Bont was the first to investigate Böhler K190 steel for use in short track blades and we discovered that it had the best glide and wear properties for speed skating. Bont was the first to develop the perfect tempering of K390, an even harder and faster steel than K190. Tempering is the process used to harden the steel. Bont uses a special formula to harden the steel to an extremely hard Rockwell before bringing the hardness back to 64 Rockwell. This gives the steel the glide properties of a harder steel but reduces the brittleness in case you clip blades with another skater. It is our unique tempering of the steel that makes the Bont K390 steel so special. Unlike cheaper bimetal blades which flex and cause the blade to skip, K390 is the same hard steel all the way through the blade.
Consistency has been the focus of our new Platinum blade. Machining time is expensive and blade manufacturers grind the steel in batches at high speeds to reduce costs. This results in the steel warping due to the high temperature of the grinding stone grinding the steel. Our aim for the Platinum was to make every blade the same so we purchased the best grinding stones from Germany and we slowly grind one set of steel blades at a time. This is an extremely slow process with higher costs but the result is steel that has no warping. All skaters, not just Olympians, should enjoy perfect blades. However, we didn't stop with the grinding. We looked at the other aspects of making the blade even more perfect. We developed a new stronger glue that allowed us to reduce the tube slot width by 0.1mm. The tube slot needs a certain amount of room for the glue on either side of the blade. The greater the gap, the more chance the steel has to warp while the glue sets. By reducing this gap, we improved the consistency of the straightness of the blade after gluing. Lastly, we invested heavily in jigs. Each blade is clamped in 9 locations while it sets and we let the blades set for 14 hours until the glue has fully cured. This means that we can only make a few sets of blades per day, but each set is perfect.
Aluminum tubes do not like to be bent. They always spring back to the straight position. To solve this problem, we have two solutions:
- We make the tube out of an aluminum that is more likely to stay bent than other brands of blades.
- We cut the slot for the steel blade in the aluminum tube on a slight bend. The tube is straight but the steel blade is already on a slight curve. This curve is slight and you will still need to bend the blade more to get the optimum bend to suit your radius. However, you now only need to bend the aluminum tube a very small amount to get your optimum bend. This small amount of tube bending is not enough to stress the tube and the result is a blade that holds it's bend for a much longer period. Some skaters may never need to re-bend their blades.