Simple Slicer Tool for Cutting Polymer Cane Slices

Simple Slicer for Polymer CanesVideo #415: Cindy-P, a member who happens to be blind, uses this cane tool all the time. Now I do too!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • The Simple Slicer is a neat little tool designed by polymer clay artist Lee Ann Armstrong, for slicing thin even slices of polymer clay canes, slabs and mokume gane techniques.
  • Without a tool like this, it can be tricky to cut consistent and uniform slices from your large canes or slabs, especially when they are getting down to the ends.
  • I tell a quick story about how this tool came into my studio. Here is a link to a video of Cindy Peterson, the member I mentioned in the story, who originally sent me the Simple Slicer tool.
  • I demonstrate how to use the Simple Slicer for slabs and round canes. With tips and tricks for using scrap clay bumpers, which peeler I liked best, keeping the blade clean, etc. etc.


Question of the Day:

Is this Simple Slicer a tool that you think would work for you in your polymer clay studio? If you buy one from Lee Ann Armstrong on Etsy, please let her know that you saw my demo video. Let me know too, in the comments section below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Oh and don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… Simple Slicer Tool for Polymer Clay Canes. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
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Comments

  1. Wow, now that slicer makes life livable. What a great idea. For those who wish to purchase it, Lee has an etsy site.

    Also, a similar device. This link has a video demonstrating the process.

    Also, the very talented Don Cormier designed a similar device and sells it at his site. His new book Details, shows some fabulous techniques using his equipment.

    For me with hand and vision difficulties, Lee Ann’s machine is the bomb. It lines it up perfectly with a very stable blade to make fine thin cuts.

    Thanks Cindy, for showing us this great product. On my wish list for this Fall.

  2. I love your videos and hope someday to subscribe to your site, since I’m too sick to work I have my husband to take care of things, so these free videos you put out are a? huge help to people like me who have to be supported by someone else.

    I am new to polymer clay and love the way you do your videos, they are the best I’ve seen on the net.

  3. Hi, I bought one when I was a beginner, because I could never cut even thicknesses. I loved it & it works well. Now that I have been working with polymer clay for a year, I rarely use it as I have learnt how to control the tissue blade. I am sure people will find this a great tool, especially beginners.

  4. I’m putting this on my wish list. (Had I not spent so much at the Philadelphia BeadFest last week, just might have purchased one today!) One comment I might add is that I would probably use translucent clay as the scrap needed to keep the shape. It might prevent any problems with the scrap clay color getting onto your good cane! That could just be me being a perfectionist though!

    • Hi Christine H, There really isn’t any contamination from the scape clay onto the good clay, until the very last piece at the bottom, which does seem to get scape clay under it, that will not come away. So the translucent scrap clay idea is a good one. I’ll need to try it.

  5. I showed this item to my hubby and he said it reminds him of the tool they used in bio to cut small tissue sliced.. It’s used in thee ducal field to cut thin slices for biopsy so that a small tissue sample is needed …. Boy how many different ways one device can be used

  6. One more thing I use playing cards on each side oft slabs or canes to get even sliced…. Only one question…everybody talks about tissue blades.. I have all the blades that Micheals and AC Moore sale and no of th are called tissue blades .. Which one are your referencing to … Can you show me a picture of it … Is org the one that is flexible?

    • Hi Natalie! To get a good look at all the medical tissue blades, google image it. They vary in length and can be quite stiff. You can use the same medical plastic device to cut clay, but, they are horrifically expensive in the supply catalogs. I bulk bought a box of blades from a medical supply house, think they are stainless steel.

      Some like the throw away small one ended blades that go into window scrapers. Or use those that work in old shavers because they are super flexible though short.

      Other folks are used to using blades from the paint scraping industry, especially long and large ones are used in devices that scrape away floor finishings, like in refinishing gymnasium floors.

      The kitchen has also supplied their share, I know someone who swears by a Japanese cleaver they sharpen everyday, and others who use cheese and egg slicers. Of course, the newer veggie peelers work a treat here too. I still want to try the mandolin slicer someday, lol.

