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View Full Version : Discourse on why I love Chinese Cleavers re-post



Andy777
02-28-2012, 12:16 AM
I've had some requests to re-post my "Discourse on Why I Love Chinese Cleavers" post from 7 years ago on KF. So take a stroll down memory lane and enjoy! Maybe we can convert a few more to the fold. Oh and by the way, I figured I'd re-post my cleaver technique post from back then too. Keep in mind I never claimed to be an expert, I just love using cleavers and watched a lot of the original Iron Chef. :biggrin: Without further ado, here are the posts.
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I know many people out there wonder why I am so fond of chinese cleavers. Some people recently have had some questions on the subject so I not-so-briefly put it into words.

First let me get this out of the way. Chinese cleavers just look really cool. I mean come on, who doesn't like the look of a shiny 9"x4" razor sharp piece of metal. Everytime I use one I feel like I'm in the back alleys of chinatown cutting the heads off ducks. Is that enough to love cleavers? No. Secondly I prefer a light thin vegetable cleaver that is what I'll be discussing.

In my ever so humble opinion chinese cleavers shouldn't be rocked. At least not in the sense of keeping the tip of the knife always on the board. If you try to use a cleaver the way you use a chef's knife with the tip never leaving the board you will be left thinking "why heck am I using this giant clumsy cumbersome knife, my gyuto is so much better" and you would be right. Is there some rocking involved in using one? Of course. I think there are three style of cut in which the cleaver excels: 1) the usaba or push cut. 2) the straight up and down chop with one end just barely leading and the other, landing a split second thereafter for a slight rock at the end (Iron Chef Chen Kenichi is the master of this when you see his machine gun chop it looks like a wild flayling but if you slow it down it is very accurate and deliberate.) 3) What I like to call the "stab and drag" technique, which is leaving the tip of the cleaver on the board and having the blade at a 35 degree angle to the board, then you just drag the cleaver and slice whatever is in it's path.

Why do cleavers cut so great? I think one element is the fact that they can have the weight of a german knife (or more) with the super thin blade profile of a japanese knife. The best of both worlds in a sense. This is why I think that a $20 chinatown clever cuts better in many ways than a $100 german knife. The weight of the knife does all the cutting you just need to lift it up and guide it as it falls. The super thin blade allows them to cut much better than any german knife could. When I cut a tomato with a cleaver I just set the edge on the skin and push forward, with never a thought of pushing down, and it cuts like butter.

Sometimes when doing many thin cuts with the tip of a chef's knife you have to exert because of the leverage constraint. In my opinion any time you exert you sacrifice accuracy. On a cleaver you have 4 inches of steel backing the tip up. Thin japanese gyutos are much better in this regard but you get the idea.

In an odd way I feel I have more control with a cleaver. Some may say that the large size is dificult to manage. I would disagree. With the big square cleaver I know where all of the knife is at all times. I'm never going to get caught by a stray tip because the knife turned. It's similar to the fact that you would have to go out of your way to be hit by a bus, you see it coming from a mile away. There is a larger margin of error when cutting with the middle knuckle parallel to the blade. With a normal knife as I put my knuckle paralell I can't lift the blade too high or I could cut myself but if I lift my finger too high it will be over the top of the spine. With the cleaver the sky is the limit as to how far I can lift. I raise my knuckle just above the product and I have 4 inches of leeway before my knuckle is over or under the knife.

Also when doing super fine delicate cuts where I need lots of control I use my 3 fingers and thumb to hold the product and I lift my index finger and place the fingertip on the side of the cleaver 2 or 3 inches away from the edge. I leave my finger in the same spot and lift it up and down with the knife. This technique is what I used when cutting the potato fans I did a while back. It was super fast and very easy to be accurate with each cut. Try doing that with a chef's knife.

My perfect cleaver would be large 22-24cm, wide 10-12cm, and as thin as possible. For a cleaver that size the weight should fall between 400-475g. However, the more I have used my Watanabe cleaver (which weighs in at 520g) the more I really don't mind the extra weight. The other day I chopped with it for 30 minutes and wasn't fatigued. I just need to remember to let the cleaver do all the work. Most of the high end Japanese made cleavers fall between 500-550g which I have started to shy away from, but I may rethink that and give them more of a chance.

I also don't need as much curve as most. A perfectly straight edge is definetly a No. All you need is a slight curve for the cleaver to fall smoothly and not jarringly like happens with a perfectly flat edge. In my opinion if the middle of the edge is on the board the two ends should lift up only 4 or 5mm to be effective. More curve is acceptable as well, the ends on the Watanabe for instance probably lift 7 or 8mm.

Recently I have had a chance to use a couple cleavers with longer handles. It is really growing on me. I can say I prefer that style.

Since the car analogy is so popular I'll continue it. Some would compare a chinese cleaver to a truck and a thin graceful gyuto to a Porche. I however, would argue that a good chinese cleaver is much like a Bently, bigger than most sports cars but faster, smoother and more maneuverable than many in the lot. (I'm no car expert but you know what I mean.)

Andy777
02-28-2012, 12:22 AM
Cleaver technique repost

I don't consider myself a cleaver expert. However I get quite a bit of email questions about cleavers I figured why not post some of my answers so everyone can read them. Lots of the info is pretty simplistic, but they are all answers to questions I've received multiple times. Considering that there is literally no information available on cleavers on the internet, I hope some people will find the information useful. Most of this information applies to the thin "slicer" type cleavers that are large 22x11cm and relatively light 400-475 grams. much info won't prove useful on smaller 8"x3" cleavers (such as the popular Dexter.) I'll organize this as a simple Q&A.

How should I hold a cleaver?

The proper way to hold a cleaver is the pinch-grip method. I use both a one-finger and a a two finger pinch grip ( I call this the Chen Kenichi grip.) The one-finger method is easier to use on quicker and less articulate cutting. The two-finger method gives a lot more blade control and balance for articulate cutting.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v459/sarahmaria/cleavergrip.jpg

What exactly is the push-cut method?

The push cut method is the most common technique used with a cleaver. You keep the blade horizontal to the board and move slightly forward as you allow the blade to fall downward. Here is one of my world famous drawings giving a good idea of the technique. This allows the edge to slice as it chops. It's a very simple technique with only one thing that you need to watch. Many people have way too much horizontal movement when they push-cut. From my experience the blade should only move about 1/4" forward for every 1" of vertical movement.

I get very tired after using a cleaver for a very short period, what should I do?

The most important thing to remember about cleavers is to let the blade do all the work. The large size yet super thin profile allows the blade to slice with ease and use it's own weight to do the cutting instead of through your own effort. When you do anything other than simply "guide" the cleaver you will tire easily.

Can you use a straight up and down chop with a hard-steeled Japanese cleaver with out worry of damaging the blade?

Yes you can chop with a thin sharp hard steeled cleaver with no problems. About 50% of the cutting I do with a cleaver is a straight up and down chop. Most of the cleavers I own are noticeably thinner at the edge than a gyuto and have rc63+ steel. I still have yet to chip an edge on a cleaver or suffer premature dulling.

After trying to explain my cleaver technique to many people I came up with a foolproof exercise to learn to use a cleaver properly. This exercise solves the three main problems people confront when learning to use a cleaver. It will teach you the proper push cut form, how to use a cleaver without tiring, and how to chop with a cleaver without severely dulling or damaging the blade.

First, gather a couple food items for practicing your cleaver technique. I like potatoes and a large thick skinned fruit like an orange. Place the tip of your cleaver on top of the product as shown in the previous drawing.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v459/sarahmaria/drawings/pushcut1.jpg

Gently hold the butt of the cleaver handle with two or three fingers so you are merely stabilizing it from falling, no more. Gently guide the cleaver forward as it literally falls through the food. You will notice that on the potato the cleaver will only need ~1/2" of forward movement to cut all the way through to the board. Many times all the cleaver needs is a 1/8" push forward to break the surface tension and it will fall directly through the food will no more effort. Practice this several times until you have a good idea of the principal. The purpose of this is really just to see how little or no downward pressure is necessary to cut with your cleaver.

Next, do the same exercise as before but with a proper grip. Make sure to just lightly hold the cleaver and let the weight and edge do all the cutting. Your forearm, wrist, and hand should be loose and relaxed. I recommend you solely use this technique until you have a really good understanding of the amount of pressure and effort to use. Occasionally large, fibrous, wet, or sticky items, such as large pieces of meat or a giant onion, will need some slight downward effort on your part. Once you have mastered the no effort technique it will be easy for you to add small amounts of pressure as needed.

Throughout your practice with and use of the cleaver pay close attention to how hard the cleaver is hitting the board. This is how hard the cleaver should be hitting the board when you do a standard chop. With practice you will be able to switch between a push-cut and chop with ease and very little edge deterioration.

In my "Discourse on why I love chinese cleavers" post I discussed how I find a cleaver superior for safely holding items with the left hand while cutting with your right. The proper technique for cutting safely involves tucking your thumb and finger tips back while keeping your middle knuckes parallel to the side of the knife. You rest your fingers against the blade and you move the knife up and down never bringing the edge above your knuckles. This effectively protects your holding hand. With the wider blade of a cleaver you will have more clearance over the food because you can raise your fingers up higher. You can even use the tip of your finger to guide the blade. I mention this because I found a perfect example of this technique from a challenger on Iron Chef and I was able to take some excellent pictures of this technique in action.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v459/sarahmaria/knife%20pics/cleavertech4a.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v459/sarahmaria/knife%20pics/cleavertech3a.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v459/sarahmaria/knife%20pics/cleavertech2a.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v459/sarahmaria/knife%20pics/cleavertech1a.jpg

Next time your itching to try something different in the world of kichen cutlery maybe you'll give a chinese cleaver a try.

don
02-28-2012, 12:28 AM
This is great, especially for those (like me) who didn't get a chance to read it the first time. Thanks for re-posting on KKF.

heirkb
02-28-2012, 12:30 AM
Great post, thanks! Now I want to try a cleaver.

