Flat Bottom V Skate Sharpening

September 15, 2009 by Tyler  
Filed under Hockey Equipment

I recently had my Easton Stealth S17 skates sharpened with a new technology from Blackstone Sports called the Flat Bottom V.

This new technology grabbed some spotlight with use by some NHL teams last season and now has 14  20 National Hockey League teams signed up to use the skate sharpening system for the 2009-2010 season. The guys at Blackstone really knew they had something when several NHL players proclaimed that they had to have it and wouldn’t go back to regular sharpening!

I’ve skated with the Flat Bottom V sharpening five times now and can certainly say that there is a noticeable difference between the FBV and the traditional skate sharpening.

The Technology

While the technology is based on physics principles of friction, the application to ice hockey compared to traditional skate sharpening can be most easily understood in the following images:

fbvsharpening guide

As we can see, the edges remain in tact producing a sharp bite for acceleration and agility but instead of the concave hollow, the middle of the blade is ground flat to increase glide.

I highly suggest that all serious hockey players take a shot at trying the Flat Bottom V. I’ve really enjoyed playing using this technology, noticing added ‘bite’ instantly during the first few strides. It took me a few minutes to get the feel for how the edges perform, but after the initial few shifts I had no complaints.

A quote from Cory Stillman describes the feeling best:

“For pushing and gliding and being on top of the ice, there’s a huge difference,” says Panthers’ veteran Cory Stillman who became a disciple in training camp after he tried it just once. “Because it’s not sinking into the ice, you don’t have to work as hard.”

One recommendation that I have is to make certain that you match up your current sharpening hollow with the associated FBV sharpening. This will reduce the adjustment period to the Flat Bottom V.

Here are the corresponding hollows for the Flat Bottom V according to Blackstone:

From our initial testing, we have determined that the 90/75 can be related to the edge of a 5/8 circular hollow and the 100/75 can be related to the edge of a 1/2 – 3/8 circular hollow.

Next time you hit your local Pro Shop to get a sharpening, try out the Flat Bottom V…I think you’ll be glad you did.

*P.S – I got my Flat Bottom V sharpening from a Sport Check store and there was no additional cost for the FBV versus a regular sharpening.


14 Comments on "Flat Bottom V Skate Sharpening"

  1. Stephen Carleton on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 2:32 pm 

    I went to get my skates sharpened and they suggested to try this new way of sharpening. I had it done and I told the guy I would be back the next day if I fell on my face. It took a little getting use to but I could not believe the difference. Faster, smoother, great edging and my legs were good to go for another 3 periods. I will never go back. Needless to say I didn’t go back to see the guy.

    Lover of the Game!
    Coach Carleton

  2. Carlene on Sun, 6th Dec 2009 10:29 pm 

    I bought my 10 yr old son new skates this year and had them sharpened the traditional way as we had the previous two seasons. I went back to get the skates re-sharpened and noticed a sign about the flat bottom v. I inquired about it and thought I’d try getting the skates sharpened with fbv. I saw an immediate improvement in his skating. I will not get his skates sharpened any other way now, much to his coaches chagrin!

    Hockey Mom.

  3. TragicMagic on Sat, 12th Dec 2009 12:01 pm 

    I’m 28 now, and have been playing hockey since I was 8. Though the last few years have been recreational hockey only. I have always been a weaker-than-average skater – and have always played defense.

    Anyway, the FBV didn’t seem to make me faster in a straight forward line. However, my turning was much smoother and with a tighter radius, and allowed me to maintain speed more easily when changing direction. Where I noticed the biggest improvement was with my backward skating. Which is an essential part of being a defenseman.

    For anyone that’s on the fence about getting their skates sharpened with the FBV, I’d suggest you hop down, and give it a try. If you don’t like it, go back to what you’re used to.

    At my local Pro Shop, they charge $10 instead of $6 to get it done…

  4. Sherry on Thu, 31st Dec 2009 6:01 pm 

    I would like to know which players are using the Flat Bottom V. It seems like all the hype is only by the makers of Blackstone and no players are actually using this new technology.

  5. Roger on Tue, 6th Apr 2010 10:00 pm 

    By far the best thing to hit hockey since the composite stick. I tried it after much skepticism and I will never go back to traditional sharpening. I immediately noticed a huge difference. I went with the 90/75 and love it. No fatigue and all the turning radius control of a deep hollow. A must for any avid elite player.

