Aside from normal maintenance, when the quality of the ice shaved deteriorates, there are several issues to consider.

First and foremost, a sharp blade is a necessity. A less than sharp blade is usually the culprit, easy to replace, relatively cheap, can be accomplished in minutes, and has the biggest effect on quality of ice shaved. When in doubt, replace the blade. We’ve had little luck having blades re-sharpened, but it can be done by a shop well versed in sharpening tool steel, willing to design and utilize a jig.

Gear driven drive trains are meant to operate without additional pressure on the main shaft (i.e. either downward force by placing your hand on top of the shaft, or by forcing the crank handle). The physical characteristics of the spring-loaded brake against the brake worm gear, which meshes with the main shaft (which is milled for the key in the worm gear turned by the SS worm gear pinned to the motor shaft), require close tolerances. Wear on parts can be significant without being obvious.

Because the brake worm gear meshes with the teeth on the main shaft, and its rotation has a ”drag” coefficient caused by the brake shoe, a spiraling downward pressure is created. This is the second part of the problem to investigate.

Begin by adjusting the brake correctly. Loosen the brake worm adjustment until the main shaft just stops falling (of its own weight), and then tighten the brake adjustment one-half to one full turn. The brake shoe itself is usually made of a bronze alloy, to avoid wear on the more expensive steel brake worm gear. The brake shoe should be “V” shaped, and not rounded. The brake spring is also suspect, but will last much longer than bronze shoes, assuming that the brake pressure has been maintained properly. If replacing either or both the brake shoe and spring (and adjusting properly) has little or no effect on the quality of ice shaved, consider the brake worm gear itself.

The brake worm gear is steel and does not show wear as readily as other parts, but the tolerances between its teeth and the cut teeth of the main shaft are critical. Minute slop caused by only a few thousandths of an inch wear can allow unacceptable performance in maintaining downward pressure on the main shaft. Again, if in doubt, replace the brake worm gear.

In occasional but rare circumstances, the poor shaving quality is a result of the One-Touch- Spring being weak. This is the shock absorbing spring that maintains upward pressure on the blade itself; in conjunction with the blade adjust mechanism. These springs do lose tension over time, but have also been known to last the life of a machine.

Please refer to the trouble-shooting guidelines in your owners manual for these and other problems. There are few moving parts on these machines, and the design is basic, but critical. Properly maintained, a good Ice Block Shaver can last a lifetime.

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