Skate Sharpening Terms & Definitions

Learn the Lingo

Bite Angle

Bite Angle is the angle between the skate blade and the ice.


The higher the bite angle the more grip the blade has on the ice. This grip is the result of deeper penetration of the blade edge into the ice. High bite angles result in more positive starts, stops and turns. High bite angles can also lead to falls and difficulty kicking a puck due to "catching" an edge. Deeper blade penetration from higher bite angles increase drag, requiring more energy to accelerate and slower skating speeds.

The bite angle is formed by the sharpening system applying a radius of hollow or ROH to the bottom of the skate blade. Higher ROH results in lower bite angles and conversely lower ROH’s result in higher bite angles.

Blade Width

Ice hockey blades are approximately 1/8" wide. Goalie blades and figure skating blades are generally wider than hockey skate blades.


Hockey skate blades can vary in width by as much as 15% even within the same manufacturer. This can result in varying bite angles even with the same radius of hollow or ROH. Off-center error can occur if sharpening equipment is not adjusted to compensate for changing blade widths.

Redi-Edge Gage

The Redi-Edge Gage (REG) can be used to measure and categorize blade widths.

Carving the Edge
carving the edge

The process of sharpening the edge of an ice skate by shaving tiny pieces of the hollow of the blade off as opposed to grinding. Similar to the difference between planning wood vs. sanding wood.


Contouring is the process of shaping the curvature of a skate blade from toe to heel. The curvature is measured in feet/radius or by rocker. The larger the radius number the more blade contact with the ice.

Dressing the Wheel

Dressing the wheel is the process of shaping the grinding wheel of a grinding machine to the desired Radius of Hollow (ROH) using a diamond stylus. See Grinding Machines.

grinding wheel before and after

The Edges of a skate blade are found at the intersection of the sides of the blade and the hollow. The inside edge is the edge closest to the instep of the skate boot.

Grinding Machines

Grinding machines are machines that use a circular grinding wheel to sharpen the edges of skates. The diameter of the grinding wheel determines the Radius of Hollow (ROH) of the blade. The grinding wheels have an abrasive surface that “grinds" away the surface of the blade, much like coarse sandpaper.

Radius of Hollow (ROH)

Radius of Hollow is the size in inches of the circular pattern applied to the bottom of the ice skate blades to provide two distinct edges. The ROH is also referred to as a groove, a hollow grind, or a ground radius. Historically, this circular pattern has been formed during the sharpening process by a rotating, shaped grinding wheel. Hand touch-up tools using a formed stone or other abrasive material are available to dress a previously formed ROH. The Redi-Edge Ice Skate sharpening system uses a shaped cutter to precisely form the Radius of Hollow.

The selection of a ROH has a direct effect on a skaters bite angle and therefore performance. A 1/2" ROH is considered normal. However, lower and higher radii are also used. They can range from 1/4" to 2". Higher ROH results in lower bite angles and conversely lower ROH’s Result in higher bite angles.

In the diagrams shown below, you will note that the blade with the 3/8" ROH has a higher bite angle than the blade with the 1 1/4" ROH.

centered 38 roh centered 114 roh
Redi-Edge Gage (REG)

REG is the number assigned to the blade width measurement taken with the Redi-Edge Standard or Professional Gage. The REG describes blade thickness variation from .001" to .004" of an inch. The correct REG width for your blade is the narrowest REG measured that will smoothly pass over your blades.

Redi-Edge Standard Gage (RESG)

The Redi-Edge Standard Gage is a device for measuring and categorizing skate blades by width. Each REG number on the Redi-Edge Standard Gage represents a maximum possible blade thickness variation of .004". This is approximately the width of a piece of paper. By grouping blade widths with the Redi-Edge Standard Gage, it is possible to maintain a more consistent bite angle by minimizing off-center sharpening errors.

Redi-Edge Standard Gage

The process of shaping the edges on a skate to improve performance. Sharpening can be done using large grinding machines or hand held devices like Redi-Edge Ice.

sharpened blade