Many of you have been asking about the status of the Simmons Slicer. The slicer is now “Patent Pending”. I had hoped to have all the final information before posting another update, but that isn’t the case. On a positive note, the reason I don’t is that the manufacturer (Craig Brodahl) and I are both perfectionists. We are still looking at some parts that might be less expensive and/or better quality than those we are using. I don’t call it a “cane” slicer any more because it has proved just as useful for slicing mokume gane billets.
Although some details haven’t been finalized, I can show you what it looks like and give you a quick overview of its operation:
To use the slicer you place a block of clay on the Table and press it firmly against both the Backstop and the Table to hold it in place. (The picture shows the Table in the forward-most position. The remainder of a mokume gane billet is on the Backstop where the back end of the block would be.)
Begin by turning the Table Advance Knob to the left (i.e. the reverse direction) to back the table away from the Slicing Blade. Stop when the block of clay is entirely behind the path of the Slicing Blade. Now, turn the knob to the right (the forward direction) until the front of the block is just below the slicing blade.
Press downward on the handles to trim the front end of the block. Now you are ready to take off slices of predetermined thicknesses.
The Table Advance Knob is marked off in 1/64 inch increments (eight marks). One complete rotation is 1/16 of an inch. Rotate the knob until the desired thickness has been measured off then press down evenly on the handles to slide the Slicing Blade through the clay. The slice will peel off from the rest of the block.
The slicer will take slices as thin as a playing card off of a cane with a cross-section as large as 5 x 5 inches.
The picture to the right shows Julie Eakes‘ latest cane in the process of being sliced. (Julie has an earlier prototype of the slicer with a white table.)
We have not quite settled on the price of the slicer, but it will be somewhere around $700. (As of November 2013 the price is $850 plus shipping.) This is not a profit making venture for us. Craig is building these by hand in his home shop. Nearly the entire cost reflects his time plus the cost of materials. He is planning on making no more than 24 of these. We hope that when he gets to that point everyone who wants one will have one or we’ll have found a manufacturer.