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Thread: CCK 1303 or CCK 1103

  1. #11
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    If you want a bigger cleaver, consider the 1301. I got one from Mark a while ago, but he doesn't have any up on his site atm. The 110* sereis is taller and thicker at the spine than the 130* series. I don't like very tall cleavers, and I really like the size and proportions of the 1301. At 240 on the spine, it's long for a cleaver. For some reason it's not as popular of a size.
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

  2. #12
    mmm 1101 is even bigger than the 1103

  3. #13
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Funny, because the 1303 seemed huge to me. I found out, as cool as they are, I'm just not a cleaver guy. I piled one up a couple years back (a Shi-Ba-Zi) and really liked it for a few days, but once the novelty wore off, it's just found its way into a drawer. they're kind of "the other cleaver", compared to CCK; Both are well respected, but SBZ makes a huge array of knives, and the steel type ranges, just the same.

    For me, I'd go with a nakiri, then a 1303/or asimolar carbon slicing SBZ. The 110* are just too big for me.
    09/06

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  4. #14
    I have a 1102 and 1301,1302,much prefer1301.

  5. #15
    I'm just bumping this thread up because I have the same question and I'd like to see more opinions. I have never used a Chinese cleaver before. I am pretty skilled with a Western chef's knife, so the switch to a cleaver will require some time for me. Am I better off starting with the smaller 1303? I see a lot of people saying that they prefer the larger blade of the 1103, but I am concerned that it will be too abrupt a change for me, coming from Western chef's knives. Can I realistically jump straight to a big cleaver and learn to use it pretty quickly?

    (I am considering only the CCK 1303 or 1103, because those are the ones currently available to buy at reasonable prices.)

  6. #16
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
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    rnortman, I would do what was suggested to me if you don't know you are a cleaver fan then buy a cheap one, to get used to it. From what I have understood not everyone is, and you don't want to be "stuck" with something you hate.

    A cheap dexter russel was suggested for under 50 on the bay.
    Chewie's the man.

  7. #17
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    A small cleaver will give you an idea of how cleavers perform. They are close enough in weight to western knives, that learning how to use them, should be fairly smooth.

    Nothing prepares a person, for the size and weight of a large cleaver. A knife that large needs to be guided, letting the weight do most of the work.

    The key to a large cleaver is the grip. While a pinch grip may work for short periods, the muscles in the hand and wrist will quickly tire. A better way to hold a large cleaver is extending the thumb and index finger down the sides of the blade. For more control, add the middle finger down the side, in what looks like an upside down peace sign.

    Overall it probably took a month, before I started to feel comfortable with a large cleaver. I was determined to learn how to use the knife. My goal was to find a knife that was small in length, but could do large amounts of prep. I'm a home cook, my kitchen is small. Family and friends kitchens are also small.

    A person who picks up a large cleaver, thinking it's a substitute for a gyuto, will be disappointed. The genius of a gyuto is how easily it can make most cuts. A large cleaver feels heavy and clunky in comparison.

    While a cleaver excels at chopping and push cutting, its strength is how efficiently it cuts. Lift the cleaver up, and let it fall through the food. The size of a cleaver allows to me to work at a good pace, without getting cut. Sort of a built in edge guard. I feel that I can work longer and get more done with a cleaver.

    Jay

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jaybett View Post
    A small cleaver will give you an idea of how cleavers perform. They are close enough in weight to western knives, that learning how to use them, should be fairly smooth.

    Nothing prepares a person, for the size and weight of a large cleaver. A knife that large needs to be guided, letting the weight do most of the work.
    This is sort of my quandry. Is there really any point in starting with a small cleaver if in a few months' time I am going to abandon it because it is not really a proper cleaver? Will small cleaver techniques even help me at all with using a large cleaver, or does it just allow me to clumsily adapt gyuto techniques and delay learning real cleaver techniques?

    By the way, I didn't say it, but my knife work is 95% vegetable prep, and most of that is fine dicing and mincing. Occasionally I need to cut up a chicken, but I have a boning knife that I expect I'll continue to use for that. My biggest complaint with my Western chef's knife is how poorly it handles large quantities of onions, greens, etc. Also, cutting large root vegetables and squashes can be difficult.

  9. #19
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    All these CCk's mentioned are good cleavers.As said the 1301 is less popular than the 1303,but it is longer not much higher & still lite at 340 gm.Alot of edge on the board in a thin light blade is a good combination.

    If you have never had a cleaver,the 1303 is a good introduction,you may grow to like using a cleaver,if not you are not out too much money.Encorage not to give up because it feels diff.,watch video's of Chinese chefs cutting up everything wt. a cleaver.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rnortman View Post
    This is sort of my quandry. Is there really any point in starting with a small cleaver if in a few months' time I am going to abandon it because it is not really a proper cleaver? Will small cleaver techniques even help me at all with using a large cleaver, or does it just allow me to clumsily adapt gyuto techniques and delay learning real cleaver techniques?
    A small cleaver is a proper cleaver. Using one, a person will get a good understanding of what a cleaver can do.

    The nakiri met most of my needs, until I had to prep large amounts of veggies for family gatherings. I went to a small cleaver, but it didn't make much of a difference. I tried a gyuto, but didn't like, that the flat area was less then my nakiri. Plus having a tip, wagging around, in a kitchen with kids running in and out. My hunch was that a cleaver could be the answer to my needs, small kitchen, large prep. Did a search on Google, and found the old forum. Talked to the cleaver users, and decided to try a large cleaver.

    There is something about large cleavers. At first I thought it was the size and weight people objected to, but its more then that. A person using a gyuto for the first time will find it to be a liberating experience, its light, thin, sharp, and easily makes most cuts. A cleaver is not light, but it is still thin and sharp. Instead of being liberating, the cleaver demands to be used in a certain way.

    The cleaver is the best knife, for chopping and push cutting. That being said, the gyuto is not that far behind.

    The biggest advantage to using a cleaver is how efficiently it cuts. The weight means the knife isn't going to move unintentionally. Lift the knife, put it over the food, and the weight will do most of the cutting. The size of the knife, means I can put my knuckles against the side of blade and cut as fast as I want, not having to worry about drawing blood. I feel that I can use a large cleaver, over a longer period of time, then a gyuto, because it is a much more efficient cutter.

    In your post, you mention that most of your knife work is vegetable prep, and that the majority of it is fine dicing and mincing. The knife that worked the best for fine dicing and mincing was a nakiri. The cleaver comes close to what a nakiri can do.

    You also mention that your chef's knife doesn't handle well large quantities of onions and greens. If your chef knife is a gyuto, it should easily be able to deal with onions and greens. If your chef knife, is from a German company, you really should look into a gyuto. Its a much easier knife to use, and does 95 percent of the cuts, needed in the kitchen.

    Large root vegetables and squashes are easier to cut with a thin gyuto or sujihiki, then a cleaver. There are some squashes, that are hard enough, that they get pounded open with a meat cleaver.

    Don't get me wrong. For chopping veggies or prepping large amounts of veggies, the cleaver is my go to knife. Hopefully I am giving you an idea of what to expect from a large cleaver.

    Jay

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