Design Review Guillotine Vegetable Chopper

The inspiration I had to make this was that I enjoy looking back at historical events and the craziness that is the French Revolution is a period in time in that country’s history that is fun to look at. One of the objects that goes hand in hand with this time period is the guillotine. I wanted to turn this once menacing device into something more comedic today and what better way to do that than to integrate a weapon of execution in the basic process of vegetable chopping.

I will utilize the aesthetic of the original guillotine from the 18th century. In order to build this functionally, I will be primarily using wood and a steel knife’s blade, as well as twine or some string to raise and lower the guillotine. Now even though there are guillotine like kitchen utensils out there like bagel slicers, those do not stick with the traditional guillotine aesthetic and structure. I will be making sure mine sticks closely to the old, raising and lower of the blade by rope functionality.

My plan is to stand two vertical pieces of wood up on either side of the “cutting board” and the distance between them will be the thickness of the blade. There will be a horizontal peice of wood at the top stopping the blade from being pulled up and out of the mechanism and I may add springs at the top to project the blade downward faster when released.

The overall size of the chopper will not be too invasive. I am thinking about 4 inches wide by 7 inches long and 5 inches high, more or less. This may change depending on the stock material I get. I may try to add a painting scheme to make the chopper appear more “dreary” like they did back then but I do want it to be usable and paint mixing with products we ingest may not be a good combination.

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Hogan Auyeung
    March 31, 2019 6:27 pm

    I like how instead of just using a knife, you’ve managed to create an art piece out of an every day tool. It’ll be interesting to see how it is created and the design of the guillotine.

  • Hadeel Al Gallaf
    March 15, 2019 1:51 pm

    I love this idea. It’s artsy and funny at the same time. I love products that introduce a new concept to an everyday tool. Super creative!!

  • Christopher Seighman
    March 11, 2019 1:47 pm

    I think this would also be a cool idea for the display of the knife! The functionality of the cutting will definitely be a struggle but I’m interested to see how it works!

  • Joshua Engmorris
    March 11, 2019 1:44 pm

    Shalil, I love the idea. Its a funny, different addition to your kitchen. It would be interesting if you could use an aesthetic that contrasts with the death vibe of guillotines. Maybe like an aesthetic has more of a friendly, fun vibe that juxtaposes with the guillotine.

  • Fatema Alhalal
    March 11, 2019 1:35 pm

    Cool project! I think burning a wood using a lighter might be the perfect way to do it. Good luck!

  • Sounds like a cult project! I like the ideal about the basket to carry the ‘head’ of the vegetables. Functional and aesthetical!

  • Shalil,
    I like the history told behind this about the 1960s and how this design was played into. Maybe instead of burned wood, you could stain it? Would you cook with these vegetables afterwards like the vegetable choir?

  • Interesting idea! It will be interesting to see if it works well. I’m sure it will be an interesting addition to your kitchen. What kind of blade material will you be using?

  • Danielle Glanville
    March 11, 2019 1:33 pm

    This is a really cool idea Shalil! This reminds me of the vegetable orchestra video we watched in class a few weeks ago. It’s interesting to pair it with an aspect of history. I think it will end up being a fun thing to bring out at a dinner party or something, but I agree it won’t be super functional. Good luck!


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