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 }

GT August 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm

any idea if you can use handheld sharpener or the edge again powered edge sharpener on FBV sharpened blades?

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Jeremy August 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

I don’t think so, but I’m not sure

Tom January 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I’m a pretty new hockey player. There’s definite more bite into the ice, making for a more smoother skate but it also feels as though stopping is not necessarily more difficult but perhaps more demanding. Before stopping felt smoother but it feels choppier

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Frank V June 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

sounds like uneven edges or to deep a hollow I feel the the incredible edger
is the very best sharpener made give great control glide and speed
as long as the tech is an expert makes no diff FBV OR ROH if not done
properly.

Dale September 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Sounds to me like there is some Maximum Edge sharpeners here. Bob, founder of Maximum Edge, is a BladeMaster man. The founder of BlackStone WAS a BladeMaster Man. Bob has a lot of animosity towards Blackstone as does BladeMaster, and Bob has brain washed his Maximum Edge guys into thinking that the FBV is crap. Grand it, Balckstone copied Bob’s skate holder so I can see why Bob is upset in a way. However, I think some of this is jealousy over the success Blackstone has had.
All I can say is you can talk theory all you want but if you don’t actually try your theory out it means nothing. The FBV offers a better glide without a doubt, as long as the guy doing the sharpening knows what he is doing…..and it isn’t rocket science like Maximum Edge likes to portray to the public. I will concede that the FBV edge probably doesn’t last as long as a traditional ROH edge but for a top player this is meaninglessly compared to the benefits of better glide, more speed and less fatigue.

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Grant September 14, 2011 at 2:14 am

I’ve been skating on the FBV for 2 years now. I never want to go back. I noticed the difference immediately when I first skated on the FBV blades. The glide is so much smoother and it takes much less effort to go further. I think the blades stay sharper longer, as long as the person doing the sharpening knows what they are doing. My only complaint is that most of the rinks don’t use the FBV so you really have to be diligent in your sharpening habits.

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Arunas June 8, 2011 at 12:05 am

I’ve ordered my FBV from Noicing sports USA to Lithuania (Eurpope) 9 month ago. They were perfectly sharpenned, perfectly polished, with very smooth bottom surface, and gave me probably 25% speed boost:) I’m recreational skater, skating 2-3 times a week. And after almost a year edges are good enough to make sharp turns. Defects the edges has got after 9 month just give less speed, but bites almost the same way as 9 month ago.

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Nate January 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Thank you Barnry and Brian for your write ups. I completly agree with you both about the inability to create a quality finish on the blade with this system. when I first heard about the FBV I looked all over info on it and after sifting through all the marketing hype I saw a way of dressing a wheel that could not even come close to the finish I can achieve with the quill. at best I can get a finish on an FBV that looks like a decent novice did it, but with a ROH I always produce a mirror finish.
I can’t say how it feels on the ice since I’m a figure skater with tapered blades and there is no way for me to use the FBV, but I can say there has been no decrease in the frequency of sharpenings from my customers and very few keep using it.
25 years sharpening experiance

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duke September 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I don’t agree with this post at all. If he is getting a finish similar to a novice, then a novice must be doing it. My sharpener gets a beautiful finish on my blades with the FBV. The FBV uses a diamond wheel somewhat similar to the diamond that dresses a hollow sharpening. I will never got back to a hollow sharpening again, the FBV is simply that much better. Virtually all the guys I skate with have switched to the FBV and they all love it. problem is, now that they are now all on it, I am no longer the fastest guy out there.

