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Author Topic: New skates! Any tips on long term care?  (Read 318 times)

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Offline Sam_Bryant

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New skates! Any tips on long term care?
« on: May 17, 2017, 11:33:07 PM »
So! I finally took the plunge and bought my first rather higher end/expensive pair of skates! I got a pair of Don Jackson Premiere 2800's with a Coronation Ace blade. (Yes I know they are womens. Don't care. White skates are <3) They weren't cheap though and I wondered if anyone on here has some tips on making sure they last? Whether its basic care or more detailed stuff!

Thanks a bunch!

Sam
Check out my blog as an adult getting back into figure skating! All input is appreciated ^_^

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Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: New skates! Any tips on long term care?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 03:49:26 PM »
The following is just my opinion based on my own skate care... every now and again I get the urge to organize my thoughts by writing them down, so this is from a memo I wrote at one time, perhaps this will be helpful.

To keep your blades in good shape, your blade mounts from rusting and to keep your leather soles from rotting-
1) Remove as much water and ice as possible from your blade, mount, sole and boot after skating with a dry cloth. Take your time, condensation will continue to build for at least four hours after you skate due to temperature changes.
2)  After drying, apply a dry thick puffy soaker to the blade and pull it up around the sole and mount. Leave in place for a while to wick moisture from the bottom of your skates. Generally, you can just leave them in place until you get your skates home.
3)  After you remove the puffy soakers, apply a dry blade-only soaker to your blades. Position your skates so that the soles get plenty of air for the next few hours at least. Don't forget to turn your puffy soakers inside out to dry them after use.
4)  Make sure your soles are sno-sealed if need be. Most skates come with a light seal when you buy them, but some are varnished. Watch the varnish for signs of wearing off, but it will likely last a long time, possibly the life of the boot. The other sealants often need to be reapplied, watch for signs they are wearing off like flaking or softening around the blade plates. You can apply the sno seal or the pro shop can do it for you. Always have your boots resealed before you apply new blades. Always give your soles at least 24 hours to dry before applying the seal.  The frequency of sno seal application can vary tremendously from skater to skater based on the skate, humidity, care of the skates etc.
5) Check your blades after every skate for nicks. Run your finger down the length of the blade to feel for any rough spots. A Honing stone can smooth most small nicks. A bit of mineral oil smeared on the spot can make the stone more effective.
6) If you are not going to be skating for a few days, try applying mineral oil to the blade bottoms and toe pick to protect them from rust spots. Wipe it off gently prior to your next skate. A mineral oil moist cloth also helps smooth blades after a sharpening and remove any metal dust or debris.
7) Sharpen your blades regularly. Depending on the person, most blades will need sharpening approximately every 20-30 hours on the ice. Keep track of your skating hours and how your blades feel as time goes on. If you find yourself slipping off of edges and you have ruled out other things such as ice irregularity or ice packed on the blades, it may be time to sharpen. Once you find a sharpener you like, try to stick with them for consistency.
8) If you find your blades too sharp after sharpening  (they are too "grabby" or you are unable to stop smoothly) use your Honing stone to lightly dull the blades. If you found your blades too sharp you can communicate this to your sharpener the next time around.
9) Wear hard blade gaurds when not on the ice if possible, and keep them clean and free from debris that could damage your blades. Do not forget to remove the gaurds before stepping on the ice!!! Hard gaurds allow you to walk most anywhere in your skates without damaging your blades. You can also wear soft gaurds (soakers) on matted flooring to protect your blades, but that same rule applies about not stepping on the ice with them.
10) Check your blade mount's screws for tightness every week or so. It is nice to carry a screwdriver with you in your skate bag just in case you or someone else could use it.

**To prevent your skates from becoming smelly inside...

1)  Do the following recommendations from the moment you get your skates. If you wait for them to get stinky, it may be too late to reverse it completely.
2)  Always wear clean socks or tights each time you skate.
3)  After skating, slip a dessicant  (moisture absorbing) insert such as Stink-eeze into your boot to absorb fresh sweat. I prefer unscented, but they do come in a variety of scents. Remove it after an hour or two to allow the boots to air out.
4)  Regularly swab out the inside your skates with an anti-bacterial wipe. I remove the liners once a week and clean both the liner and the interior of the boot and leave them out for a day or so to really air things out. If you have an actual odor problem, swabbing after every skate would be preferable.
5)  The most important thing on the list! Store your skates open to air. Unless your skates are being transported, leave your bag unzipped, leave your suitcase open, prop your skates up on their own, anything to get air to them at all times possible. Keep a dessicant pack in your skate bag, otherwise known  as humidity bags, for times when your skates do need to be zipped up inside. Tuck the pack away in a pocket or something when you do leave the bag open or it will absorb atmospheric humidity and get used up far too fast.

Offline Query

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Re: New skates! Any tips on long term care?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 10:03:14 PM »
I completely agree.

With a few minor additions:

1. Don't keep your boots in a hot summer car, especially if they are leather or heat moldable - the shape will distort, and they won't fit right. Though if they don't fit right now, putting them in a hot car is much like putting them in an oven - you can immediately tie them tight on your feet to heat mold them to your feet, while you are still in the car.
2. Don't leave them in the car in cold winter either, not for durability, but because the boots will conform to your feet better when they aren't too cold, and because most of us hate skating with feet in cold boots.
3. If you store your boots in a house which gets too humid, oil (or grease) your blades between uses, so they don't rust, as you would do with any iron or steel tool you care about. That won't help the boots, but it will help the blades.
4. Do NOT set them on the floor near the edge of your house. This is from experience. We had a heavy rain, and water seeped in and rusted my blades to the point of being useless, and I also had to clean fungus off my boots.Yuk!  Good figure skating blades are expensive, and a pain in the neck to replace. I also know a skate tech who had most of his stock of boots destroyed when his store flooded. Long before I started to skate, my family lost a great deal of our stuff when our basement flooded in a heavy rain, because our house was next to the drainage ditch for the whole neighborhood. Keep stuff well off the floor. Don't keep them in the basement, if you are anywhere near drainage ditches, or if drainage is poor. Water is bad for skates. Very, very bad. (Unless it's frozen.)
5. Walking off-ice with blades dulls the edge, a lot. Before you step outside the ice, put on a rigid blade guard. Walk to the bench and take off your boots. Then, dry them, take off the rigid skate guards, and put on the soakers. Also, do not ever, ever, ever walk from the parking lot to the rink without blade guards. When I started to skate, I thought 15 or 20 feet on gravel couldn't do much damage. I discovered I was wrong.
6. Never take the skates to a 2nd rate skate tech, or one who only works on hockey skates. It's not that unusual for them to completely destroy the blades in one sharpening, from a figure skating perspective. (I've also seen warnings that a figure skating specialist who doesn't understand hockey skate blades can destroy their rocker profile too. Speed skates are different too..)
7. Most of the time people think they need sharpening, which takes off a lot of steel, reducing blade life, they only need to straighten their edges. You can do it with a flat stone, though tstop4me says you do less damage by using a butcher "steel" - presumably the type of steel used to straighten the edges of kitchen knives.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: New skates! Any tips on long term care?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2017, 02:52:07 PM »
I think these are pretty much covered by what has already been posted, but you should always take a look at the care guidelines on your equipment manufacturer's website.  Here's Jackson's page on boot and blade maintenance: http://www.jacksonultima.com/en/ContentPage.aspx?SitePageId=/w1GGsPE1a2b3c4d5eqfG7wlipEE3Lw1A2B3C4D5E1A2B3C4D5E