View Full Version : Nakiri and clever question

11-08-2012, 03:52 PM
I have been watching videos of nakiri/clever use on the web. What I am wondering is how much of a difference there is in using these types of knives for straight up and down motion as opposed to the flat part of the gyuto shape.

Most comments I read about these say the gyuto is the best all purpose knife. The nakiri is nice for limited space and when one wants to try a different shape for fun. The clever I know far less about.

As a less experienced person am I better off to just focusing on using my gyuto or is there a good reason to try a nakiri or clever besides fun.


11-08-2012, 04:15 PM
The cleaver and nakiri are pretty different beasts. Sure, they are both rectangular metal implements, but that size difference is very significant. Think of the nakiri as a relatively flat-edged gyuto with the front 1/3 or 1/2 omitted. Your hand position and motion are going to be the same as when you're push-cutting with a gyuto.

A cleaver on the other hand, requires you to hold it differently and it will feel completely different because of the weight and size. Nothing like a gyuto in terms of feel. You're not going to pinch-grip a cleaver. You're probably going to end up extending your index finger or index + middle fingers down the side of the cleaver as you push cut. You're going to let the weight of the cleaver work for you. Although, admittedly some cleavers are lighter and some are heavier.

Whereas nakiri are generally 165mm or 180mm in length, cleavers are going to be around 220mm in general. Some of us (ahem) end up with beasts up to 270mm in length. That 220mm or more is going to be relatively flat (not perfectly so, and you don't want it perfectly so) which means you've got much more flat or near-flat cutting edge than an equivalent-length gyuto and far more than a nakiri.

If you aren't crazy/silly enough to build up a decent collection of knives, a gyuto really is your best all-rounder. Nakiri are very similar when it comes to most veggie work but just more compact. If you cook mainly vegetarian meals, a nakiri is worth considering. A cleaver is a very different thing though. It replaces a gyuto (and nakiri) but feels very different in use.

11-08-2012, 04:25 PM
I don't think nakiri and cleavers should be grouped together as the same sort of knife. Cleavers just behave different. They require a different technique to use, do a lot (a lot) of the work for you, are excellent at moving/scooping product, are safer for your knuckles, et cetera, but don't have quite the maneuverability of a gyuto and are lacking (generally) in overall edge length. A nakiri, on the other hand, is just a flat-profiled gyuto without a tip, which really just means that to get 180mm of push cutting with a nakiri you only need 180mm of steel, saving you a bit of space.

Edit - beaten to the punch. Derp.

11-08-2012, 05:25 PM
1- Nakiri, thin & light blade, good for chop vegetable
2- small Chinese cleaver, all purpose-knife, good for vegetable or meat without bone.
3- Chinese bone cleaver, very heavy thick blade, good for chop meat with bone.

11-08-2012, 06:58 PM
is that small chinese cleaver really made of Cowry-x? where did you get that?

11-08-2012, 07:44 PM
is that small chinese cleaver really made of Cowry-x? where did you get that?

both cleavers made with Tungsten carbide/Tungsten Steel or called wolfram/wolframi steel. purchased from Taiwan.

11-08-2012, 07:46 PM
Dammit. I'd told myself I didn't need a cleaver because I have a nakiri. Now I have to look at them again.

11-08-2012, 08:13 PM
Sorry, Lucretia :)

11-09-2012, 04:27 AM
Dammit. I'd told myself I didn't need a cleaver because I have a nakiri. Now I have to look at them again.


Cleavers are really a blade unto them selves. Watch (if you can) Martin Yan's videos he has a wide range of techniques that show in the videos. The hard part is listening to them LOL, I learned alot of holds and tips from watch his early shows. I'm not aware of many other single entities that made alot of shows showing off cleaver moves. Many members have made a few good videos but they are few. I got hooked on the versitility and simple skill set needed for my line work.

Keith Sinclair
11-09-2012, 06:15 AM
Our chinatown here has a store that carries a huge selection of cleavers,mostly carbon,but some stainless as well.All size .Fr. under 10.00 to well over 200.00.

I found smaller thin carbon cleavers to be extremely useful in Gardemanger work.As with a Gyuto there are many types of cuts that can be made wt. a cleaver.Forward slice cuts,chop,draw slice,tip work.

I'm surprized there are not more video's of cleaverwork,maybe there are,lots of Japan fishmarket skills wt. various types of blades.