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Wissota Skate Sharpener Review

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  • Wissota Skate Sharpener Review

    I decided to buy a sharpener because I live about 1/2 hour from any decent skate sharpener, but the hours of availability were a real problem. A quality sharpening is an issue too. Some
    are better than others, and I have to work to find someone who really understands goalie skates or who can take directions. The last time I had skates done at a PIAS will be the last time.
    My son was falling all over himself. I took the skates to the rink shop and found that the blades were uneven. With two kids, and two pair of my own skates, a home sharpener looked
    attractive.

    I paid about $700 including shipping, an extra hone stone, and an extra wheel. It comes with a one piece grinder and table, skate holder, cutting wheel, and a flat hone, instructions and a
    video. The drive is self contained and requires no maintenance. The table is big enough to get a running start as I pass the skate across the cutting wheel. I should have also ordered some
    cutting wax, but I have been using candle was and WD-40.This is works fine. I passed on the options like the travel case, dust catcher, and stand. They are nice, but not really needed. By
    cutting out the options, I was able to keep the price down to a level I could live with. I can always add them later. Check out Wissota's site www.wissota.com. The secondary reason I
    went with them are that their web site had a ton of useful info including prices. They really cater to the novice. When I called Wissota, the guy on the line was patient and answered my
    questions clearly. He was very confident in the instruction materials. He told me that sharpening was not as difficult as it had been made out. Watch the video then it would take about 15
    minutes of practice. He also told me to call if there were any questions.

    When the package arrived I was anxious to get started. But first things first. The video lasts around an hour. The production is primitive, (mostly a fixed camera) but well thought out and
    presented. The demonstrator spoke clearly and showed how to set up, dress the wheel, adjust the skate holder, sharpen the skates and examine the results. He demonstrates the "Wissota
    Way". Follow the directions and you won't go wrong. He made good use of visual aids demonstrate how the holder worked and what the adjustments were really doing. I read the manual,
    then proceeded to set up the skate holder.

    First Sharpening.
    I took my time and used an old pair of player skates. It turns out that these are easier because they are move forgiving. (The wider blade on goalie skates exaggerates imperfections). I
    made a couple mistakes and spend some time adjusting and readjusting the holder. After going through this a couple times I was ready to try my game skates.

    I readjusted the holder to center the blade on the wheel. This isn't strictly necessary because the holder has a "tangent finder". This leans the skate forward or backward and allows small
    adjustments without changing the height of the holder. It is easier to get even edges, however, if you start with the skate blade centered with edge of the cutting wheel.. It took me about 20
    minutes (I took my time) to do both skates. It turns out that deeper hollows are less forgiving than shallow and I did these at 1/2" (Last week I did a pair of a friend's player skates in 5
    minutes!). I had a good clean even edges. Most of my time was testing the edges. I showed this to a player who also cut his own skates (worked at a pro shop) and he told me it looked like a good job.

    In the first week I made a couple mistakes, but was able to figure out what had gone wrong and correct it. Since then I have just enjoyed having sharp skates when ever I want. Bang the blade off the pipe at 11:00 at night, but still be ready the next night for a 10:00 start. There is no rush, no stress about finding an open shop. I just go to my workshop and refinish the edge.

    I can't really justify this purchase on a cost basis, although the $700 should last for a lifetime of sharpening. If I passed a good quality shop every day, they I would probably just have gone there. The real win is knowing that I can always get the skates sharpened, when I need them, exactly the way I like them. And when I put the kids on the ice, I know that the skates have been sharpened correctly. If you can live with the expense and are even moderately competent in a shop, this is a good buy.

  • #2
    Wow! Sounds great! Now if onlt I had $700...

    -stollie

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    • #3
      Dang, T-Bill! I have to drive 2 hours to get a decent cut! In fact, my goaltending style is structured around the fact that I have perpetually dull blades...

      Will you sharpen my skates? Maybe I'll drive by and visit in August...

