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Tips & Tricks

So you thought all you had to do was fill the rink and skate to your hearts content? Well you could, but you might want to do some maintenance on that ice.

 

Resurfacing ... the key to glass smooth ice and the most enjoyable skating.

Now that your rink is frozen, has a nice smooth surface and you have skated on it you need to keep it that way. You should first read "Cleaning the ice after a skating session " and get the rink relatively clean. Then you can break out the hose and water and make the surface as fresh as it was the first day you used the rink (or better). As with everything else there are many methods to get the job done.

  1. The bucket dump method - It is just what it sounds like. You get a bucket and fill it with water and dump it over on your rink and the water will self level. This is best done from the shallow end. It may take more than one barrel/bucket to get your entire rink. I did this last year and my 19x32 rink took two 45 gallon barrels to cover the entire surface. This method allows you to go in the house for a few minutes while the barrel/bucket fills up.
  2. Freeflowing water from a hose - Here you basically hold the hose out away from yourself and move it around moving across your rink trying to keep a "wet edge" so you don't get ripples in the surface. I have done this as well and it does work. When the temps really get down there though it is difficult to maintain the "wet edge". This is also the most time consuming of the methods as you are on the rink walking back and forth for quite a while.
  3. Sprinkler - Hook your hose up to a sprinkler and let it do it's magic. I have not tried this as I have heard that the hose resting on the ice melts the surface as does the sprinkler unit. You could also freeze the sprinkler to the ice if you are not careful.
  4. Flattened pipe - With this method you take a piece of copper pipe and put a 45 elbow near the bottom with a small piece of pipe extended from the elbow. You flatten the end of the small pipe so that when water comes out of it it has a slightly pressurized flat flow to it. Do not flatten the pipe too much or you will turn it into a spray, you want the water to flow. Place the pipe on the ice and work your way over the entire surface. This is similar to the freeflowing hose method, but has a little more control to it.
  5. The "Ice Resurfacer" - Here is probably the best method of the bunch in not just my opinion, but in many of my fellow fanatics as well. Read the "Ice Resurfacer" article for assembly instructions or create your own with the same basic principle. The ice resurfacer is basically a pipe with holes and a towel attached that drags behind it. You can control the water flow much better with it and the towel helps create that "glass smooth" surface you so desire. You simply walk up and down your rink from one edge to the other slightly overlapping your paths. This method is probably the fastest and definately the most controlled. On a cold night you can lay down two or three layers with a resurfacer due to each layer is thinner thus making it easier to get a truely smooth surface overnight.

No one said having a rink in your backyard was going to be a walk in the park. You do have to do some basic maintenance in order to get full enjoyment from it. The trick is to find the way to do the maintenance as quickly as you can and not sacrafice quality while doing it. In my opinion the simple task of cleaning the rink when you are done and resurfacing every so often are well worth the effort. Using the homeboni makes the resurfacing time be cut to 1/3 of what it would take by any other method, so make yourself one and stop wasting time.

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