Benriner issues and questions...
I finally gave in and bought the Benriner after debating for ages between it and the Bron... Anyway, I'm really enjoying it - making tons of matchstick and julienned everything, but I have a couple of questions for those of you who are experienced mandoline users (or is it mandolin??? seems to be many variations on the spelling).
1. I'm having MAJOR gross-out anxieties about slicing part of my palm off. I'm doing a lot of root vegetables and they're very hard and require a lot of elbow grease. I'm using the plastic hand guard, but it's not very effective. Does anyone have any advice or creative alternatives for protecting ones hands when slicing??? I've already cut myself a couple of times, but thankfully they were minor.
2. I've also only used it a few times and I've already bent a number of the teeth in the blades. I thought they'd be tougher. I know that root vegetables are hard, but I can't think of any less aggressive form of muscle required to do the job. Any technique advice, and where do I buy the replacement blades? I bought my Benriner at Tap Phong....
Mandolin is a musical instrument, mandoline is a kitchen implement.
I think you've got dull blades or a lemon of a benriner. I've been using an inexpensive mandoline with the same blades for nearly 20 years with no problems. They don't require any elbow grease to slice vegetables, it should be effortless. And yes, I've sliced radishes, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets with my mandoline. Have not tried rutabagas, can't imagine what other roots you might be cutting that are so tough. Maybe you've bent the blades by applying too much pressure; it really should be effortless.
As to how to protect your hands, I don't use the plastic guard until I get near the end of the vegetable, for I find it too difficult to control the vegetable under the guard. Once I have most of the vegetable sliced I may finish it with the guard, or I may just toss it and start the next vegetable.
Most importantly, be mindful while you're slicing and don't try to beat any speed records. Slow and steady wins the game here.
If you search this board you'll find other threads wherein posters recommend mesh gloves of the type used when scaling/filleting fish as good hand protectors. If you're accident prone those gloves may help; like I said I use nothing and haven't experienced any cuts or other mishaps.
The tines on the thin julienne blade are not very strong. I don't use them. I use to do carrots or green papaya but I really like the texture better when done by hand. I too bent up some of the tines. I use the mandoline for making planks from which to julienne by hand.
I don't use the guard until I start getting down a bit, but I do use it if I want to get as many planks as possible and I don't want to lose a finger tip. I also rotate my vegetable 180 degrees when slicing every few slices to help keep things even. Unless you use equal pressure you seem to take more off one end than the other.
Root vegetables can be pretty hard and it is not unusual to have to put some elbow grease into slicing some of the harder root vegetables. The main blade comes pretty sharp but can be removed for sharpening. I find on my Bron that I need less effort to slice but it's a lot larger, stands at an angle and is very stable on the counter. I use the Benriner most often just because it is easier to set up and clean.