Title:
RUNNER FOR AN ICE SKATE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved runner is disclosed, of the type associated with a boot portion to form an ice skate and defining, in use, a pair of edges, spaced-apart from one another along a lateral axis and, in use, forming the ice-engaging surfaces of the skate. The improvement comprises a pair of metal plates, one or more metal webs and a rigid polymeric portion. The plates are generally parallel to one another and axially spaced apart. Each plate defines a respective one of said edges in use. The webs extend between and rigidly connect the plates to define, with the plates, one or more voids between said plates, said voids including a channel having an opening directed, in use, away from the boot portion, said channel being bounded laterally by said plates. The polymeric portion is disposed in said channel and engages the plates to stiffen the runner.



Inventors:
Ferras, Paul (Brantford, CA)
Application Number:
12/370698
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
02/13/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C1/34; A63C1/30
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
EVANS, BRYAN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DeLio Peterson & Curcio LLC (NEW HAVEN, CT, US)
Claims:
1. An improved runner, of the type operatively associated with a boot portion to form an ice skate and defining, in use, a pair of runner edges, spaced-apart from one another along a lateral axis, said runner edges, in use, forming the ice-engaging surfaces of the skate, wherein the improvement comprises: a pair of metal plates orientated substantially parallel to each other and spaced apart along the lateral axis, each of said metal plates defining a respective one of said runner edges in use; one or more metal webs extending between and rigidly connecting the pair of plates to define, in combination with said pair of plates, one or more voids between said plates, said one or more voids including a first channel having an opening directed, in use, away from said boot portion, said first channel being bounded laterally by said plates; and a first rigid polymeric portion disposed in said first channel and engaging the plates to stiffen the runner.

2. A runner according to claim 1, wherein said one or more voids further comprises a second channel having an opening directed, in use, towards said boot portion, said second channel being bounded laterally by said plates.

3. An improved runner, of the type operatively associated with a boot portion to form an ice skate and defining, in use, a pair of runner edges, spaced-apart from one another along a lateral axis, said runner edges, in use, forming the ice-engaging surfaces of the skate, wherein the improvement comprises: a pair of metal plates orientated substantially parallel to each other and spaced apart along the lateral axis, each of said metal plates defining a respective one of said runner edges in use; one or more metal webs extending between and rigidly connecting the pair of plates to define, in combination with said pair of plates, one or more voids between said plates, said one or more voids including: a first channel having an opening directed, in use, away from said boot portion, said first channel being bounded laterally by said plates; and a second channel having an opening directed, in use, towards said boot portion, said second channel being bounded laterally by said plates; and a first rigid polymeric portion disposed in said first channel and engaging the plates to stiffen the runner.

4. A runner according to claim 3, further comprising a second rigid polymeric portion disposed in said second channel and engaging the plates to stiffen the runner.

5. A runner according to claim 3, wherein the plates and the first polymeric portion are shaped so as to mechanically engage one another.

6. A runner according to claim 4, wherein the plates and the first polymeric portion are shaped so as to mechanically engage one another.

7. A runner according to claim 3, wherein said one or more voids further comprises one or more passages disposed between said first and second channels and separated therefrom by said webs.

8. A runner according to claim 3, wherein the first polymeric portion is carbon-fibre reinforced epoxy.

9. A runner according to claim 4, wherein the first polymeric portion is carbon-fibre reinforced epoxy and the second polymeric portion is carbon-fibre reinforced epoxy.

10. A runner according to claim 3, wherein the depth of the first channel is more than 10 mm.

11. A runner according to claim 3, wherein the depth of the first channel is about 12 mm.

12. A runner according to claim 3, wherein the first rigid polymeric portion adhesively engages the plates to stiffen the runner.

13. A skate blade for use with a boot portion to form an ice skate, said skate blade comprising: a bridge operatively associated with the boot portion in use; and a runner secured to the bridge and including: a pair of metal plates orientated substantially parallel to each other and spaced apart along the lateral axis, each of said metal plates defining a respective one of said runner edges in use; one or more metal webs extending between and rigidly connecting the pair of plates to define, in combination with said pair of plates, one or more voids between said plates, said one or more voids including: a first channel having an opening directed, in use, away from said boot portion, said first channel being bounded laterally by said plates; and a second channel having an opening directed, in use, towards said boot portion, said second channel being bounded laterally by said plates; and a first rigid polymeric portion disposed in said first channel and engaging the plates to stiffen the runner.

