Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Rust Beater

(Still working on the Center of Mass is the Center of Everything post. Here's some mindless filler)

I am not a coach. I'm not a high level skater. My comments about skating have no ring of authority.  I can give no advice except in one area.

Blade rags.

These often under rated tools of the skaters trade are known by low class names: blade towel, blade rag, and 'that blue thing at the bottom of the bag'.  Some people use any thing handy, an old bar towel, something from the kitchen or the bathroom, a piece of cloth cut from an old flannel robe. I dis those things. Dis them hard. Ptooey!

Cotton is okay for drying yourself off after a shower, but we're talking about your skates here. These are worthy of royal treatment. You must only allow the most absorptive, soft, scratch free fibers to touch your precious blades, or the skating demon with sprinkle them with rust. The towel must be made from the inner fiber of the rypoff tree from the deepest jungle in the forest of Bongo-bongoland. This fiber is harvested by artisans wearing special gloves dampened with the first dew of morning, and placed lovingly in handwoven pine baskets. The strict inspection regimen means that only half the harvest is ever used for these magical creations which are available for only $15.99.

SCREECHing halt!

Sorry, I've been looking at catalogs and everything has a little story to make the enormous friggin' markup palatable. But here it's not necessary. I'll tell you the secret. Yes, I've found a blade towel that is better than anything else I've tried.  I've used these for years and I swear by them.

Welcome to the freakishly cheap 'super-absorbtive' microfiber towels from the Dollar Store. I kid you not. A couple of swipes of these and my blades are dry. I dry my blades, pop on the cheap soakers, and leave everything in the bag in the car. According to traditional wisdom I should be skating on little red stubs of rust, but they're as perfect as the day I bought them (except for the fact my rocker is getting to end of life, but that's another story).

I tried cotton towels of various kinds when I started out, but they were almost worthless. They took a lot longer to dry the blades, and I don't think they did a good job. These sweet little one dollar babies (in various colors, and sometimes 2 for a dollar) do the job, do it fast, do it well. Got a dollar to spare? They're worth a try.


  1. I also use microfiber towels to dry my blades. I got 3 of them when Shell was running a promotion- buy 10 gallons of gas, get a rag. Weird promotion, but thankfully, my Dad likes anything free (we don't have Shell here) and picked up 10 of them over the course of it. He kept most of them, but shared a few. I have 2 left, not sure where the yellow one went off to.

    I saw comments on another blog about how we shouldn't use soakers, and it is a trick, and will cause rust, but the cloth gets my blades nice and dry before I put them into the soakers. No rust in site!

  2. Just FYI on the "leave everything in the car": depending on where you live, this can be not so good for the boots. If it gets very hot, then the heated interior will basically undo the heat molding in your boots and reset them back to factory shape; if it gets very cold, then the boots can get extremely stiff and take an hour or more of wear to warm up enough to be flexible for skating. At least, according to the nice lady who runs my local skate shop and seems to know all about fitting boots...

  3. Oh, I agree MommyTime. Leaving boots in the car is usually a no-no. But, I hate these boots, and I've been trying to kill them. After 4 years skating in them, I've finally worn down the blades and will need to replace them. The boots? They're still going strong. Jackson makes some tough boots.

    This year I've finally started taking them indoors, because my feet can't take skating in cold boots anymore.

  4. Back in the olden days (70's and 80's) we all used soft chamois used for cars and found in local hardware stores or Canadian Tire. I'm trying an old Shamwow now and so far so good. Babette, I just bought some used Don Jackson boots and the are amazing!! I met him once at a skating seminar when I was about 13. He told me to never worry about falling because "when you quit falling, you quit learning". I have applied that to everything in life.