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The Pro Shop / Re: Sharpening near the toe pick
« Last post by Query on Today at 11:25:41 AM »
I actually prefer a coarser stone than either of the Pro-Filer stones to make the initial cut on the previously unsharpened part - like is on the old Berghman sharpeners - because it is fast enough to create a full depth hollow in a more reasonable amount of time. The way I see it, if the hollow isn't ground deep enough to touch the sides of the blade, it doesn't actually create a sharper edge angle.

Unfortunately, the Berghman sharpeners were only made for 1/2" hollows, so the front part wouldn't be the same hollow, unless you finish it with your Pro-Filer. The oldest are available on eBay for as little as $5, though a more modern one, made in the 1950's, would have a less crumbly stone. The Berghmans too can be used right up to the toe pick - in fact I find it easier to control. However, because they are coarse, they can't create quite as sharp an edge, if you are into super-sharp edges.

You can also buy online appropriate diameter (2*ROH) cylindrical sharpening stones (search for "cylindrical stones", and if you can carefully use cardboard, "abrasive sleeves" and "spiral bands") from several sources, with various grits. I think a 60 - 80 grit stone will cut fairly fast. I think you can even use the cylindrical stones from a hockey tool, like, in your Pro-Filer handle - I use a hammer "pin punch" to remove the pin keeping the old stone in that handle; maybe you could use an appropriate size cheap disposable hex key instead. (I'm not sure if a rivet remover could be used.)

As far as how close you should come to the toe pick: Try this experiment: Color the bottom of the blades with pencil. Skate. Do some 3-turns and jumps. I think you will find that the ice wears off the pencil all the way up to the back pick - and also takes off the hollow on most of the blade, which implies that even more of the blade (briefly?) touches than you think. I don't know how much that depends on technique or how hard you jump and land, as I have only tried it for me. I don't point enough to get the other picks, but a more better, more flexible skater might.

When I sharpen the area close to the toepick with Pro-Filer or similar hand tools, I put cloth tape (I use cloth first aid tape, but duct tape should work) on the pick itself, so I don't accidentally touch and dull it. I think that is a good idea.

You can also VERY carefully enhance the edge on the toe pick itself - but only if you ARE very careful not to dull the corners. I'd never try that with a standard machine sharpener. Whether or not you need that depends on how much sideways grab you want the picks to have. Clearly the majority of the figure skating population makes due with the factory grind on the toe picks, and the Jackson Ultima blades start out VERY sharp, including in the toe picks. So unless and until you have to trim the back pick to match the wear on the rest of the blade, you might want to leave the toe pick alone. (For that matter, most figure skaters get buy without sharpening the area close to the toe pick at all, and most don't believe it is needed.)

I guess you theoretically could sharpen very close to the toe pick using the cross-grinder on a standard powered sharpening machine, if it has one. You might want to turn the skate around mid-sharpening, to get the edge symmetric, because cross-grinders don't otherwise do that very well. I haven't enough experience to trust my blades at all to those powered sharpening machines. I feel they take off more metal, and it is too easy for me to make mistakes on them. So I haven't tried it.
The Pro Shop / Re: Avanta Contact Info
« Last post by Query on Today at 10:15:33 AM »
Regardless of whatever issues people have had with Avanta in the past, Don (Donald) Klingbeil has made a Facebook post, in which he says Will Murillo and possibly himself will be in NYC taking orders for Avanta boots on 12/27/17:

If you have trouble contacting Avanta, you might try contacting Don, through his facebook page:

The quote is at

It says

Hi everyone .
Its that time again to send out a post about the wonderful Avanta Skating Boots. Will Murillo has been going out by popular demand to take measurements and castings again..I am very proud of how far Avanta has come.As you probably know I feel that the Avanta boots are the finest boots on the market.They have also improved their customer servie and has adopted Klingbeils way of treating customers.So Will will be in New York-Long Island taking orders for boots on Dec. 27. and I believe I will be ther also. I would be happy to see enjoy the company of skaters again and answer questions.Please call Avanta Skating Labs and speak to Sue , Allie , or Will at 510 990 2138 from 12pm to 8pm.I really hope to see you soon!!!!! Thanks So Much , Donald Klingbeil.

The phone number in that message is the same as is on Avanta's web page and Avanta's Facebook page. However, the hours (which I presume are Pacific Standard Time; Add 3 hours to get Eastern Standard Time) are somewhat unexpected. (When I have tried to call Avanta in the morning, it did not work, not surprising since they are only open in the Pacific Time afternoon and evening.)

I have dealt with and completely trust Don :), from back when he ran and was the master bootmaker for Klingbeil boots, and if he comes to NYC, I would be completely confident that his fit measurements would be nearly perfect, though of course Avanta has to actually make and ship the boots.

I haven't dealt with Will, but he is quite experienced, and was trained to make make and fit skates by the Klingbeils starting in 1994. He is listed as the Avanta boot designer, and I guess he is in charge there: (out of date - the Klingbeil company no longer exists, but has interesting historical info of Don, the Klingbeil copmany, and Will) (Says that Avanta is slow to make boots. Slow enough (over 12 weeks) that if you are a child, you might outgrow the boots before they come, if you have a growth spurt. :( Slow enough that if your current boots are broken down, or non-existent, you may not choose to wait.)