Crothcipt
02-28-2012, 12:48 AM
I have been wanting to try a clever for a few years, now I am really itching to get one and show others. Great post it put in perspective what I had in my mind

hax9215
02-28-2012, 01:31 AM
For someone who says he is no cleaver expert, you understand the techniques very well for an American. I have been using these things for years as a station knife, one of the reasons being you can lean it against something on your station and then grab it easily. :theline: I did not really understand them until I helped too manage a Chinese kitchen in Bermuda and watched the cooks use them for everything; Thong Chai and his cooks made fun of me (privately, Guanxi would preclude any direct teasing) for carrying around a bag full of knives when I used a cleaver on the line. I keep one finger out on the blade and my middle finger and thumb in a pinch grip on the bolster; I adjust this a little when I use the heavier version. I actually use a bit of a draw cut when chopping, and rock up from the heel.

When slicing, I lay my index finger on the top of the spine and use a once forward-and-back saw motion with the tip just barely touching the board-most of the movement is in the elbow with the shoulders at an angle and the body slightly bent over the food being cut. This knife is not for placing tip done and moving up and down at the heel.

I have been using Dexter carbons or my Wusthof my whole career, I just found the JCK site a few years ago. Thong Chai had a set of Masahiro sushi knives, but they saw little use at Chopsticks. I love this forum, I used to think I was obsessive about my blades, but here I fit right in! :biggrin: Learning a lot about custom knives, plus a whole new level of sharpening. Took delivery of a Saji Chukabocho from JCK a month ago, and am still freaking out over the edge and beauty of the damascus finish. Okay, there is mine! :2cents: Cleaver nation, let's hear it!

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Deckhand
02-28-2012, 01:33 AM
Thank you for the post.

quantumcloud509
02-28-2012, 01:44 AM
Thanks Andy. Great post!

dragonlord
02-28-2012, 01:46 AM
Really informative post, I really enjoyed it as it was well written and clearly illustrated your points.

slowtyper
02-28-2012, 02:00 AM
I don't like my cck because it made me feel stupid about my last two expensive Japanese knife purchase. Such a fun knife to use.

Justin0505
02-28-2012, 02:17 AM
Always great to see you're still alive and cleavering! Thanks again for the post. It should really get a sticky or be filed away in the knowledge center as reference and for future generations of members.

Your point about the combination of thinness and weight is so true and important to realize. A cleaver just has soo much distance over which to thin out that even a cheap, roughly forged and ground cleaver like a CCK is going to embarrass a lot of very expensive and much more carefully made knives when it comes to falling though food.

quantumcloud509
02-28-2012, 02:26 AM
What would you guys recommend for a chopping cleaver if I wanted one with an octagonal wa-style handle?

jaybett
02-28-2012, 04:30 AM
What would you guys recommend for a chopping cleaver if I wanted one with an octagonal wa-style handle?
Do you want a cleaver for chopping through ribs or vegetables?

Most of the cleavers that Andy prefers are known as thin or slicing cleavers. The cleavers that I like are the medium or chopping cleaver. It would be the same difference between a laser and work horse gyuto.

Because of the weight of a cleaver, they are held more by the blade, with the thumb and finger extending down the blade. The ring finger and pinky are more for guiding the cleaver. A shorter handle is better for a cleaver. The two shapes that work the best are the round handles that taper down to the knife and the rectangular that also taper down. If the handle doesn't taper, then it can be uncomfortable on the ring finger.

The problem with Wa Handles on a cleaver is that they are too long. They have a tendency to get in the way.

Moritaka and Takeda put Wa Handles on their cleavers. I can't think of any other makers, right now of the top of my head, who are using Wa-Handles.

Another idea would be to try Jon at JKI, and see if he could have something custom made.

Jay

JasonD
02-28-2012, 04:39 AM
Thank you for the repost! Time to give my Sugimoto a workout after reading this great thread. I must try your training routine with the potatoe and orange. As a home cook, I don't get nearly enough practice to really drill in that muscle memory with my knives that one acquires in a professional setting... But, it never hurts to try anyways!

Tristan
02-28-2012, 05:50 AM
Now is a good time for anyone who has been wanting to pass on a cleaver to hit the B/S/T...

heirkb
02-28-2012, 10:10 AM
Anyone know of a good stainless one? It seems Gesshin Ginga/Ashi is the only one I could find.

Pensacola Tiger
02-28-2012, 10:51 AM
Anyone know of a good stainless one? It seems Gesshin Ginga/Ashi is the only one I could find.

Hattori FH-15 Chinese Cleaver (VG10 Stainless Steel Blade)
Hontanren Series Chinese Cleaver # 6 (Solid Pure Sweden Stainless Steel Blade, Ebony wood handle)
Misono 440 Series Chinese Cleaver
Misono Chinese Cleaver (Molybdenum steel)
all at
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ChineseCleaver.html

Tadatsuna makes one, but I can't find a link to a vendor.

joec
02-28-2012, 12:41 PM
Still a great article Andy. Enjoyed it then and still do but then with me it was preaching to the choir. :ggodjob:

Cadillac J
02-28-2012, 03:57 PM
Suien VC was one of my earlier j-knives a few years ago after reading through this and your cleaver rating posts.

Just a shame that I could never get into them like I wanted to...even tried the Kagayaki later on for the same length but with a shorter blade height, but I just seem to like a gyuto or suji much better--I'm sorry to disappoint both Andy and JoeC

malacara
02-28-2012, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the articles Andy. I found them few years ago and it was extremely useful.

I started cooking ten or more years ago and by that time I became interested in good cooking knives too. I firstly got myself a nice chefīs knife, then a Henckels and after that a Shun. Few years later I started watching Martin Yan cooking programs and I wanted to try a chinese cleaver, and when I did... bloody hell, after a few days using it I got hooked. I started reading kitchen knife forums just to know more about cleavers and it is then when I knew of Andy777 and his valuable posts. I have ended giving away all my chef knives and buying cleavers. Nowadays I have a bunch of cleavers and two pettys, and thatīs it. And I canīt be happier.


Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
Anyone know of a good stainless one? It seems Gesshin Ginga/Ashi is the only one I could find.
Hattori FH-15 Chinese Cleaver (VG10 Stainless Steel Blade)
Hontanren Series Chinese Cleaver # 6 (Solid Pure Sweden Stainless Steel Blade, Ebony wood handle)
Misono 440 Series Chinese Cleaver
Misono Chinese Cleaver (Molybdenum steel)
all at
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ChineseCleaver.html

Tadatsuna makes one, but I can't find a link to a vendor.

I bought mine from here: http://www.itkitchenknife.com (I was going to put a direct link of the cleaver I got but the web doesnīt seem to be working today) and very pleased with the transaction

Andy777
02-28-2012, 11:00 PM
Thanks for the kind words everyone. It's kind of a trip to read these a bunch of years later I have to say. They could probably use a little updating but oh well. :)


Suien VC was one of my earlier j-knives a few years ago after reading through this and your cleaver rating posts.

Just a shame that I could never get into them like I wanted to...even tried the Kagayaki later on for the same length but with a shorter blade height, but I just seem to like a gyuto or suji much better--I'm sorry to disappoint both Andy and JoeC

I'll forgive you, it may take a while but I'll get there. :wink:


Thanks for the articles Andy. I found them few years ago and it was extremely useful.

I started cooking ten or more years ago and by that time I became interested in good cooking knives too. I firstly got myself a nice chefīs knife, then a Henckels and after that a Shun. Few years later I started watching Martin Yan cooking programs and I wanted to try a chinese cleaver, and when I did... bloody hell, after a few days using it I got hooked. I started reading kitchen knife forums just to know more about cleavers and it is then when I knew of Andy777 and his valuable posts. I have ended giving away all my chef knives and buying cleavers. Nowadays I have a bunch of cleavers and two pettys, and thatīs it. And I canīt be happier.



I'm glad you have fully embraced the dark side. :knife: I have a Tadatsuna, the carbon version and love it. I know we've discussed your stainless Tadatsuna before. I'd like to hear more about it though. I can't remember, have you posted pics of it before? What are you waiting for???

As far as other stainless ones go, other than those mentioned there are quite a few here:

Ichimonji (http://www.ichimonji.co.jp/shopping/goods_list.php?large_class_id=20&wwwrequestcode=94db19c702abd14e0e3c935c3e95a384&dmy=%F3%FE&pmax=&keyword=&submit=%B8%A1%BA%F7)

Sakai Takayuki (http://www.aoki-hamono.co.jp/english1/product%20e/product%20e%20ch.htm)

I'm pretty sure someone on here has ordered from ichimonji before.

Dave Martell
02-29-2012, 11:45 AM
Thanks for posting this again Andy

mpukas
03-01-2012, 05:20 PM
No thread about cleavers is complete without a clip of Martin Yan. :biggrin:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-UUWWig-pU&feature=channel

hax9215
03-01-2012, 10:12 PM
Anyone know where to find one of his cleavers?

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Deckhand
03-01-2012, 10:46 PM
Anyone know where to find one of his cleavers?

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Currently
Ebay starting bid at $50.99 Martin Yan's Signature Knife.Autographed.Package Never Opened!

That is a copy paste hope it helps.

sw2geeks
03-02-2012, 08:47 AM
I went to a cooking class with Martin Yan a couple of years ago at my Central Market. It was really great seeing him use a cleaver.

He was selling his cleaver and latest book at the class. Looked like his current cleaver that he was selling was a little odd in shape. It had a lot of curve starting midway up the blade. It also seemed a little short and had a rounded corner.

He demoed the knife for about 5 minutes then promptly went back to using a more traditionaly shaped cleaver to teach the class.

mpukas
03-02-2012, 01:30 PM
Anyone know where to find one of his cleavers?

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

He sells them directly on his website - http://yancancook.com/store/knives01.htm - "Made with high-carbon stainless steel blade. "
I've been considering getting one for some time just to check it out. I like the little design tweaks like the slightly flared ends. Looks to be a different knife design than the one he's using the above vid which is quite old now. Not a bad price and it's made in Germoney.