Brian December 23, 2010 at 1:58 am

The first year of the intro of the FBV; I bought into it and ran a test utilizing the FBV dressing system with 6 skaters who play in a AAA midget league. All players enjoyed the added glide “feel” however only one player kept on using this ‘cut’ due to increased sharpening frequency needs, as well as the frequent edge loss. The fact that NHL teams have the equipment means only that BS had a big budget to be providing to teams. . . which pays off in the long run through advertising.
Now that the FBV is more available etc etc. . . more people seem to use it, however I find the more serious competative players return to the more reliable radius fairly quickly.
The numbers and the tollerances boasted by BS are next to impossible to achieve on a blade. . . please advise me as to who can measure 50 ten thousands of an inch in their LHS ? The roughness left on the wheel and subsequently transfered to the skate cannot be made as smooth as in the traditional methods. The poor tollerances of the BS spinners eats up way too much of the 50 or 75 ten thousands of an inch they profess to creat.
I strive for precision in all of my skate sharpening. The BS system just cannot provide what they claim.

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Barnry November 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Just saw my post on this site. Sorry about the numerous spelling mistakes. It’s very late and I’m tired.

Comical really, that I’m giving an opinion to people about how to PROPERLY sharpen skates and I can’t even spell ‘technician’. (lol)

This doessn’t reflect my ability to properly sharpen skates.

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barney November 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I’ve been sharpening skates for over 40 years. Used all the manual sharpening systems. Flemming gray B-3, blademaster table tops (currently). Still play hockey 3 times a week. Have tried FBV twice on my Bauer One 95 skates. Once sharpened locally here at a ‘Guru’s’ shop. and again in Oshawa (300 miles away) at another well known and respectede ‘Guru’s’ shop.
FBV does loose its edges quicker than a ‘properly sharpened’ ROH sharpened blade. When the edge(s) start to deteriorate, they get dull QUICKLY. A lot of this seems to be subject to bladequality and ice, plater’s bench floor cleanliness.
Universisy level studies have shown that FBV is superiour to ROH in glide, edge control, speed and skating effort, etc. However, these ‘test’s were NOT done with PROPER scientific method. The first and most glaring of the shortcomings of ANY testing was that we do not know WHO or HOW WELL the ROH sharpening was performed. Very bogus for people, companies, media to be using this (Brock University) testing as a basis for promoting the falacies of FBV.
I can ASSURE you that MY sharpening, polishing and honing of a skate blade will rival ANY comparable FBV grind. It’s all in the FBV comparable size of the ROH and especially the SMOOTH MIRROR FINISH that a technitian can put into a skate blade with a ROH machine that is properlydiamond stylus dressed and ploished with honing slution on a slow, light final pass. FBV is accomplisged with a ‘spin dresser’ that has bearings and CANNOT be dressed. It gives a very rough (patterned, textured……FRICTION) finish compared to a properly dressed and ROH wheel.
Thats the real truth. also a properly sharpened ROH WILL last twice as long as a FBV under the same playing conditions……..and deterirate gradually.

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Ross Mcwatch November 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

i tried fbv shaprening from the start of the season ,and one thing i realized was that i havent gotten sore legs or a sore groin from skating for the first time in 5 months, which i noticed i used to get from traditional sharpening, i have to agree that the pro’s definetly weigh out the cons, i would never get my skates sharpened another way, unless i really have to. I also disagree with the statement that you lose your edges more quickly than traditional sharpening, i skated 6 games with fbv before i noticed losing any bite, as opposed to traditional sharpenings ive had in the past where they were maybe a game and a half less than fbv sharpening before i noticed any dullness, and i havent been playing any less if anything ive noticed a step up in my game.

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Jen November 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I just tried the FBV for the first time and didn’t notice much of a difference. I am not able to get my skates sharpened as often as I would like (every 6-7 games) and noticed that after 3 games, my blades feel completely flat like they have no edge at all. I am willing to try a different cut, as has been recommended, to see if it makes a difference for me. I usually get a 1/2 and got a 100/50 FBV.

