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Thread: Chinese Cleaver (Chuka) Upgrade (Stainless)

  1. #1
    Senior Member wisew's Avatar
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    Chinese Cleaver (Chuka) Upgrade (Stainless)

    Hey guys!

    I know, just a week ago I was posting about santokus, but I've really grown to love my Chinese cleaver. I got a Messermeister Asian Precision 8" one awhile back - not sure who in Seki makes these for Messermeister, but the F&F is outstanding on the handle. That said, it doesn't cut anywhere near as well as my Gesshin Ginga gyuto (surprise!), and it isn't all that thin behind the edge. Also the amount of food sticking when I cut is pretty hilarious, especially if I'm cutting anything small and round like a cucumber or carrot (I've lost so many pieces as they rolled straight to the floor). I'm planning on keeping it sort of as a project knife (I'm planning on rounding the spine and choil myself, and using it to practice sharpening chuka since it's a little different from gyuto).

    What I really want is a really badass, stainless or semi-stainless (no carbon! not even stainless-clad carbon) chuka that has awesome geometry (preferably the kind that also has better than a snowball's chance in hell of releasing some of the food I cut).

    (I use it as an all-purpose knife, but so far anyway, exclusively on vegetables and cooked meat - I will never attempt to cut even around bones with this)

    In terms of profile I'm not 100% sure where I stand - I sometimes find myself wishing there were a *little* more belly in the knife, and other times I don't. So, I'm relatively agnostic when it comes to profile.

    I'd like good F&F for the price - not the standard subpar F&F for most chukas.

    So far I've been looking at:
    • Gesshin Ginga #6 Stainless Cleaver - This is probably the front-runner right now, although I'm not sure if I should go with western or wa-handled for a Chinese cleaver.
    • Hattori FH15 Cleaver - I really, really want to get a Hattori FH at some point, although which one I'm not sure of yet. Also this one seems really heavy.
    • Mizuno Hontanren GF-26 #6 - I know very little about Mizuno's stainless.
    • Misono 440 No.86 (seems over priced if you ask me)


    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    There are also stainless full-size Chinese cleavers from Tojiro.
    SS handle thin slicer (#6) is F-631 and wooden handle version is F-921. You can find them on eBay or Rakuten global.
    FYI, there is a promotion going on at Rakuten if you make an order 10000 yen or more from one store and order it through a Japanese address forwarding service, they will cover the shipping cost up to 3000 yen.

    Speaking of eBay has everyone changed your eBay password yet? If not, please do coz they were hacked so bad...

  3. #3
    i have an ashi stainless cleaver and the tojiro f-631. fit and finish is great on both. of course i do like the swedish stainless more than the vg-10. i have tried no.6 size cleavers with all kinds of weight, from 380, 400, 440, 470 to 510g. 510g is still ok to work with, but i like ~440g the most.

    when considering the hattori, you can also get custom cleavers in sb1 from german makers at that price point.

    i would go with the ashi/gesshin, especially because they can customize pretty much everything that you desire. i love my two ashi cleavers

  4. #4
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    It's been awhile since we have had a post about cleavers.

    A word of caution, the cleavers your are asking about are approximately 220 x 120. They could be significantly bigger then your current knife depending on its depth. A lot of people find that large of a knife unwieldy.

    On all my cleavers, food sticks to the blade. It's just the nature of having such a tall blade.

    Fit and finish on cleavers in general are rough to say the least. After grinding that big of a blade, the makers put on a handle and call it good.

    Mizuno makes an excellent cleaver. I've got the carbon version. The handle was on the crude side. Fit and finish were rough. The stainless steel one is well regarded, because it is so thin. As in CCK thin.

    The Forum cleaver has excellent fit and finish. The handle is one of the best on production knifes. The knife is heavy because of the handle. A heavy handle pulls the center of gravity back, which makes the knife feel more nimble. The Forum cleaver is thin behind the edge. Mine needed to be thinned just a little, to make it really perform.

    I haven't gotten my hands on a Geshin Ginga cleaver. But their reputation is excellent. Jon is somebody you can buy from with confidence.

    Jay
    I'm a over-sized, under-educated, two onions a month, cutting fool.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wisew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybett View Post
    It's been awhile since we have had a post about cleavers.

    A word of caution, the cleavers your are asking about are approximately 220 x 120. They could be significantly bigger then your current knife depending on its depth. A lot of people find that large of a knife unwieldy.

    On all my cleavers, food sticks to the blade. It's just the nature of having such a tall blade.

