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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lucy Clay Mini Slicer Rant, Followed by BRILLIANT Slicer Ideas - Secret Tool Series Pt 1

The ability to make a Perfect cane or slab slice is a goal we all share. How often have we needed a paper thin slice, only to find the top half of the slice is a bit to thick & we're so off course by the base it's 3x times thicker than what we intended? Not to mention, the waste of cutting away the 'unsquared' waste to get back to a straight edge? It can be frustrating! The straight cut is especially more difficult for me, because I work on Large Pieces covered in clay. My canes & slabs are often a foot long (12") & can be 6-8" wide & 4-8" tall.
The waste involved in just 1 bad cut is crazy... & without a tool to keep me on track, there would be a Lot of waste!

So, let's resolve the Slicing issue once & for all! But, let's do it WITHOUT spending hundreds of dollars, shall we? But first, a much needed rant. Although it will most likely seem just plain mean spirited... I give you my word - I share this rant to help you avoid a costly mistake such as I made, ok? So, here goes...

Lucy Clay Mini Slicer... SUCKS!!!

There, I said it. Why is my humble opinion so negative? I must say, a big part of it is my own fault. They give specs for their slicer as130mm x 170mm. Since I'm in the US & metric measurements mean less than nothing here... I'm totally clueless. So, I based my assumptions on this photo, trying to judge size. Hmmm, photo looks ok.

Dumb bunny me, I looked at width of the blade & how far back the base plate extended. I knew I could put in a longer base plate. Ok, let's look at what I Didn't see. The overhead arch (roof) limits us to a Maximum cane or slab height of 1 7/8" inch high PLUS 1 7/8" width. Uh oh, trouble in paradise. But wait... it get's even better. Let's pretend I reduce away my canes & try to work within the height & width limitations... at least there's still plenty of length for a long cane, right???  Look closely at this photo & let's compare it to another.

 How funny, they completely managed to hide the maximum cane or slab length in the last photo. As you can see, we are left with a whopping 2" (inches) length of cane... MAXIMUM! Who in the universe works with such teansie canes??? A nail artist maybe? OK, let's pretend I'm not a total moron for a moment & pretend I understood the size limitations. Well, you have a blade that's locked in place on 1 end that you raise & lower to slice your canes. You have to keep pressing the blade against the 'Arch' to try to get a straight slice, & because the maximum combined weight of slicer (made from a laminated compressed paper) & the tiny cane is a few ounces at best - pressing the blade against the arch sends the whole gadget sailing across your work surface. Lets pretend you refuse to accept you just threw away $120- USD & GLUE the slicer to your work surface, now you find the little mat your cane sits on has a little shimmy as you apply pressure... so no matter what you do - there seems to be No Way possible to get a straight cut - even from the tiniest canes. I guess if you are a nail artist ... a Perfect uniform cut isn't essential & this may well be the gadget for you! Be warned though... they are going to be getting $24- USD PLUS hefty shipping fees to the US for replacement blades... ouch. In Lucy Clays'  defense, although shipping is a bit steep (I'm spoiled on Amazon's free shipping) they had this slicer to me from the Czech Republic in 4 days - WOW!

I must say, there are a Lot of notable Polymer Artists out there using & demoing the full sized Lucy Clay Slicer & I'm certain it's a much better tool & was much more along the lines of what I actually thought I was getting as far as tool specs & size of canes & slabs it can handle... but at $248- USD - I just can't justify that kind of investment. I clay for amusement, not a living & have a somewhat limited budget.

Thank you for your patience, now... let's get to the Good stuff - killer deals on slicers that the snappy gadgets just can't get near!

Thinking outside the box... SLICERS

1:  You can build your own homemade slicer. I made my own 'Plexiglas' body slicer that worked really good for a few years. I will post several articles right after this for How-To's. Bare in mind, most give specs to accommodate smaller canes. You can make your slicer any size, but I found you will need to put a bar (or 2) across the top - locking the top of each side bar together for added stability to handle the Really large canes & slabs.

OK, you just wanna play in your clay 
without all the handiman build it yourself stuff, no problem!

And, you'll save a Bundle, WooHoo!

Mitre Boxes have been in use for 1,000's of years - the ideal easy way to make perfect cuts in pieces of wood, but... they work just as well if not even better for our polymer clay canes & slabs.

Here's a Quick & Simple video to show you how easy they are... on wood  :-)


How do they compare in price 
to those official snappy polymer slicers?

Get ready to do the Happy Dance!

2: Mini Slicer  Mitre Tool - $10.71 & FREE Shipping
     Slot Angles 45* & 90*, 5-1/2" Length x 1-3/4" Wide x 3/4" High
     Aluminum construction will last forever! Awesome Low Price - Woop!

3:  Small Slicer  Mitre Tool - $11.23 & FREE Shipping
      Slot Angles 45* & 90*,  9-7/8" Length x 2" wide x 2-3/4" Height
      Aluminum body lasts forever & includes wood base insert to protect blade  
4:  Medium Slicer  Mitre Tool - $28.00 + $7.70 shipping
      Slot angle - Straight forward 90*, Measures 4 5/8" wide x 3 1/2 " high
      Stainless Steel Polished Metal, Long Lasting - original purpose is to slice bar soap
      (Note: Couldn't find length - I would put in Plexiglas base of desired length)
      ~ Comes with Wavy Blade, see below for blade alternatives ~

Drum Roll Please...My Personal Favorites

5:  Large Slicer  Mitre Tool + Saw - $18.47 & FREE Shipping
     Slot Angles 90*, 45*, 45* Diagonal  PLUS 22-1/2* for PERFECT Octagon Shapes  
     19" Length x 5.5" Width x 3.5" Height - ABS Plastic with good warranty 

6:  Large Slicer  Mitre Tool -  $10.43 & FREE Shipping
      Slot Angles 90*, 45*, 45* Diagonal  PLUS 22-1/2* for PERFECT Octagon Shapes  
      4.4" Wide x 4.5" Height x 12.2" Length - Over-all measurements, still decent sized 


7:  Large Slicer  Mitre Tool + Saw - $23.89 & FREE Shipping 
      Slot Angles 90*, 45*, 45* Diagonal  PLUS 22-1/2* for PERFECT Octagon Shapes
      4-3/4" Wide x 3" Height  x 14" Length - Hard ABS Plastic + Warranty

 I have #6 above & Adore it! Perfect slices are easy cheesy!
 You will want to place a piece of plexiglas or another protective piece in the floor,
It will make moving your cane & faster cutting easy.

Quick Info on Alternate Slicers

Depending on the Mitre Box you select, you may need a longer blade to make your slices.
Here are a few options to consider:

1:  Life of the Party Soap Cutter - $8.86 & FREE Shipping
      7.5" Wide x 5" Height Clearance - Made in the U.S.A.

2:  Commercial Crinkle Cutter with Double Riveted Handle - $3.72 & FREE Shipping
      7.5" Wide x 4.6 " Height Clearance

3:  Culina Premium Stainless Steel Rocking Cutter - $8.95 & FREE Shipping
      14.5" Wide x 4.4" Height Clearance

4:  Commercial Grade Gourmet Rocking Slicer - $19.95 & FREE Shipping
      14" Wide x 8" Height - No Clearance Limits... This is the one I have


One final note... Although I have sharpening stones... IF you have a 'Sharpening' company or service in your area... they'll renew your sharpest edges for a buck or 2 as a rule.

Remember, always be thinking 'Outside the Box' & as always...
Happy Claying


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