I just have to share with you about my 2 newest, most awesome additions to my polymer clay tools/toys collection. Both come from Lucy Clay in the Czech Republic. I got them thru their American distributor Kim Idalski.
The first is their new Czextruder. I was lucky enough to be selected as a demo artist and received the XL Czextrude in teal, and the teal disc set for free. I was impressed enough with it that I bought myself the XXL in magenta and all 3 of the other disc sets. I also preordered the new disc set as soon as it was announced, and hope to have it in hand in a week or two. :)
This is by far the BEST extruder for ease of extruding by hand of all the ones I have used. And it is better constructed than the Makins' extruder (of which I have several). That it comes ready to attach to a drill for even easier extruding is a definite plus! It is sturdily constructed and has a clever design for the plunger that not only will eliminate the problem I have had with the Makins' extruders, but actually makes the extruding easier. While I use the drill for my major extruding, one day I had to do a quick strip of clay and the drill was not available. I grabbed my XL Czextruder and did it by hand. I was amazed at just how easy it was. I was able to turn the handle with no stress or strain on my hand, wrist, or shoulder. The clay extruded quickly and smoothly. I was so pleased, I did another strip just for the fun of it. :)
The XL Czextruder hold just a little less clay than the green Makins' does, while the XXL Czextruder holds about twice as much. You can use the dies/discs from the Makins' in the CZextruder. Both Jenny Patterson's Quilted in Clay Disc Set CD- 3 set and Cynthia Tinapple's new disc set will fit in these extruders.
The only "downside" to the new extruders that I have found thus far is that you do have to clean them out between colors. But since they offer the perfect brush for doing this, it is quick and easy and not a real problem. If you order one of the Czextruder kits, the brush is included.
The second toy/tool I got is the new LC Slicer, with the Ease attachment. I have an eye muscle imbalance and poor depth perception, which has always made slicing canes a real challenge for me. No matter how hard I tried, my slices were never even, never straight and it was pretty much impossible for me to get two slices the same thickness. I have been looking for a slicer like this since I made my first cane. Some have come close, but have fallen short for one reason or another. But this new LC Slicer is perfect for my needs! It is portable, easy to assemble, easy to use and cuts clean, even slices. Because of the set up, it is easy for me to consistently cut slices of the same thickness. They always come out perfect too - no wonkiness. I can even cut perfect slices paper thin! I have managed to cut a small bit of cane into more slices than I previously would have thought possible. And so far, it has not caused any cane distortion either. Not even when I was cutting a feather cane!
I absolutely love this cane slicer!!! It was worth every single penny I spent on it. I no longer have to fear wasting most of a cane trying to get a few good slices. I have a feeling I will be making loads of canes in the near future. :)