/ Manual Petzl Icescrew sharpener

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Heike - on 24 Jan 2014
Has anyone bought/used one of them? I was trying to give my icescrews to Tiso yesterday for sharpening, but they don't have their machine anymore instead offering the above device for 60 (!) pounds to buy or sharpening them with this for £3 each.

Not sure what to think...any thoughts?
jshields - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

Seems a fair price to get a screw sharpened, take your worse and see what happens.
Mountain Llama on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

Always done my by hand, fairly easy and lots of online advice available

Cheers Davey
Heike - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to jshields:

This used to be the price when they had the bigger machine, but this one looks just like a file.
Heike - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Mountain Llama:

Yes, I know, but I have never had great success...prefer it really sharp
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

I've got a dozen screws that would cost close to £600 to replace. I think £60 for something that should last many years will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Heike - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

Yeah, that's what I thought, if it works....hence my question.
jshields - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

Gives you a chance to try before you buy. Though at £3 a screw, that is a lot screws to get a return.

I had a look at one in outside and was impressed with the simplicity of it. Good buy if you can split the cost with a mate.

Fiona Reid - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:
You mean the LIMICE tool I assume?

It is essentially a fancy file, but it holds the screw in the right place. I have a similar (but simpler) thing for sharpening ski edges which cost about 25-30 quid and has more than paid for itself over the years.

I tried a LIMICE at the weekend and was fairly impressed. My pal has tried it on a totally blunt screw and after sharpening it seems back to full working order. I've used it on two including one that had an incident with rock and they both seem fine. I still need to test them in proper ice but the two I sharpened now hack through thick cardboard as well as a brand new one. Prior to sharpening them both had two points that didn't even pierce the card.

FWIW we've actually bought one for our club use, basically one member has bought it and has suggested anyone who uses it contributes something towards the cost which seems like a good idea as that way we don't all end up buying one. If you can find some other folks to chip in that might an option.
Post edited at 15:41
Hay - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:
Hi Heike,
I ve had a play around with one and I think it looks a good thing.
I ve sharpened hundreds of screws on the old Grivel machine and i think that anything folks can use at home, as and when, is a good thing.
If screws are too far gone then even the Grivel machine is no real use.
The state of some of the screws that were getting handed in was scary....full of muck, rusty, nae teeth left. Yikes.
Ive also been asked to rescue screws that folks have had a go on with a file. Double yikes.

As Fiona says one between a club or team is a good idea.

Heike - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Hay:

Cheers Fiona and Bruce, sharing seems a good idea if I can find a friend...! I have got some new screws from last year which look bad as somebody must have tried to screw them into rock (could have been me, Brian or any climbing partner I am not pointing any fingers...;-)) and I can't see them being rescuable, but it's worth a try !
crayefish - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

On the needle sports website there is link to instructions for doing it by hand. Tried it the other week and worked well... if not a little tedious if you have to do lots of screws.
TobyA on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Hay:

> Ive also been asked to rescue screws that folks have had a go on with a file. Double yikes.

It's funny that - how badly wrong can you get it? I have four BD express screws, 2 bought in 1998, 2 bought in 2000. I climb lots of thinnish ice lines so they often touch rock and need sharpening, particularly early season. I've been doing it a few times a winter with the same B&Q file (8 quid IIRC!) for now well over a decade. They may not be quite as good as brand new ones, but I reckon 80-90% as good. And I suspect I climb more cold ice than quite a few ice climbers do, where screws definitely need to be sharp as possible. Was out earlier and it was -20 when I left home. Just soloing little lines but was thinking how the ice is kinda hopeless at that temperature - huge amounts crumbling when you hit it and needing to hit maybe 7,8 times to get a half decent stick. Should have gone skating instead!

Would love to try the LIMICE but it's quite an investment compared to a file.
ross - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

Hi Heike, you might already know but Needlesports have a machine, though it might not be cost effective if you have to post.
I've got a Limice. I've not used it yet so can't say how good it is. There is another thread on here with reviews. You're welcome to have a go with mine, I'm Central Scotland too, pm me if you're interested.
Cheers, Ross.
mattrm - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

I'm a fairly keen woodworker and hand sharpen all my own saws. Sharpening a ice screw is quick and easy in comparison. Get a file and follow instructions. Sharpening 14 tpi dovetail saws is great fun...
Si Withington - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:


I have one of the new Petzl devices. I was impressed to be fair. It resurrected my screws pretty well within only a minute or so of use. The only thing to note is that it is 'set' for Petzl's new screws, which have a slightly different profile to say BD screws. I used it on BD Express & Grivel 360s though and it's decent - it just takes a bit longer on the first go as essentially the tool reshapes the profile to a Petzl profile.

Worth the cash I'd say - we bought it between 3 of us and will be taking it over to Norway this season to keep our screws nice and sharp. All good.

