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Guitar cutter: Sourcing, Using, Maintaining


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146 replies to this topic

#121 Viktoria

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 05:43 AM

I actually have a styrofoam cutter. It's just a wire, handle and batteries, essentially. Works by resistive heating.

#122 Lloydchoc

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:09 PM

cutter1.jpg cutter2.jpg

After thinking about it for several years, I finally designed and built a double guitar cutter. It is made entirely of aluminum and stainless steel with a High Density Polyethelene base. Both the cutters and the base are interchangeable. This cost me less than $400 to make.

I used a chop saw and a cheap drill press along with assorted hand tools. I did have the cutter frames TIG welded.

Edited by Lloydchoc, 18 August 2012 - 11:11 PM.


#123 lironp

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:07 AM

Wow! Very impressive!

#124 minas6907

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:46 PM

What is that your cutting in the picture?

#125 Lloydchoc

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:10 PM

That is the cutting base; it is made from a 1" thick HDPE cutting board

#126 TexasFudge

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:58 AM

That is the cutting base; it is made from a 1" thick HDPE cutting board


That cutter is quite impressive...have you considered making a few more to sell? I would be interested in one.

#127 Jim D.

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

I recently splurged and bought a Dedy guitar (full size, single frame) and just completed my first attempt at cutting ganache. To summarize the experience succinctly: These are going to make fine truffles once I roll them and get them firm. In other words, it was a total failure. Since it would be a little awkward to ask to return a chocolate-covered guitar, I need to keep trying. So a few questions (I have read the entire thread to which I am adding this post):

(1) As Ewald Notter suggests, the foot was not tempered chocolate, but was melted to around 115 F. or so. The idea is that it will not be as firm. I am terrified of breaking strings on the guitar, and even my "overtempered" foot seemed to take a lot of effort to cut through it. Is this normal? How fragile are the strings? For those who have broken some, what sort of ganache did it take to do so?

(2) This is not the fault of the guitar but of the ganache recipe (even the recipes of world-famous chocolatiers are not foolproof). It looked and felt firm enough, but when the strings went through it, it squished out of shape (therefore the truffles). Again, my concern was that the strings might break; otherwise I would have paid more attention to the consistency. Can someone suggest a Greweling or Notter recipe that is known to work with a guitar?

(3) Where should the slab be placed? Right against the raised edge (the edge at the "front" of the guitar)? In this thread Kerry Beal suggested, I think, that it is better to place it toward the "back" in order to get better leverage.

(4) Cleaning the guitar is a pain. What do people use to remove ganache that gets lodged between the slots in the base?

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. If the situation doesn't improve, I will be back using my hot knife and ruler and will have a Dedy guitar for sale!

#128 Edward J

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 05:14 PM

1) it's not ganache that will break the strings, or a 1 mm thick foot of tempered chocolate, it's caramel, nougat, nuts, and chunks of couverture or any frozen chunks that eventually break the strings.  Usually the strings weaken and fatigue with excessive rubbing against the cutting base.  Of course if tension is very high, the strings will snap.  Some people use a musical pitch to "tune" the tension on the strings.  I dunno, I'm about as musically inclined as a sledgehammer and go by touch rather than pitch.

 

2) most, if not all firm ganache recipies will work.  I've cut pate de fruit with the guitar no problems

 

3) Place the slab where ever you like, I've done lozenge (diamond) shapes and rectangles.

 

4) Cleaning is a (deleted)  Some places will allow the ganache to dry on the strings, then rub a towel over the strings and let the crumbs fall off.  The dedy is, I believe,  made to be taken apart and the base is able to go in the d/washer and so can be sanitized



#129 pastrygirl

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:09 PM

Jim, welcome to the wonderful world of guitar ownership!

1) I cut pretty stiff ganache, pate de fruits, shortbread dough, even cut some samples of (thin) tempered chocolate without (usually) breaking strings. As Edward J mentioned, it's the chunks of hard stuff that cause problems...once I tried to cut something with a very hard pretzel base and broke 8 strings at once. But you will need to learn how to replace strings eventually - a bummer when they snap, especially if they get stuck in the middle of a slab, but not the end of the world.

