Beaver the Cleaver?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Bert2368, Feb 8, 2019.

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  1. Feb 8, 2019 #1

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    Handle is split, needs to be replaced. I already had hand ground on the edge to remove a swale in center of blade. I am wondering how much more work makes sense.

    Marked "KEELEE", weighs about 440 grams. Blade is roughly 210 X 95 mm, 5 mm thick at base of spine.

    Chinese/Hong Kong marked, possibly from the 1950-1960s. Came from an ex tenant when she went into a nurseing home during the 1990's, she was a mighty cook in her day- I had to clean out her kitchen, she had an amazing variety of stuff for a midwestern USA person of that era. Saw stuff in her pantry and kitchen tools I STILL don't recognize.

    Cleaver is carbon steel. Fairly soft and someone either used the spine as an ice breaker, hammered nails or seriously batoned on it.


    20190206_103602.jpg

    20190206_103706.jpg 20190206_103753.jpg
     
  2. Feb 8, 2019 #2

    stringer

    stringer

    stringer

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    It looks like a great restoration project to me. These things will eat stones if you go too crazy with thinning and reprofiling. Have fun.
     
  3. Feb 8, 2019 #3

    merlijny2k

    merlijny2k

    merlijny2k

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    Looks like semi stainless to me. These things can be very, very soft.
     
  4. Feb 8, 2019 #4

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    Q: the heel -- is that 'wear' or a technical mod by OG user?
     
  5. Feb 8, 2019 #5

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    I don't know if it is wear, suspect it is.

    Googling the brand name shows some models with asymmetrical blades, but nothing exactly like this one.
     
  6. Feb 8, 2019 #6

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    Not much experience with cleavers, either western or Chinese here. How to proceed with refurbishing this requires more understanding of exactly what it is supposed to be used for-

    Looking at the weight (just under 440 grams) and the way the blade quickly thins down from the 5mm at the spine to about 1.2 mm by a little over half way down to the edge, then continues at about 1.2mm all the way down to the bevel, I presume this is intended to be more of a slicer and chopper than a meat axe for whacking up big bony animal chunks.

    So, it's going to want a bottom profile with just a bit of "rocker" for things like chopping garlic?

    As far as thinning, is that really a good idea? I have a nakiri for cutting & slicing veges already.

    The blade is not really a rectangle, it's about 12mm shorter at the front than at the last bit before the the curved up section at the heel. If that curve at the heel is due to dammage or weird sharpening practice, should the heel get ground down to a similar height as the tip, leaving a belly more or less in the center of blade?


    All the Chinese cleavers I am looking at have these stumpy handles. When I hold the existing handle in a pinch grip, it is perhaps 12mm too short for my taste, I have wide "farmer hands" and the handle feels too short for comfort.

    Handle is held on by the "rat tail" being bent over and pushed into butt of handle like a clench nail- How to get a slightly longer replacement handle secured?
     
  7. Feb 8, 2019 #7

    stringer

    stringer

    stringer

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    It's an all purpose slicer. It's not meant for chopping bones. It can handle pretty much anything else. It's probably fairly soft, but it's also pretty thin and probably pretty easy to sharpen. You can redo the profile to whatever you are comfortable with. Use files or a sidewalk. Thin the knife for the last 5 mm or so behind the edge on both sides one you're happy with the profile. Cut a smaller micro bevel or else you'll get a lot of edge roll from the soft steel.

    The easiest way to rehandle is knock the old bit of tang hook off of the bottom. Pop the old handle off and make a new hidden tang version from a solid block of wood. You can make it any length and style you want. Clean up the old tang. It will probably be rusty and irregular. Then drill a couple of holes to start making a slot for the tang. Use files or a key hole saw to connect the holes and make the slot fit. I usually try and use the original ferrule. Fill it with epoxy. Here's one I did recently. Still working on the finish. It did have heavily damaged kurouchi. Handle is spalted sycamore.

    1549662031849151443681966058184.jpg
     
  8. Feb 9, 2019 #8

    Xenif

    Xenif

    Xenif

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    OP, what you have there is a Ho Ching Kee Lee 何正岐利 made in Hong Kong. That tapered profile is their calling card. That heel is exaggerated from years of sharpening probably from the bottom of a plate. The marks on the spine probably from breaking bone. Never thought I'd see one outside of Hong Kong.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 #9

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    I have not removed the remains of ferrule and handle yet as these make the cleaver easier to hold on to.

    I spent a couple of hours removing most of the dings, dents and mushrooming on the spine of blade, smoothed out some other dents, worked a whileon the edge, thinning it a bit above the existing bevel.

    Worked the included angle down well below 40 degrees, it started out over 45- A lot of steel to remove with a rock.

    Curious to see what kind of an edge it might take, before potentially wasting a lot more of my time and abrasives, I tried to sharpen the cutting edge

    I tried several times with different final grits, the edge got jagged and grabby in a saw like way after apexing on a 400 diamond plate, then upon going to a 500 mesh Shapton water stone the edge became somewhat shiny and NOT capable of cutting much. Barely catches a thumbnail at 90 degrees, wouldn't cut a piece of copier paper on the cutting board with a LOT of force and a pull cut.

    Moving on to a higher grit? FUGGEDABOUDIT. Even shinier, even less keen.

    Just like I remember my parents 1950s Cutco unsharpenable "knife shaped objects" behaving.

    The steel IS magnetic. There were a couple of small areas of rust and light pitting on the blade when I started. But I had never put preservative oil on this blade and it spent 15 years in an unheated storage locker.

    Out of curiousity, I put table salt in a puddle of warm water on a cleaned and de-greased area I had ground all the patina off of, then left the blade near a simmering pot of water to make sure it stayed humid- no rust has formed after an hour under or around a slurry of warm, wet salt

    It appears to be a very soft, very non corrosive stainless steel wall hanger, not a cutting tool.

    20190210_185924.jpg
     
  10. Feb 11, 2019 #10

    slickmamba

    slickmamba

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    I can confirm that chinese chefs hit the spine and use cleavers as a hammer to break through bones
     
  11. Feb 11, 2019 #11

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    I'm thinking grind a 25 degree double bevel angle on that bad boy and be happy when you have some cutting to do involving force and the possibility of edge damage.
     
  12. Feb 11, 2019 #12

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    25 degrees included angle on a piece of steel that apparently severely deforms a flat spine 3 to 5mm wide when it hits chicken bones?

    Oh well. In for a couple of hours, in for several more.

    I'm setting up the belt sander for removing that much metal, though.

    Not much worried about ruining the temper.

    I don't think this sainless steel was hardened, possibly this stuff may not even be CAPABLE of being hardened. I want to get an XRF analysis on this blade next time I'm by the scrap yard.
     
  13. Feb 11, 2019 #13

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    I meant 50 degree included angle--25 each side. Basically a sharp hammer.
     
  14. Feb 11, 2019 #14

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    Back where it all began...

     
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  15. Feb 15, 2019 at 7:40 AM #15

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

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    Have restored old Chinese carbon cleavers. Found a batch of them here in Hawaii. Some had very nice grinds on them. Salvage the handles if possible. Cracks would fill with epoxy, sanded down & finished they worked fine. I don't have small hands either like the stubby round handles on Chinese cleavers best. With a pinch grip they work fine.

    In my experience Chinese stainless steel cleavers not that great esp. if used to quality stainless & carbon steel.
     

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