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An alternative opinion on shredder maintenance

Yultanman

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I just wanted to throw out my opinion on the concept of turning your shredder backwards to clean it. I opine that it is not a good practice. Here is why:

The rollers pull the leaf through and perform the cut by forcing the leaf into the grooves. The combs work as a ramp to remove the sliced tobacco from the grooves.
When you turn it backwards to “clean it” at best it does the same as turning it forwards. However it adds the risk that tobacco will be forced under the combs thereby misaligninging them causing them to need adjustment or worse bending them out of shape.
My experience is that when my shredder shart to clog, wait a day or two and then turn it forward. The left over stuff will come out like powder. I toss that. No chemicals of cleaning liquids required. No damage potential to the combs.
I (poorly) illustrated the concept with a car and a ramp. You can imagine how much lift a car would get going at a ramp from the wrong side. I feel this is what is happening when you turn your shredder backwards. image.jpg
Just my opinion and experience share on my observations.
 

GIL

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I destroyed three cheap shredders, three pasta machines, and another tobacco shredder, a total of 7 tobacco shredders + two built by me (a kind of mechanically operated guillotine), until I learned to chop tobacco correctly. a secret (which everyone knows) namely; leaf moisture .Whoever masters this "secret" never spoils the tobacco cutter. The "line" between wet and dry is very "thin"
 

Knucklehead

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I just wanted to throw out my opinion on the concept of turning your shredder backwards to clean it. I opine that it is not a good practice. Here is why:

The rollers pull the leaf through and perform the cut by forcing the leaf into the grooves. The combs work as a ramp to remove the sliced tobacco from the grooves.
When you turn it backwards to “clean it” at best it does the same as turning it forwards. However it adds the risk that tobacco will be forced under the combs thereby misaligninging them causing them to need adjustment or worse bending them out of shape.
My experience is that when my shredder shart to clog, wait a day or two and then turn it forward. The left over stuff will come out like powder. I toss that. No chemicals of cleaning liquids required. No damage potential to the combs.
I (poorly) illustrated the concept with a car and a ramp. You can imagine how much lift a car would get going at a ramp from the wrong side. I feel this is what is happening when you turn your shredder backwards. View attachment 35047
Just my opinion and experience share on my observations.

You could very well be right, as I’ve noticed after turning my shredder backwards that I have to reach up behind the combs and pull out some shreds. Good point.
 

logs

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I destroyed three cheap shredders, three pasta machines, and another tobacco shredder, a total of 7 tobacco shredders + two built by me (a kind of mechanically operated guillotine), until I learned to chop tobacco correctly. a secret (which everyone knows) namely; leaf moisture .Whoever masters this "secret" never spoils the tobacco cutter. The "line" between wet and dry is very "thin"

This has been my experience too. The leaf has to be the perfect level of dryness or the ribbon will suck. Anything slightly moist and the shredder starts collecting particles of leaf in the grooves and doesn't work well. Too dry and the leaf turns to dust instead of ribbon.
 

Yultanman

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I destroyed three cheap shredders, three pasta machines, and another tobacco shredder, a total of 7 tobacco shredders + two built by me (a kind of mechanically operated guillotine), until I learned to chop tobacco correctly. a secret (which everyone knows) namely; leaf moisture .Whoever masters this "secret" never spoils the tobacco cutter. The "line" between wet and dry is very "thin"
That was an expensive lesson for you!!!

I agree that case is important however there are still times that certain tobaccos will be gummy even at the correct case.
While correct technique is important this was more about fixing issues after you have them and primarily a response to the oft repeated strategy of turning the machine backwards

Another important shredding skill is speed. The right speed and moisture will get you very minimal maintenance requirements.
 

93rdCanadian

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I jusy wanted to add that I thought it was a good idea to run some paper through my powermatic shredder to clean up any left over machine oil before shredding leaf. I was picking out paper shreds from the leaf for a while. I highly recommend not putting paper through your shredder unless you are willing to toss a few ounces of shredded leaf before continuing your work.
 

93rdCanadian

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Just reading that the residue stuck to the paper
Yeah that is true it will likely stick to the paper and some nasty stuff will come out. However you will spend another hour picking the paper out of the shredder after. It will work but in my experience it was a pain in the ass so I didnt want anyone to jump in thinking it will be quick and I still had to toss some tobacco in the end.
 

Yultanman

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Has anyone tried 100% cotton paper, rather than copier paper? Example:


Bob

Ask an avid sewing enthusiast or hairdresser if you could borrow their scissors to cut out some paper…. From the product listing:

  • Cotton is one of the strongest and most durable fibers known to man
  • Papers manufactured from cotton fiber will last longer

I would surmise that pure cotton paper would actually be significantly harder on the cutting edges than copy paper. Either way shredder edges are not easy to get to to sharpen and leaves do not significantly dull the steel edges so i just dont see why one would run the most notoriously wearing item (paper) through their shredder. But if it works for someone by all means but i can only see it reducing lifespan of the shredder
 

deluxestogie

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Cheap paper is very short-strand tree cellulose, held together with glues and clay. When stressed, it shatters into fragments and powder. Fine paper (i.e. 100% cotton fiber paper) is longer-strand cellulose, which requires less sizing finish, and which cuts cleanly. Tobacco leaf is cellulose mixed with adherent goo.

Paper shredders used for shredding tobacco rapidly fail because of the goo, not the paper that is shredded.

I hand shred my tobacco, using a single-blade, Kuhn Rikon large Kulu knife. I can both see and feel the tobacco gum, as it sticks to that blade. The worst offenders are flue-cured Virginias and Orientals, which can gum-up that single blade after fewer than a dozen slices, requiring me to pause, and clean the blade edge with a damp paper towel. Most other varieties (with lower sugar content) don't do that. I use the same blade as my chaveta for cigar rolling. Cigar leaf varieties never gum up the blade. (You could use some cheap cigar leaf, instead of paper.)

If I were required to shred tobacco using a tobacco shredder in an analytical lab, I would plan to clean the blades with a thorough rinse of warm water, followed by a rinse of 190 proof ethanol. The latter dissolves the residual water, then rapidly evaporates. I might follow this with shredding research-grade filter paper.

Bob
 

burge

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A cloth would get more crud if there were such a thing so it would make sense that cotton may work. Probably why the powermatic failed a lot. Mind you mine is going but on it's last legs.
 
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