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Thread: Sharpening microspikes

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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Sharpening microspikes

    I think my Kahtoolas are prime for some sharpening. I'm sure some folks have done it before. Is there any advantage to using a file instead of a grinder? How sharp should I make the points? Any other things I should be considering?

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    How-Do-I-Sharpen-my-Microspikes

    This might be helpful to (re)read.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    I used my Hillsounds for a hike on Saturday. I came home and one of the links was broken at the junction with the rand. It took a lot of messing around to be able to hold the link tight enough to unbend it so I could get the old one off and then salvage a good link from a broken one I keep around for just this purpose. Given the hassle with keeping things solid enough to bend things I expect sharpening would have the same issue as a file will not bite if the surface being filing is fixed in place.

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    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Grinder wheel will sharpen quickly but soften the metal. Make a wooden jig to hold the MSs in a vise or hold with large pliers and use a large bastard file. It's tedious but taking your time will restore most of the sharp points.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
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    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I just took a closer look at my microspikes - it seems to me that my biggest problem are 2 rear-most teeth that have rounded front surfaces to the point that they look more like parabolas rather than straight lines. Other teeth also could use some sharpening but they are not nearly as bad. Looking at pictures on Kahtoola web site the originals seem to have a little bit of a bevel too.

    I guess another option for me is to look at getting Hillsound Trail Crampons for steeper winter hikes. I think I will still sharpen my Kahtoolas.

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    If the spikes are worn to the point of not being useful any more, it's likely something else is about to fail as well: chain links or the rubber binding. When mine get dull enough to need sharpening i buy a new pair (actually switched to Hillsound) and relegate the old ones to lawn-mowing detail (we have a very steep lawn!).
    Add life to your years!

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I think my Kahtoolas are prime for some sharpening. I'm sure some folks have done it before. Is there any advantage to using a file instead of a grinder? How sharp should I make the points? Any other things I should be considering?
    With the work involved I just buy a new set. You can as you know buy them for as little as $45 off season for sure. I use the new set were sharp points are the ticket. Like yesterday hiking shear ice. With the older ones I save and use them for hiking on trails were a sharp tooth isn't important. Like early winter or spring were there is a lot of rocks and mud and rocks showing but areas of some crusty snow and ice are there. Or around the yard here. Don't care if I trash them further walking in those conditions. Safety is still important on those days.

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    I just clamp mine in a pair of vise grips and use a small Dremel grinding wheel. If you just hit the spike with the grinder in very short bursts and cooling in water, you will not heat up the spike enough to lose the temper. This process works very well and is substantially faster than using a vise and file. I'm also to the point where I'm convinced that the steel Hillsound uses is not as hard as what Kahtoola uses. I know Carbon should be harder than stainless but what is the quality of the steel Hillsound is using? I was convinced when I finally broke out a new pair of Hillsounds to do Monadnock last week and lost 1/8 " of every spike. Making them now the length of Microspikes and, flat. That and all the steel plates on Hillsounds make them more prone to balling. I decided to try an experiment. Are the cheaper knock-offs worth it? There are dozens. Bought these. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 After one short 4 mile hike that was steep, with a lot of rocks, roots and bare ledge, they held up great. If the mods think I git carried away here, feel free to delete.
    Joe

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    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    With so many Hillsounds-only fans, would you allow me to copy your post elsewhere without using your name.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peakbagr View Post
    With so many Hillsounds-only fans, would you allow me to copy your post elsewhere without using your name.
    Fine with me. Of course, this is only my opinion and experience.
    Joe

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    Strange, my Hillsounds have held up fairly well. Must be different year to year.

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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    JustJoe, are you sure the Hillsounds you got are not counterfeit? I would expect top brands to have comparable durability.

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    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Thank you, Joe
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

  14. #14
    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    JustJoe, are you sure the Hillsounds you got are not counterfeit? I would expect top brands to have comparable durability.
    Yes, they are Hillsounds.
    Joe

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