Flat Bottom V

by Jeremy Rupke on December 12, 2009

Flat Bottom V Skate Sharpening

The flat bottom v sharpening method is the newest craze to hit the hockey world. The flat bottom v was created and first introducted in early February 2009 by Blackstone sports in Kingsville, Ont. The unique skate sharpening method promises better gliding ability, and increased “bite” when turning, everything a hockey player could ask for. While many were skeptical (and many still are) when the new technique was introduced it did not take long for the flat bottom v method to take off, all the way to the NHL

One of the first NHL teams to be using the flat bottom v skate sharpening method was the St. Louis blues, now over 20 NHL teams are using this method, quite a bold statement for a technique that just took off at the beginning of the year! Many players, minor league and NHL alike are claiming that the flat bottom V feels like your are gliding on top of the ice, allows you to glide longer, allows you to turn easier, and skaters will not fatigue as fast because it takes less energy to skate. These are strong recommendations considering the Flat Bottom V is just a minor adjustment in the way the metal is shaped on a thin piece of metal on the bottom of your skate.  Some say it is simply a placebo effect, others are disciples of the new cut.

The flat bottom v changes the normal half moon cut of a blade to be a flat bottom with “fangs” on each edge, supposedly allowing you to glide easier, further and faster than the normal cut and turn better. See the diagrams below of the normal skate sharpening and the flat bottom v skate sharpening

This diagram shows the normal cut vs the flat bottom v. (in the diagram it appeared that the v goes all the way up, however see the diagram below these ones for the actual shape of the flat bottom v.

Regular Skate sharpening vs flat bottom v

Flat Bottom V Skate Sharpening Options
Flat Bottom V

You can see from this diagram that there are different options to choose from when you get your flat bottom v sharpening done. According to Johnny Macs (a skate sharpening shop that uses the FBV skate sharpening) Most skaters should start with a 100/50 FBV and then adjust their cut accordingly as the best cut in the end will come down to player preference (and who knows, maybe you will prefer the regular method of skate sharpening)

Some people may ask does the flat bottom v wear the blade down quicker? According to No Icing sports (a custom radius shop) Getting a Flat bottom v on your skates will not alter your rocker radius at all and a flat bottom v does not take off any more steel than a regular sharpening would.

We are still waiting on official flat bottom v  stats and test results from the skating labs, which will be posted here when they come out (a good reason to subscribe in the box to the left!) Below I have list of possible pro’s and con’s of the flat bottom v

Flat Bottom V Pros and Cons

Flat bottom V Pro’s

  • Better gliding ability
  • Better turning (more bite)
  • Less fatigue
  • “For pushing and gliding and being on top of the ice, there’s a huge difference” Cory Stillman, Florida Panthers
  • “The concept for the V scientifically makes a lot of sense” Dr. Kelly Lockwood, president and lead scientist at The Skating Lab at Brock University
  • From many reviews and posts on forums parents of minor hockey players notice an improvement in skating

Flat bottom V Cons

  • Reports from some minor hockey forums state the when you lose an edge you lose it all at once, which could mean missing the rest of the game until you can get the skate sharpened
  • If it is easier to lose an edge with this grind it could result in injuries
  • If the edge comes off easily then this would require frequent sharpening to keep the edge

It seems like the pro’s far out weigh the con’s, and the con’s all rely on speculation that the edge comes off easily (which has not been proven just yet)

So I leave the debate up to you, how is your experience with the flat bottom v? Post your comments below

If you would like to visit the official website of the people who created the FBV skate sharpening method, or buy a FBV machine for your arena or business then visit Blackstone Sport

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Jeremy Rupke

Coach
Hi my name is Jeremy. I LOVE hockey and I am passionate about improving and helping others improve. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve. If you want to learn more about me you can read my about page. Thanks for reading and sharing!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben October 10, 2013 at 8:17 am

I have tried the flat bottom v but it didn’t work for me. I like the traditional skate sharpenings better. I prefer a dupliskate (www.dupliskate.com) sharpening to the blademaster and blackstone.

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daniel boik February 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

how come hockey players don’t use a flat grind on their skates? i’ve been a speed skater for years and realize that a flat grind gives you the most glide by gliding on the flat of the blade at one point and not constantly on your edges. also gives you the strongest edge at 90 degrees. with a flat bottom v grind you have a small v for an edge that eventually will flatten out and create a under burr.

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MikeEnns February 2, 2013 at 8:19 am

I can confirm that this cut can cause the edge to disappear suddenly.

During a 3 on 3 tournament the my son reported no problems during the first game and was happy with the skate performance. Halfway through the second game he could not grip to the point that people in the audience commented on how often he was falling. This was a modern rink with cushioned surfaces to the change room so it is not likely that the skates were dulled betwwen te games.

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Don February 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

Have him go to the 90/75 or the 100/75 sharpen and try a new place to have them done. When done right, this is an amazing sharpen and you will notice a huge difference in his ability to skate. The problem is finding a place that can sharpen it properly. It is a micro edge on both sides especially if you went with the 90/50. Not all blades are the same thickness and in some cases the left and right blade are not equal in height. If they are off centre when they sharpen or if they are not sharpened level which is very common, you will not get the edge required. If either causes the inside edge to be off, he will have no grip after a short period of time. That edge is used more than the outside edge in skating. You should get 5 ice times out of the sharpen. My daughter plays at the Provincial level and is always in tournaments out of town. It is not unusual to play 8 games over the weekend. My problem was finding a place who knew how to sharpen skates out of town. It got to the point where she refused to have them sharpened because they were worse than the dull ones. I bought the portable Blacksone sharpening machine to take on the road just because I could. I sharpen the entire teams skates now. I measure the height of every girls blade and adjust the holder with a height indicator to centre them on the grinding wheel. The parents were amazed on how well their daughters skating improved just by having the same sharpening but done proper. It was night and day and I’m not exaggerating. Don’t give up on the sharpen, when done right, it is amazing the difference you will see in their skating. Find a place where part time young kids don’t do the sharpening.

Hannah November 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I love the V-sharpen, I notice a dramatic difference in speed and agility. Especially if you use the “V-start” method to get going, it is definitely worth trying

Reply

Kenny September 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I’m a fairly new skater, and I saw the different sharpening options which made me wonder which type of cut I should use. I’m defined as a power forward, am 6’4″, weigh 235, and am a fairly fast skater. Any recommendations?

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