Q

What Are Block Shavers?

A

The right block shaver will give you the finest fluffiest snow.  Having made that statement I'll explain.  The block shaver can shave the fluffiest snow simply because you have more surface to shave from.  As the block rotates the blade is set to give you a fine serving while maintaining productivity.  Not all block shavers provide this quality though.

Q

What Are Sno Ball Machines

A

These machines are horizontal shavers, often with three blades and work in a left to right movement.   These machines are usually touted to be the fastest block shavers.  Is speed important?  Sure it is when you have 30 people in line.  Is the machine the most important part of the process?  NO!  The most time consuming part of the process is flavoring and taking money.  Usually in high volume sales you have two people working one machine.  The shaver and the person flavoring and taking money.   With this process, any shaver you use will keep up.

POSITIVES...

we will say they shave faster.  

NEGATIVES...

  • these machines pack the snow too tight and do not meet the criteria of fluffiness.  
  • These machines are extremely loud and can drive you nuts.   
  • They also use a lot more ice per serving and because they are packed tighter the flavoring has a harder time getting through the ice. 

This is why you see some people flavoring twice.  They'll stop shaving halfway through and put some flavor in, then finish the serving and put more flavor in.  Is this faster?

Q

What Are Vertical Shavers?

A

These machines shave the ice in a top chamber and rotate the ice against a single blade.  The snow is captured in a cup below the chamber and is shaped by hand to form a rounded serving.  The vertical machine such as the Hatsuyuki H500E and the Swan SI-100 both provide the fluffiness you seek when making a quality product. 

Positives...

Soft fluffy snow.  

Negatives...

  • Ice can come loose from block holder.  
  • Safety shield important.   
  • Training important when handling ice because you can cut yourself when changing blocks.
Q

What Are Cube Shavers?

A

Can produce a quality product.  The cubed or bagged ice is placed in a hopper that contains an impeller that spins the ice against a single blade.  These machines do provide a soft fluffy product but not quite the quality of the block shaver.  The most important feature of the shaver in my mind is the delivery spout.  The Hatsuyuki and the Swan have a very convenient spout right in front of you that makes it simple to shape the product.  Machines such as Echols and Gold Medal are not as convenient and tend to spray the ice around.   Motor size not really important.

POSITIVES...

  • bagged ice is easy to come by.   
  • Recommended for festival vendors. 
  • You can buy at your local store or even buy an ice maker.  
  • A cube no less than 1" is recommended, you have to have some surface to shave from.  
  • Flaked ice will not work and cocktail ice (holes in it) don't work well.  
  • Safer.. no chance of cutting yourself. 

NEGATIVES...

not quite as fluffy as block shavers.

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