I had walked past this thing in the appliance department of the Canadian Tire store long enough (It never went on sale), that I finally picked it up and carted it off to the till.
Recommend this product?
Trying for the complete kitchen, you see.
I get home with it and out of the box it comes and onto the kitchen counter for examination.
It's big. Going to need a lot of storage space for what it's going to contribute to my culinary arts, that's for sure. Now the question is, how well will it do it's thing?
There is a stiff-to-turn knob on the rear of the machine, to adjust the thickness of the slices. There are no detents, and no numbered graduations are provided, so it's a 'try and see' proposition. Slice something and adjust your desired thickness accordingly. (Hmm... does that mean that the makers are so untrusting of their manufacturing tolerances that they don't want to mark the dial in standard graduations and then risk having the consumers' slices wildly out of spec with what thickness they are supposed to be?)
There are a few unmarked reference lines provided for your (my) convenience, however.
In any case the thickness is adjustable and the knob's action is stiff enough that it will hold it's setting as long as needed.
The rocker style power switch is well located, low on the end of the machine closest to where the operator will stand. A poke starts the device going.
There is one speed. Myself not having any real food slicing experience short of watching the delicatessen worker at a distance, I'd imagined that the slicing wheel would spin rapidly, but in fact the cutting disk on the Waring Pro turns rather slowly.
The product to be hewn is placed on the angled platform which freely slides on its polished steel rod. A clear plastic pusher, made to slide vertically across that platform toward the cutting disk, is provided for that time when the food being sliced has become small enough that the operator begins to consider the wisdom of further using his/her fingers to secure said food. It works smoothly.
The slicing process itself goes quite well, I find. The ability to effortlessly and quickly lop meats, fruits like watermelon (really good tasting when sliced about 1/4 inch thick!), and cheese, into fine looking uniformly sized slices is a welcome boost to my kitchen skill roster. It's fun to slice!
A gentle pressure on the solid food piece, pressing it flat toward the backing plate and to and fro across the cutting disk, and lop, lop,lop, there's your food, perfectly sliced up.
I found the back side of the slicer to be oddly made though. There seems to be no real provision for catchment of the sliced food!
Are you meant to catch it by hand? Deli style meats, sure I can see that, but are you really expected to catch melon or vegetable slices?
I place a saucer where I expect the product to fall, and that works well enough for the most part, but some smaller things can bounce off the angled body of the slicer below the blade and take off across the counter like a hubcap down the highway.
Not often enough to bother however. Maybe I should just keep a flyswatter handy to slap down any runaway disks of cucumber before they get too far.
Cleaning is a bit of a puzzle. Like a previous reviewer of this product, I too first thought that the enormous screw slot on the front of the blade cover meant that you could turn it with an enormous screwdriver and thus pop the blade off like I do my circular saw blade, clean it in a trice, and have it back on before you can say Jack Robinson. But noooo... The 'screw head' is actually a clever diversion, meant to trick you into scarring up it's chromed sleek beauty by trying to screw it out, and eventually slipping your huge screwdriver in the vain effort.
Because it's not meant to come off like that.
Why NOT make it so that you can pop the cutter off the intuitive way and clean it?
That would be a good question for the Waring Pro's design engineer. (Probably some drunk with a grim sense of humour)
Bottom line, parts of the Waring Pro slicer are hard to clean, or harder than they need be. Cleaning the sliding tray is easy, you flip it forward and while it doesn't come off, it's easy to get at all surfaces and wipe them. The front face of the cutting wheel is easy to clean too. I just wet a cloth with vinegar and wipe it toward the outside.
The back side of the cutting disk though, is a pain to clean. No more than about an inch of the outer diameter is visible and accessable, and that only for a short arc of the circle, and this part may be cleaned by turning the slicer on and damp-cloth wiping toward the outside. Further cleaning than this requires dismantling the wheel.
They could have designed it a bit more elegantly than that.
But on the whole, the Waring Pro food slicer does a good job, just what it is supposed to do, and that is to slice foods in a nice, fast, and uniform manner.
The provided power cord is sturdy and long enough for home kitchen use. The feet are suction cups that hold the machine very well on my stainless steel countertops and will certainly do the same on Arborite and other popular counter surfaces.
One is supposed to give it a rest after 10 minutes of operation, but for my part I cannot think of anything I might be slicing that would need me to run it for any length of time close to that. It's not like I ever intend to sliver up a whole loaf of bologna. (ugh)
It does the job, and despite the clean up quirks, the Waring Pro slicer has quite satisfied me.
Oh, by the way, three weeks after I bought one, Canadian Tire put them on sale at last. $30.00 off the regular price.
Waring Pro Slicer Redux: Feb 28 2010
It's been a few years since I bought this slicer and I've had some time to get used to it and learn it's peculiarities. I also remember reading some rather harsh and even bitter sounding commentary about it and I thought I'd pop back and see how my experience compares to what others have said about the Waring Pro FS150 Professional Food Slicer.
Here goes: The Waring Pro has sliced up whatever I put to it, cleanly and evenly. Without actually measuring it I suppose the height limit is about four inches. Whatever I shoved through that was as short as needed to fit the machine, it has sliced it. Just two days ago I made the remainder of an elk round roast into shaved baron of elk for bun dipping, and it was awesome.
I have found that it's a good idea to take the blade off every so often and clean the back side and clean the bits that get into the bottom of the gear chamber behind the slicing wheel.
The wheel easily comes off by removing three phillips screws on the front face. This lets you lift the wheel off the nylon drive gear it attaches to. The screws are short. The gears stay in place and you can clean out whatever has got in there from the bottom.
Another reviewer said that all the gears come out and you get grease all over. I cannot see how that reviewer would have been doing it but obviously he/she wasn't taking off the three screws.
The wrinkle comes when you replace the cutting wheel. The plastic backing gear falls a little ways back on its shaft when you take the steel cutting wheel off and the screws are so short they don't reach the plastic gear plate to start securing the cutter back on where it goes!
I solve that by tilting the whole machine toward me and I put the wheel in place and start the screws while gravity makes the plastic gear slide toward me.
That's not the handiest design.
But the big thing is the claim by so many that the nylon drive gears strip/break/are junk.
I have had no problem at all in this area and I think I know why: I push the food easily into the cutter and let the machine do the work.
Nylon gears the scale of those on this slicer are long lasting and require minimal lubrication but they aren't built to handle great workloads.
I notice that the people who complained that their slicer broke almost immediately, also described how they liked to slice up all kinds of food at one time. I think one said she liked to buy bulk salami etc and stand there slicing them all up for the freezer. Another sliced up whole roasts at a time.
The common complaint was that the writing on the packaging uses the word 'commercial' in it's description, so the Waring Pro FS150 Professional Food Slicer should be able to handle commercial scale treatment!
Hey, look at it and look at the price. It's a little home kitchen slicer that you can store up on a shelf and still lift down and use at will. It's not a big butcher's machine.
I can see how a person might get absent minded and with a lot of work ahead of one's self, start shoving the food in there a bit too firmly, but if you start shoving food into the slicer like you are pushing a big fir log into the head rig of a sawmill you are going to break things. Take it easy and let the blade do the work and the Waring Pro FS150 Professional Food Slicer slices as nice as you please.
Treat it nicely and it will treat you the same way.
Three years and counting, so far.
I like this thing. It shows no sign of quitting anytime soon.
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