Uh-oh - I just realized I may have let the cat outta the bag, and if I wanna get one I should get one soon! :eek2:

mpukas
03-02-2012, 01:37 PM
Looking at his cleaver at his on-line store more, it appears it's got more belly than an authentic chinese chef's knife. I now think that the deisgn is more marketing driven than function driven. Been quite a while since I looked at it am I'm getting spoiled around here... :biggrin:

hax9215
03-02-2012, 02:26 PM
I started to buy one of his cleavers several years ago, but balked at the $199.00 (Funny how 10 years will change your perspective!) It was a full size traditional shape. I will get one of these, if for no other reason than that he went to culinary school at Sullivan where I am currently pursuing a PhD. Thanks for the info! CLEAVER NATION ARISE!!!! :zipper:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

quantumcloud509
03-07-2012, 02:53 AM
Ok so whats the story w/ nakiris? Kinda like a cleaver but not really. Anyone here have experience on the line with them?

Bishopmaker
03-09-2012, 07:46 PM
WOW that really makes me wanan try and make one. Never seen someone cook with one but that just makes me wanna do it even more! lol

Crothcipt
03-09-2012, 07:48 PM
welcome aboard Bishop!!

SpikeC
03-09-2012, 09:23 PM
Sounds like Bishop needs to see Chen work on ICJ!
And welcome to the Knut House!

Bishopmaker
03-09-2012, 11:55 PM
When I first saw one I was like thats way too big to be useful but after seeing a few youtube videos it makes sense.

hax9215
03-10-2012, 12:01 AM
Try one, I DARE you!!! When used properly they are the closest thing to an all-pupose knife IMHO.

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

sachem allison
03-10-2012, 12:10 AM
No thread about cleavers is complete without a clip of Martin Yan. :biggrin:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-UUWWig-pU&feature=channel

he is really good friends with one of my old chefs Bill Sy. one day they decided to see who could bone out a whole chicken with the cleaver the fastest. Martin won with 10 seconds and chef lost with 12 seconds. it was an amazing thing to watch.

slowtyper
03-10-2012, 02:05 AM
i love martin yan, great television personality, would love to see more of him!

Bishopmaker
03-10-2012, 09:26 PM
i love martin yan, great television personality, would love to see more of him!I agree!

mpukas
03-10-2012, 10:35 PM
he is really good friends with one of my old chefs Bill Sy. one day they decided to see who could bone out a whole chicken with the cleaver the fastest. Martin won with 10 seconds and chef lost with 12 seconds. it was an amazing thing to watch.

Wow that's fast! But honestly, how is the quality of the peices when they are cut up so fast? Is there much waste?

quantumcloud509
03-11-2012, 06:10 PM
The owner of the BBQ restaurant that I work at spent two days cooking besides Martin Yan at the university he went to in Montana. Said he was really nice and funny around people and media but once in the kitchen alone with him he was a hellbender.

Also, I am in love with my andy777 rehandled Takeda Large. Kicks ass. I havent been picking up the guyoto or paring knife much even.

Duckfat
03-15-2012, 11:24 AM
I think I just heard my old Dexter whimper a little... LOL
I've wanted to upgrade that to a Sugimoto for the longest but every time I decide to spend more it goes on something different. I used to buy lots of Dexters around ten bucks apiece and pass them out to my cooks. I've had a cleaver in my kit for years.

Dave

slowtyper
03-16-2012, 08:33 AM
I encourage posting of more cool cleaver vids

joec
03-16-2012, 09:28 AM
I think I just heard my old Dexter whimper a little... LOL
I've wanted to upgrade that to a Sugimoto for the longest but every time I decide to spend more it goes on something different. I used to buy lots of Dexters around ten bucks apiece and pass them out to my cooks. I've had a cleaver in my kit for years.

Dave

I actually started with a dexter cleaver and a disposable paring knife as my only knives for well over 30 years. Still have that dexter too though Dave turned it into what I would describe as a duck knife or a Nakiri on steroids.

hax9215
03-16-2012, 12:54 PM
I was first introduced to Chukabochos with a Dexter cleaver in 1980 by a CIA instructor named Joe Amendola. It was all-carbon, cost $25.00, and gave me pause regarding my high-end set of Chro-Mo-Vanadium Wusthofs. I have been using a cleaver as a line knife ever since! While I am elated with my Saji Damascus claver that i just bought, I cannot say with a straight face that it works 14 times better than a Dexter I could get for $50.00 on Ebay. It does have a more durable scary-sharp edge than anything I have ever used; I suspect this is an effect of the hand-forging and heat treating but that is only conjecture. I believe the superior design viv-a'-vis the long, gradual taper on the tall blade pecipitates superior performance with average steel and outstanding with high-end versions. You constantly hear about someone using a cleaver and then using it to the exclusion of their other knives; this should tell you someting about this type of knife. (See below!)

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Duckfat
03-16-2012, 10:13 PM
I actually started with a dexter cleaver and a disposable paring knife as my only knives for well over 30 years. Still have that dexter too though Dave turned it into what I would describe as a duck knife or a Nakiri on steroids.

Joe is there any chance you could post a photo of that? It sounds awesome!

Dave

malacara
03-18-2012, 07:42 AM
I'm glad you have fully embraced the dark side. I have a Tadatsuna, the carbon version and love it. I know we've discussed your stainless Tadatsuna before. I'd like to hear more about it though. I can't remember, have you posted pics of it before? What are you waiting for???

Here are some pics of the Tadatsuna INOX. It took me a while :O. Sorry for the quality though. I took some other photos that Iīm uploading as well.

Regards

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/36/tadatsunainox001.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/256/tadatsunainox002.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/163/tadatsuna003.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/715/tadatsunainoxspine.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/839/cleavers.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/526/mizunostainless.jpg/

mpukas
04-12-2012, 02:27 PM
I guess I've got a closet cheap cleaver fetish.

http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5297.jpg

Top is my newest addition F/ Pacific Ocean Marketplace
CCK 1301 f/ Mark
Cheap bone bone chopper f/ POM
Cheap Little Cook cleaver f/ POM
Henkles bone chopper I've had from my Mom for years and years...

mpukas
04-12-2012, 02:47 PM
My latest aquisition f/ Pacific Ocean Marketplace in Broomfield, CO - stain free high carbon cleaver for $17.99. This was a new shipment they got in, and surprisingly some of the better cleavers I've seen there. They also had a couple of other versions w/ different wood handles and different steels, but the steel was not described. They were $18.99 & $19.99. I got this one because of the stain free high carbon marking on the blade. Who knows what it is???

Surprisingly good cleaver. I really like the size in it's proportion of length to height. I like the size and proportion better than the 1301. This one was one of the straighter ones I found. The other models seemed to be staighter from the handle to the blade and better fit of the bolster. All in all, I've seen much worse on knives more expensive. There isn't much of an edge to speak of - there's a small edge bevel that's probably about 30d per side, Still it was sharp enough to cut a couple of arm hairs and chop some onions, garlic, peppers for a quick veggie stir fry.

Quite a bit of curve to the edge, with no flat areas. No taper at all. When I first looked at it, I thought it had just a flat grind f/ spine to edge. But surprisingly again, there's a large bevel ground into the face about 1/2 down from the spine to edge. The secopndary bevel on each side isn't symetrical though. I plan on thinning it trying to match the existing bevels but equalling them out on each side, and put a new primary bevel on it, and maybe flatten the edge geometry a bit. Practice project knife! mpp

(not sure why but some of the photos came in f/ photobucket rotated)
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5286.jpg
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5287.jpg
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5289.jpg
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5291.jpg
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5293.jpg
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5294.jpg
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r141/mpukas/IMG_5295.jpg

chazmtb
04-12-2012, 03:06 PM
For the last 2-3 months, I don't know what a gyuto is anymore. I have been using my Suien VC cleaver and Moritaka double bevel kiritsuke for most of what I use a gyuto for. The Suien is used for heavy duty veggie chopping and cutting of meats, even chopping up chicken/bones and the like. The Kiritsuke is used for more fine controlled push cutting. Mainly, I have been using the cleaver because most of my cooking has been Asian styled. I really like it. Also, I am quickly becoming a fan of carbon, and especially AS blue. Man, the sharpness of this steel lasts a long time.

kalaeb
04-12-2012, 05:00 PM
For the last 2-3 months, I don't know what a gyuto is anymore. I have been using my Suien VC cleaver and Moritaka double bevel kiritsuke for most of what I use a gyuto for. The Suien is used for heavy duty veggie chopping and cutting of meats, even chopping up chicken/bones and the like. The Kiritsuke is used for more fine controlled push cutting. Mainly, I have been using the cleaver because most of my cooking has been Asian styled. I really like it. Also, I am quickly becoming a fan of carbon, and especially AS blue. Man, the sharpness of this steel lasts a long time.

I also got the Suien cleaver a few months ago and have been loving it. It has not been babied and takes a pretty good patina. Overall I think my general knife skills have increased as a result of using a cleaver.

Here is a pic of mine, of course it had to get some new shoes.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/IMG_1631.jpg

Crothcipt
04-12-2012, 10:38 PM
wow I need to get down to Bloomfield.

mpukas
04-13-2012, 02:31 PM
Yeah, it's a great store (btw, it's Broomfield, CO (http://www.yelp.com/biz/pacific-ocean-market-place-broomfield-2)). One of the biggest and better asian grocery stores in CO. There's one in Denver too, off of Federal Street, but I think this one is better. I would have liked to have snagged one of each of cleavers just to compare, but as cheap as they were, I gotta draw the line somewhere these days...