Getting the right fitter for skates extremely important. If you were to order from Avanta, these are probably the right people to do the fit. Avanta might also be most likely to accept returns for bad fit, if the fit was done by one of them.

This is not an endorsement of Avanta - just information. I have no experience with Avanta, and do not personally know anyone who has Avanta boots, nor have I seen their boots in person.
The Pro Shop / Re: Sharpening near the toe pick
« Last post by tstop4me on November 22, 2017, 04:14:10 PM »
One conclusion is that various blades have differences in the unused length. I would expect that with worn blades that sharpening would be required nearer to the pick. Check your own blades on a flat surface to see if your sharpener goes far enough.
Yes, the unused length [referred to as the non-skateable zone by Sidney Broadbent] is a function of the spin rocker radius, which varies with different blade models.  Paramount has informative videos on "Blade Profiles" and "Lift Angles"  here: .  From limited info that I've been able to gather, Ultima and Eclipse blades nominally patterned after MK and Wilson models have a flatter (larger radius) spin rocker than the MK and Wilson originals, resulting in a longer unused length, moving the sweet spot further back, and reducing the maximum lift angle.  Paramount claims that they follow the spin rockers of MK and Wilson closely.

Yes, the advantage of the hand-held Pro-Filer is that you can sharpen right up to the drag pick.  Standard commercial skate sharpeners typically use a 7" or 8" diam grinding wheel, which limits how close to the toepick you can sharpen.  The Incredible Edger uses a smaller (3" diam) grinding wheel and can sharpen closer to the toepick.  One skate tech I used to go to used an Incredible Edger, and I was not happy with the results, though. 

My current skate tech uses a Blackstone machine. After repeated sharpenings, if he needs to touch up the (usually) unsharpened area just in back of the toepick, he uses a cross grinder, available as an attachment to the main sharpener.  Over time, if you need to maintain the same maximum heel lift as a new blade, you also need to grind down the drag pick carefully.

Sidney Broadbent designed a blade with a removable toepick assembly so you could sharpen the entire length of the blade.  But it never caught on.
The Pro Shop / Re: Sharpening near the toe pick
« Last post by icedancer on November 22, 2017, 01:42:58 PM »
That's okay!!

I think if I do ever get new skates they might be a little bigger so I might be able to use that 10.5! 

I can wait. ;D

Those that know me know that I am always looking to pick up an extra pair of blades here and there - was so jealous when a friend who recently came back to skating after a 10-year hiatus found a brand new pair of MK Dance in the back of her closet.

And actually unless you are doing dance and tripping on the backs of your blades those Aces are great!
The Pro Shop / Re: Sharpening near the toe pick
« Last post by Bill_S on November 22, 2017, 01:37:55 PM »
My Synchro is 10.5" (mounting plate tip to toe).

I hadn't considered selling it because I always thought that I'd mount it and try it out. I've skated only on Aces since I started, so I was curious about trying something different.

I think that I'll hang onto the Synchro blades a while longer just in case I get ambitious. Ask me in another year or two if I've mounted them!  ;)
The Pro Shop / Re: Sharpening near the toe pick
« Last post by icedancer on November 22, 2017, 12:51:53 PM »
Being blade-obsessed at times I love your analysis and conclusions!

Also wondering about that Synchro Blade - what size is it?  Ever think of selling it?  (I would love to try a Synchro Blade as my Super Dance 99 are just WAY too short and sometimes unstable (10.25).

The Pro Shop / Sharpening near the toe pick
« Last post by Bill_S on November 22, 2017, 11:44:53 AM »
Long post follows...

I made some measurements this morning in order to answer the question "how close to the toe pick to sharpen." Some sharpeners will grind far enough to remove some of the pick, others leave a long un-sharpened length to avoid contacting the toe pick. Even the most careful sharpener won't sharpen immediately behind the toe pick because of sharpening machine geometry.

I took two different blades that I had on hand, and marked the front of the blade in 1/4 inch increments. I set them on a flat piece of wood (flat, like the ice we skate on), and tipped the blades up so that the pick just contacted the surface. I could read off how much dead space there was behind the pick. I also made photos.

I realized that toe picks "dig in" the ice when actually skating and that might affect the dead-zone, so I drilled a shallow hole in the wood to simulate the pick engaging the ice lightly.

First up were my daily Coronation Aces, now 10 years old. The rocker is still very close to the original. I traced it when new for a reference. Also I have a lot of good metal left for sharpening. (I hand sharpen, and that's much gentler than a power grinder.)

Here is a side shot of the pick area when the pick just contacts the surface. The distance back from the pick where the blade contacts the ice surface is 7/8".

When the blade rocks forward and the pick is embedded in the ice a bit, it changes the distance. In my simple experiment, I could see that I need to have a sharp edge within 5/8" of the pick. That small distance surprised me a bit...