      The new poly clay made blades are far longer, more flexible, and provide varying blades, both ripple/wave and handles. Some seem to have a coating on the surface that lets them slip through the clay.

      Art and medical scalpels are are whole ‘nother area to explore. The best for cutting out tricky designs are the ones that swivel as your hand moves around the object, so your cut is always in the same direction.

  7. This is definitely something for my wishlist! I’m about to start learning how to cane and I can see how this tool would be very handy in making uniform slices! Plus, like you said, when you get down to just a small amount – it’s a great way to slice to make sure you get the most out of your cane or slab!

    Love all your videos!!!

  8. Holy hell! This sounded like the answer to my prayers. I have tremors and two tears in my shoulder, so I’ve never mastered making a straight cut. My slices are *always* wonky. I consider the nice, straight, perfect ones to be the odd ones because I’ll get one out of fifteen. The rest are all goofy. The Simple Slicer sounds as if it’d make my life sooo good! I got so excited, I thought I’d squirt! But I went over to Etsy and see that it’s for people with money and not for disabled vets living on absurdly small fixed incomes. Twenty-three dollars for shipping?! Is it gonna be personally delivered into my hands by a hot and sexy man? And thirty dollars for the cutter? I’m bereft!

    All my excitement flew out the window, and I’m deflated.

    (I keep thinking that if I could just get to the point where I could sell my stuff (which I’m told is gorgeous), then I could buy this expensive stuff, but I seem to need the expensive stuff to perfect my gorgeous stuff, which suffers from unevenness, divots, and so on. I’m caught in a vicious circle. How do other people do it? Is it because they’re not disabled and have normal jobs? Well, that can’t be it: so far as I can tell, a lot of people who work with clay are disabled like me. Is it husbands who’re pitching in the bucks? Do I need one of those? If that’s the case, does anyone know a nice single Asian man in New York City looking to get married? Aw, nuts; I’d make a crappy wife, as I don’t cook much, don’t do housework, and I’m really only good for claying. And then it’s got divots and the slices are uneven.)

    Do Etsy people ever have sales? Can I hold out hope for that? Or are there other devices like the Simple Slicer that are priced for the poor … er, more budget-concious among us? I just refuse to believe that all clayers have deep pockets (even though it seems like everyone goes on retreats and cruises and to classes costing hundreds and thousands of dollars!).

    Hmph. Some hobbies are just expensive. Maybe I picked the wrong one?

    This slicer suuure looks like a great idea! That Lee Ann lady saw a legitimate need and filled it! Good for her! Maybe if she sells a lot of ‘em, the price can come down! I’ll cross my fingers!

    Binky

    • Oh Binky, You have made my day and made me giggle.

      Living in the U.K. I haven’t even looked at the Etsy site to find out the cost of shipping overseas, gotta be horrific. As my niece lives in New York I will ask her to think about setting up a courier service using ONLY gorgeous sexy hunks ( Sure you would be interested!)

      Although my pockets are deep they have large holes in them so no money stays in them for long. Lee Ann looks like she’s made a great product and pitched it at a price that she thinks will sell well.

      Like you, I will have to wait to see if prices will drop as seems I get most new gadgets that come on the market and spend the money from my sales on more gadgets and more clay. I would love to go on a Polymer Clay cruise or go to a retreat for a week, but who knows perhaps one day I will win the Lotto. We can but dream.

      I have health problems too and have recently lost the use of the first two fingers on my dominant hand (typing this with my ring finger) so haven’t been claying for a time………cheers xx………………..

      • Oh, Elaine; as horrible as things are for me, it didn’t even cross my mind what shipping must be like for people outside the US! I went to look out of morbid curiosity, and while it’d make you faint, the premium over the US shipping isn’t horrible: just a couple tassels on the hunk’s nipples.

        If your niece sets up a Gorgeous Sexy Hunk service (GSH; we’d refer to it as “gosh”), have her contact me so I can help her interview the hunks. Maybe *that’s* how I’ll find my husband.

        Good luck with the fingers; I can’t even imagine trying to type or clay without the first two fingers. No one tells us these things are gonna be happening to us when we’re young (and even if they had, I spose we wouldn’t have listened or appreciated the info anyway (sigh)). Rats. I hope either they start working again or you find a good workaround!