Crothcipt
04-13-2012, 05:30 PM
I ment Broomfield, not sure why I said bloomfield. From what I read about that store it is the best one in the area.

birdeye
05-24-2012, 11:38 AM
I hope this is the right thread to post in. I'm looking to get myself a chinese cleaver and would like to go out and see how the knife feels in my hand before buying, as I've never had one before. My problem is that there are not that many manufacturers with a chinese cleaver model that are available in my country (Finland). A Japanese import store in Helsinki carries MAC, and I have heard people buying Victorinox so I assume some stores are carrying it as well. (If you happen to know of others, by all means let me know) I have understood these two are not the best possible options out there... but they seem to be the only ones. Or would it work if I tried either of these to get a feel for the type and then proceeded to order a cleaver online? :scratchhead: I am a complete noob though, so I don't know the differences between different makers' knives. Do you have any advice?

kalaeb
05-24-2012, 11:59 AM
I hope this is the right thread to post in. I'm looking to get myself a chinese cleaver and would like to go out and see how the knife feels in my hand before buying, as I've never had one before. My problem is that there are not that many manufacturers with a chinese cleaver model that are available in my country (Finland). A Japanese import store in Helsinki carries MAC, and I have heard people buying Victorinox so I assume some stores are carrying it as well. (If you happen to know of others, by all means let me know) I have understood these two are not the best possible options out there... but they seem to be the only ones. Or would it work if I tried either of these to get a feel for the type and then proceeded to order a cleaver online? :scratchhead: I am a complete noob though, so I don't know the differences between different makers' knives. Do you have any advice?

Boy, thats a tough one. Many here never have the opportunity to try, or see it before we buy and often buy based off reccomendations here. I am going to go out on a limb and say there is no China town in Finland. I guess i would buy a cheap CCK to get a feel for it, then base future purchases of what you like and dislike about it.

Victorinox does have a chinese cleaver, but i have never seen a MAC cleaver.

birdeye
05-24-2012, 01:18 PM
Yep no Chinatown, only small import stores in some cities and those usually have foodstuffs only.

I found the MAC cleaver from a PDF info sheet (in Finnish) that was on the import store's site. It's number 120, labeled as "chinese cleaving knife": http://www.tokyokan.fi/mac_veitsiesite_netti.pdf
It has been there for a while though, I don't know how up-to date the information is.

I have been looking at the CCK cleavers, but they seem to be always out of stock. The only place I know of is chef knives to go, are there other suppliers that ship to Europe? Better yet would be a supplier within EU, but I have a feeling that's more wishful thinking than a reality.

Still-edo
05-24-2012, 02:34 PM
Is there a difference in metal quality between the CCK and the Dexter cleavers?

birdeye
06-05-2012, 08:46 AM
MAC is out, there is no sight of a chinese cleaver on the import store's website. Victorinox is actually attainable, I'll have to get it online but at least I can get one. CCK is possible but the shipping fees are as much as the price of the knife, plus there is a disclaimer on the site that if the knife gets damaged in any way they cannot be held responsible.
I tried hunting down Dexter but it's only sold in North America it seems. Their official site doesn't list any suppliers in Europe, but I may have been looking at the wrong place. Amazon.com sells it, but they won't ship internationally except for a selected few categories and knives are not among them. The European amazon sites (.uk and .de) didn't have it.

The simplest solution seems to be moving to the US. :scratchhead: I didn't think Europe would ever seem so limited.

Is the Victorinox cleaver worth the 60€ the store is charging for it? There are also Wusthof cleavers on the internet at the same price. I haven't heard much of them though, for better or worse.

What do you think of this one? It's cheap and stainless, but what else? It says Japanese steel (日本鋼) on the blade, whatever that means. But it's cheap. :P
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medium-Chinese-Cleaver-stainless-Shipping/dp/B004PZ5E2U/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1338898236&sr=8-7

Andy777
06-05-2012, 11:33 AM
I would just order something from Koki at www.japanesechefsknife.com, you will get something waaaay better than the Victorinox or Wusthof for not a ton more money.

There are several "less" expensive cleavers on this page http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ChineseCleaver.html, while I haven't personally used those cheaper ones at the top I feel pretty confident in saying they would blow a Victorinox out of the water.

malacara
06-05-2012, 01:34 PM
I would just order something from Koki at www.japanesechefsknife.com

+1

I have bought stuff from him a couple of times from Europe (Spain) and I canīt recommend him enough. Itīs always been superfast, with extremely cheap shipping fees and with no extra charges at customs. Really easy. Kokiīs also always been very kind and helpful.

birdeye
06-05-2012, 05:26 PM
Thanks a lot! You guys are really helpful.

This site is dangerous... I'll get a cheaper knife for now to see how I'll like the type. If I do, I might soon have no money to buy food but at least I'll have a nice knife. :laugh:

SpikeC
06-05-2012, 08:57 PM
Money comes and goes, butt knives stay.

StueGnu
06-09-2012, 06:53 PM
I'm in the same situation as birdeye and would like to hear your opinion on the cleavers available to me

I live i Denmark and can risk paying 40$ + 25% of the order, if i order outside the EU. I have found the following cleavers inside EU.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Vegetable Cleaver for around 90$ in a local shop.
Weight and steel unknown

JCK Kagayaki KG-25 on the german Ebay for 150$ postage included
Weight: 380 g

SN1124B Tamahagane San Chinese chef's knife from http://www.millyskitchenstore.co.uk for 236$ postage included
Blade Material: 3-layer steel (core: VG5 / Page: SUS410)
Weight: 406 g
Hardness: 58-59 HRC


or finally a noname cheap cleaver in a semilocal chinese shop for 20$


The henckels do seem like the most reasonable choice, since i have never used a chinese cleaver. But i really dislike that they can't be bothered to write basic information about it on their website like steeltype and weight. Also from reading a lot about japanese knifes i guess it's also a bad thing that it is german. I also don't find the looks of the plastic handle very nice.

The JCK is a good option, but i have read some reviews about it, saying it's not so great compared to others.

The Tamahagane San is made of a decent steel and i really like the handle. But it worries me that i can't find any opinions about it on the internet. Also i find it weird that it's apparently only sold in a very few shops in Europe.

I'm most tempted to go for the Tahamagane San, but it is so expensive that i could get the Suien VC from http://japanesechefsknife.com and pay the hefty customs for the same price. Do you think it's worth the price compared to the cheaper KG-25 or the Suien VC?

The cleaver will be my first decent knife. I actually started only wanting to replace my cheap santoku knife with another cheap one, but then i started researching on the internet. After some reading i almost ordered a Tojiro nakiri, but after reading this thread and other cleaverenthusiastic threads i feel quite certain that a cleaver would be great for me aswell. I will only use it for vegetables. One could argue that i should just buy a cheap crapcleaver to begin with, but i find it discouraging and not very interesting.

I hope my post won't drown in this long thread :)

chinacats
06-10-2012, 11:15 AM
The cleaver will be my first decent knife. I actually started only wanting to replace my cheap santoku knife with another cheap one, but then i started researching on the internet. After some reading i almost ordered a Tojiro nakiri, but after reading this thread and other cleaverenthusiastic threads i feel quite certain that a cleaver would be great for me aswell. I will only use it for vegetables. One could argue that i should just buy a cheap crapcleaver to begin with, but i find it discouraging and not very interesting.

I hope my post won't drown in this long thread :)

Welcome!!

I have a cheap cck large cleaver...the steel is carbon unknown type and rather cheap feeling but it gets very sharp, doesn't weigh a lot and would be an inexpensive way to figure out if you want a cleaver or not...actually the $20 unit locally may be an even better deal then if you enjoy it you can shell out some real money for something that comes more highly recommended.

Cheers

jaybett
06-11-2012, 12:32 PM
The JCK is a good option, but i have read some reviews about it, saying it's not so great compared to others.

The Tamahagane San is made of a decent steel and i really like the handle. But it worries me that i can't find any opinions about it on the internet. Also i find it weird that it's apparently only sold in a very few shops in Europe.

I'm most tempted to go for the Tahamagane San, but it is so expensive that i could get the Suien VC from http://japanesechefsknife.com and pay the hefty customs for the same price. Do you think it's worth the price compared to the cheaper KG-25 or the Suien VC?

The cleaver will be my first decent knife. I actually started only wanting to replace my cheap santoku knife with another cheap one, but then i started researching on the internet. After some reading i almost ordered a Tojiro nakiri, but after reading this thread and other cleaverenthusiastic threads i feel quite certain that a cleaver would be great for me aswell. I will only use it for vegetables. One could argue that i should just buy a cheap crapcleaver to begin with, but i find it discouraging and not very interesting.

I hope my post won't drown in this long thread :)

Welcome to the Forum.

The Tahamagane San appears to be a cleaver for home use. Generally cleavers less then 200mm are thought to be more for the home, while cleavers 210mm or greater are for restaurant use. Of course there are always exceptions.

The Suien VC is a full size cleaver, and what some of us cleaver fans consider to be an ideal size 220mm x 110mm. Cleavers this size weigh between 400-500 grams. And they can weigh considerably more, on a a medium edge or so called chopping cleaver.

A lot of people who have picked up a cleaver, couldn't put it down fast enough. The size and weight of a cleaver is foreign to most people used to knifes that weigh considerably less, and are not so tall.

The typical advice for person considering a picking up a cleaver is to find out if the size and weight are going to be a problem. An inexpensive cleaver from an Asian grocery store, will help a person answer that question.

The next step would be to purchase a Suien VC. It a thin edged, slicing cleaver, that cuts well, and has good carbon steel. It performs nearly as well as cleavers that cost twice as much.

Most cleavers are rough, when it comes to fit and finish. Nothing that a little sand paper and some elbow grease can't fix.

Cleavers are different enough from western knives, that they take time to learn how to use them and adjust to their size and weight. It took me about a month, before I started to feel comfortable with mine.

Jay

StueGnu
06-12-2012, 05:10 PM
Thanks for your replies. I don't find buying the cheap one very interesting, but i guess you are right about trying a cleaver first. I think it would be hard to sell in Denmark, if i bought the Suien and didnt like it :(

malacara
06-12-2012, 06:12 PM
A CCK cleaver can give you a very good insight on the use of a cleaver for little money. It is also a superb knife: Very thin, light and nimble. I love mine. It can get very sharp and in spite of being made of carbon it is easy to mantein as it has some kind of coating than help to prevent it from rust.

