For recreational hockey players keeping your skates sharp isn’t always easy. A good skate shop can be hard to find. The SkateMate is a hand held skate sharpener that helps keep skates in shape between professional sharpenings. It is adjustable, but can, at times, be a bit frustrating.
Using this tool over the last year or so I’ve been able to go about twice as long before needing to go in to a skate shop for a touch up. While not a replacement for a professional, it’s good to know I can use it when my skates get a bit dull.
Here’s a tool I wish existed about 25 years ago. Silver Trucks makes this updated version of the classic skate key, with added functionality, so it works in a complete skateboard build-up and isn’t limited (as its predecessor was) to maintenance and adjustments. The SilverTool is a solid, straight, T-shaped tube that feels much better in my hand than other tools I’ve used and has more features than anything else out there on the market.
Like the old skate key tool that was the standard for years, the SilverTool has openings to adjust the nuts for the wheels, as well as adjusting the nut tensioning on the truck kingpin. What is revolutionary about this tool is that it has a reversible ratchet at one end and a removable Phillips/hex driver. These features allow me to install and adjust the hardware holding the trucks to my deck. (Rush makes a ratcheting skate tool that has a hinged ratchet socket, and a hinged pullout Phillips/hex driver. Rush’s tool is smaller than Silver’s, but I believe some stability/torque is sacrificed in exchange.)
The SilverTool is also equipped with a medium-grade file for smoothing out the grip-tape edges around the skateboard deck. This is a nice bonus, though it’s not quite enough for me to perform a complete setup. I still need to use a separate razor blade or Stanley knife to trim away excess tape.
I hope to purchase, or make, adapters for the ratchet that will allow me to use this tool for basic bicycle maintenance as well. If Silver were to think a little beyond just skateboarding, they could easily manufacture the tool of choice for those who are into both skateboarding and riding bikes.
The Kahuna Big Stick is a lightweight wooden shaft with fixed rubber wheels that allows a skater to push and pull while keeping balanced with both feet as opposed to pumping with one foot. On the level, it is way superior to foot-pumping. Even on uphills, I’ve found if I do a few foot pumps, then follow with a few paddles, it’s faster and smoother. On slight downslopes, I can now get a lot more speed by not having to foot pump. It’s got me skating a two-block section in town that used to be too slow. Plus, it adds an upper body workout to a sport that, traditionally, challenges your legs mostly. Surfers see me with it and invariably break into a grin; they instantly get it and are charmed. It really is incredible. The day I got my 5′ 6″ Big Stick, I tried it out in a parking lot while getting gas. Boy! After about five tentative strokes, I started reaching out as far as I could, zooming around. Later that night I decided to skate in the streets (no cars). I got in a bunch of half-mile downhills in an hour. It is insane fun. One disadvantage: You’re carrying this stick rather than free skating down hills.