Woodruff Key Question

Sun Apr 11, 2004 8:24 pm

Does anyone have a good method for removing stuck woodruff keys?

The key on the worm shaft is stuck in tight :!: :!: I gorund it down so I could remove the shaft without damaging the bushing. Left some meat but not much. With the shaft removed it's much easier to work on getting that key out.

Sun Apr 11, 2004 8:31 pm

If you have enough key left to get the edge of a chisel under, try tapping against the end of the key with a chisel and working it upward as you go. Should pop right out. (I know, that's easy for me to say.)

Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:17 pm

Bigdogs solution usually works, but I had one a while back that I ended up taking to a machine shop and after several tries at conventional methods, he welded a small nut to the key so he could get a better grip on it. Between having the nut to get hold of, and the heating, it came right out.

Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:40 pm

Use a set of wire cutters to remove it. Most cutters have the blades at a slight angle to the handles. With the blades of the cutter parallel to the shaft, grab the end of the key tightly and then pry it out by pushing down on the handle. The slight angle of the cutters gives you a lot of leverage and the cutters hold the key tight. Works most every time.

Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:01 pm

If the key has been ground down as far as I think it has, neither the chisel or wire cutters will work.

Two more options:

- Use a center punch to drive one end down, forcing the other up. Then the chisel or wire cutters may take it out.

- Use a Dremel tool with a narrow grinding wheel. Cut a slice lengthwise through the center of it, until it will collapse together. Cut it completely into 2 pieces if necessary. Try not to hit the sides of the keyway, hitting the bottom a little shouldn't hurt anything.

Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:38 pm


I tried the chisel before I ground it and the chisel did it's job...it cut it off.


I also tried the the side cutters (politically correct) they also did their job and rounded the key off.


I'm afraid to put too much heat on it as the shaft is hardened and I don't want to mess up the temper.


I tried to push 1 end down to no avail. At this point it sounds that the Dremel Tool is the best bet.

I'll let you know :x :x :x

Mon Apr 12, 2004 6:03 am

:evil: Sounds like that little bugger has you all keyed-up Donny.

A good oral surgeon might be of some help!!.

Glad I could give some serious advise, hope it makes your job go easier. :evil:

Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:11 am

Donny M wrote:John,

I'm afraid to put too much heat on it as the shaft is hardened and I don't want to mess up the temper.
Donny, Mine was still sticking up, so it was easier to weld to, but a machinist welding a nut to the key won't produced enough heat to affect the shaft. However, if you want to do it yourself rather than taking it to a machine shop, JIm's suggestion of a Dremel type tool with a cutting wheel should work well.

Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:36 pm

Using Jim's suggestion with a Dremel Tool :!:
It was still a struggle but with a punch and alot of not so gentle presuasion it finally came out.
Now if I can find a replacement. I'll be :D :D :D

Mon Apr 12, 2004 5:24 pm

Donny M wrote:
Now if I can find a replacement. I'll be :D :D :D

Most any hardware store or parts house will carry Keystock.

Mon Apr 12, 2004 5:46 pm

Donny M wrote:Now if I can find a replacement.
according to the parts book, it is 3/16 x 1 1/8 NI-STL (nickel steel?) presumably it is a hardened key. Most auto parts stores will have them,

Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:01 pm

It is a hardened key. Been to several places and no one has 3/16 x 1 1/8 keys. McMaster has them in quanties of 10 for $25.

Anyone need a key :?: :lol: :lol: I'll have plenty :!:

Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:51 pm

Donny, When I was buying pulleys at Graingers they sold an assorted sizes key package for about 12-bucks. There should be a Graingers outlet in your area. Might be quicker & cheaper for ya.

Tue Apr 13, 2004 12:22 am

Donny, I really doubt it is a hardened key. You wouldn't have been able to round it off with the side cutters and cut it with a chisel if it were. If it were hard, it would also damage the shaft if something went wrong and that would be a poor design. Take a file and if you can file it, it is soft.

Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:05 pm

Hi Donny,

I am certainly glad that you had success with the dremel. I am sure you
are aware of it but please wear safety goggles while using the dremel,
especially if it is a very high speed one. I use one all the time on my model railroad layout and on the tractor also. It sure makes haste out
of cutting off a stuborn nut. I usually use the "cut-off" wheels.

Since Country Elliott is rarely on the board, I want to step off into his
sales pitch. I have found that Kroil by Kano Labs works g-r-e-a-t on
loosening frozen/rusted anything that is supposed to move. I just
position the shaft with the keyway up and fill it with Kroil and let it
soak overnight. Pops right out with any of the drive, pry, punch methods
mentioned in above posts.