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Thread: Should I get a Chinese Cleaver?

  1. #1

    Should I get a Chinese Cleaver?

    For a while I have been entertaining the idea of buying a Chinese cleaver. At home I prefer to use my santoku and sometimes I feel that a bigger blade would be more useful when cutting. Is a CC indeed as good as its reputation?

    I live in the UK and have been looking at some CCs on the JCK website. I don't like Carbon steel because of its susceptibility to rust. I really like the Hattori (especially its handle shape, and the nice 22cm x 11cm blade size) but its price ($390) has made me think twice. The other CCs in there are nice and cheaper but the blade size is compromised. What's people's opinion of Hattori products?
    Also are there any other websites (non-US based) that sell to UK and that offer more choice? Thank you in advance for any suggestions and advice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I no longer have a Hattori blade, and have never had or held a FH series cleaver....but Hattori makes really good product, and the FH series are a cut above the HD series...remember the FH are 'limited production' runs, making them pretty close to semi custom-ish.
    The main observation on the FH would probably be that they are heavy compared to similiar size chukas, and I'll bet almost all that extra weight is in the handle. Flip side to that though is that the F&F on most chukas - especially in the handle area - F&F tends to be down right sloppy. So the FH cleaver shines where most others fall down, but it adds weight to the overall package.
    If you want a really good stainless alternative at a better pricepoint, the metal handle Tojiro ( I do own this one) is an awesome choice. Cleaver Guru Andy gave the Tojiro really hi marks in his review, and for probably 40% less than the Hattori, as a newbie to cleavers, I don't think you'ld find a huge difference (BTW I think JCK will source that cleaver if you want it)
    IF the price tag is still too high for the "I just want to try it out" theme, Dexter Russell and CCK both make full size chukas in both stainless and carbon - most people here have experience with the CCK carbon. Here in Los Angeles there is a restuarant supply store in a heavily Asian area (over 1000 woks OVER 26" diameter) and the only thin chuka they carried in the 220x110 size was the Dexter stainless
    Hope that helps

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Yes, you should

    In my opinion, if you have never used a cleaver before you should buy a cheap one bofore spending that much. As you live in Britain you should be able to find an Asian market close to you where to find one. You could even find a CCK, which, I think, are one of the best starting cleavers I can think of, well, at least the carbon ones which is the only one I have ever tried. If after using one for a while you like it then you can upgrade it, if not, you have only wasted little money.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    +1 for CCK

  5. #5
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I'd look at the specs on a CCK 1303 and then see what Shi-Ba-Zi has in their stainless lines that are the same size. Well, I'd do that if you're absolutely against carbon. To be honest, you shouldn't be afraid of it. Yes, it can rust and react to certain food items, but in general, I prefer carbon over to stainless for all applications other than parers (50/50) and EDCs.

    A CCK is your best entry level option. Since you're curious, I'd say go for it. I've had three cleavers, and I still own two, though I very rarely use them. I prefer a gyuto or even suji for my all-purpose knife, however, the same may not be true for you. Cleavers are great, especially if they click with you.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member labor of love's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    dirty south, louisiana
    get a cck. if you dont want carbon just do what lefty said. shibazi makes good entry level cleavers. actually, cck makes stainless cleavers ive just never read anything about them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    The size and weight of a cleaver make it an ideal knife for chopping or push cutting. If the food you like to prep, requires a lot of chopping, then the cleaver would be a good choice.

    A lot of people who have tried cleavers, couldn't get over the size and weight, especially when compared to the gyuto. There is a learning curve with cleavers, especially on the larger ones. Cleavers 220mm and up are considered full size. A pinch grip doesn't work very long on a full size cleaver. The muscles in the wrist will quickly tire. Cleavers are held with the thumb and forefinger extended down the blade. Often times the middle finger is also extended, in what looks likes a peace sign. This provides more control.

    When I got my first full size cleaver, I used it exclusively in the kitchen. It probably took a month, before I felt comfortable, using it.

    The Hattori KF is an excellent knife. Fit and finish is very good. Cleavers in general are known for having poor fit and finish. I think so much time and effort goes into forging and grinding a cleaver that to keep the price at a certain price point, not much effort goes into the finish. Its something cleaver users know about, but can be quite a shock to a new owner.

    The Hattori line, seems to take the middle road on all its knives. They are not too thick or thin. The cleaver is a nice fit between a thin slicing cleaver and a thicker chopping cleaver.

    The Hattori is on the heavier side for a slicing cleaver, but not as heavy as a chopping cleaver, again its in the middle. As mikemac noted a good deal of the weight is in the handle. This pulls back the center of gravity. Cleavers are typically nose heavy. By pulling back the center of gravity, the Hattori feels more agile.

    The area behind the edge is very thin on the Hattori, making it a very good cutter.

    Every Hattori KF knife that I've bought has come with a mediocre edge. Japanese makers operate with the assumption, that the buyer is going to put their edge on the knife.

    If you are wondering if a cleaver is right for you. The first step is to pick up a CCK or Dexter Russell, or a cleaver from a local Asian store. The next step is to try a full size cleaver. The Suien VC is a popular choice, because of its price.

    If your experienced with cleavers and are wanting to know, if the Hattori is a good choice. It is an excellent choice.

    Good luck with your decision.


  8. #8
    Senior Member Customfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Yes! It is very fun knife and with some practice, quite efficient as well!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by mikemac View Post
    Here in Los Angeles there is a restuarant supply store in a heavily Asian area (over 1000 woks OVER 26" diameter) and the only thin chuka they carried in the 220x110 size was the Dexter stainless
    Hope that helps
    Which restaurant store is this???

    To the OP - FWIW, I've had a Dexter Russell carbon cleaver for years. Although I don't use it often, I love having it around. You can do pretty much anything with a cleaver. It's my permanent all-purpose back-up knife. It gets very sharp, but is a little difficult to deburr.

    It may also be uncomfortable at first because of the height. If so, try to either lower the height of your cutting board/area or raise the height of where you stand (a mat helps significantly).
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  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    If you have been using a Santoku,I would not go to a full size cleaver,it will feel huge.It's funny how many reccom. the CCK even tho you want stainless.Cheap stainless cleavers are crap,sorry had to say it.The Japanese do make a stainless clad cleaver.

    My vote is for the CCK small cleaver as well.It has a coating on it so only the edge will patina.It is not pretty,but will get very sharp,thin, flat edge profile,light,decent edge holding,fun cleaver to use.There are alot of vegitable cleavers that cost more,but do not work as well as the carbon CCK.

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