Regards

jaybett
06-12-2012, 09:14 PM
Thanks for your replies. I don't find buying the cheap one very interesting, but i guess you are right about trying a cleaver first. I think it would be hard to sell in Denmark, if i bought the Suien and didnt like it :(

It depends on your experience, and needs, as to which cleaver to purchase first. Often times forum members are looking for something different to try, so they pick up a small cleaver 200mm or less. It gives a person an idea of what a cleaver can do. Most people stop at this point, deciding cleavers do not work for them. Those who like cleavers, when they try a full size one, find them awkward and unwieldy. I've been involved with the forums for over six years, in that time, I can name only a handful of people who are fans of full size cleavers. Since so few people end up being cleaver fans, that is why a series of cautious steps is advised, instead of taking the plunge.

A common problem for most home cooks and some pro cooks, is a lack of space, especially when large amounts of food need to be prepped. Trying to find a solution to this problem is what caused me to try a cleaver. My first cleaver was a Shun. It improved my productivity enough, that I searched the internet, for more tips and tricks, on how to use cleavers. That search led me to knife forums and Andy's threads, such as this one. The experience with the Shun, was positive, so it was easy to try a full size cleaver.

I remember being somewhat disappointed, when I opened the box on my first full size cleaver. There was scale on the choil and front of the cleaver. The tang was a rat tail type, with the end being hammered over into a hole on the handle. The knife felt awkward in my hand. It was a far different experience from my Shun santoku, that was so light and nimble, and seemed to cut effortlessly. Andy kept saying that it takes time to adjust to a full size cleaver. It probably took a month of using the cleaver off and on, to get comfortable.

The size and weight of a cleaver, which most people initially dislike about a cleaver, actually are strengths. It is counter intuitive, but it is much easier to do a fine dice with a larger heavier knife, then a smaller lighter knife. The finest dice, I can do, is with a petty or small sujihiki. I have to concentrate as I make the cuts. On a cleaver, it is almost mindless, lift the cleaver, let it fall. The height of a cleaver offers several advantages. It acts as an edge guard, put it against the knuckles, as long as the blade isn't raised above the knuckles, its hard to cut oneself. It's easy to see where the cuts are going. This is handy on horizontal cuts, where the blade doesn't disappear into the food. The height allows the larger muscles of the forearm to be used. The weight assists with the cut. Also it keeps lateral movements to a minimum. A muscle twinge will barely move a cleaver.

An unexpected benefit of learning to use a cleaver is that it has improved my overall knife skills. It is similar to the person who trains by running in sand. By learning to use a large heavy knife, I've developed muscle memory that is beneficial when using different types of knives. A 300mm gyuto, does not feel large in my hands, and I am comfortable doing tip work with it.

Jay

sw2geeks
06-13-2012, 12:02 AM
I have actully bought a lot of old Chinese cleavers on eBay to play with and fix up. Don't know what the eBay situation is like in Finland. I am a big cleaver fan, but will say they are big compared to knives. I had my knives in a resent photoshoot and they ended up taking the cleaver out of the shot because it was so much bigger that the rest of my knives. So if you have not held one you might be surprised how big it is.

Still-edo
06-13-2012, 02:27 PM
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Vegetable Cleaver for around 90$ in a local shop.
Weight and steel unknown



I have that. The steel is the standard Henckels Ice hardened dealy. The steel suits my needs. It sharpens easy yet keeps an edge really nicely. It's pretty thin out of the box. I still went ahead and thinned it down. I think the handle is the largest thing to get over. It's really really smooth and on the thin side. So wet hands will have nothing to hold on to. And the balance is really tip heavy so swinging it around for an hour without much of a handle really isn't a great time.

I paid about $40usd for mine. Worth it in my opinion. But next chance I get I'm getting a big cck or dexter. Because of the handle and carbon kicks butt.

StueGnu
06-13-2012, 04:59 PM
You convinced me and i just ordered this from the german Amazon. I did it through Google Translate, since i only understand very little german, so it's gonna be interesting what i signed up for :laugh:
http://www.amazon.de/Mittelschweres-chinesisches-Hackmesser-rostfrei-360g/dp/B004PZ5E2U/ref=?ie=UTF8&m=A1ASV427UV495J

20€ (about 27$). blade is 175 mm and the cleaver weighs 360g. It ended up being cheaper and easier than ordering from the shop in Denmark i thought was the cheapest.

The CCK was not an option since i would have to order it outside the EU and risk paying more in customs than for the cleaver itself.

Jaybett what do you mean with this sentence "There was scale on the choil and front of the cleaver." What part of the cleaver is the choil and what is scale?

Crothcipt
06-13-2012, 05:03 PM
Wow that is a good looking cleaver.:thumbsup:

StueGnu
06-13-2012, 05:39 PM
Yes it must one of the best looking cleavers i have seen in the pricerange! I hope it's a good ambassadeur for the cleavers ;-)

Still-edo
06-13-2012, 07:02 PM
Wow! I wonder if regular amazon has that. I gotta check it out later.

keithsaltydog
07-08-2012, 04:27 AM
Cleaver's & Gyuto have their place in a kit.I would rather clean fish wt. a gyuto,but for many jobs a cleaver will smoke a french style knife.

Back in the 1970's I worked as a banquet cook at Sheraton Waikiki we used to put out 1000+ count banqs. on a regular basis.I was new in a kit. back then would chop large quantities of parsley using 2 12" Forchners one in each hand.

A chinese banq.staff shared the same huge banq. Kit.They would laugh at us using our silly knives.It was at that job that I first saw what could be done wt. a cleaver,these guys could debone a chicken in one fluid motion flipping the bones off the end of the blade into the stock pot.They all used carbon cleavers as they still do today in chinatown.

I learned cleaver skills fr. my buddy Tin Fu.He could clean lobsters so fast wt. a small cleaver.I used several cleavers a heavier bone cleaver for cutting platters of Ginger Chix,3 chix a platter for banquets,as much as 20 platters at a time,you have to work fast or you will never make it in a Union Hotel wt. a limited amount of workers.I would not have made it without learning cleaver skills,& sharp carbon steel blades.

Mike9
07-14-2012, 12:04 AM
Those Chinese chef's knives aren't cleavers in the traditional sense IMO and I have a Lamson Chinese knife like that with a thin blade that I would try to put through bone for anything. If you want one for the chop then get a cleaver with some muscle AND backbone - it should weigh more than 1.5lbs and be made of stern stuff. I just got a Zhen 8" VG-10 cleaver that is heavy like 1-3/4 - 2lb with a very nice handle. Get a real butcher's cleaver - you can find some nice vintage pieces on fleebay or second hand stores and getting it back into shape will be a good experience in edge geometry and sharpening.

brainsausage
07-14-2012, 02:00 AM
Those Chinese chef's knives aren't cleavers in the traditional sense IMO and I have a Lamson Chinese knife like that with a thin blade that I would try to put through bone for anything. If you want one for the chop then get a cleaver with some muscle AND backbone - it should weigh more than 1.5lbs and be made of stern stuff. I just got a Zhen 8" VG-10 cleaver that is heavy like 1-3/4 - 2lb with a very nice handle. Get a real butcher's cleaver - you can find some nice vintage pieces on fleebay or second hand stores and getting it back into shape will be a good experience in edge geometry and sharpening.

Actually- they are cleavers. Just not the chopper types that you seem to be accustomed to. There is a wide variety of cleavers that are task specific. The typical Chinese style cleaver is a jack of all trades, and better named as the Chinese Chef's knife. It's well suited for fine up to medium duty tasks, and an accomplished chef will make great use of its impressive geometry. They are very versatile. Not suited for blunt trauma chopping, but still very accomplished at butchery fabrication, in conjunction with some heavier tools.

DwarvenChef
07-15-2012, 03:44 AM
At work I still break out my CCK 1103 for most tasks. Granted I'm only working as a secondary cutter in the butchery dept but when I close I'm the only one there doing all the cutting. We have an old Dexter bone cleaver that is over a 1/3" across and weighs a ton LOL That and my CCK can do most tasks I need done on my shift :)

I really need to get a nice custom for my home kit :p I just have to stop buying other things just before those good ones pop up LOL

Shinob1
10-02-2012, 02:03 PM
I just received a Nakiri from Dave and am wondering if the techniques in the post will apply to a Nakiri?

Justin0505
10-04-2012, 11:21 AM
With a nakiri you don't have the same advantage of the blade weight and balance carrying momentum though the cut, and grip options are a bit different as you won't have enough blade height to do the straight fingered pinch grip or "peace sign." So, as similar as they are, they feel pretty different in use. However, a lot of the cutting motions / techniques are the same. I never thought of it before, but a Nakiri might be a decent stepping stone for a cleaver.

Carl
10-04-2012, 01:01 PM
As if I didn't already want a cleaver bad enough already, now I really want 2, one heavy for chopping bones and one thinner for general purpose. shopping shopping shopping.

Ragamuffin
10-05-2012, 06:24 PM
I have cooked (at home) for very many years. I go way back guys, to cooking on a woodburning, black iron stove at a farm where I lived. And by the way, those old cookstoves are marvelous cooking tools! I also still cook with cast iron pans and have some 100+ years old.

But on to my thanks to Andy. I had an odd assortment of German blades and Forschner/Victorinox knives. Then I came across Japanese knives. Wow! What an eye opener. I bought some Mac knives and thought I was in heaven. In the course of my looking and learning about all the just so beautiful craftsmanship found in Japanese knives, I came across Andy's article on cleavers.

I set myself a challenge to cook for one week using nothing but a cleaver and paring knife (I also have an old Forschner serrated bread knife for the crusty bread I bake). I purchased a CCK 1303 Cleaver and an inexpensive Tojiro Petty and started cooking.

I have never looked back. I can fully prepare anything here at home with that combination. Of course, I am looking at an upgrade to maybe a Tanaka 150mm, Damascus, Blue Steel Petty and maybe the Tojiro 270 ITK Bread Knife but for now, the CCK stays put.

Sorry to be long winded but a great big thanks to ANDY, for teaching this old dog new tricks! I am a happy cook!

