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Author Topic: Adjusting blade setting?  (Read 1192 times)

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Adjusting blade setting?
« on: September 24, 2015, 07:56:45 AM »
Relatively new skates, and my right blade has been giving me problems.  I had decided that the problem was with the skater, not the skate, but my new coach says she thinks it's the blade position.  The issue is that I can't easily get over onto an outside edge, and even on a flat (forward one foot glide) I tend to fall to an inside edge.  When I simply stand on the skates, the weight on the left foot is evenly distributed across the ball of the foot, but the weight on the right is centered just behind the big toe, or maybe between the big toe and second toe.  I'm working on setting up an appointment for the skate tech to check it out, but I want to know more about the problem going into it, and may play with it myself if I can't get an appointment quickly.  So.  If I'm falling onto the inside edge and my weight is toward the inside, does that mean the blade is too far to the inside, or too far to the outside?  In other words, should the blade be moved to the outside so the center is where it should be, and my weight distribution will (hopefully) follow, or should the blade be moved to the inside so it's under where my weight is being centered already?  I know all of this is largely trial and error, but I just want to have an idea of where to start.  (And this is assuming that the blade setting is the issue, and that shims or some other solution aren't necessary.  I'm starting with the easy thing.)

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 08:21:43 AM »
I had a similar situation but with my left leg/skate.  I couldn't skate in a straight line with just the left skate on the ice.  My skate tech (Mike Cunningham) tried several different shims, toe-in vs toe-out and in the end settled on a fair amount of toe-in at the toe pick end of the left skate.  That helped a little, but what really helped was the combination of sessions with my Chiropractor and yoga which strengthened my left leg.  One day while avoiding another skater, I momentarily lifted my right leg off the ice and after a few seconds realized that I was skating in a straight line rather than veering off on a curve!  My weak side elements which require getting on that outside edge quickly improved after that.  My left skate is still toed in, and because of a fall in July, I haven't been skating but I think I was approaching the point where the blade could have been returned to a more normal position.  I'll probably be back at square one when I return to the ice so I don't plan on changing anything until it appears necessary.   

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 08:25:02 AM »
I had issues with blade alignment too, on my right foot.  I supinate, for whatever that's worth, but most people pronate (if anything).  Like you, I chalked it up to user, rather than equipment error and skated like that for a season, with blades permanently mounted.  I don't recall exactly if I fell more to one side than the other, but I certainly did fight more with my right foot to hold any kind of edge, I seem to recall fighting mostly with obtaining and maintaining an RFO.  When I took my skates to my US skate tech (same guy as Lutefisk) for punching out, he took one look at me skating and said effectively "good lord who mounted your blades?".  He proceeded to take the right one off, plug the holes, remount it all in about 15-20 minutes (?) then after initial testing, where I thought it was fine (I could do decent RFI/RFO's on the hockey circle), went on to throw some shims in there.  It was magic.

So, while I'll happily offer up hypotheses about the problem - my guess is that your blade is too far outside and needs to be moved in- I would encourage you to hold off on doing anything yourself and let your tech deal with it.  S/he'll likely know in 30 seconds exactly what to do and make their own kind of magic.  I guess if your blades aren't permanently mounted you could loosen the screws and tap them around, but I think you'd have to adjust the heel and front plates differently and it really might be a big mess.  If they are permanently mounted, I'd leave them alone.

Here's to hoping you get an appointment very soon!

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 08:34:11 AM »
Thanks to both of you!  Not permanently mounted yet, so if I wanted to I could play with it, but I think I should be patient and get that appointment!  When I first got them in March I had all sorts of trouble, and we tried adjusting it then and moved the right blade as far to the inside as we could without drilling new holes.  Helped a tiny bit but I then discovered that the real problem was that the blade was warped.  Once that was corrected things improved a lot and I decided to wait to mess with the setting again until I got more used to the skates.  Initially I couldn't do a right one foot glide at all. Now it's much better, so part of the problem was definitely me.  But several months later and I'm still having problems, so it's time to get it looked at.  If it needs to move even more to the inside we'll need to put in new holes.  (The tech is a former Olympian; he showed me his own skates and on one the blade is set so far to the inside the plate actually sticks out past the boot.  So he can handle this if necessary.)

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 03:27:44 PM »
If you do end up having to move the mounting holes to move the blade further inside, it's really not that big of a deal - I'd go ahead and have it done rather than continue to struggle.

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 03:43:23 PM »
I suspect that's what's going to happen.  (I sent a followup e-mail and he called right away; we have an appointment for Saturday afternoon.)  He had mentioned it as a possibility when we were initially getting it set up but I wanted to wait and see if I just needed to get used to them.  Now I think it's time.