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      • #4
        T-Bill,

        Great review, thanks. I've toyed with the idea of picking one up once I graduate (december seems really far away right now), but hearing from someone who has used one is great info. Thanks again, happy skating, and I am jealous too...

        -Arc

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        • #5
          Why not start up a skate-sharpening business to service all the hockey players in your area whore are also sick of crappy sharpenings?

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          • #6
            good review on the sharpener.. now $700.. gotta a look at this one carefully .. any way .. a local shop(washington dc.) is selling their bauer BLADE MASTER.. it seem the turn over in the pro shop was so great that no one passed down the skate shapring skills.. the "WORD" got a round of what a crappy job they were doing and people stopped having their skates sharpned.. pro shops should read this post and learn.. do the job right;I have to go 2 hrs. out of my way to get the grind i want on my skates.. what a drag..

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            • #7
              You will love the machine and it will give you years of service. I have had mine for over 12 years. It was only $500.00 back then Still use it today. It paid for itself, sharpening skates for everyone that was on the teams I played for. Good luck and happy sharpening

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              • #8
                I think that it's totally worth the 700 bucks you spent. You'll have a lifetime of sharpenings, like you said, you'll be the most popular guy on the block (especially since everyone elase must have to drive an hour for crappy sharpenings), and if you ever move closer to a good pro shop, you could sell your cutter to one of us! If you think about it, you could probably get a couple hundred dollars when you sell it used.

                Pretty cool too!

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the informative review. You referenced that in the training video they showed how to "dress the wheel", I've always wondered what that means? My local pro shop balks at taking goalie skates in for sharpening on busy days, because thay say they'll have to stop doing player skates, and "dress the wheel" before doing mine.

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                  • #10
                    I used to work at a pro-shop and can only imagine how many skates I sharpened in my day. It probably took me a good 2 weeks to become competent enough to try my own.

                    when I first started, I had trouble adjusting the angle just right. one of the guys who worked with me told a trick until I learned to do it. thought I'd pass it along to you.

                    to make sure you've got the wheel centered in the blade, take a marker and blacken the bottom of the blade. when you run a pass on the wheel, you'll be able to see the exact line of angle and know if you're centered or not.

                    just a friendly tip.
                    good luck!

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                    • #11
                      I second Badgerits suggestion - why not help with that $700 by putting a sign on the lawn: "Skates Sharpened - $3 pair" or something? Maybe an ad in a free paper too...

                      BTW, great review and I am very jealous!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by blackman34:

                        to make sure you've got the wheel centered in the blade, take a marker and blacken the bottom of the blade. when you run a pass on the wheel, you'll be able to see the exact line of angle and know if you're centered or not.
                        While this will work, it is much better to learn to judge. If for example you end up sharpening a high end figure or dance blade you could waste alot of blade trying to center it with that technique. Those things are expensive. For most hockey skates that won't be a problem as evn replacement blades don't run more than 50 (us).

                        SHIFTER - who is selling their blademaster? I have thought of picking up one the the Wissota sharpeners for a while now, but a nice blademaster would be great.

                        gr8sav

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                        • #13
                          player skate blades run about $15-20.

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                          • #14
                            gr8 sav:
                            don't get me wrong. I only did this my first few days until I got a feel for what I was doing. It just visualizes the problem for you until you can figure out how to correct it.

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                            • #15
                              Dressing the wheel means, changing the radius of the edge of the wheel that is grinding the blade. Creating what is commonly known as the hollow of the blade Most forwards that I sharpened for wanted a 1/4" or 1/8" hollow. While myself, on my goalie skates lived for a 1" hollow. The smaller the number the deeper the center of the blade. A 1" hollow leaves the blade pretty close to flat. So you would waste a lot of the stone taking the deeper cut away. I would just keep sepreate wheels for forwards and goalies. Its all a matter of personal preference as far as how a person wants their blades sharpened. A good sharpener can offer suggestions, as skating style, the way the blades are dulling, and size of the person can effect the way the skates should be sharpened and rockered

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