Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Knife squeegee

When chopping stuff for cooking, a particular nag is when stuff clings to your knife, esp. stuff like herbs. Most of us just wipe it with our fingers, but that’s not only dirty, but also dangerous (passing your fingers so close to the blade). Here’s a method for creating a knife-squeegee that can help.

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1. Start with a piece of plastic. Polycarbonate looks best, but others are fine too. A small piece that’s about 8”x6” costs just a few dollars at Lowe’s or home depot, and would suffice for dozens of these.

2. Get a plastic cutting knife. These would also be available at Home depot, closely to where the plastic sheets are, and should be a few dollars. The plastic knives are weird, but don’t try this with a regular snap-knife. That’s hard and risky.

3. You’re going to need to cut the plastic into a strip that’s about ½” wide, and about 3-4” long. To know the exact length, measure the width of the blade at the widest point (typically, close to the hilt), double it, and add 1/2”. A typical 6” chef’s knife would be about 1.5” wide, so you’ll need a plastic strip that’s about 0.5 x 3.5”.

4. To cut the plastic, hold it flat on the table, and using a metal ruler, cut it by pulling the knife towards you. You’d need to repeat the cut about 10-15 times to score the plastic deep enough to allow it to break smoothly.

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5. Once scored, place the plastic on the edge of a table, and apply pressure to break it along the score line.

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6. Heat the plastic in the middle, so you can bend it. You can do this easily with a soldering iron (hold the iron close to the plastic, but don’t touch it, as it would stick to the iron). Another way is to place two ceramic tiles on a heat source like a stove, with a small gap between them. Then, place the plastic across. The heat will go between the ceramics and heat the plastic in the middle. Depending on how strong the heat source, the plastic should be bendy enough within less than a minute of heating. Don’t heat for too long, as it could cause it to “boil” (ugly bubbles appearing around the heated area).

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7. Bend the plastic around the blade, but not too tightly. Ideally, you should have a bit of space at the top.

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8. Remove the plastic quickly, and “close” it with your fingers, so that when it solidifies, it will be closed. That will allow it to cling to the blade.

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9. Slide the new plastic on to the blade, and keep it there during chopping. When you need to clean the blade, simple slide the squeegee forward, and back.

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