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Is the expensive shun mandoline worth it [Moved from Site Talk board]

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wdames Jan 31, 2008 06:04 AM

It should be the best considering the price about $365 but is it the best. I don't mind spending money if the result is worht the price. I have always used knives but so of the intricate cuts a mandoline can make are intriguing.

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    Cheesy Oysters RE: wdames Jan 31, 2008 11:48 AM

    Well I have one that was a gift and much less expensive. I don't use it that often. I'll first grab a knife, then maybe the food processor, and occassionally the madoline. The one that I have works perfectly well, I just don't find that I use it that much.

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      GeezerGourmet RE: wdames Jan 31, 2008 12:57 PM

      Most mandolines come with a built-on pusher device made to hold food and push it through the blade while protecting the fingers (mandolines are very dangerous) . I've yet to see a pusher device that works well. The pusher on the Shun looks very elaborate and therefore expensive. Instead, buy a less expensive mandoline that has a sturdy blade and makes the intricate cuts you want. At the same time buy a protective glove (the kind used by butchers and oystersmen (about $25). Then toss the pusher and use the glove. Use it always. Sure, safe and fast.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GeezerGourmet
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        fran124 RE: GeezerGourmet Feb 1, 2008 09:20 AM

        Oh, what a great suggestion! I was going to ask if there was a generic pusher that works. I have a Matfer mandoline with a fiberglass frame. It's fine, cleans up easily, but the pusher is totally useless, so I use the tool much less than I could. Are you talking about the metal gloves or heavy leather? Does anyone know where to buy such gloves?

      2. Jennalynn RE: wdames Jan 31, 2008 01:21 PM

        I love the Japanese Benriner... you can get the big one for under $50.

        Watch the Food Net enough and you'll see it in use often on various shows.

        You can get it many places (check eBay!) ... but this is what it looks like:

        http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jennalynn
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          MikeG RE: Jennalynn Jan 31, 2008 09:06 PM

          I have and really like the Benriner slicer (actually I have two!) but they have limitations: its thickest slice is quite thin (off the top of my head it can't be more than 1/4") and you can't use them to make "lattice" cuts. The thicker "slicing" blades/inserts on European-style mandolines also lets you "cube" things. You can technically do that with a Benriner - with practice - but you get "dice" not "cubes."

          I wholeheartedly second the glove thing. The pushers are always awkward and even if you have good reflexes and coordination (like me? lol) all it takes is one slip. After using all kinds of tools all my life, I only recently managed to almost do serious damage to myself - it helps not to be in a rush and not to try to be talking on a phone you hold against your shoulder while you use it, but that's a longer story...

          As for the gloves, I found one quite a lot cheaper than kitchen supply places at a fishing tackle store - being sold as a "filleting glove." Might be worth checking online, too.

          1. re: Jennalynn
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            cardboard RE: Jennalynn Feb 5, 2008 03:32 PM

            I love the Benriner too! It's small, light, easy to use and CHEAP. It's the one professional chefs generally prefer. All of the restaurant kitchens I've worked in use the Benriner for all kinds of stuff. And the blade is easy to sharpen if you have a whetstone.

          2. t
            ThreeGigs RE: wdames Jan 31, 2008 03:59 PM

            Note that with each cutting stroke you'll be moving about a pound of cast aluminum back and forth along with the food you're cutting.

            The slide in and out blade change method, and the single twist knob for thickness are definitely a plus though, as is the width (about 5 inches) and the space under the unit where the food drops.

            Then again, a Benriner will cost about $300 less.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ThreeGigs
              Jennalynn RE: ThreeGigs Feb 1, 2008 07:54 AM

              I would say spend the $50 on the Benriner and see if you use a mandoline in your life that much. If you find it limiting but love playing the mandoline, sell it on eBay and buy the other!

              1. re: Jennalynn
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                marcopolo RE: Jennalynn Feb 1, 2008 09:27 AM

                Heck, i would say spend $30 on the small Benriner and see if you use it that much...
                http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-carbon-...

                i have this one and quite like it, but still... i'll only pull it out of the cupboard once or twice a year...$365 would be a lot to spend on something used so infrequently.

              2. re: ThreeGigs
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                Buckethead RE: ThreeGigs Feb 1, 2008 09:12 AM

                I'd go with the Oxo Good Grips mandoline, it's excellent for not a lot of money. It has a removable reversible blade for waffle cuts or straight cuts, and adjustable cut thickness. I have one and like it a lot, but I still only haul it out rarely.

                1. re: Buckethead
                  coney with everything RE: Buckethead Feb 4, 2008 04:44 AM

                  Me too...I got mine as a Christmas gift but only use it if I have a lot of slicing to do (like scallopped potatoes or such). I dislike that it cannot be washed in the dishwasher, and cleaning around the blades gives me the willies. But I do love it when I use it.

                  Love the suggestion of the filleting glove instead of the food pusher--I'm going to try that.