    Fit and finish on cleavers in general are rough to say the least. After grinding that big of a blade, the makers put on a handle and call it good.

    Mizuno makes an excellent cleaver. I've got the carbon version. The handle was on the crude side. Fit and finish were rough. The stainless steel one is well regarded, because it is so thin. As in CCK thin.

    The Forum cleaver has excellent fit and finish. The handle is one of the best on production knifes. The knife is heavy because of the handle. A heavy handle pulls the center of gravity back, which makes the knife feel more nimble. The Forum cleaver is thin behind the edge. Mine needed to be thinned just a little, to make it really perform.

    I haven't gotten my hands on a Geshin Ginga cleaver. But their reputation is excellent. Jon is somebody you can buy from with confidence.

    Jay
    I didn't realize till just now (I actually measured) that my current cleaver is smaller than the standard size (If anyone's curious, it's about 200mm x 85mm). If I recall, it's about 304g, so I really would be jumping up a lot in weight. If I wanted one closer to the Messermeister's profile, the best bet seems like it would be a Hattori FH-15S (200mm x 108mm). I'm really not sure how I'll work with the drastic change in profile.

    Bang for my buck though, the Gesshin Ginga cleaver would be fantastic - $295 vs ~$350 for all my other options. (And I think it would have the best F&F, with the Hattori beating it on the handle). It does seem to have a *lot* of belly though, the Western more than the wa-handle for some reason.

    Not sure if there are any cheaper stainless cleavers though...

    For comparison:
    • Gesshin Ginga #6 Stainless: $295, 223mm x 108mm, 480g
    • Hattori FH-15S: $350, 200mm x 108mm, 490g
    • Hattori FH-15: $380, 215mm x 108mm, 522g
    • Mizuno: $340 225mm x 108mm, 465g
    • Misono 440: $355, 220mm x 110mm, 530g


    EDIT: I did find this Tojiro F-921, but for the life of me I can't figure out why it only has one handle rivet? (From Tojiro's website it looks like it should have 2 rivets...)

  6. #6
    Some Tojiro Chucka available from Japan-Tool
    http://www.japan-tool.com/zc/index.p...th=30_46_49_51
    Huw
    In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food. Jiro Ono

  7. #7
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    I would recommend the Tojiro F-631, they have the most comfortable handle on a clever second only to the Sugimoto. Its all stainless so its more durable then wood handled cleavers and the fit and finish is the best out of any cleaver.

    Here is Andy's take on it
    http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sh...hp?tid/786982/
    http://tojiro.net/en/products/knives_c_pro.html

    I have the Thicker version (F632) and its one of my go to knives.

    They are a bit hard to find but Blueway can order you one.

  8. #8
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    I'm currently borrowing some of Mike's cleavers (thanks again, Mike!), and I thought for sure I'd like the Ashi the best. However, in no time whatsoever, I've already started to prefer the feel and heft of the Sugimoto. They have terrific handles, and feel right in the hand. I know sugimoto has a stainless option, too, so I'd look there.
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member wisew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHL View Post
    I would recommend the Tojiro F-631, they have the most comfortable handle on a clever second only to the Sugimoto. Its all stainless so its more durable then wood handled cleavers and the fit and finish is the best out of any cleaver.

    Here is Andy's take on it
    http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sh...hp?tid/786982/
    http://tojiro.net/en/products/knives_c_pro.html

    I have the Thicker version (F632) and its one of my go to knives.

    They are a bit hard to find but Blueway can order you one.
    You would recommend the F-631 over the F-921? I was intrigued looking at the F-631, and I've read Andy's post, but I'm just really skeptical that it wouldn't be slippery if wet / slightly oily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lefty View Post
    I'm currently borrowing some of Mike's cleavers (thanks again, Mike!), and I thought for sure I'd like the Ashi the best. However, in no time whatsoever, I've already started to prefer the feel and heft of the Sugimoto. They have terrific handles, and feel right in the hand. I know sugimoto has a stainless option, too, so I'd look there.
    Hmmmmm that's interesting... although as far as I know the only stainless steel cleaver Sugimoto makes is the no. 30 which is shorter than my current cleaver (190mm), though it is taller. Unless they do customs?

    What do you make of the Ashi though?

  10. #10
    I have a custom Ashi Hamono cleaver that I really like. 400 grams, thin, white #2 steel, nice chunky rosewood yo handle. It was a really nice upgrade from the CCK 1303. Haven't tried the others, but I think it'd be hard to go wrong with the Gesshin Ginga.

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