Clinebell machines are insane.

I mean, look at this crazy thing! The Aviary Ice Chefs use an engine hoist to lift frozen blocks from the beds of our Clinebell machine, then saw it down with a Japanese ice saw (they used to use chainsaws, but these were noisy and made a pretty big mess in the relatively enclosed environment of the Next/Aviary prep kitchen) before hand-chipping the ice down to its final size.

Clinebell machines are typically used to make large blocks of ice that are used for ice sculpture. Their charm is that they continually stir water as it freezes, which keeps impurities in motion as the ice solidifies, allowing it freeze perfectly clear. When guests visit the Aviary, everyone is served a glass of water with a large, hand-chipped shard in it. The bit of the ice shard that’s submerged in the water appears totally invisible, which still seems like a magic trick to me each time I see it.

The water itself, incidentally, is chilled to a temperature just above the dew point here in Chicago, which prevents condensation on the glass, so guests can see the ice (or apparent invisibility of it) more clearly.


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