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View Full Version : Need advice on buying a Chinese Chefs Knife (aka Chinese Cleaver)



Tiion
06-24-2013, 02:51 PM
Hello, I am new here. So let me apologise if this is in the wrong forum.

I am looking to get a Chinese chefs knife, similar looking to what the West would call a cleaver. I hope you knowledgeable folks would be able to offer some pointers. This knife would be used daily for prep work, chopping veg and boneless meats etc. Looking for something not to heavy, thick or too long in the blade width (around 3.5 inches would be ideal), with around 7 inches in blade length. I need good quality steel which will hold a really sharp edge and for a long time.

Looking around on Ebay I found this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Handmade-Nickel-Damascus-Big-Cleaver-Chopping-Knife-7-NJP130M-/220867515908?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item336cbad604

Pardon me if i'm wrong, but wouldn't "true" nickel damascus-steel much cost much more than this? Because it seems a really good deal at $120. Anyone have any input regarding this knife?


Also, in general, anyone have any recommendations for a good Chinese cleaver?


Many thanks folks

Brad Gibson
06-24-2013, 03:01 PM
take a look at that takeda cleaver mike henry just put up for sale. you can drool if its out of your price range!

berko
06-24-2013, 03:04 PM
how much do you want to spend?

Tiion
06-24-2013, 03:07 PM
Looking to spend around $150 ish, I wouldn't mind spending a bit more if the knife was exceptional

Timthebeaver
06-24-2013, 03:12 PM
Those Rader/Evergood/Zhen knives aren't bad imo. That knife has a VG10 core, the "Damascus" is simply cladding and purely cosmetic.

If you are interested in a cleaver of that size, the Sugimoto #30 may fit the bill. The CM steel is a fine grained stainless, sharpens easily and holds a good edge. Around $140. The larger, more expensive carbon steel Sugimotos (e.g. #6, #7) - are very highly regarded).

berko
06-24-2013, 03:53 PM
carbon or stainless?

jaybett
06-24-2013, 04:04 PM
Looking around on Ebay I found this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Handmade-Nickel-Damascus-Big-Cleaver-Chopping-Knife-7-NJP130M-/220867515908?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item336cbad604

Pardon me if i'm wrong, but wouldn't "true" nickel damascus-steel much cost much more than this? Because it seems a really good deal at $120. Anyone have any input regarding this knife?


Also, in general, anyone have any recommendations for a good Chinese cleaver?


Welcome to the forum

The core of the cleaver in question is made out of VG-10, and is clad with a Damascus style steel. VG-10 is a stainless steel, that has a reputation for chipping. A lot of production line knives will use VG-10, such as Shun. While steel does matter, its the makes ability to forge the steel, that makes a difference. Hattori, is known for ability to work with VG-10.

In general cleavers can be divided by 200mm. Anything below that is considered a small - medium cleaver, more suited for home use. Over 200mm is a large cleaver. The sweet spot for a large cleaver is around 220mm. The cleaver you are looking at is 177mm, which is small. Sugimoto has a cleaver, listed as a utility knife and its 190mm.

My first cleaver was a Shun, its about 7 3/4 inches in length. I didn't find that it offered any advantage over a 180mm nakiri. In matter of fact I preferred the nakiri, since it was a thinner blade.

The advantage of a cleaver is having enough weight to help with the cut, and the height allows for an extra degree of control that you don't get with most knives. My ideal would be around 220 x 110mm. It is only another inch or so, but it makes a difference.

Quite a few Chinese chefs in the U.S. found Dexter Russell cleavers to be ideal. I don't know if that is still true today. Dexter Russell still makes knives and its an option to check out.

Large cleavers those over 200mms, can be an odd knife for people to use. The CCK brand of knife, allowed people to try out a large cleaver, at a reasonable price. The strength of the CCK, was its shape. The steel reportedly is odd and doesn't hold and edge.

After the CCK, is the Suen VC, which is a large cleaver with Japanese steel at a modest price. Japanese Chef Knife and Japanese Knife Imports carry it.

Cleavers rapidly increase in price after the Suen VC. Sugimoto #6 is considered to be one of the best all around knifes on the market. A excellent stainless option is the Hattori KF or the Mizono Swedish steel, both can be found at Japanese Knife Imports.

Jay

Noodle Soup
06-24-2013, 08:48 PM
I'm not sure why taking and holding an edge for long periods of time should be on the list of criteria for a Chinese cleaver. It certainly isn't in China. They make dozens of different weights, sizes and styles for every use but I've never known them to stay up nights worrying edge holding. And the stones they use for resharpening are about 600-800 grit.

MikeHL
06-25-2013, 03:03 AM
How about the Tojiro Pro series?

http://tojiro.net/en/products/knives_c.html

Stainless cladding VG10 core, relatively cheap. I think Andy had a favorable review of one a while ago. http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showtopic.php?tid/786982/

you can get them via blueway

Squilliam
06-25-2013, 06:52 AM
I have a CCK 1303 and love it. Cheap and very thin.

tgraypots
06-25-2013, 08:48 AM
I have a CCK 1303 and love it. Cheap and very thin.
ditto. I rehandled mine with a stubby, thicker, wa-handle.