Installing On Skates Without A Cowling

This page will show the Overdrive install for skates without a cowling, including all the newest Bauer, CCM, and True skates. As I get more feedback from customers, I'll post pics of their various skates. Below are the two Overdrive blades: old one on top; new one on the bottom. The only difference between the two is the holes. The blades are made from the same steel and punched from the same blank. The lettering was removed to make it easier for the tool and die guys (Steve and Mike at Commercial Prototype) to get the new holes in, and as simple as this solution looks, it was not. I didn't want to go with a whole new shape, because that would have jacked the price way higher than it was already, for something that has become an expensive hobby since the outlawing.

The install is extremely easy and takes advantage of the fact that the blade holders all have a standard hole position. No drilling is required, but the holes on Overdrive must line up with the holes on the blade holder. To ensure this, the new Overdrive holes are slotted to allow for different sizes and models. The middle hole is slotted more in case of a difficult fit. Then, you can slide the blade up or down to get at least two Overdrive holes to line up with two on the blade holder.
Overdrive sits wedged between the boot and blade holder, not out in the open like the old Overdrive, so the screws don't have to do as much work, and two screws easily hold the blade. For well over a year, I tested many blades that were attached by two holes and never had a problem with loose blades.
It still might happen that Overdrive does not fit a skate, and in that case, I'll return your money and figure out what to do next.
Finally, the hole position also had to allow for more bite. I was surprised to find that the old setting of the blade didn't work as well on these skates, and my foot kept slipping out when I was down. The blades needed to stick out more. The reason is because these skates work at a lower angle. The bite you'll now get at these low angles makes for a really nice push while down.

Below is my Bauer S27 with the blade installed as it would be on all skates without a cowling. It works perfectly and creates no problems at all with the rest of the skate. I cover this at the bottom of the page. But as I type this, I can hear the handyman goaltenders out there just itching to put a shim on the other side of the holder. This was my first concern, but I found that there was zero need for a shim, allowing me to go ahead with the blade.

To install the blade, you'll remove three rivets, slide the blade between the boot and the blade holder, and then secure it with three screws or rivets; both hold equally well. And that's it! No drilling required.

Unlike the old install, there is no positioning to worry about either. Once you insert the screws, the blade is set. It is also very secure because it's wedged between the blade holder and the boot, so you don't have to torque the screws down like the old install.

Other than a Philips screwdriver, the only tool you'll need is nibblers, or something to remove the rivets.

The hardest part of this install is removing the rivets, because they are placed in a little hollow that makes it hard for nibblers to reach (above, blue arrows). My nibblers are basically gone, so I had a lot of trouble getting to the rivets. If you want to save yourself some trouble, have your skate guy at least loosen them to make to make them easier to pry out. I used my awl and pounded the rivets with a hammer from inside the skate to pop them about 1/8". I'm not sure I'm recommending this, but it worked. Once you've got the rivets out, the hard part is over.

With the rivets removed, you'll slide the blade between the boot and the blade holder. The blue arrow shows where I stuck my awl to pry the holder up and allow the blade to slide in. Anything thin enough will work, like a screwdriver, a nail, you name it. Slide the back part of the blade in first and line up the back hole only (green arrow). Don't line up all three holes at once; this is easier.

On a minor note, to line up the hole properly, I inserted my awl and wiggled it around to nudge the blade into place (below left). Again, a screwdriver or even a nail can do this just as well.

With the back hole lined up, insert a long screw, thread a T-nut onto it from inside the boot, and then tighten it down to sink it into the sole of the skate (below, steps 1,2,3). Next, remove the long screw and replace it with a short screw (below, steps 4, 5), BUT, do not tighten the short screw much. Keep it loose so you can line up the other 2 holes. If you tighten it down, the other 2 holes don't line up perfectly.

Below is a graphic from the regular install page, and since this blade uses the same screws and nuts, nothing changes here.

Next, you'll swing the blade so that the second hole lines up (below, green arrow). Then you'll insert a long screw and follow the same procedure: thread the T-nut, tighten it down into the sole of the skate, remove the long screw, replace it with a short screw, but keep this screw loose. (steps 1-5 above)

With two screws done, the top hole should be almost lined up, but if not, insert an awl, or screwdriver, and wiggle it a bit to line it up (below right). Then, you'll follow steps 1-5 to finish the top hole. If you have a hard time reaching inside the boot with the T-nut, if your hands are big or there's no room inside, you can just leave the top hole. The blade will hold with two screws, and next time you get your skates sharpened, have your guy pop a rivet in there, and he better not charge for it!

With the three short screws in, you can now tighten them all down, but be careful not to torque them too much because you don't want to strip the screw-head. Again, there's no need for them to be super tight, but after a week or two, you might want to check them in case the sole inside the skate has compressed with the pressure, thereby leaving the screws a bit loose. Don't worry if you forget. The blades won't fall off. In testing these blades, I changed them dozens of times over the last year and never once remembered to do that.

Also, don't worry about ruining the hardware, or losing it, or having the dog eat it. If you need more, let me know and I'll send it out, no charge. And if you change skates, I send replacement hardware for free.

So that's the install, and if you're familiar with the install on skates with a cowling, you can see that this one is way easier. However, if you really don't feel like doing it, this should be super easy for any sports store, and since they'll likely use rivets, it will be very quick, and they better not try charging more than $10, because it's not much harder than changing a light bulb.

Finally, I'll address my initial concerns about the install, which you likely have as well.

My main concern with this install was whether lifting the blade holder on one side only would twist or warp the main blade. It doesn't. Most skate sharpeners have a tool to measure such a thing, and I was happy to discover that lifting the blade holder like this didn't affect it at all. The blade sat square its full length and it still does.

This makes sense because Overdrive is 1/16" thick, and when it slides into this position, the boot absorbs some of that height by indenting very slightly. The blade holder absorbs the rest, and you see it doing just that with the green arrow above. Any residual effect is absorbed by the rest of the blade holder. The chance of a plastic blade holder twisting or warping a hardened steel blade is zero. The blade holder is strong and durable, but it's still plastic, so it has a certain softness (blue arrows, that's from removing the rivets) and will always give way to the hardened steel of the main blade.

There is no change in the feel of the skate, no effect on sharpening or anything else I can think of. None. I wouldn't have bothered with this blade if there was.


Let me know if you have any questions.

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