14. A skate blade according to claim 13, further comprising a second rigid polymeric portion disposed in said second channel and engaging the plates to stiffen the runner.

15. A skate blade according to claim 13, wherein the first polymeric portion is carbon-fibre reinforced epoxy.

16. A skate blade according to claim 13, wherein the first polymeric portion is carbon-fibre reinforced epoxy and the second polymeric portion is carbon-fibre reinforced epoxy.

17. A skate blade according to claim 16, wherein the first rigid polymeric portion and the second rigid polymeric portion adhesively engage the plates to stiffen the runner.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This application claims benefit of the filing date of and right o priority of United States Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/029,064 filed Feb. 15, 2008. The present disclosure is related to blades or runners for skates.

BACKGROUND OF THE ART

Traditional ice skate construction includes: a steel runner or blade which contacts the ice or skating surface; a boot portion; and a bridge or holder which attaches the runner to the boot portion.

Runners typically require periodic sharpening/contouring, to maintain glide characteristics. Both sharpening and contouring involve the removal of a portion of the material from which the runner is formed. Thus, runners eventually wear out after repeated sharpening and/or contouring and need to be replaced.

Over time, much attention has been given to reducing the overall weight of ice skates, to improve performance. Some improvements have involved replacing the materials of construction with more lightweight materials as they are developed. For example, some improvements have related to replacing leather components with lightweight man-made materials such as plastic.

Another improvement has involved replacing the steel bridge or blade holder with a plastic bridge. In addition to the advantages of weight reduction, this permits the runner or blade to be removed for sharpening, contouring and/or replacement.

Although steel has historically been the most widely used material for runners, it remains one of the heavier components of an ice skate. Thus, some attempts to reduce the overall weight of an ice skate have focused on decreasing the weight of the runner itself. One such attempt has involved providing a plurality of apertures or recesses in the runner. However, doing so reduces the amount of metal available for sharpening, and thus, reduces the life of the runner.

Another attempt to reduce the weight of the skate blade has involved forming the runner as a relatively thin strip of steel on the bridge. Runners of this type usually cannot be contoured according to the preferences of individual skaters.

Another improvement relating to runners concerns the provision of a shallow groove along the lower surface of the runner, the groove being filled with a soft hydrophobic thermoplastic material, such as PTFE. This is said to reduce the static or dynamic friction characteristics of the blade, and to reduce runner weight. The relatively poorer mechanical properties of PTFE in comparison to steel demands that the groove be shallow, generally in the order of approximately 5-10 mm, to ensure that the runner maintains mechanical strength. The shallowness of the groove renders the reduction in weight somewhat limited. The shallowness also reduces the amount of metal available for sharpening, thereby reducing the life of the runner.

Accordingly, there continues to exist the need for a strong, lightweight, skate blade or runner which can be readily manufactured and adapted for use on a wide variety of ice skates.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An improved runner forms one aspect of the invention. The improved runner is of the type operatively associated with a boot portion to form an ice skate and defining, in use, a pair of runner edges, spaced-apart from one another along a lateral axis, said runner edges, in use, forming the ice-engaging surfaces of the skate. The improvement comprises a pair of metal plates, one or more metal webs and a first rigid polymeric portion. The metal plates are orientated substantially parallel to each other and spaced apart along the lateral axis. Each of said metal plates defines a respective one of said runner edges in use. The metal webs extend between and rigidly connect the pair of plates to define, in combination with said pair of plates, one or more voids between said plates. The one or more voids include a first channel having an opening directed, in use, away from said boot portion, said first channel being bounded laterally by said plates. The first rigid polymeric portion is disposed in said first channel and engages the plates to stiffen the runner. This runner is relatively lightweight and is capable of being sharpened and contoured according to individual preferences a relatively large number of times.

