THE CARE AND FEEDING OF HOBART SLICING MACHINES
The object to having a slicing machine is to convert a chunk of food product into nice, even, clean slices without producing costly scrap. If your slicer is generating scrap, place it on a scale and price it out and you will see why we use the word costly. Maintaining a sharp blade and some judicious lubricating is all your slicer needs to perform efficiently. The following tips and instructions will help you reach that goal.
SHARPENING THE BLADE
There are basically three steps: (1) Clean the blade, perfectly clean! (2) Apply the grind stone until you have a burr – or whisker of metal – on the top side of the blade and (3) Remove the burr with both stones. The machine itself need not be clean, but the blade does. After a thorough cleaning of the blade, take away all the removable parts and….
• Open the gauge plate to about 50 and attach the sharpener to the notch at the bottom of the gauge plate. If either stone is touching the blade, rotate the index knob to place the blade in the space between the stones. Note what number that is on the index knob.
• Turn on the blade motor and rotate the index knob clockwise. When the grind stone contacts the blade add 4 more increments to attain the correct pressure. Note that number and grind for 10-15 seconds and rotate the knob counter-clockwise to the number in the step above so that neither stone is touching the blade. Turn off the blade motor.
• With the tips of the fingers on your right hand, slide them off the top surface of the blade. If you feel a burr, or whisker of metal at the edge, you have completed step 2. If not, repeat the above step until you can feel the burr – this is very important.
• To remove the burr with both stones, place your left hand on the index knob and your right hand on the handle for the stone that will bear against the top surface of the blade.
• Turn on the blade motor and rotate the index knob clockwise until the grind stone just touches the blade and at the same time push down with your right hand on the “top stone.” Grind that way for about 10 seconds and release both stones at the same time – this takes a bit of practice. Give the blade a light half second touch with the top stone and turn off the blade motor. NOTE: If both stones will not touch the blade at the same time, call the phone number below to learn an alternate technique.
• With your right thumb, feel the edge for sharpness, but don’t go across the blade, do this: With your right arm resting on the body of the slicer and the 4 fingers of your right hand pressed firmly against the side of the blade for support, very lightly ride your thumb along the blade’s edge. If you say, “Oh wow!” and/or it feels as though the blade would cut you if you applied any pressure with your thumb, then you did a good job of sharpening and achieved what we call, “the profitable edge.” If not, keep working at it with one stone or the other until you can say Oh wow! Remove and stow the sharpener.
Sharpening may have to be done about once a week, more or less, depending on how worn the blade is. We suggest you feel the blade daily for sharpness – that is the best indicator of how often to sharpen.
Never, we repeat, never lube with food oils or grease of any kind as they become gummy and hurt slicer performance. Some customers have burned out motors because they used food oils. We recommend using only USDA approved light oils such Super Lube or Haynes.
There are only 2 areas on your Hobart slicing machine that require oiling by you (1) the lower slide rod for the carriage support and (2) the two rods that connect the gauge plate to the slicer. Keep them clean and well lubed on a weekly basis. It will also help to lube the meat grip rod and the threads on the carriage thumbscrew and the knob that secures the aluminum knife guard to the machine. Oiled threads will last much longer.
If the blade won’t hold a sharp edge, and you find yourself having to sharpen it a couple times a week or more, it could be the blade is worn down. With a tape measure, check the blade’s diameter, if it is 11-1/2” or less, it needs to be replaced.
Sometimes, the grind stone becomes coated with gunk from the blade and won’t work as it should. To clean the stone, take a piece of clean, wadded paper towel in your right hand and wipe the working surface of the grind stone repeatedly while it is rotating firmly against the blade. If the stone is not too dirty, it should clean up with a little effort. If the aluminum blade cover is scraping the blade, with your left hand, pull the bottom of it toward you.
By RIC Z – a West Coast Grand Exalted Slicer Guru