I have a pair of Jackson Synchro blades that I once intended to use. They are unused.

The first photo shows that an length of 1-1/8" is not engaging the ice when the blade is flat on the surface...

The photo of the pick embedded in the surface a bit produces an unused length just over 3/4"...

Through this experiment, I found that the Jackson blades have a longer bit of blade not engaging the ice. It might be that the rocker is positioned rearward too, but the result is that this would be an easier blade to sharpen.

One last photo - most power sharpening equipment uses a shaped grinding wheel along the length of the blade. Because of geometry, this prevents the operator from sharpening right up to the toe pick.

My case is a little different because I use a Pro Filer hand sharpener, and I can push the stone right up to the pick. However that part of the blade has not been pre-sharpened at the factory, and it would take forever to build a hollow right behind the toe pick. Still, every time I sharpen, I run the device up to the pick.  Slowly, I'm building a hollow there. Here is a shot showing my blade area behind the pick...

I'm creeping up on an edge right behind the pick, but from feel, there's about a 1/2" length that remains without a good edge. Thankfully, my measurements for Aces show that even with the pick engaged, I still have a good edge on the ice. That first 1/2" length of sharpened blade isn't needed.

One conclusion is that various blades have differences in the unused length. I would expect that with worn blades that sharpening would be required nearer to the pick. Check your own blades on a flat surface to see if your sharpener goes far enough.
Off-Ice Training for Skaters / Re: Planet Fitness - Tips, Suggestions?
« Last post by Query on November 21, 2017, 09:09:35 PM »
If you stay past a certain date, they will hit you with a $39/year extra fee. Also, are the black card services important to you? (They may be if you travel, BTW, because you can go to other Planet Fitness Gyms at no extra charge.) Maybe you can quietly bargain with the manager to get the $99/year prepaid single-facility deal (no sign-up fee) that they probably offer once/year.

Peak time, my Planet Fitness was very crowded, but was fine the rest of the time. Because they are the low end of the price and pay range, they don't get the best trainers. They only do strength training classes (which are free, as are one-on-one sessions with their trainer, if you come during the right hours, though being a coach, maybe you don't need a trainer), not cardio, dance or stretch. Minimal free weight equipment (only two dumbbells of each weight, at the gym I tried, shared by everyone. No swimming pool or hot tub! :( You can't bring in your own trainer or equipment. The mat area, for things like stretching and floor work, is quite limited, and they may not allow fitness clothing that looks too good, or showing off too much in any other way. It may depend a bit on the individual gym, but they nominally kick people out for showing off. I couldn't fit some of the equipment (I'm small), but made due for a while with a few seat cushions - which the trainer authorized me to bring in despite the no-outside-equipment rule.

But compared to most other gyms, they are ridiculously cheap, and the equipment is adequate for most purposes. And with that location, you won't need to pay driving or parking fees, which at many gyms, both far exceed the cost of the gym. There is far less status in visiting Planet Fitness then LA Fitness, etc., if that matters to you. But they have the basics. And once you join, you can get in 24 hours/day, which can be quite convenient working around your skating regimen and other commitments - arguably the best feature.

It is quite possible you will eventually decide you don't need a lot of fancy equipment, and will eventually create a small home gym which has what you really need. But Planet Fitness is a great starting point, at not much money.

See also

Go for the free tour to take a look. The tour costs nothing.

If you join, find a big water bottle that fits in all their machines, because they often don't want them on the floor.

BTW, I switched from their $159/year basic membership to a $300/year Fitness/Swim pass at a county-run aquatics facility with its own fitness center. At my age, it's now $195/year. Not open as many hours, but I love the pool and hot tub, I can bring my own equipment (like a Yoga stretch strap), and I found a first class trainer. If I had hired his help instead of trying to figure out fitness training for myself, I might not have gotten a hernia.

If you join another commercial gym, most do not have a fixed price. They charge whatever they think you can afford, and you may pay 10x what someone else pays for more or less the same thing. Start by asking for a student discount. Say you are a skating student. :) Ask other people what they paid.
Off-Ice Training for Skaters / Planet Fitness - Tips, Suggestions?
« Last post by FigureSpins on November 21, 2017, 07:54:20 PM »
Planet Fitness is opening a new workout center within walking distance of our house.  I usually work out in the fitness center/classes at the rink, but DH doesn't really like it that much.  I'm thinking of trying it out; they're offering $0 down on their Black Card so I could get that and work out at another PF a little further away until ours opens.

Any tips for PF or suggestions regarding workouts and their signups, app, etc.?
The Pro Shop / Re: Jackson Fusion Line Anyone?
« Last post by Sibelius on November 20, 2017, 07:01:49 PM »
I think that's only on the 5XXX boots, Supreme and Elite.  Those carbon soles look pretty nice, this gray sole looks different.  I'll have to wait and see one in person.  I'd sacrifice some style for a little weight reduction and more shock absorption.  Hopefully her fitter will get one in stock soon, he had the first Debut models well before they were released, that's how we knew how stiff they really were.
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