Making Great Ice: Scraping patterns

Scraping is always a topic of interest to ice technicians. Let’s look at issues that arise with scraping: preparing new ice, and daily scraping patterns. When preparing new ice, I like to give it a clean scrape just to remove any impurities that may have come to the top after flooding. Once you have done that, you will want to start to contour your sheets.

Scraper in action (Photo courtesy Jamie Bourassa)

If your club has dividers on every sheet, you will have high centres and low edges. That is just the way the ice will set up. To deal with it, double pebble the sheet with the biggest size pebble head you have. Use cold, not hot, water. Scraping the middle of the sheet with a straight blade, go up and back. The next pass will be a five hole on centre, up and back. (Note: Your blade should have holes on the top of it; that is what to use as your guide on centre. If it doesn’t have holes, mark off ten spots evenly from the center of the blade – five each way – and these will then be your guide.) With the five-hole on centre, and angled in towards centre, go up and back on the sheet. The next pass will be a three-hole on centre, angled out. Go up and down the sheet. I should clarify that when I say “up and down” the sheet, I mean up one side and down the other. Always scrape the sheet the same on one side as you do on the other. The last pass in this pattern is to angle in to the middle of the sheet and go around the outside of the sheet up and back. This is what I call an eight pass. Mop the sheet off and double pebble again. We are now going to do a six pass. What we are trying to achieve is a total ice surface with no pebble left showing when we are done scraping. The six pass is a straight blade up and down the middle. Use the four-hole, angle out, up and down, then angle in around the outside of the sheet. Mop up the sheet and single pebble, then do a three pass. Use a straight blade up the centre, then angle in around the outside. Make sure you overlap your centre pass by one hole. Once you have done these runs, check your ice surface to see how much pebble is left showing on your ice surface. If it is flat, you are ready to start. If not, you may have to run through some more patterns. The eight pass: the first one was a 5-3. The next one you could use is 4-2. Then a 3-1. The six pass: you used a four hole angled out The next one is three hole angled out and the last is a two hole angled out. The pattern should be: eight pass, 5-3; six pass, four hole; three pass; eight pass, 4-2 ; six pass, three hole; then three pass; and last eight pass, 3-1; then six pass, two hole; then three pass. A few things to remember: 1. Alternate the side of sheet you start on. 2. Pebble before you scrape. It helps keep ice level and fills in low spots and traffic runs. 3. And last, always scrape to remove all old pebble. Your ice will stay cleaner and keener. Good luck with scraping your great ice! Do you have questions for CCA Chief Ice Technician Jamie Bourassa about making or maintaining great curling ice? Send them to the editor at [email protected]