Use a mandoline by placing the food you are slicing at the top of the mandoline, pushing the food item gently toward the other end of the mandoline, and repeating the process. For added safety, use a hand guard on mandolines that include the accessory.
While traditional mandolines only had a single, fixed blade, modern mandolines typically feature a number of interchangeable blades for different tasks. Mandolines usually come with two main types of blades: flat blades and julienne blades.
Flat blades come in varieties that process food into slices of varying thickness. Use a thick-cutting flat blade when processing potatoes for scalloping or use in casseroles. A thin-cutting blade is ideal for making homemade potato chips.
Julienne blades perform two cutting tasks at once. Like flat-cutting blades, julienne blades cut foods into certain thicknesses, but they also slice foods into individual lengthwise pieces. Use a thick-cutting julienne blade when making French fries. A thin-cutting julienne blade can quickly shred large volumes of carrots or other starchy vegetables.
Most modern mandolines come with a hand guard, a piece of plastic or metal that holds the food item in place and keeps the operator's hand away from the blade. Hand guards also allow slicing the entire item on the mandoline, while slicing the thinnest remnants of vegetables or cheeses without a guard is extremely dangerous.