I recently moved to a new area of Philly and there tons of Asian markets around. Let me say, I'm in freaking love. That smell of durian and star anise always gets me excited to hunt for new things to try, and usually makes my friends want to leave. I also enjoy picking through the piles and piles of knives trying to find something something cheap and in carbon. On my first dig through the pile I ran across a carbon Chinese cleaver by Shibazi. The model was listed as the 210-1, which is interesting because they make no mention of it on their website. It was $20 bucks so I grabbed it up. And being that I've been eyeing a CCK recently, but didn't want to buy it through the normal source, I was pumped to find this. And I haven't seen many (or any) threads about it, so I was excited to post about something new.
Long story short, it's very similar to a cck. Cheap, rough f&f and kurouchi, normal Chinese handle and no rounded spines etc. Here are my measurements,
Spine at handle: 2.2mm
Spine mid: 2.1mm
Spine tip: 2.1mm
Blade lenght: 9"
So, it's thin. And after I rounded the spine and choil, it's very comfortable to hold. I also started to remove the kurouchi, but it's pretty tough stuff. Much harder to remove than on a cheap Tojiro. The steel itself sharpens up very nicely. Fast to cut fresh bevels and raise a burr. It comes pretty dull, so a good sharpening is very necessary. Holds an edge well too. A buddy at work bought one up too and put it through hell one day prepping about 100lbs of meatballs. He cut everything with it, meat, onions, garlic and crusty old bread (all the normal meatball stuff). The cleaver ate it up and asked for more. Still had a nice toothy edge on it afterwards. I was really impressed.
This knife also gave me the opportunity to try out handle making/re-handling. It was easy to strip off the old handle by unbending the end of the tang off the handle. With a few good tugs it really did slip right off. I made the new handle with some bass wood and the ferrule from a mystery piece of hardwood laying around. I used a 1x30 belt sander to fashion the male end of the handle, and the ferrule was carved out with wood chisels. I had to cut some metal off the tang to make it more size appropriate for the handle. I installed the handle by drilling a hold a tad smaller than the tang, so I could get a nice friction fit. I also used some good epoxy as an insurance policy. After some good whacks with a rubber mallet, it was on the cleaver! Booyaa!
Then I made a simple saya by carving out one side of a piece of bass wood and gluing to an un-carved piece. Sand and rub with some tung oil, complete! Hope you all enjoy and I'd love to hear your thoughts!