Blades for figures: Notes and specifications

The toe pick on a patch blade. Note that the bottom pick is missing and the chrome relief goes all the way to the front of the blade.

Patch blades (blades that are designed specifically for figures) are not the same as freestyle blades. They lack the bottom toe pick and that they are sharpened to a much flatter radius of hollow. Both of these are modifications that can be made to existing blades: you can make a pair of old freestyle blades into patch blades by grinding down the toe pick and giving them a patch sharpening.

Sharpening blades for figures is a bit different from sharpening them for freestyle because the radius of hollow is so large. Patch hollows start at one inch and go all the way up to three or four; freestyle hollows  are typically around half an inch. With large patch hollows, there is little margin for error, so an experienced skate technician is essential.

If you don’t want to have two pairs of skates, you can ask for a combination hollow (typically around 3/4″) for both figures and freestyle. This was commonly done by low-test skaters back in the day. It will probably feel very strange if you’re used to an ordinary freestyle hollow, though.


Blade name Manufacturer Rocker radius Factory ROH Notes
Comet Test Wilson 8.5 ft 1 in Matched for use with Coronation Comet; polished hollow.
Gold Test MK 7 ft 1 in Contoured radius toe pick; hide-honed; special hollow grinding. Essentially Phantom (freestyle blade) without the bottom pick.
Pattern 88 Wilson 7 ft 1 in Available as one-piece blades or set of sole and heel plates. Blades can be detached and changed.
Silver Test MK 7 ft 1.5 in Parallel; contoured radius; shallow ground edge; based on MK Professional blade.
Wilson Figure Wilson 8 ft 1 in Small pyramid tooth. The low toe pick leads to this blade being mistaken for a freestyle blade.
Futurist Wilson      
Futurist T Wilson     Toe pick as Wilson Figure.
RF 66 Perfecta      

Sources: Alice Berman, Skater’s Edge Sourcebook (Kensington, MD: Skater’s Edge, 1995), 47 and John Misha Petkevich, The Skater’s Handbook (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984), 40-41. The italicized text has been added, and the notes on Pattern 88 blades have been combined from separate entries for the full blades and the fittings.

For general information on equipment, see the base post.

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