2) I don't have a specific recipe to recommend, but my truffles are based on Greweling's butter ganache - butter, liquid, tempered chocolate. Sometimes I have to put all of my weight on the frame to get the strings through the last bit - the guitar is really quite sturdy.

3) you do get a little more leverage placing the slab at far edge, not the closer raised edge. If I have a particularly stiff ganache to cut, sometimes I will do the first cut, then cut the rest of the slab half at a time, pushing it to the back of the cutter. Hold the slab in place with one hand as you get the strings embedded in the first bit so it doesn't side around.

4) I wipe the strings with a towel between cuts to remove the little bits that cling. When I'm finished, I run the frames and the base through a commercial dishwasher. Alternately, spray the base with hot water to get the bits out. I have never tried to do this in a home kitchen, though, that could be a little more challenging :) Maybe something thin like a toothpick or cake tester could be run between the slots in the base.

#130 Jim D.

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:27 PM

1) it's not ganache that will break the strings, or a 1 mm thick foot of tempered chocolate, it's caramel, nougat, nuts, and chunks of couverture or any frozen chunks that eventually break the strings.  Usually the strings weaken and fatigue with excessive rubbing against the cutting base.  Of course if tension is very high, the strings will snap.  Some people use a musical pitch to "tune" the tension on the strings.  I dunno, I'm about as musically inclined as a sledgehammer and go by touch rather than pitch.
 
2) most, if not all firm ganache recipies will work.  I've cut pate de fruit with the guitar no problems
 
3) Place the slab where ever you like, I've done lozenge (diamond) shapes and rectangles.
 
4) Cleaning is a (deleted)  Some places will allow the ganache to dry on the strings, then rub a towel over the strings and let the crumbs fall off.  The dedy is, I believe,  made to be taken apart and the base is able to go in the d/washer and so can be sanitized


Edward,
Thanks for all those very helpful suggestions.

#131 Jim D.

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:31 PM

Jim, welcome to the wonderful world of guitar ownership!

1) I cut pretty stiff ganache, pate de fruits, shortbread dough, even cut some samples of (thin) tempered chocolate without (usually) breaking strings. As Edward J mentioned, it's the chunks of hard stuff that cause problems...once I tried to cut something with a very hard pretzel base and broke 8 strings at once. But you will need to learn how to replace strings eventually - a bummer when they snap, especially if they get stuck in the middle of a slab, but not the end of the world.

2) I don't have a specific recipe to recommend, but my truffles are based on Greweling's butter ganache - butter, liquid, tempered chocolate. Sometimes I have to put all of my weight on the frame to get the strings through the last bit - the guitar is really quite sturdy.

3) you do get a little more leverage placing the slab at far edge, not the closer raised edge. If I have a particularly stiff ganache to cut, sometimes I will do the first cut, then cut the rest of the slab half at a time, pushing it to the back of the cutter. Hold the slab in place with one hand as you get the strings embedded in the first bit so it doesn't side around.

4) I wipe the strings with a towel between cuts to remove the little bits that cling. When I'm finished, I run the frames and the base through a commercial dishwasher. Alternately, spray the base with hot water to get the bits out. I have never tried to do this in a home kitchen, though, that could be a little more challenging :) Maybe something thin like a toothpick or cake tester could be run between the slots in the base.


Thanks for those encouraging insights. The cleaning was so terrible today because the ganache was too soft--it got stuck even in places which the strings had not touched. But I will persevere.

#132 Jim D.

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 02:48 PM

To Edward and Pastrygirl:

Thanks again for your assistance with use of the guitar.  As you will see, I had success today (twice).  I didn't realize what pleasure cutting a perfect cube could provide!

 

guitar1.jpg

 

guitar2.jpg

 


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#133 pastrygirl

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 05:15 PM

Very, very nice! What ganache recipe did you find that worked?

#134 Jim D.

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:58 PM

It was a Wybauw recipe from his second volume (he calls it Orangina).  It has a terrific flavor (unfortunately for my waistline, the edges left after a guitar cut are all too tempting).  The second one that worked had two layers:  Notter's pistachio plus his vanilla.  Both were firm enough (just barely in the case of the vanilla) but not too firm.