CurlyStevo - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

I follow something similar to this but with a few tweaks my screws go in better than new bd ones now. I dont need a vice but it would be a bonus to use one

philhilo - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

A mate bought one recently and I sharpened some of my screws on it over the weekend and was impressed with the results. The 3 or 4 strokes on each tooth edge suggested relies on the merest hint of dullness on the screw. 20 was nearer the mark for screws used in (thin) Welsh ice, however the results were better than the much slower hand filing technique and I did it in my lap whilst having a conversation. Overall a good bit of kit.
Heike - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to philhilo:

Great, thanks.
Misha - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to philhilo:
As Phil says, easy and convenient to use and good results. I used my scews in Cogne after sharpening them with the limice and they worked well. Not as good as brand new screws perhaps but you'd struggle to get that with a file anyway and certainly much much better than blunt! It changes the angle at the tip a bit on bd and grivel screws but still makes them sharp. Recommended if you don't want the faff of using a file with so so results. I'm sure there are people here who can get great results with a file but I'm not one of them...
CurlyStevo - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:
im not joking when I say my screws go in better than new bd ones. This week in the aosta area. I compared mine to one of my friends i borrowed that had seen one very light seasons use and had never hit rock and are fully sharp. I make the teeth slightly longer and slightly incut the top flat / leading edge, I also carry on the cutting edge for the first bit of the dip before the flat edge which then raises up to the next tooth. I also make the cutting edge slightly sharper / more incut and maintain the overhung angle of this edge. My reasoning is this helps cut up the ice chips further as well as encourage the chips to go in to the screw more. im not a big fan of the petzl tooth profile they dont go in as well as bd screws imo.

Its quite important all the teeth are roughly the same lengh and the troughs the same depth and that when you stand the screw up right on the teeth the screw is perpendicular to the surface and all teeth touch the surface.

Aftet sharpening I coat the screw inside and out with wd40.

I sent some of my screws off to sharpen on the grivel machine (using a well known uk service). At the time I was fairly new to winter and had made a bit of a mess of my screws. The grivel machine doesnt sharpen the cutting edge or deepen the troughs and the teeth of some my screws came back very short they were no where near as good as new bd screws. Im never doing that again.
Post edited at 04:02
Si Withington - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Yeah - I'd second the comment about how the Grivel machine shortens the teeth. It gets them pretty sharp but unless pressed for time I'd definitely say file them yourself. The Petzl tool is a great alternative for a quick fix when on a trip.
Heike - on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to Misha:

Same here, that's why I have always taken them to Needlesports and lately Tiso at Ratho....I might give this newfangled thing a go
Heike - on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to Si Withington:

I am not that great at DIY a....I am sharpening my axes, but there is much less to do wrong (i.e. more material). I always thought the Grivel machine did a tremendous job?
edinburgh_man on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:

This might be useful, a step by step guide to sharpening your screws:

TobyA on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to edinburgh_man:

I've always thought those kind of instructions make it way too complicated sounding. A file, a bin and some elbow grease it all that you need! http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/ice-screw-sharpening.html
nniff - on 28 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:
I spent £3 at a market tool stall, and came away with two small diamond-coated ultra fine files, a half-round fine grain grindstone that fits inside a screw and a small, fine, flat file. Armed with those, and a few minutes per screw, they all stay razor sharp. It's not difficult - look at a good one, look at a bad one, compare and contrast and get busy. Personally, I'm aiming to keep on top of them and keep them sharp, rather than let themn decay to the point of dysfunctionality before trying to restore them.
Post edited at 09:42
CurlyStevo - on 28 Jan 2014
In reply to Heike:
I asked needlesports about this and they replied

Our Ice screw sharpening machine was designed and made by Grivel and intended for there screws. If the screw to be sharpened is in good condition but a little dull on the leading edge, the machine will only need to take off a slither of metal. (I would say less than .5mm). So to clarify, the machine sharpens the leading/cutting edge but won't make the teeth longer.

We have found that nearly all modern Ice screw apart from the newer Black Diamond Screw have the same tooth profile/angles.
The latest Black Diamond Ice screws have both longer teeth and the Inside edge of the screw is a little more angled towards the middle of the barrel.

When we sharpen the newer BD screws, we need to take off maybe another .5mm more, so the cutting edge of the screw has a flat face and not two different angels. (the Grivel machine is set at an angle for there screws and can not be altered). This then makes the screw a little more like a Grivel, Petzl, DMM etc. We tend to only sharpen screws that really need to be done and If we think it's not necessary, we will say so. A well treated ice screw can maybe be sharpened 5-7 times as each time the teeth length will get a little shorter.

My take on this is that for screws that have been badly blunted (or if you want to maintain the BD as new bite) you are really better hand sharpening them.
Post edited at 10:36

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