SpikeC
10-05-2012, 06:46 PM
Welcome to the Knut House!

GlassEye
10-05-2012, 08:43 PM
Welcome

chinacats
10-07-2012, 10:50 AM
Welcome, cleavers can be a lot of fun!

hax9215
10-08-2012, 12:43 AM
:welcome2:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

brainsausage
10-08-2012, 01:33 AM
Jesus Hax, you're really drawing a line in the sand with your new sig line, huh?

hax9215
10-08-2012, 03:44 PM
Every man should believe in something, I believe in the barbeque!!! :joec:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

brainsausage
10-08-2012, 04:00 PM
Every man should believe in something, I believe in the barbeque!!! :joec:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

At least we can both agree that CLEAVERS RULE!!!

Carl
10-10-2012, 11:24 AM
I guess I kinda draw the line with mine too... I agree cleavers rule tho.

Ragamuffin
10-21-2012, 12:49 PM
Thanks for all the welcomes to me on my last posting but my first posting on this forum!Thanks guys!

I just wanted to give an update on my cleaver adventures. I mentioned in my previous post that I was running my kitchen solely with a Tojiro 120mm petty, a CCK 1303 Cleaver and a Victorinox/Forschner serrated bread knife.

I bake crusty bread (Jim Leahey's no-knead recipe) at home every week and the Victorinox gets a workout.

My latest loaf of bread had completely cooled off and as I was reaching for the serrated knife, I glanced over at the CCK. The CCK said "Try me! Go ahead and try me on that crusty loaf. I dare you!" I said "OK, loudmouth, you're on!" I dropped the Victorinox.

I grabbed the cleaver and lined up on the bread expecting the cleaver to slip and slide on the crust. WRONG! It bit into the bread (Light Saber loud humming noise in background) and slid through the bread like Obi Wan Kenobi's light saber. Zap! Big slice of bread on cutting board with almost no effort.

I was amazed. Another and another slice. Same story. It was miles ahead of the serrated knife for slicing the bread! I put the CCK back on the mag holder and it looked at me and said, "Never doubt what we cleavers can do! Cleavers Rule!!"

Amen, brothers, Victorinox now is in storage drawer. CCK 1303 stands proudly up front waiting for its next mission.

By the way, I just got in yesterday a very beautiful, Tanaka 150mm, blue steel, Damascus Petty to upgrade my petty choices. I haven't really tried it out yet but I am looking forward to working with it.

Meanwhile, as Andy says: "CLEAVERS RULE!!":thumbsup:

RoanRoks29
10-26-2012, 01:45 AM
So I recently just bought a Clever and today was the first day I used it on the line! It was amazing! I need some more practice with it but it was a sweet knife to work with!!! Its a sweet Shibazi clever ! p.s. Love Martian Yan!!

hax9215
10-28-2012, 05:53 AM
The thing about cleavers is that they tend to replace your whole knife kit; by the time you take out the case and open it you can make your cuts' pick up your cut product, and move on. I will frequently bring out my Wusthofs just on principle, not because I really need them.

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

quantumcloud509
12-10-2012, 06:45 AM
Still the best thread ever.

BertMor
12-11-2012, 12:38 PM
I can't believe igts been 7 years! Great post then and still is. Thanks Andy

TheDispossessed
02-07-2013, 03:49 PM
just got a togiharu cleaver from JMac this week. it came in excellent condition, 5 minutes on a cheap combo (1k/4k) stone and its just melting through food. i think it's white #2, but i can't be sure, the make seems identical to the yoshihiro (for that matter, it looks like the togiharu damascus knives and the yoshihiros are identical as well). this is my new favorite knife. coming in at a little under 400g it still feels nimble and i prepared an entire dinner with it for 6 people. shaved sunchokes and fennel, citrus segments, this thing is really versatile, highly recommended. makes me wonder about all my other knives that cost three times as much!
i just couldn't get down with those hideous looking handles on the CCKs...

brainsausage
02-07-2013, 10:51 PM
just got a togiharu cleaver from JMac this week. it came in excellent condition, 5 minutes on a cheap combo (1k/4k) stone and its just melting through food. i think it's white #2, but i can't be sure, the make seems identical to the yoshihiro (for that matter, it looks like the togiharu damascus knives and the yoshihiros are identical as well). this is my new favorite knife. coming in at a little under 400g it still feels nimble and i prepared an entire dinner with it for 6 people. shaved sunchokes and fennel, citrus segments, this thing is really versatile, highly recommended. makes me wonder about all my other knives that cost three times as much!
i just couldn't get down with those hideous looking handles on the CCKs...

CCk's won't win any beauty contests, but that's what makes em great- you can beat the living $#!+ out of em and they ask for more.:spiteful:

The handles really aren't that bad. Ugly- yes, but functional, especially if you extend your index and middle finger out across the flat of the blade when cutting. My biggest gripe with them(besides the ugly patina, and discoloration of some foods) is how thin the spine is, really screwed up my knife callus the first couple days I used one.

jmdavids
02-09-2013, 03:21 PM
Funny to stumble upon this thread just now. I purchased a cheap cleaver from a 99 Ranch Market maybe eight years ago. Never felt comfortable with it at home - intimidated by the size, and the thickness of the blade meant that most large items I tried to cut would actually end of cracking instead of cutting. But I've been developing my knife sharpening skills, and so I really went to work on the blade, grinding down the angle to get a nice sharp point.

A couple weeks ago, I began taking the cleaver to work with me. I work at a Japanese restaurant and will cut between two and four quarts of green onion tops on a daily basis, and cut up a lot of daikon radish. As much as I love my Wusthof nakiri, the sheer volume of cutting began to run down the edge. Not so much an issue with the cleaver. I've touched it up on a 4000 grit stone a week ago, and gave it a couple passes on a ceramic honer, and the thing will still easily go through two bunches of green onions at a time. Such a time saver. Plus, my nakiri is still super sharp a few weeks later cause it's not doing all the heavy lifting.

Just thought add myself to the ranks of the cleaver lovers club. :knife: I'm keeping an eye out for another $25 cleaver to leave at the house.

toddnmd
02-11-2013, 02:28 PM
Great thread--I'm glad it's still alive!

boomchakabowwow
02-11-2013, 02:59 PM
interesting thread. just went thru it all while eating my lunch.

i'm chinese and i dont have a cleaver. at least not a chinese styled one. big rectangle shaped things..i just gave away a Henckel version to a co-worker. i just never used it. i do however use a smaller cleaver which i think is from Japan. it is heavier, thicker..so it tends to split things like Daikon. but it will blast thru a coconut..or any squash. for me the main advantage it the ability to scoop up chopped ingredients. the biggest win. my parents have them scatter throughout the house. my stepdad, was a chef. he used them primarily.

hmmmm..i also dont own a Wok.

brainsausage
02-15-2013, 01:20 AM
Great thread--I'm glad it's still alive!

+1!!!!!!!!

labor of love
02-15-2013, 04:12 PM
out of curiousity, has anybody here picked up the new wa gesshin ginga cleaver???

schanop
02-15-2013, 04:29 PM
Probably not, for me. Handle looks a bit too short and too stubby for my liking. Rivet handle version looks much better.

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x600/518a337f71d8af45c99bc01d0812e43a/i/m/img_4781.jpg
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x600/518a337f71d8af45c99bc01d0812e43a/i/m/img_0031_15.jpg

Basecadet
02-15-2013, 04:52 PM
After reading through this thread I was inspired to give a cleaver a shot. Went to the CCK shop in Pacific mall just north of Toronto and picked up a 1303. Mt current favorite knife for veg prep is a beater usuba. I'm still trying to get used to the control of the blade due to the height of the blade, but I think with time and practice I will grow to enjoy using it.

tkern
02-15-2013, 08:55 PM
For the last 3 weeks I've been using a Dexter that I've thinned. Found on ebay for $9 new. I've really come to enjoy using it and am probably going to pick up the suien vc next.

labor of love
02-16-2013, 01:35 AM
Probably not, for me. Handle looks a bit too short and too stubby for my liking. Rivet handle version looks much better.

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x600/518a337f71d8af45c99bc01d0812e43a/i/m/img_4781.jpg
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x600/518a337f71d8af45c99bc01d0812e43a/i/m/img_0031_15.jpg
the reason i ask is because i used to own the riveted/western handle version. it was a little heavy for me. maybe 470ish grams. im guessing the wa is much lighter.

JKerr
02-16-2013, 10:02 AM
Looks fugly, but I reckon Ashi might be on to something. I reckon a d handle would probably be more comfortable on a cleaver but the dimensions look nice, much better than Moritakas and Takedas IMO. I'll fly the flag for barrel style handles on cleavers though. Absolutely smitten with the Sugimoto #7 I recently added to my kit, it's heavy but feels perfect in hand....the fat spine helps with that too though.

malacara
02-16-2013, 01:17 PM
Absolutely smitten with the Sugimoto #7 I recently added to my kit, it's heavy but feels perfect in hand....the fat spine helps with that too though.

Congrats on your new cleaver! You already have 2 Sugimotos if Iīm not wrong and It seems you are very happy about them (I know i will have to get one myself at the end, sigh). Pics or further comments about this new purchase would be utterly appreciated :lol2:

Regards

JKerr
02-16-2013, 10:42 PM
Congrats on your new cleaver! You already have 2 Sugimotos if Iīm not wrong and It seems you are very happy about them (I know i will have to get one myself at the end, sigh). Pics or further comments about this new purchase would be utterly appreciated :lol2:

Regards

Cheers, Indeed I have a #6 too, though it's getting pretty old now (by my standards) and really needs some heavy thinning to bring it back to what it was. I don't have the time or patience to put it to the stones and I probably don't have the skills to use a power tool (or the space really).

I can't really remember what the #6 was like out of the box, but it seems like the F+F on the #7 is a little better, perhaps Sugimoto are upping their game a bit; engraving is neater, spine and choil are nicely rounded. Cladding and steel seems to be very reactive on Sugimoto cleavers and they take an ugly patina, had a touch more belly than I recall the #6 as having too.

