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Thread: Should I get a Chinese Cleaver?

  1. #11
    Hi Mike. Thank you very much for the detailed reply. That is very helpful indeed.

    Maybe it is worth for me to provide some more information regarding my preferences, etc. I bought the chef's knife and the santoku at the same time thinking that I would use more the chef's knife. However as time has gone by I have discovered that my most preferred knife is the santoku and one of the reasons for this is the width of the blade. Maybe my cutting style has something to do with this; I use a chopping style (up down) rather than the sliding style (where the knife's tip doesn't leave the board).

    Also, the reason that I mentioned non US based website shops is because living in the UK means that anything over the value of US$23 bought from US gets hammered by hefty taxes and custom's fees.

    Based on everyone's advice I have done some research and so far have found out that the Tojiro Pro seems to be around the same price as the Hattori (unless I'm looking in the wrong places). And the CCK seems to be sold only by US sites.

  2. #12
    Oh yes, and my cooking includes a lot of acidic stuff such as tomatoes etc and I dont always have the time to clean the knife straight after finishing with it, hence why I think that a carbon knife would be even more in danger of rust.

  3. #13
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    The advice about a CCK or a Dexter Russell cleaver is to try out an inexpensive cleaver, before spending money on a more expensive one. If they are not easy to come by, then a local Asian store, should have some inexpensive cleavers. Try the cleaver out and see if the size and weight is workable. A cleaver can weigh two to three times, what a santuko or gyuto weighs. Some people pick them up, and can't put them down fast enough. To give the cleaver a fair shot, takes about a month, of using it on a regular basis. If you don't like it, after a month, then a cleaver probably is not for you.

    Is it worth it, to spend the time, learning how to use a cleaver? A cleaver excels at chopping. No knife is better at chopping then a cleaver. I'd estimate that a cleaver is 10-15 percent better at chopping then a santuko or gyuto. The real difference though, can be seen in the amount of food to prep.

    If I am making an average size dish of salsa, lets say 9 roma tomatoes, I can use whatever knife I feel like, from a santuko, to a sujihiki, to a gyuto. When the salsa gets over 20 tomatoes, then the only knife I will use is a cleaver. It sounds odd, to say a knife that weighs over 700 grams, is less fatiguing then a knife that weighs 200 grams. A cleaver by its height allows muscles to be used in the wrist and forearm, versus a lighter knife, that only uses muscles in the wrist. With a light knife, muscles have to control all parts of the cut. A cleaver gets lifted up, and only wants to go straight down.

    At the very least, learning how to use a cleaver, will improve your knife skills. If you can use a 500 - 600 gram knife, everything else will seem small in comparison.

    There are plenty of stainless cleavers on the market. Mizuno has a stainless, which is stocked by JCK. The blade is suppose to be excellent. I've got the carbon Mizuno. The blade is very good, but the fit and finish is rough, especially compared to the Hattori. Recently I got the Mizuno re handled, the person who did the work, cleaned up the rough areas. It was like getting a new knife back, but the cost was significantly more then $50, the difference between the Mizuno and the Hattori.

    The Mizuno stainless is on my short list of knives to pick up. What is giving me pause is the Hattori, fits my needs to a tee. I don't know how much different the Mizuno would be from the Hattori, plus I would want it re handled. That doesn't stop me though from having it on my wish list.

    A number of good things have been posted about Ashi Hamono. Jon at Japanese Knife Imports brings them in, under the Gesshin Ginga line. On E-Bay, Bluewayjapan, can also place an order directly with Ashi Hamono.

    Andy was quite positive in his review of the Tojiro Pro. Enough people wrote to him, expressing concerns, about their cleavers, that he wondered if their was a quality control issue with them? I haven't heard of any quality control problems with the Hattori.

    All high end knives need to be properly maintained, including stainless. Proper maintenance is frequently wiping down the blade. Not letting it sit in a pool of juice. Even if I am going to put the knife down for a few minutes, I'll rinse and wipe it dry. I find keeping my knife, board, and counter top clean, helps me stay organized. As long as a carbon knife is being wiped down on a regular basis, it is no more difficult to care for, then stainless.

    Jay

  4. #14
    Senior Member turbochef422's Avatar
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    Definitely try a cheaper one before you dive in to the more expensive ones. For some reason I love using a cleaver but its the one knife I've never felt I've had to upgrade. I love the cck for prep or just about anything else.

  5. #15
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    I picked up a very inexpensive cleaver at a Chinese supermarket, the consensus is that it is a Leung Tim, and after a little smoothing behind the edge and sharpening it is a really nice tool. I've been doing my prep with it just lately and it is shining. It even works well for slicing rustic loaves of bread! It was under 20 bucks.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  6. #16
    Senior Member turbochef422's Avatar
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    Yea I wouldn't spend money on one until you feel comfortable using a cleaver

  7. #17
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    Jaybett,agree about giving a cleaver a shot,it takes a little while to develope cleaver skills.For chopping & forward push cuts cleaver is excellent.You can do tip work wt. a cleaver too,just watch a Chinese Chef it's amazing what they can do wt. a cleaver.

  8. #18
    All my parents ever use is a cleaver and frankly they're the best damn cooks I've ever known. Therefore...it only makes sense that I need a cleaver...right?

  9. #19
    Senior Member JKerr's Avatar
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    Re: Mizuno vs Hattori. I personally would go for the Mizuno.

    In terms of geometry, I'd say they're pretty similar, i.e. super thin behind the edge, cut through hard vege effortlessly. What I prefer about the Mizuno is the profile and the handle. Weight wise the Mizuno is only about 30g lighter than my Hattori was, but due to the fatter handle I felt it was a lot more comfortable. Personally I found the handle (particular around the bolster) on the Hattori to be just a touch too skinny for a knife that weight. Profile wise, the Hattori also had a touch more belly on it than I'd like.

    Having said that, if I was to use the Hattori again, my opinion might be very different. since I started working in a chinese styled restaurant, I've been exclusively using cleavers to the point that I find it more uncomfortable using/gripping a gyuto. It is a truly great knife, steel is good, F+F is top notch (touch sharp on the spine and ootb edge is average) and it looks pretty. I regret selling mine, but chances are I'll buy another further down the line after I've cleared some of my other wish list items

    I'll once again mention, that it's worth contacting Butcher and Baker (or possibly Pierre) to see if they're getting more Mid techs in. The Pierre cleaver is fantastic in every regard and for the price, even if you did get hit with custom fees, it'd still be an insanely good bargain.

    Cheers,
    Josh

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKerr View Post
    Re: Mizuno vs Hattori. I personally would go for the Mizuno.
    I've been curious, on how the Mizuno was working out for you. The person who re handled my carbon Mizuno, said he made it on the small side. Now your comment about the Hattori being small. I think my preference for smaller handles is because, I use, for lack of a better term the peace grip so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by JKerr View Post
    I'll once again mention, that it's worth contacting Butcher and Baker (or possibly Pierre) to see if they're getting more Mid techs in. The Pierre cleaver is fantastic in every regard and for the price, even if you did get hit with custom fees, it'd still be an insanely good bargain.

    Cheers,
    Josh
    Do you own the cleaver from Butcher and Baker? If so how does it perform? What is the profile like, weight, handle, taper, etc...?

    Jay

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