  6. james on Wed, 11th Aug 2010 9:01 pm 

    I have tried fbv cut. I am a player who likes a really deep hollow, ie, 1/4 to 5/16 traditional hollow. The first day or 2 is a bit slow but after then my edge will hold consistantly for another 9-12 skates with flat filing following each skate. I tried the fbv deepest cut. On the first and second day I like the feel and grab of the cut. However, by the third and fourth skate the hollow really loses it bite. The one positive is it does allow better glide and speed. Equivalent to maybe one flatter hollow adjustment in traditional cut. IMO, go fbv if you don’t mind more frequent sharpenings and gain better glide.(That’s why pros like it. They can get their edges done as frequently as they want… free). Traditioanl sharpening if you want longer lasting edges.

  7. Tom on Thu, 19th Aug 2010 8:43 pm 

    I just got the FBV cut done on my skates last month. It only took 2 mins of warm up to get used to it and there is a noticeable difference for the better. I noticed better turning as it felt like the skates were so sharp I couldnt fall no matter how hard I turned. I also noticed the additional glide. Nothing too crazy on the glide, but nonetheless, an improvement! Definitely never going back to traditional cut again. I have skated 9 sessions and they are still sharp so any reviews about them getting dull quicker seems to be based upon personal things. Sometimes with regular sharpenings my skates would like 3 sessions, sometimes 10. So Im sure the same applies!

  8. Brian on Tue, 5th Oct 2010 9:02 pm 

    The numbers professed by the mfg are ridiculous. No measurement device short of a laser could make the measurements. Of 8 AAA players who trialed this system 7 went back to traditional. Too much of a need to have the edge redone. Not durable at all. I suspect many NHLers may get it only because they get sharpened up between periods if they want or even between shifts! Not worth the effort. The spinners I got from blackstone were manufactured grossly inaccurate with huge tolerances compared to the specs they profess! If you like accurate edges – stay clear of this !

  9. Barry on Sat, 6th Nov 2010 12:34 pm 

    The FBV is more ‘hype’ than anything else. I’ve been sharpening skates professionally since 1969 and a PROPERLY sharpened ROH blade will outperform any FBV blade.

    The ‘spin dresser’ grinding wheels used on any FBV process cannot make the smooth mirror finish that a properly diamond dressed wheel can make on a blade……PERIOD.

    The skate sharpener CANNOT ‘dress’ the FBV grinding wheels

    This is simply a ‘better mousetrap’ placibo. Not as many NHL PLAYERS are using this as the manufacturer and their salespeople would have you believe.

    The OHL’s Windsor Spitfires just won ‘back to back’ Memorial Cups using TRADITIONAL ROH sharpenings.

    One of the biggest drawbacks is that FBV blades will loose their edges (bite) very quickly and unexpectantly. this is fine for players who have a trainer READy to redo their skates whenever. 99% of hockey players do not have that luxury.

  10. Ken on Mon, 15th Nov 2010 12:37 pm 

    Got it done last week and used this sharpening for 3 games now. I don’t like it at this point as it feels like my blades are dull and not much grip. I don’t know the grind my sharpener used but I need more bite. I’ll be speaking with him tomorrow about it. If he can get me more edge such as the 100-75 in the pic above I may stick with it. If not, I’m going back to the way I’ve had my skates sharpened for the last 35yrs.

  11. Chris on Mon, 29th Nov 2010 2:21 pm 

    I’ve used this cut and my son (bantam) uses this cut. I am not a pro but have skated enough to say this is not hype and when I skate on this edge you get both better glide and better turning. It’s the science of the cut. It’s a higher performance cut in my opinion and requires good edge control. As a player I don’t want to have my skates sinking into the ice rather I want positive edges. Just like a snow skier wants great glide and sharp edging ability.

  12. Brian on Tue, 18th Jan 2011 12:16 pm 

    I sharpen skates and offer the FBV although I do not recommend it for the aggresive and competative leagues. The edge height very small and thus becomes truly unpredictable. I take pride in my work and only offer because many are sold on the sales pitch. . .
    My advice. . . stay with the tried and proven.

  13. skyler on Tue, 20th Dec 2011 2:10 am 

    i work at a sports store and have tried both the traditional way and the fbv, since i work at the store i have luxery of bringing in my skates as often as i want, i find the fbv is great, better glide and quicker smoother turns, but i will agree that it doesnt last as long, i play recreational hockey so im not to hard on my skates and with the traditional sharpen i could go about 4 skates before i need a re sharpen, that number has gone done to 1 or maybe 2 skates a sharpen

  14. tjackson on Thu, 8th Mar 2012 6:26 pm 

    I just had the flat bottom v sharpening. I am 41 and am playing my 4th year of women’s hockey. I could not believe the difference on the ice. I was nervous at first because I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t believe that I even noticed a difference. It is literally like a bobsled the way you glide over the ice. I love it and will never go back.

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