Making Ice!

I seen have a common question asked among some of the backyard rink building groups: How long does it take to make ice? Well, this can be a loaded question, as it varies greatly by the weather and depth you are trying to freeze. You can really dig into the science behind how ice freezes, but for me I was trying to find the bottom line answer. There were two charts that I found that break it down pretty simply. The first showing ice growth over a day and the other over a week. Since for the most part people are trying to freeze a minimum of 4 inches you should be able to do that over a weeks time.

As you can see from the charts the temperature is relative to the growth of ice. There can be other factors as well such as depth, wind and snow or rain fall.

Once you have your base ice frozen, you may want to build more depth through base building/flooding/resurfacing/watering (there are many ways people refer to this process). The same science from above applies to building ice or resurfacing, but since you are only laying down a very thin layer of water it should freeze relatively quickly with the right conditions. The below chart should guide you when trying to determine the right temperature for resurfacing or base building. I found this chart in the literature from my NiceRink Resurfacer.

Degrees (F)Degrees (C)ResurfacingBase Building
350 to 3MarginalNot Advised
25 to 15-4 to -9FairMarginal
15 to 0-10 to -17GoodGood
0 to -10-18 to -23ExcellentVery Good
-15 / Lower-24 / lowerGoodExcellent

Now I will put a disclaimer on this, as I am no scientist but someone who is merely interpreting what I read. With science there are many variables, but I do hope this helps you get the general idea of how long it will take to get your rink up and running.

Build a PVC Skate Training Aide

Sure you can just give someone a plastic chair to hold on to while learning how to skate, but what’s the fun in that! Building a skate training aide is fairly simple and doesn’t take a lot to do it. I was reading through various sites gathering information on rink builds and the sorts, when I came across an article on the Popular Mechanics web site. They had a straight forward graphic to show the build. The nice aspect of this is it is fully customizable. Fit it out to the skater. If you use screws rather than cement you can always take it apart and fit it to someone else with some modifications. Their design was to use 2″ pipe, however, I wound up building mine using 1 1/2″ pipe.

Parts List:

  • 8 – 90-degree elbows
  • 2 – 90-degree Tee
  • Approximately 15 feet of pipe depending on your design
  • Sheet metal screws

Review: Skaboots

boot

We have three kids skating now on our rink. We all know the drill of getting them ready in the house and then getting them out to the rink, usually by having to carry them. Well that gets old real quick having to carry three kids back and forth. I had heard about Skaboots before but wasn’t ready to drop some cash on them until this year. The kids are getting bigger and  and carrying them a couple times finally convinced me to pull the trigger. And boy am I glad. They work as advertised and helped solve a problem. Two important factors when I look at products.

Skaboots advertises multiple benefits but these were a bunch that I concur with:

  • Skaboots are much wider than typical skate guards for walking stability and have boot-like soles for excellent traction and mobility.
  • Skaboots are perfect for the backyard rink or pond. Put skates on in the house and then head outside. For a quick break, kids can simply put their
  • Make it possible to break in skates off the ice, or for beginners to become better-acclimated to being on skates while away from the rink.
  • One Skaboots size fits several different sizes of skates, so children can use them for several years as they grow into different skate sizes.
  • They’re made of the same rubber material that a hiking boot sole is made of – so they provide great traction but won’t mark up floors.
  • No more tying laces outside in the cold.
  • Unlike typical skate blade protectors, Skaboots will not damage rugs, wood or tile floors.

The kids had no issue getting to the backyard rink with these on. Even through mud they were solid. They walked all around the house without any issue with various flooring and floor coverings.

The one issue I ran into was the size of the Skaboot. I ordered three pairs based on shoe size. That worked for 2 out of the 3. The third was an issue because of blade size. So make sure you check that out before giving them a go. Other than that, I think these are a solid add for your rink.