Mandolin couldn't cut sweet potatoes: what did I do wrong?

After years of fear of cutting off bits of my fingers, I gathered my courage and bought myself a benrinner mandolin. I tried to use it to cut sweet potatoes into fries yesterday, but had little success. I peeled them, cut them to a size that fit nicely on the mandolin, attached the finger guard and tried to push the 'tater through the blades.

The best I did was to get about halfway through a single cut, at which point the potato got stuck. I tried pushing a bit harder, and the finger guard ripped through part of the potato.

I know the blades were properly attached, and I'm fairly certain I followed the instructions correctly. It seems odd that the benrinner can't cut a sweet potato when it has such a reputation for lethal sharpness, so what did I do wrong? Is there some step the instructions left out to prep the blades?

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