Another improved runner forms another aspect of the invention. This runner is of the type operatively associated with a boot portion to form an ice skate and defining, in use, a pair of runner edges, spaced-apart from one another along a lateral axis, said runner edges, in use, forming the ice-engaging surfaces of the skate. The improvement in this runner comprises a pair of metal plates, one or more metal webs and a first rigid polymeric portion. The metal plates are orientated substantially parallel to each another and spaced apart along the lateral axis. Each of said metal plates defines a respective one of said runner edges in use. The metal webs extend between and rigidly connect the pair of plates to define, in combination with said pair of plates, one or more voids between said plates. The one or more voids include a first channel and a second channel, each bounded laterally by said plates. The first channel has an opening directed, in use, away from said boot portion. The second channel has an opening directed, in use, towards said boot portion. The first rigid polymeric portion is disposed in said first channel and engages the plates to stiffen the runner. This runner is relatively light weight and is capable of being sharpened and contoured according to individual preferences a relatively large number of times.

A skate blade for use with a boot portion to form an ice skate forms another aspect of the invention. This skate blade comprises a bridge and a runner. The bridge is operatively associated with the boot portion in use. The runner is secured to the bridge and includes a pair of metal plates, one or more metal webs and a first rigid polymeric portion. The metal plates are orientated substantially parallel to each another and spaced apart along the lateral axis. Each of said metal plates defines a respective one of said runner edges in use. The webs extend between and rigidly connect the pair of plates to define, in combination with said pair of plates, one or more voids between said plates. The one or more voids include a first channel and a second channel. The first channel has an opening directed, in use, away from said boot portion, and is bounded laterally by said plates. The second channel has an opening directed, in use, towards said boot portion, and is bounded laterally by said plates. The first rigid polymeric portion is disposed in said first channel and engages the plates to stiffen the runner. This skate blade is relatively light weight and is capable of being sharpened and contoured according to individual preferences a relatively large number of times.

Other advantages, features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as methods of operation and functions of the related elements of the structure, and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, the latter being briefly described hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of an ice skate incorporating a runner or blade constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the runner of the skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view along section 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 of an alternative runner;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 3 of a further alternative runner;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 3 of a further alternative runner;

FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of a further alternative runner; and

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of a yet further alternative runner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An exemplary ice skate constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in side view in FIG. 1 and is designated with general reference numeral 10.

This skate 10 is comprised generally of a boot portion 12, a bridge or blade holder 14 secured to the boot portion 12 and a runner or blade 16 secured to the bridge 14. The boot and the bridge are of conventional construction, and as such are not described in further detail. The runner 16 and bridge 14 together form what is commonly referenced in the field as a skate blade.

The runner 16 is an improved runner, of the general type defining a pair of runner edges 18, spaced-apart from one another along a lateral axis Y-Y. Runner edges 18, in use, form the lowermost edges/ice-engaging surfaces of the blade 10, as best seen in FIG. 3.

The improved runner 16 comprises a pair of metal plates 17 and one or more web portions 20. As best seen in FIG. 2, the metal plates 17, in side view, each take the general form of a conventional skate runner, i.e. a canoe-shaped flat plate, with longitudinally spaced-apart protuberances 26 defining conventional fastening apertures 28 for the receipt of fasteners (not shown) to secure runner 16 to the blade holder 14.

With reference to FIG. 3, plates 17 as illustrated are each stainless steel, having a (lateral) thickness t of approximately 0.7 mm, and are orientated substantially parallel to each another, perpendicular to the lateral axis Y-Y and spaced apart therealong a distance s of approximately 1.5 mm.

In this runner, the one or more metal webs 20 define, in combination with said pair of plates 17, one or more voids between the plates. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, a single web portion 20 is provided, to define two voids, 30 and 32, each bounded laterally by said plates 17. As shown, void 30 comprises a first channel having an opening directed, in use, away from boot portion 12. The depth d of the first channel 30 is preferably more than 10 mm, and most preferably about 12 mm. Void 32 comprises a second channel having an opening directed, in use, towards boot portion 12.

