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Tips for using your SkateMate

The instructions that come with the SkateMate are very good and the website,, is an excellent resource. The following is intended to supplement that information and is based on my own experiences:

  • DON’T PRESS TOO HARD! Press hard enough to feel it grinding the blade but not so hard as to compress the abrasive cylinder. Let the tool do the work.
  • Make sure you snug up both ends of the tool. When adjusted correctly you should be able to feel the same amount of friction when you lift the SkateMate up at both ends. The idea is for the blade holder to grip the blade evenly, if one end is loose than the tool can rock from side to side as you slide it up and down the blade. This will give you dull edges every time.
  • A great way to learn is to mark the bottom of your blade with a magic marker. Then, as you slide the SkateMate up and down, watch the ink disappear. If the ink is disappearing from the edges first you are probably pushing too hard. Once all the ink is gone you should have sharp skates.
  • It’s a good idea to rotate the cylinder between skates so you’re starting with a clean abrasive. Also if you feel that you’re not removing much material with each stroke, turn the cylinder or brush off any built up debris.
  • With practise you will be able to tell your skates are sharp or not by brushing the edges with your thumb. A good indicator is to rub the face of one of your finger nails across the edge. If its sharp you should be able to scrape away a thin layer of your nail.
  • Experiment with it, take it with you to the rink. It only takes a few minutes to do both skates, so try it out and if it doesn’t feel right sharpen them again. It takes a little trial and error to get used to it but it’s not that tough. *Note: For best results, dry your blades thoroughly and allow them to warm to room temperature before sharpening.
  • Again, DON’T PRESS TOO HARD! If you press too hard you can over-compress the abrasive cylinder and end up grinding away the edges, effectively making the hollow flatter and the skate duller. Lots of easy strokes with a firm, even pressure.
  • To clean up any build up of blade material on the abrasive cylinder you can loosen off the adjusting screws until the cylinder holder will slip out of the bottom of the tool. Try not to open it up too far, the tool will come apart and putting it back together can be a bit tricky. Once the holder drops out remove the abrasive cylinder and give it a brush with your finger. It should clean up easily. One cylinder should last for many sharpenings but replacements are available.
  • When deburring, close the SkateMate right up and take care to keep the deburring strips flat on the side of the blade. You don’t want to round off those newly sharpened edges!

Another good piece of advice is to get your skates ground first. It’s a lot easier to maintain your edges when you start off with a fresh grind. You should also get them reground at least once a year, depending on how much you skate. If you somehow manage to put deep gouges in your edges you’ll need to get them ground to remove them. You can also order a coarser, 100 grit cylinder to remove deeper nicks, with just the finer grit abrasive you could be there a long time!

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