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2015, 09:22:31 PM »
I'm still having that issue on my weaker (R) leg but my coach thinks my blade needs to be moved.  When first mounted we had initially tried moving it and it made no difference in a straight glide so he put it back.  Coach thinks it may also need tweaking vertically.  I have an appointment next week.  Will be interesting.  I didn't even know they did vertical tweaking.

Good luck.  I think it's wise to let your tech do it.  Great you got a quick appointment.
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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2015, 03:17:40 PM »
Definite progress.  He looked at the skate and noticed that (in addition to the above issues) the blade was further back on the boot than he would like.  So he moved it forward a little and rotated the blade just slightly (front more toward the inside, back more toward the outside).  I went and tried it out and it seems better.  The sweet spot for spins and turns definitely feels like it's in a better place (not that I'm doing either of these things well enough to really know!).  And I was able to get on the outside edge a bit better.  Backward stuff was still iffy, but maybe a little better, and there I think the main issue is operator error.   88)  So I'm going to give it a few days to see how it goes, and see what my coach thinks. 

He also said the left blade is also a bit far back, but not as much as the right, and he didn't want to do anything with it just yet. Now that I feel the difference on the right I may go back and have him move the left as well, but I want to get the right side sorted out first. 

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2016, 09:35:11 PM »
An update… the saga continues.  After getting the right blade adjusted a few different times by my regular guy with no real success, I finally did what my coach suggested and went to see her guy today.  What a difference!  He spent an hour and a half with me and tweaked all sorts of things.  Here's a rundown:

1.  The blades were unevenly sharpened (one edge higher than the other), so he resharpened and fixed that.  Also showed me how smooth the final sharpening was compared to my old sharpening.  (I know, it's obligatory for skate techs to criticize other tech's work…)
2.  He asked if I had trouble stopping right after a sharpening; I said yes, I needed an hour or so to dull it down before I could stop comfortably.  He said that means the ROH is too deep for me and changed it from ½" (though he said it actually measured 9/16" instead of the ½" I was told I had) to ⅝".  Fresh sharpening, and I could stop on it immediately with no problem of the blade digging in too much.  Nice!  And no problems doing just basic stroking and one foot glides.  Curious to see how other stuff goes.
3.  He asked how much space I had for my toes, decided it was too much (room to clench the toes leads to problems down the line), and added a 3 mm foam insole under my Superfeet.  Definitely a snug fit, but still comfortable (so far).
4.  He set the blades, then sent me out on the ice to try it out.  Made several adjustments until we hit the "good enough for now" stage (and got chased off by the Zamboni).  He then put a couple of permanent screws in place.
5.  My right foot leans in sometimes, but it may be more than that- we noticed that my knee rotates in, too.  Not sure what to do about that.  He put a small wedge under my insole on the right heel but I wasn't able to test that out yet.
6.  Based on the wear on the upper part of the boot, he thinks it was actually pulling to the outside, and I was unconsciously leaning to the inside to fix it, and overcompensating.  I thought the blade was pulling me to the inside.  Hopefully the new blade setting can help.
7.  He gave me homework-  fix my twisted laces.  (This was on my to-do list already.)

The plan:  Test the skates out tomorrow and Monday, and at my lesson Wednesday so my coach can check things out.  Return if necessary.  Even if he didn't get it completely right on this first pass, his attention to detail was amazing.  I'm sold.  This was totally worth $60 (plus $20 for the sharpening).  I'm really going to have nothing to blame but myself for my lousy skating now.   88)

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2016, 01:57:57 PM »
Great news @skategeek!  Are you in NJ?  Curious who you went to.
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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2016, 02:13:22 PM »
Great news @skategeek!  Are you in NJ?  Curious who you went to.

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2016, 02:17:39 PM »
Update after skating today:  Stroking and one foot glides are good.  Left forward pivot was amazing… the right foot was incredibly smooth.  Probably could have gotten more than my usual 2-3 revolutions but it surprised me and I stopped.  Two foot spin was terrible, though… I'll have to play with that.  In general, though, everything just felt cleaner.  Left toes were asleep by the end, though, so I'll have to play with my lacing technique, I think.  Can't wait to see what my coach thinks next week!

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2016, 05:25:59 PM »
If it makes you feel better, I've been skating since I was 10, and 2 foot spins are still the most awkward thing ever. I am a lot more comfortable doing a scratch spin than a 2 foot spin.

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 05:32:19 PM »
Yeah, it does seem like it should be easier to rotate around a single point than to have two points rotating together!  I've been able to do maybe one or one and a half revolutions pretty consistently, though.  Today, nothing.  I didn't work very hard on it, though. 

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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2016, 12:53:59 PM »
Oh good, Jim is great!
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Re: Adjusting blade setting?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2016, 02:10:24 PM »
He was awesome.  My only problem now is that I had prepaid for a sharpening card at the other shop and I still have several left.  I'll need to decide whether to still go there for sharpening until I use up the card or just eat that cost.