The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Slicer ('guide', not electric)

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Slicer ('guide', not electric)

Hi - I'm looking for a loaf slicer which will guide a knife through my loaves to avoid tearing and cutting myself; which will steady the cut, prevent squashing, perhaps cut even slices too…

All of the bread slicers that I can find on Amazon etc are too narrow to allow me to cut slices from, say, 8" sourdough boules.

I've almost reached the conclusion that bamboo is a bit of a liability (not fond of splinters) that slicers such as the Norpro (which is wide) can be flimsy.

Anyone have any personal recommendations, please?

 TIA

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

That Norpro is flimsy. I've owned it and found it nearly useless. 

My son got into wood working and made a really simple sturdy one for me. It made a great Christmas present! Mine is only 6 inches wide because that is all I needed but making it wider wouldn't be hard. 

cutting guide

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks for warning me off the NorPro, Gary!

I admit, I was leaning that way because reviews suggest the bamboo ones can splinter so easily.

I also looked at this, which seems to share the same sturdiness of construction as the one your son made.

Maybe we've found a gap in the market :-)

Thanks as always - and take care!

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I think I've owned that one also. Or one like it. I didn't like it. I can't find it in my orders. Maybe it was a gift? It's been too long and my memory is too far gone.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

I hear you, Gary! Yes  :-(

Maybe time to build our brains up with even longer proofing.

GaryBishop's picture
GaryBishop

I bake my breads in pullman pans without the lid. I get a nice domed top and straight sides without super careful measuring. Makes slicing easy and they are perfect for sandwiches and toast.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Yes. Even as a kid in woodwork, my supposedly vertical saw cuts usually wandered off to at least 10° :-)))

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

Hmmm, you might be using the wrong hand. I know that sounds crazy but...... Some people, myself included, are eyed opposite to their dominant hand. Your dominant eye places an image in your brain and the other eye aligns the image it produces with the dominant one. Your wandering saw cut sounds like problems I had before I determined that I was eyed opposite to my dominant hand. A surprising number of people are eyed opposite their dominant hand. There's a simple test to determine dominant eye. With both eyes open align your index finger vertically with an object across the room. Close one eye then the other. Your finger will move out of alignment when you close your dominant eye. Use the hand that's on the same side as your dominant eye and your slicing will probably improve with a little practice. Just a thought.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Justanoldguy, what a helpful and interesting post. Thanks so much!

Makes perfect sense. I'm actually almost blind in my right eye (from birth). If I'm right-handed, wouldn't that fit with what you kindly suggest… my right hand isn't able to obey the correct 'orders'.

Even if it doesn't apply - because in that test my finger jumps to the left or right, presumably because my one eye can't combine images in the brain - adopting a positive attitude and determining, perhaps, to go more slowly and believe I can do it is surely worth trying.

What a wonderful forum this is :-)

Thanks again!

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I spent some time searching for the same thing recently and settled on this simple board:

The simple design appeals to me, and the fact that it stores flat.  The guides are metal rods that can be inserted to support different loaf widths and slice thicknesses.  It works well for artisan loaves that tend to be wider than sandwich loaves.  They only provide a guide in one direction, so it takes a couple of pieces to get used to it, but it feels natural after that.  They also sell one with a "bread saw", which I now prefer to my standard bread knife for this purpose.

The main design drawback, which is fairly significant, is that the uncovered holes can easily fill with crumbs, and even the slightest crumb prevents the rods from seating properly.  This could be fixed with small plugs, but I haven't tried to find anything for this yet.  When this happens I use a small wood screw to clean out the crumbs so the rods seat firmly again.  If you have a woodshop it would also be fairly easy to make.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, headupinclouds!

What a great and simple idea. My wife loves Etsy.

Would I be right in concluding that the trick is learning to BRACE the saw or knife AGAINST the rods, and that single rods on one side do provide less actual guidance than slots?

I have arthritis in my hands and have just begun to make (again) loaves with crusts. Hence wanting to rely on something fixed :-)

Presumably you would put tape over the holes. Or find some sort of plugs online? Thanks so much: I can see how crumbs would be a disadvantage.

Update: I have just ordered from Etsy. Your recommendation much appreciated.

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

Would I be right in concluding that the trick is learning to BRACE the saw or knife AGAINST the rods, and that single rods on one side do provide less actual guidance than slots?

Yes, that's correct.  I hope it works for you.  It took me 3 or 4 slices to get used to it, and I find the the bread saw really is very well suited to the task, as the thin blade can be bowed slightly against the guides from lateral inward pressure while sawing to ensure the slice doesn't go off course.  I suppose another couple of pegs could be added to make it slightly easier, but it does the trick for the amount of slicing I do.

Tape would probably do the trick but I don't like the idea of adhesive on the board.  I'll probably take a trip to the hardware store and find something that fits in there.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks! I can see that. I emailed Erika to ask for her help with crumbs-in-the-holes.

Maybe putting something as simple as a sheet of paper underneath the loaf before slicing might keep them out.

The knife would eventually cut through the paper. But could save time in the long run.

If not, what diameter are the holes, please; and what would you call them? I don't have a hardware store nearby, nor really the means to cut rods to length… that'd be a hacksaw in a vice, wouldn't it?

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

Paper could work, or maybe something like roof flashing.  I'm not sure about the hole size.  It may be tricky to match because the holes are tapered to match the points of the steel rods.  The seller might be able to provide this info.  Another solution could be to drill smaller diameter through holes at the center of each existing hole.  One could then push crumbs out with a pin from the other side when they accumulate.  It happened again to me this morning when I configured the rods on the opposite side for a narrow slice.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

https://www.lowes.com/search?searchTerm=shelf+pin

There are two standard size stud diameters. 5mm and one other I am unsure of.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks so much idaveindy.

I don't have much in the way of conventional tools. But I do have a (pair of?) electronic calipers!

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

That's a good thought, although for some of the holes having a protrusion could get in the way. I think something flush would be ideal.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks. I'll wait until I get the board and see what looks best. I haven't yet heard back from the vendor.