Steel and geometry is amazing though. I've heard they use white 2 and if so they should get props for their HT cause I reckon it's better than any white 2 I've used. Sharpens incredibly easy, gets piss-take sharp and the retention is surprisingly good. For comparison's sake, I think it ***** all over the Konosuke Fujiyama #6 in all those aspects, and the Konosuke is certainly no slouch.

I'll try to get some pics that work with some other cleavers for comparison and post a review later.

Ta,
Josh

malacara
02-17-2013, 05:57 AM
Cheers, Indeed I have a #6 too, though it's getting pretty old now (by my standards) and really needs some heavy thinning to bring it back to what it was. I don't have the time or patience to put it to the stones and I probably don't have the skills to use a power tool (or the space really).

I can't really remember what the #6 was like out of the box, but it seems like the F+F on the #7 is a little better, perhaps Sugimoto are upping their game a bit; engraving is neater, spine and choil are nicely rounded. Cladding and steel seems to be very reactive on Sugimoto cleavers and they take an ugly patina, had a touch more belly than I recall the #6 as having too.

Steel and geometry is amazing though. I've heard they use white 2 and if so they should get props for their HT cause I reckon it's better than any white 2 I've used. Sharpens incredibly easy, gets piss-take sharp and the retention is surprisingly good. For comparison's sake, I think it ***** all over the Konosuke Fujiyama #6 in all those aspects, and the Konosuke is certainly no slouch.

I'll try to get some pics that work with some other cleavers for comparison and post a review later.

Ta,
Josh


Thank you very much!! really interesting info. I have been long thinking about getting a Sugimoto #6 and/or 7 someday and I really appreciate all this valuable information.

Again, thanks.

Regards

labor of love
03-25-2013, 02:57 AM
so who's going to buy the new zensho/yoshikane skd cleaver?
http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/Zensho-Yoshikane-Kasumi-Wa-Slicing-Cleaver-215-mm-p/1186.htm

schanop
03-25-2013, 03:22 AM
I think it is takefu v2 core cladded with iron. Quite a handsome chuka, it is.

http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/v/vspfiles/photos/1186-2.jpg

labor of love
03-25-2013, 03:41 AM
whoops, i meant v2. my bad. the choil shot is nice.

JKerr
03-25-2013, 07:56 AM
so who's going to buy the new zensho/yoshikane skd cleaver?
http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/Zensho-Yoshikane-Kasumi-Wa-Slicing-Cleaver-215-mm-p/1186.htm

Me... :D

schanop
03-25-2013, 08:04 AM
so who's going to buy the new zensho/yoshikane skd cleaver?
http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/Zensho-Yoshikane-Kasumi-Wa-Slicing-Cleaver-215-mm-p/1186.htm

Me... :D

How cool Josh, and it is 15% off this week too.

malacara
03-25-2013, 01:41 PM
Me... :D

What an amazing cleaver collection you are already having!

And donīt forget to tell us how it is when you finally get it please:lol2:

Regards

labor of love
03-25-2013, 05:57 PM
What an amazing cleaver collection you are already having!

And donīt forget to tell us how it is when you finally get it please:lol2:

Regards
i also expect a full report! lol.

JKerr
03-26-2013, 02:45 AM
Looking forward to playing with it, especially interested to see how the wa handle feels.

Starting to amass more cleavers than I can rotate, maybe I'll look at doing some pass arounds soon.

Cheers,
Josh

JoeGeorge
04-19-2013, 10:22 AM
I was on a web site http://www.kitchenknivesbygeorge.com the other day and saw a Chinese Cleaver by Pro-Balance and one by Ultra-Chef. Have you used either of these? Which one would you recommend?

El Pescador
04-19-2013, 10:27 AM
Neither. After looking at both I would skip them and by a CCK.

JoeGeorge
04-20-2013, 10:50 AM
I'm not familiar with CCK. On http://www.kitchenknivesbygeorge.com I saw a CRKT. Who is the manufacturer of CCK? what is the price range?

jigert
04-20-2013, 11:01 AM
http://www.chefsmall.net/CCK-Small-Cleaver-Small-Slicer-KF1303-S
There ya go, cck1303

labor of love
04-20-2013, 02:30 PM
JKI has a new stainless clad carbon cleaver that is about the size of a CCK for under a $100. Someone needs to try it. Just sayin.

Jmadams13
04-20-2013, 03:13 PM
I've been eyeing that cleaver for a while. I wonder if its as thin as the 1303. I would hate to pay 100 and it be as thick as a Winco

mikemac
04-21-2013, 10:05 AM
I'm not familiar with CCK....Who is the manufacturer of CCK? what is the price range?

Chan Chi Kee here:

http://www.chanchikee.com/ChineseKnives.html

One of the largest/dominant suppliers of 'value' priced kitchen equipment, both commercially and for retail? There is a restaurant supply house in the middle of the main Asian community here is L.A., this place probably has 1000 woks OVER 26" on the showroom floor, and in their clever area there are 2 brands - CCK and Dexter Russell. Interestingly, the DR filled out the "#6" style - the main meat & veggie thin slicer in SS sized about 220x110. All the rest, all the med. and heavy choppers, the duck slicers, etc., were all CCK

kalaeb
04-21-2013, 10:28 PM
I was on a web site the other day and saw a Chinese Cleaver by Pro-Balance and one by Ultra-Chef. Have you used either of these? Which one would you recommend?

Really? Does no one else see the spam attempt here...

Andy777
04-22-2013, 12:10 AM
Really? Does no one else see the spam attempt here...

Hahaha what a loser... :)

labor of love
04-22-2013, 12:22 AM
i just figured it was a noob question....

Scrap
06-08-2013, 11:22 AM
Really wish I could have found this when i was first learning to use cleavers - I looked everywhere for info like this. In any case I did learn how to use it and forgot I had any other knives. It really surprised me how easy it is to perform very delicate work with it - to date I've supreme'd oranges, used it as a zester (mostly for the sake of doing so), peeled root vegetables, and have been trying to practice katsura-muki with it...and mine is just a $7 punched out piece of carbon steel I got from wokshop.com. I'm actually surprised I didn't see these brought up before now, I've always seen them recommended as a trial cleaver in threads like this.

labor of love
06-08-2013, 11:28 AM
CCKs are tried and true for the cleaver curious.

connie
06-22-2013, 04:36 AM
yes, I also like Chinese cleavers!!

mast3quila
07-04-2013, 12:16 PM
I just ordered the CCK because of this thread.

Ryøkan
08-08-2013, 04:09 PM
I would love to hear Andy's assessment of Zhen knives -- in particular, their Chinese Cleavers, especially the Damascus.

About 15 months ago I purchased the Zhen Damascus slicer. I'm pretty happy with it, but I have never owned one of the premium Japanese-made Chinese cleavers, so I don't have a good basis to compare. My own view is: (1) I really like the ergonomics, including the balance and shape of the handle, which is unusual; (2) I think it's a good value -- about $130; but (3) I don't think the metallurgy is up to first-rate Japanese standards; (4) it's very light for its size -- perhaps a bit too light -- to the point where I feel it may be fragile.

I reviewed the knife on Amazon, in 2012, after I bought it: http://www.amazon.com/ZHEN-Japanese-67-Layer-Damascus-Chopping/dp/B00E0EF9CQ

XooMG
10-17-2013, 10:44 AM
I was walking by a kitchen outfit shop not too far from my place to see what kind of cheap knives they had. There was some normal expected junk, and I didn't come across any CCKs or the like, but I did find a few Chinese knives that were better than expected. One, a 永利 (Yong Li) branded one caught my eye with "V特" (http://www.e-tokko.com/vspe_1_2.htm) blade sandwiched in stainless cladding. No idea how the heat treat is, but it's not a super alloy and should be relatively simple to harden/temper like Hitachi blue series. Still, I don't randomly buy knives because they're made of interesting steel. Of all the knives at the shop, this one was the best in terms of grind geometry. It's not a big cleaver; I opted for the smallest they had, which has a length of just over 20cm. Still, the spine at the tip is a bit over 1mm, and it seems to have a pretty fine edge...much finer than my Maestro Wu cleaver. No idea how it compares to CCK or Sugimoto or any other, but I was pretty impressed for the price (US$23). Only problem seems to be that there's more belly than I'm used to.

Didn't have time for good pics, but hope these can convey how it looks:
http://i.imgur.com/PtEb7px.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/vwHyHlH.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/WZ459vO.jpg

Justin0505
10-23-2013, 07:57 PM
That cleaver looks pretty darn good, and for the price, it looks fantastic.
I don't think that the belly looks bad, but for the price you can afford to experiment with shaping it and not worry too much.

I'm sure people would be interested to hear your thoughts on it after some use and experimentation.

EdipisReks
10-23-2013, 09:07 PM
that looks pretty nice!

Timthebeaver
10-24-2013, 03:32 PM
$23 for stainless-clad V2 and what looks like a nice grind?. That's an incredible bargain.

keithsaltydog
10-27-2013, 05:33 PM
Nice looking Cleaver XooMG.Never had much luck wt. stainless chinese cleavers,stuck to carbons.It would be good to find a nice stainless.I buy all my cleavers in chinatown here,large selection.I think I will check to see if they carry the Yong Li clad blade.

For some things it is a advantage to live in Taiwan

luko
12-08-2013, 01:47 PM
Hi, I'm a pizza maker, I'm so busy in the prep, and my old ZWILLING satoku Motion needs to be sharped each time who I chop vegetables with a hard skin. I'm looking for a new knife and a new steel\stone sharpener. I could buy a victorinox fibrox 8 inches for less than 30 ponds (now I'm working in UK) but I like too the cleaver knife.