        Binky

      • Shipping is not as bad as you might think. I have ordered from the uk and felt the shipping was worth it. some things just can not be found here. Like the marksit. I found some in Austrialia and bought several. give it a look see.

        darlene

    • Hi Binky. I too found the price of the slicer frame and the tools prohibitive on my SSI budget. But my hubby came to the rescue. I was pitching the slicer idea to him as a “gotta have it” tool so I could whip out even more stuffs to sell. I even showed him the one on Etsy so he could see what I was hoping to get. But all he saw was the price and said NO WAY!! But…what he said next made me very happy. He said he had a large piece of 1/4 inch high impact acrylic just gathering dust and if I drew him up a diagram of what I wanted he would make me one of my own. So I drew him a picture of it and how it had to go together and he zipped out the pieces for me lickety split. Then all we had to do was drill the holes, add brass screws and voila! I have my very own slicer base. I had him make it to the dimensions of a standard index card (which I have a billion of) and they work great for the card stock. Plus he cut me some nice pieces from the scraps to use for rubber stamps and for making lentil beads!! Yay Hubby! Now all I have to do is get the slicer. But Im gonna try using a tissue blade until I can afford one.

  9. Cindy, you’re so cute! I love your bubbly, enthusiastic personality. I am definitely gonna check out the slicer too, thanks for sharing this review.

  10. Cindy, what’s the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive of the peelers in that video? And MUST you use those peelers, or would your everyday (brand new, still-sharp) vegetable peeler work? I so, so need one of these slicer thingies (I am the mistress of crookedy, wonky slices. I waste more clay than I use (sigh)), and am trying to scrape some money together for one, and am looking for ways to get it within my reach. A vegetable peeler from Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond is quite a bit cheaper; is there something special about the ones used with this slicer? Thanks for the info!

    Binky

    • Hi Binky, believe it or not i tried to use some regular peelers before I was sent the ones from the Simple Slicer and could not find one that peeled a nice even slice. They were either too dull or peeled too thick or too thin. I found that the Pro Slicer really cut the easiest. The blade seemed to be at just the right angle and were really sharp. I found that I could even get a decent cut without the Slicer box, but it was trickier to get my hands out of the way and to get a full slice. Both the white handles one and the green handled one worked too, so if your budget is very tight, you may just want to start with one of the cheaper Slicer and no box. As an alternative you could try and find one in a kitchen shop that was cheaper, but it may take you a while to find one that works as well, and end up costing you more in the long run. That’s what Lee Ann found when she started the whole thing in the first place.

  11. Thanks, Cindy; it helps knowing that I can use one of the cheaper peelers. Makes me feel slightly less queasy, anyway. Oh, wait: you said the Pro Slicer cut the easiest. Crap. If I’m in for a penny, I guess I’m in for a pound. I wanna do this the right way. I can’t see doing it without the box; that seems like the part I need the most. Just imagining making slices as thick or as thin as I want makes me all moist!

    Now to go start asking people whether they can spare some money. Ick.

    I appreciate the details! This is gonna be cool, if I ever get it!

  12. I bought the larger model a short time ago after Cindy mentioned the Simple Slicer in the comments on a recent article, with the intention of using it with large mokume gane slabs and long veneers.

    I haven’t had much of a chance to play with it yet, but it definitely works well for those and I’m happy with the purchase.

    For regular-size canes and small canes, however, I’ve found that I much prefer to cut slices by hand. I have more cutting options and get equally-good if not better results that way, without the need to use scrap clay bumpers or cut my cane short to fit in the device. I’ll probably use the Simple Slicer for the very ends though!

    (I’m going to build my own cane slicing gadget to suit the cane sizes I normally use and the way I like to work, but haven’t made it a priority and am still looking out for some of the components I’ll need for it.)

    In relation to the peelers, I have all three offered with the Simple Slicer — I bought the Professional Peeler and the Plastic Handle Peeler, and Cindy Peterson very kindly included a Short Handle Peeler as well — and I too found the Professional Peeler to be by far the best.