In this embodiment, a first rigid polymeric portion 22 in the form of a carbon fibre reinforced epoxy portion is provided and disposed in said first channel 30, adhesively engaging the plates 17 to stiffen the runner 16. A second rigid polymeric portion 24, also a carbon fibre reinforced epoxy portion, is also provided and is disposed in second channel 32, once again adhesively engaging the plates 17 to help to stiffen the runner.

In use, the runner 16 is sharpened in a conventional manner such that each of the metal plates 17 defines a respective one of the runner edges 18 in use and such that the first polymeric portion 22, in combination with the plates 17, defines a blade hollow 34 of the skate 10. Because the runner 16 has substantially parallel opposed side surfaces, it may be sharpened and contoured using conventional ice skate sharpening equipment. The relatively large depth d of the first channel 30 renders the runner 16 amenable to numerous sharpenings/contourings, with commensurate effects on runner life.

In one of the preferred embodiments of the invention, the metallic portion of the runner 16 is constructed out of a powder metallurgy process, and thereafter, the channels 30,32 are filled with carbon fibre reinforced epoxy resin and permitted to cure, to form a laminate.

An alternative runner 16′ is shown in FIG. 4, wherein the plates 17 are provided with reentrant or dove-tail shaped grooves 36, such that the plates 17 and the first polymeric portion 22 are mechanically engaged once the resin has cured. It will be appreciated by those skill in the art that such a structure will have a tendency to present a more rigid blade, with plates 17 being more substantially held in a generally parallel configuration.

Yet further alternative embodiments of the runner of the present invention are shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, with the runners being designated, respectively 16″ and 16′″. Here, the voids also include, respectively, one and two passages 38 disposed between said first 30 and second 32 channels and separated therefrom by said webs 20. The additional webs and open voids can provide greater strength and reduced weight in the runner, but the multiple webs can add to cost.

A bottom plan view of a further alternative runner is shown in FIG. 7. In this runner, modified plates 17′ are shown, these plates 17′ being substantially similar to the plates of the previous embodiments, but for the presence of convex inner surfaces 50,50 presenting towards one another and engaged adhesively to polymeric material 22. The top plan view of the runner of FIG. 7 is, but for the protuberances 26, substantially identical to the bottom plan view.

Yet another alternative runner is shown in bottom plan view in FIG. 8. This runner includes modified plates 17″, which are substantially similar to the plates of the previous embodiments, but for the presence of concave inner surfaces 52,52 presenting towards one another and engaged adhesively to polymeric material 22. The top plan view of the runner of FIG. 8 is, but for the protuberances 26, substantially identical to the bottom plan view.

Whereas but six specific embodiments of the runner have been herein described and shown, it will be appreciated that various modifications can be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. For example, whereas stainless steel is specified for the metallic portion, a wide variety of materials capable of withstanding the stresses of ice skating can be formed into a runner according to the invention. Suitable materials include steel, stainless steel, carbon steel, and combinations and alloys thereof. In some embodiments, a non-corrosive layer on the exterior surface of the runner may be provided, to prevent the formation of rust. Examples of suitable non-corrosive layers include nickel, nickel-chrome, chrome, combinations thereof and plastic films. As well, whereas specific dimensions for the plates and voids are described, variations therein are contemplated.

Further, whereas the blade is specified to be manufactured using a powder metallurgy process, it may be possible to construct the blade using other techniques.

As well, whereas the first and second polymeric portions are specified to be carbon fibre reinforced epoxy, a wide variety of polymeric and reinforcing materials may be used, limited by practical considerations such as the weight, strength, and processing method.

It is also specifically contemplated that the second polymeric portion may be omitted, provided suitable accommodations are made to the plates, runner geometry and bridge to maintain strength.

As a result of its structure, the present runner can be substantially lighter than other runners having a similar size and shape that are formed solely from steel or other metal.

Of course, any of the foregoing embodiments and modifications of runners according to the present disclosure may be used, with routine modification in terms of the mode of bridge-fastening, in a variety of commercially available plastic or polymeric bridges or blade holders.

In view of the foregoing, the present invention should be understood as limited only by the accompanying claims, purposively construed.