Figure Skating/parabolic blades


QUESTION: Can you tell me how the radius changes on a blade as you go from an introductory blade to an advanced blade.  There is very little information out there that describes the radius on blades in the area nearer the toe for spinning.  I have seen information on the multiple radii for gold seal, phantom and pattern 99.  What about the entry/mid range blades?  Of the high end blades listed which profile would best suit an entry/mid range skater?

ANSWER: The ice/blade tangent point is about one-and-a-half inches behind the toe pick on mid/high end blades. On beginner blades it is very much less, so the skater has to rock farther forward to hit the toe pick. This safety feature protects young teeth for forward skating, but makes backward skating and spins difficult.
As far as the change in radius near toe picks on some blades, I am not versed in this subject. I doubt this is a very important consideration in choosing blades. More important than the profile is sharpening.
Take care, and all the best.

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QUESTION: Can you give me your opinion as to which of gold seal, phantom and pattern 99 would be easiest to spin on?

ANSWER: No. I have no info or experience with "spinnability" comparisons of various blades. I suspect there is no noticeable difference. I would steer away from Gold Seal because they are hard for the average sharpener to get level on account of the side honing. I use Conquest Coplanar which are the same pattern as pattern 99.

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QUESTION: Do you have any advice about parabolic blades?  Does this type get away from the side honed issue?

I am skeptical of parabolic blades. Whereas parabolic skis facilitate turning by virtue of the camber that keeps pressure on the whole ski, with rockered skate blades only half an inch or so of blade contacts the ice, so the curvature created by blades wider at the ends would seem negligible. However, I frankly haven't tried parabolic skates. Speak to someone who has compared both in practice. Equipment is partly a matter of personal style as well. There are, in other words, advantages and disadvantages of different designs.

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gary beacom


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