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                embee RE: wdames Feb 1, 2008 01:38 PM

                I also endorse the Benriner. It's dirt cheap, easy to use, easy to clean, and (though the hand guard is useless) no more dangerous than anything else. If you're doing really fancy decorative stuff, the Benriner isn't suitable. But the expensive one I once had was a pain to store and to clean. It cost a mint, though I can't for the life of me remember the brand. It did much more than a Benriner, but I seldom used it and finally gave it away. The Benriner stores easily in a drawer and gets used much more often.

                1. Zeldog RE: wdames Feb 2, 2008 07:03 PM

                  As with any piece of kitchen equipment, it depends on what you cook and how often you cook it (and how much disposable income you have). Most people don't have a mandoline and don't feel deprived for it. I have a Bron, all stainless steel and built to last a lifetime, but I mainly use it for making chips (potato, yucca, or plantain) and the occasional julienne. So it's not used much, but is greatly appreciated when it is. Cost me $150 or so, which is more than most people want to pay for a mandoline, but I think $365 is way too much (based on my disposable income, of course). For me, it's a toss up whether it was worth the price. But if you can look at the thing sitting on a shelf for weeks between uses and not feel any regrets, by all means, buy one.

                  1. m
                    Mother of four RE: wdames Feb 5, 2008 04:20 PM

                    I tend to agree with Cheesy Oysters. I use my FP much more then the mandoline. I really can't imangen spending $365 for one. unless, maybe, I was a professional chef, and even then????? With all the blades I have with my FP, it's much easier!
                    By the way, I did see a mandoline at Sur La Table that has a knob that turns for different slices which really looked neat, plus it was small and easy to store. It was only $25!

                    1. m
                      mateo21 RE: wdames Feb 5, 2008 06:11 PM

                      yeah, but how many of those other Mandolines have VG-10 steel cutting blades, that are essentially a pull out the whetstones, shun core, single bevel knife? It weighs a ton (read: won't move on counter) and the elaborate slider is super safe, and with a little oil on the "rod" part of it, it's smooth and easy to use. The slider is also big -- enough for, 2 potatoes -- maybe.

                      That being said $370 is a lot of change if you aren't going to be this beast ... at least weekly on big jobs, which is what it's meant for. my 2cents.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: mateo21
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                        akillian24 RE: mateo21 Feb 11, 2008 08:07 AM

                        I just got one.. and love it!!! I had the OXO as well as an all SS mandoline from Williams Sonoma, but never used them. The Shun gets a lot of action from me for the following reasons:
                        1. The slide setup makes it much easier to get even cuts without a need to apply any awkward pressure or relying on my ability to keep it straight.
                        2. I don't have to hold it off the table while slicing. The food drops neatly below the elevated cutting surface.
                        3. The adjustable twist-knob for different thicknesses is wonderful.

                        Now, granted, I'm a vegetable addict so I'm constantly cutting up fruit/veggies for salads, but I really enjoy the fact that I don't have a single worry about cutting my hand as I try to push the food down the slicer.

                        1. re: akillian24
                          jasimo17 RE: akillian24 Dec 23, 2009 08:24 AM

                          @akillan24: You have the Shun Pro Mandoline? Could you please let me know if it dices? I have have one in my Amazon shopping cart but don't want to purchase unless it can be used for dicing. Please let me know! Jill

                          1. re: jasimo17
                            buttertart RE: jasimo17 Dec 23, 2009 09:19 AM

                            Butting in: Williams-Sonoma has a de Buyer mandoline that dices, saw it in their holiday catalogue - they say the only one that does.
                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...
                            (Paulustrious has posted on Cookware about his travails with his Shun mandoline.)

                        2. re: mateo21
                          scubadoo97 RE: mateo21 Dec 23, 2009 09:46 AM

                          That's great that it has a VG-10 single beveled blade. I doubt it's a hollow back like a yanagiba or other traditional Japanese blades. But unless it's kept sharp it really doesn't matter what it's made of. All of these blades do dull over time. All of them that I've seen use a chisel type single bevel blade. Most are easy to remove and can be sharpened on a whetstone.

                        3. Paulustrious RE: wdames Dec 27, 2009 12:56 PM

                          I got one and returned it. It had two major problems that may be just the one I had...

                          1) The blade would jump out of its latch position on the return stroke when cutting a 'sticky-vacuum' veg like potatoes

                          2) On the return stroke the julienne blades (which are shaped like an arc of a circle) would swivel out from the mandoline if the food I was cutting was off-centre.

                          It also had a more minor problem that the spring-loaded food holder was to small.It was large and heavy and needed dome dedicated cupboard space close to your prep area if you were ever going to use it. The pakka wood feet were not dishwasher proof and had to be removed before dumping the machine (less the blades) in the dishwasher. This was a fiddly time-consuming thing

                          I was so disappointed because it looked stellar. It was built to last a lifetime. The blade was VG10 and was hollow ground, to theoretically reduce 'stick'. The guard-thingy used to hold food worked exceptionally well in terms of being safe and shaving down to the last stub of food.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Paulustrious
                            buttertart RE: Paulustrious Dec 28, 2009 05:19 AM

                            Paulustrious, you use the best descriptives ever in your posts - sticky-vacuum could not be more accurate.

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