Been a while since we had a Cleaver chat.

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Hey guys, there's been all sorts of cleaver chats that come and go. Seems like its been a while since we had one. I'm always on the lookout for what the next one may be. I've had much less than some of you, but seems like I gravitate towards these more than anythings else at home. Anybody been rocking something they like these days? Lets try to create a gambit of price and quality here too. Customs western makers as well as Japanese


Past cleavers
Sugimoto #6. Workhorse of cleavers, mine clocked in at well over 450 i think. Cut pretty damn great, minimal wedging. Ultimately was too heavy for me. $350

CCK carbon. thin thin thin. You know the deal. Easy to sharpen and flies through everything. Got bored of it. cheap $45 at the time

suien VC. Mine had a huge belly, and pretty clunky factory edge, thinned out and it was pretty nice. I will probably get another of these $150

Current
CCK stainless metal handle. Saw Fuschia Dunlop had one of these, and I missed my old one. probably the most used knife at home. $60

JKI stainless white 2. Sweet little thing. Much shorter at the heel than any other cleaver, slightly short at the edge too. Factory edge was junk, thinned out and its great. A very nice compromise and sugimoto replacement. $100


Trying to build a catalog of what to try next in this category.
 

spaceconvoy

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I've had the Sugimoto standard #6 and stainless 4030, wanted to like them for their steels but never loved them. Can't stand the belly, and too blade heavy for my taste. Currently happy with my stainless CCK 1912. The thinness and balance are perfect, and I love the handle, surprisingly.

Still halfheartedly on the lookout for a fancy custom thin slicer. Watanabe has a really nice looking one in the Specials section of his site. Problem is most makers slap two slabs of wood on a full tang handle, but the balance never feels right to me.

Finding the King Neo 800 has made me more content to settle with the CCK. No longer a pain to sharpen, and has the perfect amount of tooth for its mediocre stainless. Sometimes you just need the right stone for a particular steel. Easier than wishing for a knife that doesn't exist.
 

damiano

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I have been using the Sugimoto sf4030 for two years now. This is the smaller version, 195x95. It has the same steel supposedly as the #6. Still like it a lot and cannot see myself getting rid of it. I really like its geometry, feels very natural in the hand for a home environment. Downside imho is its reactivity, which kinda slows me down prepping food. Constantly need to wash it and wipe it.
 
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mlau liked his chinese cleaver from Joe Calton.

I've had two knives (boning, and chef) from Joe Calton and they've had great steel in 1095 (very well balanced as well as hard) and the grinds are thin.

His shop shows an older example from 2018 in 52100. Based on this the spine is 2.2 mm. It does have a belt grinder flat grind all the way to the edge, and the knives I've gotton from are thin. It's just the primary bevels are on the more conservative side of things. He works with 1095 more often though.

 

wind88

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Watanabe/Toyama cleaver is rad. I really dig the profile. Also a big fan of Ginga cleaver from JKI.
 
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mlau liked his chinese cleaver from Joe Calton.

I've had two knives (boning, and chef) from Joe Calton and they've had great steel in 1095 (very well balanced as well as hard) and the grinds are thin.

His shop shows an older example from 2018 in 52100. Based on this the spine is 2.2 mm. It does have a belt grinder flat grind all the way to the edge, and the knives I've gotton from are thin. It's just the primary bevels are on the more conservative side of things. He works with 1095 more often though.

1095 is a fun steel, sharpens up so quick.
 
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I've had the Sugimoto standard #6 and stainless 4030, wanted to like them for their steels but never loved them. Can't stand the belly, and too blade heavy for my taste. Currently happy with my stainless CCK 1912. The thinness and balance are perfect, and I love the handle, surprisingly.

Still halfheartedly on the lookout for a fancy custom thin slicer. Watanabe has a really nice looking one in the Specials section of his site. Problem is most makers slap two slabs of wood on a full tang handle, but the balance never feels right to me.

Finding the King Neo 800 has made me more content to settle with the CCK. No longer a pain to sharpen, and has the perfect amount of tooth for its mediocre stainless. Sometimes you just need the right stone for a particular steel. Easier than wishing for a knife that doesn't exist.
do you finish on that 800?
 

cotedupy

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Most of my cooking is done with a Leung Tim Sangdao #2, about the same size as a 1103, and a set of chopsticks. A tip here (possibly a blindingly obvious one) - just as a cleaver makes a great bench scraper, a chopstick makes a great cleaver scraper for garlic, ginger, onions, and other thinks that stick.

Also for anyone who hasn't seen it - I hadn't come across CCK's website until about a month ago, as it's not high priority on English language Google searches, but useful to see the whole range and sizes... 中式廚刀
 
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Most of my cooking is done with a Leung Tim Sangdao #2, about the same size as a 1103, and a set of chopsticks. A tip here (possibly a blindingly obvious one) - just as a cleaver makes a great bench scraper, a chopstick makes a great cleaver scraper for garlic, ginger, onions, and other thinks that stick.

Also for anyone who hasn't seen it - I hadn't come across CCK's website until about a month ago, as it's not high priority on English language Google searches, but useful to see the whole range and sizes... 中式廚刀
Where can you buy Leung Tim cleavers?
 

tchan001

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Where can you buy Leung Tim cleavers?
I could probably walk to the Leung Tim store in Hong Kong. LOL

Leung Tim Choppers Factory,
Sham Shui Po, 221 Cheung Sha Wan Rd, Ground Floor.
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Haven't tried that brand though.
 
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cotedupy

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Where can you buy Leung Tim cleavers?

They do also have a store in Sydney, who are happy to post them out, which is where I got mine. Tho it might be a bit spenny to Colorado. Happy to pass on their email if you want to ask, or ask them about possible places in the US...