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Art October 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I’ve been using the Flat-Bottom V on my skates for some time now and absolutely loved it. The problem I recently ran into is that the Flat-Bottom V is only good for so many times on the cheaper blades. My intention when I bought my skates was to practice with my then 2-year old son (who is now 4). Instead I fell in love with playing and now play in the local beer league on Sunday nights. So needless to say, I have a cheap pair of skates with the carbon steel blade. After some time, the Flat-Bottom V will burn the steel and cause you to lose your edge…which is why y local pro shop went back to traditional sharpening on my skates this afternoon.
I love the method, the skates felt great and I look forward to using the Flat-Bottom V on my next pair of skates. But if you have a low-cost set of skates with cheaper blades, be prepared to revert back to traditional sharpening.

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Jeremy October 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Thanks for the insight Art, good to know if you have the cheaper steel on your skate!

Jason September 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I am a high-level beer league player and have been using the FBV for about six months now, and have been very pleased overall. I find that the first time on a fresh sharpening, they feel as if they’re a bit oversharp, with too much bite. That goes away, however, after 2-3 shifts.

Also must completely disagree with the first post from LawnDemon. From my personal experience an FBV sharpening lasts longer than traditional radius sharpening. I used to need to sharpen every 6 games or so, now I regularly go 8 or 9 games before feeling as if my edges are dull.

I have yet to lose an edge, although that may simply be a matter of time instead of any advantage of the cut.

All in all, a great innovation, and I highly recommend you give it a try.

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Jack b. Nimble July 30, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I was skeptical. I have been skating on 7/8 for years. I wanted to give it a try after reading the reviews. Got a 90/50 which is suppose to be the equivalent to a 7/8. Loved it immediately, no adjustment except for the added glide. I felt a little insecure on my edges so had them redone with a 90/75. Perfect. You do feel like you are on top of the ice and the glide is significantly better.

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ryan September 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Another 90/75 convert here. My first FBV was 100/50, but it was also a new pair of skates, so it was a huge adjustment for me, took me a few practice sessions. I definitely noticed the improved glide.

A few months ago, the sharpener recommended 90/75. As you said, Perfect (with a big P). No adjustment. I feel faster, comfy with sharp turns and love the glide.

duke July 1, 2010 at 5:59 am

Me and my whole team switched to the FBV more than 1 year ago. It’s awesome. We have also found that the edges last as long, and most of the time, actually longer than our old regular sharpening. The key to FBV is finding a sharpener who can do it correctly. Just like you can get a bad regular sharpening, you can also get a bad FBV. If done correctly, you’ll be amazed at the performance gains.

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Paul Brakke June 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm

As a former pro hockey player my biggest gripe was that I could never find the right sharpening. I have been searching years and have been putting up with inconsistent sharpening(s) and very average sharpenings. As I still play well over one hundered games per year I never have found the right sharpening until last night. I got the FBV and for the first time in my live I felt like I was able to skate to the top of my abilities with full confidence. I would recommend the FBV to anyone who wants to play at the top of their game.

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Sue May 15, 2010 at 10:19 pm

My son and husband both skate on FBV and they both love it. My husband had his skates sharpened in Canada and we now have purchased the FBV sharpener. We live in Australia.

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old hockey warrior April 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Just tried it out, took 5 mins. to get used to but I love it !
Feels like you are skating more on top of the ice – glide is improved.
I am 50 years old – any advantage helps !

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Vlad December 24, 2009 at 12:58 am

I got me a Blackstone professionl Spinner portable sharpener which also does the FBV. I play hockey. I completely disagree with the above cons. Sorry.

If sharpened properly all you get is the above pros only. Well, I’m still to investigate if the edges dull quicker vs. traditional ROH sharpening.
I just can’t go back to traditional ROH. You feel like you sink in the ice on ROH after having skated on Blackstone’s FBV.

There’s a whole bunch of NHL players on Blackstone’s FBV now.

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LawnDemon December 13, 2009 at 2:31 am

I find that the blade goes dull quicker than a traditional skate sharpening. If you usually sharpen your skates every 4 games you might find yourself at 3 instead.

Also, I found that when it’s sharp it provides a smoother glide and sharper turns but when it goes dull it’s like standing on ceramic tile.

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