1st dilemma) :eyebrow:I don't know is a cleaver knife is better than a classic european cook knife about these 3 topics:
1a) slow chopping of high stuff with very hard skin; for example, if with a cleaver I chop aubergines (who maybe there are high more than 5 cm) could the weight be a problem?
1b) fast chopping of high stuff; for example, if with a cleaver I chop mushrooms in a fast way, isn't it like hit a hummer on the chopping board?
1c) cut long stuff, like the cylinders of fiordilatte (a kind of mozzarella with less liquid) who are long 20cm

2nd dilemma) :scratchhead:
I live in Europe, and I can spend less than 70 pounds for cleaver knife + sharper stone. what could I buy?

thank you, and I'm sorry if there are any mistake, my English is not perfect :thumbsup:

labor of love
12-08-2013, 05:32 PM
i think jck has some options that may be in you price range.http://japanesechefsknife.com
im not quite sure what youre trying to say exactly, but i find cleavers to be good all around prep knives and can handle veg prep of all sizes and shapes. there is an adjustment period going from using a chef knife to cleaver but i wouldnt worry too much about it.

MrBoogs
12-08-2013, 10:49 PM
Assuming you get a fairly thin-beveled cleaver and keep it sharp, you shouldn't have any problems using a cleaver on the products you mentioned. With all that steel to work with, it's easy to assume that the cleaver works as a full bore chopping machine. But the truth is, they are capable of a lot of finesse.

luko
12-09-2013, 11:44 AM
thank you for the advices.

but I have to find a "cleaver knife + sharper stone" not too much expensive in Europe. what could I buy?

Noodle Soup
12-13-2013, 01:15 PM
Anyone have experience with the F.Dick "Red Spirit" Chinese style cleavers? One light slicer and one slightly heavier chopper. From some company called "Mad Cow" that I don't know anything about.

loves2cook
02-10-2014, 11:23 AM
I have an old stainless Chinese cleaver with a metal handle that I bought in Chinatown in San Francisco in 1977 with my carbon steel woks. It holds a great edge and I can make the thinnest slices on a tomato with this cleaver. The blade is 9 inch by 4 inch and weighs 16.5 oz. I can do almost anything with this cleaver when it comes to slicing,chopping and mincing.

CoqaVin
02-10-2014, 12:22 PM
Cleavers get sharper than any of my knives I don't know why?

Donatzsky
03-11-2014, 08:16 PM
Would anyone care to take a guess at the quality of this knife:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cutting-tool-stainless-steel-vegetable-knife-slicing-knife-cook-knife-cut-cutter-red-wooden-handle-knife/1197295200.html

I've been using a smaller (8 cm wide) #4 cleaver for a while, and stumbling upon this thread made me want to get a bigger one :(

http://i.imgur.com/BqzqPvd.jpg?2

Noodle Soup
03-22-2014, 11:09 AM
I don't know the brand but it looks like a lot of the lower end cleavers in China. The one piece all metal knives are not as common as the various wood handle models but you do see a fair number of them in the markets. I was recently in a Wal-Mart type business in Chengdu looking at their cutlery election. It was kind of like looking at the display here only ever model was a cleaver. Flashy stainless steel blades and fancy synthetic handles of various materials. Prices were mostly in the $10-$15 U.S. range which is high in that part of the world.

loves2cook
03-31-2014, 09:28 PM
Would anyone care to take a guess at the quality of this knife:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cutting-tool-stainless-steel-vegetable-knife-slicing-knife-cook-knife-cut-cutter-red-wooden-handle-knife/1197295200.html

I've been using a smaller (8 cm wide) #4 cleaver for a while, and stumbling upon this thread made me want to get a bigger one :(

http://i.imgur.com/BqzqPvd.jpg?2

Thats my cleaver from the 70's lol :laugh:

birdeye
04-26-2014, 01:13 PM
Oops, I found my way back here it seems. And I have been converted to the church of Cleaver. The chinese one that Josh (brainsausage) sent me ages ago has been lovingly used and sharpened. I use it for everything except for bread (although it can do that as well). Onions making people cry doesn't make any sense to me anymore. It feels like everyone has been lying to me. I can't believe my cooking class teacher advised us to use a cheese slicer for making thin cuts of cucumber! She also had other bits of wisdom like serrated blades being essential for cutting tomatoes. Or "you need a small knife in order to make precise cuts". Lies. Lies, all of them! My cleaver is more handsome than your tiny serrated knife.

But my question is this: Is a cleaver good for preparing fish? I know how to filet a fish, but that is using a "normal" western fillet knife. I haven't yet put the cleaver to the test, but now that summer is coming and the amount and selection of fish increases, I have the perfect chance to try it out. I am kind of in a way maybe planning to buy a knife entirely for fish... but don't mention that to the cleaver.

thank you for the advices.

but I have to find a "cleaver knife + sharper stone" not too much expensive in Europe. what could I buy?
I can't help you with the cleaver, but I ordered my 1000/6000 whetstone from here: http://www.fine-tools.com/kombischleifstein.html Fast shipping and friendly service, no complaints. The prices have risen a little since I placed my order, but I don't think they are too steep.

brainsausage
04-26-2014, 03:53 PM
Oops, I found my way back here it seems. And I have been converted to the church of Cleaver. The chinese one that Josh (brainsausage) sent me ages ago has been lovingly used and sharpened. I use it for everything except for bread (although it can do that as well). Onions making people cry doesn't make any sense to me anymore. It feels like everyone has been lying to me. I can't believe my cooking class teacher advised us to use a cheese slicer for making thin cuts of cucumber! She also had other bits of wisdom like serrated blades being essential for cutting tomatoes. Or "you need a small knife in order to make precise cuts". Lies. Lies, all of them! My cleaver is more handsome than your tiny serrated knife.

But my question is this: Is a cleaver good for preparing fish? I know how to filet a fish, but that is using a "normal" western fillet knife. I haven't yet put the cleaver to the test, but now that summer is coming and the amount and selection of fish increases, I have the perfect chance to try it out. I am kind of in a way maybe planning to buy a knife entirely for fish... but don't mention that to the cleaver.


I can't help you with the cleaver, but I ordered my 1000/6000 whetstone from here: http://www.fine-tools.com/kombischleifstein.html Fast shipping and friendly service, no complaints. The prices have risen a little since I placed my order, but I don't think they are too steep.

Woah, I was just thinking about this the other day and wondering how you'd got along with the old girl. Glad it worked out for you:doublethumbsup:

Scrap
04-26-2014, 06:45 PM
I would imagine using a cleaver for fish breakdown would depend some on the size of the fish, but I also think you could get it to work much like you would a deba. Any Japanese fish breakdown video should give you a decent idea of what you're going for

loves2cook
04-26-2014, 10:41 PM
Now here is another way to use a cleaver

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6OqYSdwDjI

birdeye
04-27-2014, 06:12 AM
Oh wow now I am really intrigued. Maybe I will try it and see what happens. Is there some kind of logic behind chopping the head off vs. leaving it attached to the spine?


Woah, I was just thinking about this the other day and wondering how you'd got along with the old girl. Glad it worked out for you:doublethumbsup:Oh yes, we get along nicely. And since I have now moved out I can just store it on the cutting board without anyone freaking out about there being sharp objects in public space. :knife: I also got myself a carbon steel wok to match the cleaver, although the harmony has since been disrupted by the darkening patina on the wok.

I can't believe I'm considering getting another knife now when I can't even afford to eat meat. But you know, priorities...

Noodle Soup
04-27-2014, 10:55 AM
I watched a lady in a market filet a large order of fish for a restaurant with a cleaver a few years ago in Bangkok. On the other hand, when I was in Chengdu China a few weeks ago, most of the fish mongers seemed to be using knives very similar to Western filets for fileting. I don't think Chinese eat a lot of what we consider filets, most of their fish are steamed, fried etc whole or cut into thick steaks. Several different styles of large knives besides cleaver are used for the task.

XooMG
04-27-2014, 11:12 AM
I walked by a fish seller the other day and looked at the cleaver they were using. Almost looked serrated. The fact that people use them that way doesn't make me recommend using them that way.

birdeye
04-29-2014, 12:47 PM
Yes, you are right. I had a day off yesterday and spent it wisely by studying fish. Went to the fish counter in the morning, got myself a nice 1,4 kg bream. I ended up not using the cleaver much because I found it a little awkward to maneuver and the fish had very strong bones. I didn't want to put the poor cleaver through that. I went the traditional way and opened the fish with my trusty little puukko. A bit too small for a fish of this size, but it got the job done. I did use the cleaver for cleaning up the fillets and skinning, which it did quite nicely. I think it works best when slicing and dicing though, so fish butchering has to be done by something else.
...Aand thus I have justified the purchase of a proper fish knife. Oh bummer. :wink:

XooMG
05-02-2014, 04:32 AM
I wish makers were a bit more transparent about their stuff sometimes, but it can be fun to find crude but potentially excellent cleavers.

I was picking up another knife when I saw this sucker in a cardboard sleeve. Rough finish (think angle grinder scratches) and "pure carbon steel" label with no hardness indication. Still, less than US$15 for the thing, and it seems pretty thin with decent geometry:

http://i.imgur.com/ruHu74f.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/0HzUStd.jpg

Noodle Soup
05-02-2014, 03:16 PM
So what are considered the "professional user" brands of cleaver in Taiwan? It seems to vary from region to region in main land China.

TimoNieminen
05-02-2014, 05:03 PM
Still, less than US$15 for the thing, and it seems pretty thin with decent geometry

Hard to go too wrong. I picked up a bunch of AU$17 Chinese knives, adequate steel (4Cr13), excellent geometry. Mostly for my wife to give out as loaner knives, but I've taken one as a holiday knife. Given such things, I don't see why people buy Kiwi knives (with their IMO inferior geometry).

(The ones I bought were http://www.wangwuquan.com/en/products/YYM-S2.htm from local Chinatown store.)

XooMG
05-03-2014, 03:38 AM
So what are considered the "professional user" brands of cleaver in Taiwan? It seems to vary from region to region in main land China.
I haven't come across anything I'd call a professional standard brand. I haven't been in any of the higher-end kitchens to look at knives, but Ximen (西門) brands (like the one I just posted pics of) seem pretty popular as users. The Jinmen stuff seems more for tourists, but there are a few locals who like them.

I'm no expert though.