What is a Radius of Hollow (ROH)? That's a question we get asked every day at The Sharpening Dude. To put it simply, ROH is the official term used to describe the "cut" you get on the bottom of your skate, and it is not to be confused with Profile which is covered below.
So, what's the big deal about ROH? In basic terms, it's a portion of a circle used to create the "U" shape on the bottom of your blade. The small the measurement, the more bite or grip you have on the ice. The larger the measurement, the more glide you have. Based on that sentence, most folks think they need to jump right into a large hollow to have as much speed as possible, but as in most things in life, it's all about balance. You're sorely mistaken if you decide to go for the largest hollow, thinking you'll be sprinting around the rink like Connor McDavid. You'll cause yourself not to be able to get all the force from your leg muscles into the blades and push you forward. Conversely, if you think you're going to corner like a Formula 1 racer in the corners with a keen bite edge, you might not be able to stop correctly and smash your face against the boards.
No, just like life, we need balance. Not too much bite, not too much glide. So the question you might ask is, what's the best balance for me? Well, that all depends on the skater. The most used rule of thumb is the bigger you are, the wider your ROH. This is not necessarily a set-in-stone fact. I prefer to converse with customers based on their experience, what ROHs they've used previously, and where they've sharpened their skates. I can deduce an ROH that might work for them with these questions.
So what are the measurements, and what do they mean? We use the measurement of a circle's radius. If you took the edges of your skates and lined up enough of them perfectly, they would make a perfect circle (if they've been appropriately sharpened!), and that circle can be measured in portions of an inch.
The range we use from smallest to largest is as follows:
The Sharpening Dude's standard for hockey is 1/2" for skaters (forwards/defense) and 3/4" for goalies. Figure skaters have their own standards; that page can be found in the Elegance Unmatched section. Spring/Summer is the best time to experiment with ROH, and try going broader or more narrow and see what fits you best.
Now, if you're a brand new skater and coming in for the first time, I am going to put you on a ½" ROH. This is probably the most common starting point for everyone. I, at 250 lbs, still skate on a ½" cause its what fits me the best. Some players change their ROH based on the rink they play at and the ice conditions. The bottom line is that there are so many factors on ROH that we sharpeners like to discuss with each person to find the ROH that fits them best. Stop by today, see The Sharpening Dude, and figure out what's best for you!