Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ice screw sharpening

I've read lots of discussion over the years on various climbing websites on how best to sharpen ice screws. I finally got around to filing those of mine that needed doing this afternoon so took some snaps. I don't know if what follows is the best method, but it definitely seems to work. If you climb regularly on anything but the fattest of cascades, sooner or later you are going to push a screw into rock. Its amazing how what looks like superficial blunting stops the screw from biting. So you do need to keep the teeth sharp.

There is really very little to it. You might want to mark it with a permanent marker (see pic below) to give you a rough idea what shape you are filing for, but as long as the top of the tooth is sharp it doesn't really matter if the "vertical" side of the tooth is merely vertical or slightly more than that - as they are when new. If you want that shop-new look of a sharks tooth you just have to file more!I use a very normal bastard file - get one with a plastic handle that will protect your hand - and just hold the screw in my other hand. Do it over paper or the bin as its surprising how many filings you'll produce.
That's it really. Just go for it. Hacking into your thirty quid/forty five Euro screw might seem a bit desperate at first, but I'm using BD Expresses that I bought a decade ago and with DIY sharpening when I ever I blunt one, they are almost indistinguishable from brand new ones.

Alternatively... if you are loaded and can go weeks without your screws, you can get them done by the clever Grivel machine here amongst various other places. If you want play with power tools, which to me looks like way too much hassle, instructions are here or here - but don't come running to me when you destroy your screw or chop your fingers off.

1 comment:

Art. said...

An interesting posting, cheers, might have to try out some of your advice,

- Art.

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