 

Interestingly the first ganache (the failure) was also Wybauw's, his recipe that includes Rice Krispies (if you can believe that). On reflection, I think I did not wait long enough for it to firm up.



#135 keychris

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 10:54 PM

how long did you leave it, Jim? Usually I would leave a slab overnight to crystallise but I have a few recipes that require two days before the slab is firm enough.



#136 Jim D.

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:06 AM

how long did you leave it, Jim? Usually I would leave a slab overnight to crystallise but I have a few recipes that require two days before the slab is firm enough.

I must confess I didn't leave it longer than a few hours.  My excuse: The top of the ganache is covered with a thick layer of Rice Krispies, pressed into the chocolate, so it seemed firmer than it was.  By the time of the other two guitar attempts, I had learned to take a small knife and test the outside edges (where the slab is going to be trimmed off) to see just how firm the ganache is.

 

Usually I wait a day.  If it takes longer than that for a ganache to firm up, I consider it a recipe error (maybe a user error--but I wouldn't want to admit that).  Notter's vanilla recipe calls for 495g of white chocolate + cocoa butter, with 310g of cream.  That is not even close to a 2:1 ratio.  It's a great ganache, but I will adjust the ratio next time.



#137 curls

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 06:37 AM

Any recommendations on suppliers of replacement guitar wire?

#138 Chocolot

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 09:08 AM

I get mine from DR. I think TCF Sales also sells wire.


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#139 pastrygirl

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 11:29 AM

I get mine from DR. I think TCF Sales also sells wire.

Yes, I got my spool of guitar wire from TCF sales a few years ago.  Give them a call.



#140 curls

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 02:41 PM

Thanks Chocolat and PastryGirl!
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#141 Jim D.

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 11:31 AM

I have a very specific question about cutting with a guitar:  I am experimenting with a simple milk chocolate ganache (about 2 parts chocolate to 1 part heavy cream) to which I add ground anise seeds and toasted pinenuts.  Do those of you with Dedy guitars think there is any substantial chance of breaking the wires with the pinenuts?  Thanks for any help.



#142 curls

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 02:00 PM

Yes, the pine nuts could cause a guitar wire to break. You could give it a gentle try and reverse course if you encounter too much resistance. Please let us know what you decide to do.

#143 pastrygirl

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 04:29 PM

Pine nuts are pretty soft compared to other nuts/seeds, so you may get lucky, but I'd proceed with caution and have extra wire handy.  Also with harder things sometimes it helps to not make a full slab, and eliminate those those last few rows where the cutting angle is more acute and you have to really push to get through the slab.  I make a peanut butter gianduja that is much easier to cut as a 3/4 frame rectangle than a full frame square, the full frame is too hard to cut through the last few rows.  Ymmv.



#144 Jim D.

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 04:42 PM

It's funny, I expected the answer to be "don't worry, no problem."  So I'm glad for the caution.  I haven't yet had a wire break, but you know it will never be when there is lots of time to repair it.  I might grind up the pinenuts and make more of a gianduja as I have had no trouble cutting hazelnut or almond gianduja.

 

Thanks for the replies.



#145 Chocolot

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 05:12 PM

That ratio will be pretty soft. I usually go 2.5 to 1 on milk chocolate. I would think the nuts would just squish through the ganache if soft. Also, tighten your wires if you are afraid of breaking. I like them to all play the same note, but I'm strange that way:)


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#146 Jim D.

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 07:01 PM

That ratio will be pretty soft. I usually go 2.5 to 1 on milk chocolate.

Good idea, thanks.  On my first try with this filling, I just melted milk chocolate and added the nuts, so there would not be any significant softening of the pinenuts (I cut it with a long knife).  Adding cream to make a real ganache would, if my understanding is correct, tend to soften the nuts.  In any event, I will not let the ganache firm up completely and will try a small piece first, then the slab.  If you hear a loud groan, you will know what happened to the guitar.



#147 Chocolot

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 07:38 PM

I think you need it to be firm to cut. If the ganache is soft, the nuts will drag, not cut. IMHO.


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