A new cleaver is born WIP

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andur

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Hi all knife fans!
I posted a while ago I was looking for a cleaver.
I found a cheap one on eBay that was I think made in Taiwan from made from VG10 steel, called Zhen knives. VG10 is clad between 440 steel layers. Took this project on like making a knife from a blank!

This is what it looked like out of the package. I might add the picture is a very good one (from the manufacturers site) and in real life it has rather poor fit and finish. Spine isn't rounded. Where the tang is welded on the grinds are rough. The edge is very curved and the thickness behind the edge is fairly thick.
So I took off the handle, cut off the tang and welded it back in a new place (a bit down towards the edge). Sanded the tang part down and created a new heel.
Then started thinning it down. The thinning took hours and hours on my slow weak machine. I think it was a good idea anyways to go slowly about it.

The knife has a thickness of 1.7mm at the spine. The factory had a sandblasted line but sadly it didn't mark the beginning of the bevel. It was sharpened a bit more steeply. But I changed that and now the bevel is very much higher and blade much more narrow behind the edge. It's about 1mm thick 10mm from the edge and 0.6mm 5mm from the edge.
The new tang is supposed to fit like the Gesshin Ginga cleaver handle which was my inspiration for this project.
So I made a handle from birch and buffalo.

Every now and then I hit the stones to try and see where the bevel is forming and then back to the grinder.


If it was thinned down enough I marked a new "kasumi" line and sandblasted it. After sandblasting it's very rough so I polished it on a wheel. Polished just to get the rough surface smoother but still leave it matte.
I engraved a bit of chinese to make it look more like a proper knife. Don't speak chinese but hope it says "Zhen kitchen knife" .
Tapped on the handle and sharpened it up to 12k!
Sorry for the poor pics but I tried to show the final result.





It's now the thinnest knife I have. Concerning hardness, it will scratch a wine bottle so I'd say over 60HRC at least. Can't yet say anything about the edge durability but it's VERY hard to sharpen. I use shapton Glass stones and compared to my white and blue ones it is very sharpening-resistant. But it will get sharp of the effort is made. I am very happy with my new knife and first cleaver! It's great, slides through food and chops well.
 

icanhaschzbrgr

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OK, we have seen thinning and rehandling before. But welding tang into a new place?! Engraving new kanji?! Sandblasting?! WAT?!
That's the craziest project I've seen on KKF. Not sure what amazed me more: the skill or the workshop with sandblasting device :)
 

Geo87

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Yeah that was intense.
I had to re-read the part where you said you cut the tang off and welded it back on. Damn that's crazy. great job :) looks great
 

jphy

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So I took off the handle, cut off the tang and welded it back in a new place (a bit down towards the edge).

Did you mig or tig the handle back on?
 

Mrmnms

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You have some serious toys and serious skills. You have my respect.
 

XooMG

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Interesting and inspiring. I'm interested in how thick the edge was on yours; the knife looks like a cousin to some knives I have, which are stainless-clad V-Toku (carbon kinda like Hitachi Blue Paper). Mine however are pretty thin; 0.8mm measured 1cm from the edge.

I hate the blasted finish in general as it worsens sticking problems. If I ever get mine reground and refinished, that area is going to get a buff. Not as "pretty" (if such a concept exists) but will cut noticeably better.

As for the Chinese engraving...pics are too small for me to see, but you seem to have the brand name last, which is nonstandard, but I don't think anyone would care much.

Looks like a good project. I've sent cleavers to a few users but they rarely get any feedback, which leads me to believe that some are immune to the cleaver's charms.
 

andur

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Welding was done on a regular MIG welder with a stainless wire electrode. The knife has a reinforcement where the tang is so if the rest of the blade is 1.7mm at the spine its about twice that right where the tang is, two extra layers of steel to make one "corner" of the sheet thicker.

I was suprised it didn't come out that thin actually. That's partly because the steel is so hard to grind off I think. Secondly I think grinding away the curved belly to make the blade straighter made the middle part thicker again. I'll need to start using it a bit and see what works and what not. I can always adjust the bevels if needed.

Funny stuff this sandblasting. It's effectively a means to stretch metal. So when you're done with one side you will have a huge bend like this ( in your knife until do the other side then it evens out. Easy to mess up the straightness though.
 

berko

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if you ever feel like selling it, ill take it. had one of those and put in a lot of work, regret selling it.
 

stereo.pete

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Awesome, just awesome! I love the faux kasumi line!
 
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