    I’d actually used a variety of other standard and wide peelers with “field expedient” height guides (i.e. whatever seemed suitable that was lying around) a couple of times in the past, after seeing peelers on Dan Cormier’s web site. In case it helps, one of those was a wide peeler that seems identical to the Simple Slicer’s Short Handle Peeler, and it only cost me a couple of dollars on eBay. (The best of those other peelers was a duplicate of the stainless steel peeler I’ve used in the kitchen for years. It worked as well as the Professional Peeler, but it’s not as wide. It was fairly expensive though, so not a budget option!)

    I still like tissue blades best. They are much sharper than polymer clay blades (which I don’t think are sharp at all even when new) and even the Professional Peeler and my other good peeler, and they give much cleaner slices.

    • I found a slicer for the smaller canes on Ebay. I think they use them for cutting canes for nail decoration. They are inexpensive under $25 I think and they work well. Get the larger one if you can.

      Good luck. PS I bought the simple slicer as well. I can not wait to try it out.

      darlene

      • Thanks, Linda. It’s good to know about other options too, particularly if they’re inexpensive.

        What I have in mind, however, is quite specific and a bit “mad scientist”, sort-of a cross betweeen this and this and this, with a few other features that I want thrown in. Not the kind of thing you can buy directly, anywhere, unfortunately!

  13. Jamie .. My hubby also made me a piece of acrylic to use for my lentil beads….. I may ask him to make the frame for the slicer too…. On another note I just got my Renaisance wax from amazon… Then My hubby tells me that he has some other wax …large jar and he would have given me some… I told him that is might react with the polymer clay and I would rather have my own stuff… It was quite expensive for such a small jar but I was tired of making sure I did not have bubbles in my finish from the future shine
    Natalie Herbin aka Safti

    • Hi Natalie! Isnt it nice to have a hubby who is handy with tools? Not that Im not, But he had the right blade to cut with and the nice thick acrylic too. Only advice I can offer is to make sure the acrylic is thick enough to allow for screw holes without being too thin. I had him make mine to hold index cards but you could easily make it any size you wanted as long as you could find a slicer to fit it. Good luck with your slicer box creation. I have yet to try mine seriously but I cant wait to get it really working as soon as I get a slicer that works. About the wax? I just recently had a similar situation when my sweet hubby came home from the hardware store with some wallpaper blades. He said he got them for me to use with my clay. I didnt have the heart to tell him they were way to thick and I will probably never use them for what he intended. But I just told him thank you and took them to my craft room. Maybe I will find another really handy use for them. Gotta love em for trying. :)

  14. How exciting…I watched this video as soon as it came out and had to have a Simple Slicer, ordered it immediately and received it yesterday. Works really good.

  15. It does look very efficient, but if you want twenty slices from one cane, you’re going to have to stop to take cards out after every slice, no? Very time consuming.

    • Hi Rosina, I think you’ll find that it isn’t that time consuming to remove a card or two with each slice. Not compared to the amount of time it took to make the cane in the first place and the loss you usually have by making uneven slices. Especially when you get down to the end of the cane or slab.

    • Hi Rosina. Another suggestion to speed up slicing specific slices, is to have card stock of varying widths cut to the size of the slice, then to the size of the slicer chamber. Might speed things along.

  16. The thing is, polymer clay is not an inexpensive undertaking. I try to put most of my clay money into well, clay. But then, without accurate, clean cutting clay ends up in the recycle bucket anyway. So it’s kind of a catch-22. Also, I’m patient working with clay, but not so patient when it comes to gadgets, and the more fiddly bits, the lower my tolerance. I think I’m going to have to follow Sue F’s example and try to construct something of my own along the lines of the Precise-a-Slice, but even if I pull that off, the blades are an ongoing expense. You know what would make everything so much easier? A reliable source of reasonably priced tissue blades — not the ones sold by the clay manufacturers, real tissue blades. The best price I’ve found is $28 for 10, on Etsy, plus shipping, but I’ve been researching medical supply sources in my free (ha) time. So back to the drawing board.

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