokes, and careful planning. However, not everyone agrees on how sharp the transition should be, or on exactly where the sweet spot should be, so be prepared to experiment.

you said, the aurora had a flatter spin rocker than the Coronation Ace - but I don't know how that compares to the Gold Seal.

Another issue is how much space there is to rock until the first tooth of the toe pick (the "drag pick") touches. Many people like to roll forwards to just short of that point. If true, you might need more precise control to use the Gold Seal, because it is supposed to be a top level freestyle blade (meaning it has a long aggressive toe pick - see http://www.worldsbestblades.com/products/gold-seal), whereas the Aurora, according to https://ice.riedellskates.com/products/blades/aurora, isn't. They are comparing the Aurora in their catalog to a Coronation Ace - mostly considered a low-intermediate blade.

In those two pictures, it does look like the Gold Seal has a stronger rocker change at the sweet spot. But the truth is, that might be a matter of perspective and lenses. The difference between figure skating blades are mostly on the order of a few thousandths of an inch or less, and I'm not sure you can always tell the difference from pictures.

The thing that would be most scary to me is that it looks, from that catalog, like you have to order Gold Seal in "tapered" or "parabolic" versions. That means they are not the same thickness along the full length - which means that anyone but a really top notch sharpener (there might be 5 or 10 in the world) could easily mess up, because they are somewhat harder to align correctly.  don't know whether you can order them with parallel edges that lesser sharpeners can handle more easily. I THINK - but am not sure - that Gold Seals are also vertically side honed (e.g., thickest at the bottom), which is even easier for a lesser sharpener to mess up - could lead to uneven edges, and wavy, unpredictable thicknesses and edge angles, if the sharpener doesn't take off exactly the same amount of metal from different parts of the blade, or if he/she uses a tool to create a right angle between the side of the blade, and the line across the edges.

Incidentally, the Gold Seals are "high carbon steel", not "high carbon stainless steel" and will require more careful care to avoid rust.

However, for the most part I would guess you should just trust your coach... Until and unless you find out otherwise. Why else pay a coach exorbitant lesson fees? I know the blades seem expensive - and they are, by the standards of what I pay for ordinary shoes and clothing. But they are probably only what you pay for 5 or 10 hours of lessons. The coach is familiar with the blades she advocates, knows how to use the features of those particular blades, and/or has probably had good results teaching students using them. Presumably she knows of a skate tech who can sharpen them well. (Do I remember that you sharpen your own, so it isn't an issue?) So, with your coach, maybe they make sense. And maybe she thinks you are capable of high level freestyle skating, which matches the target market of the Gold Seals. (I'd personally stay away from them, because of the big nasty toe pick - but I mostly don't try to jump, which makes toe picks more an annoyance than an advantage. Maybe I should grind them away, but am afraid to, because it is an irreversible change.)


Offline Query

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Re: Forward scratch spin and Gold Seal spin rocker
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 09:38:26 PM »
Didn't you mention you bought rocker measurement tools? Could you take them to a pro shop and measure the rockers? Maybe that would answer your questions about them. And I believe you said you have high precision micrometers and/or calipers - so you can look at horizontal and vertical side honing. You can also place a line between the rear-most toe pick and the corresponding tangent point along the blade, which is where you can roll to just barely touch the tooth, and see how far it is roll from the sweet spot to there.

On both types of new blade, and on your somewhat worn ones.

So you can learn everything you need to know.