They're very good quality and a fair bit cheaper than CCK now. That Sangdao was the equivalent of just under $50 US.

EDIT - I've actually just been emailing them today, so asked about US vendors for you...
 
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They do also have a store in Sydney, who are happy to post them out, which is where I got mine. Tho it might be a bit spenny to Colorado. Happy to pass on their email if you want to ask, or ask them about possible places in the US...

They're very good quality and a fair bit cheaper than CCK now. That Sangdao was the equivalent of just under $50 US.

EDIT - I've actually just been emailing them today, so asked about US vendors for you...
Thanks!
 

xxxclx

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I like cooking with cleavers and consequently I have 4 thin cleavers and 1 meat cleaver.

My first cleaver was a Messermeister asian precision cleaver I bought 7-8 years ago that withstood quite a bit of abuse from previous roommates and is probably 5mm shorter than the day it came out of the box. I still keep it around as a beater. It's made in Seki by some unknown maker with unknown stainless steel. It cuts well enough, better than the Shibazi stainless my parents use at least.

A couple of years ago I brought back a CCK KF1303 Sangdao slicer from HK but I didn't really bond with it. A bit too rustic for my taste. The non-cutting edges of the knife are too rough and unpleasant to use, but that's understandable at the price point. (I think it was around 200 HKD at the time)

Recently I've been on a cleaver buying binge and bought a Tesshu/Munetoshi meat cleaver, Gesshin Ginga stainless, and the Shibata Tank. The tank surprisingly has the best out of the box cutting experience, even better than that of my Gengetsu white #2.
 

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Perfect timing Danzo :)

I have so far only experience with CCK 1303, but with a very high probability that small stainless-clad-white#2 Gesshin cleaver may soon replace it. Been looking high and low for a smaller/lighter cleaver and this could be just the ticket.
 
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I had a go at trying to become a cleaver guy and I’m still torn on the issue. I’ve accumulated the following:

cck 1303
Daovua small cleaver, maybe 195x100 and even thinner than cck, $70
Dengjia carbon, also 190mm or so, $40
cheap Chinese stainless, Yang Jiang from wok shop I think, 200mm middleweight $20?
Shibazi 230mm carbon, $40?
Gesshin Ginga #6 stainless, $315 and I’m about to sell it for $225

and a #7 maybe, big heavy thing by Hideyuki Tanaka in Ginsan. Not sure that this one even counts as a Chinese cleaver or chukabocho since it’s really more like a butcher cleaver, I’ve used it to slice steaks on the line for fun but it is definitely a lot closer to a Sabatier meat cleaver. Thinner behind the edge of course and harder steel, but much better for banging through cases of chickens than dicing onions.

Surprisingly the amount of belly doesn’t seem to make much of a difference for me; I’d have assumed that I’d end up with a clear preference for very flat or continuous curve.

The cheap Chinese ones of course far outperform anything else in their price range that I’ve used. Every time I pick up the stainless wok shop one I question having a quantity and value of knives that’s necessitated increasing my renters insurance coverage twice. The expensive Japanese one is of course much nicer looking and much nicer cutting, but I’m not convinced that it’s 1) 10x or even 5x better or 2) better than other similarly priced Japanese knives - just different. Perhaps if I were a more experienced cleaver guy, or properly trained with one, my impression would be different. Amazing edge and geometry though, digs right into the board!

The standout for me is the Daovua. It’s a laser cutter with good edge retention and excellent sharpenability, lightweight but not fragile feeling. The edge isn’t straight and every figure I’ve seen for the hardness of the steel is low, and somehow that doesn’t seem to matter.

I’d still someday like to try a Heiji, Shig, Saji, etc. or a custom and see what it’s all about.
 

Matus

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The standout for me is the Daovua. It’s a laser cutter with good edge retention and excellent sharpenability, lightweight but not fragile feeling. The edge isn’t straight and every figure I’ve seen for the hardness of the steel is low, and somehow that doesn’t seem to matter.

I’d still someday like to try a Heiji, Shig, Saji, etc. or a custom and see what it’s all about.

How does the DaoVua compare to CCK1303? I am nearly 100% set on the Gesshing-stainless-clad-white2, but this would just be simpler and cheaper to get (mainly because of shipping and taxes). I have discarded it that it is going to be a POS with poor everything. Maybe I am wrong ... ?

I saw some photos of a 370g, neat-sized Shig kurouchi cleaver. Looked so sweet. I don't even want to know how much would it cost second hand.
 

Tristan

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This is a great thread to ask on them.
I’ve got a CCK iron bone chopper and frankly I want to move into two more - slicer in two sizes also iron.
Any other cleaver significantly better than CCK?
I mean our gyutos vs German steels were a revelation. I’m somehow doubtful it’ll be the same on this end of things.
 
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Perfect timing Danzo :)

I have so far only experience with CCK 1303, but with a very high probability that small stainless-clad-white#2 Gesshin cleaver may soon replace it. Been looking high and low for a smaller/lighter cleaver and this could be just the ticket.
it needs about an hour on the stones out the box but after that it’s pretty great.
 
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This is a great thread to ask on them.
I’ve got a CCK iron bone chopper and frankly I want to move into two more - slicer in two sizes also iron.
Any other cleaver significantly better than CCK?
I mean our gyutos vs German steels were a revelation. I’m somehow doubtful it’ll be the same on this end of things.
This is really how you define better. They are just different. Does the cck caidao feel cheap? Yes. But it’s undeniably efficient and fun to use. Seems like cleavers just get thicker and heavier and finding the balance point is different for everyone.
 

BillHanna

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I bought a Dao Vua cleaver on a whim, about a year ago. I find it heavy and tall. Am I not a cleaver guy, or are there shorter and lighter alternatives?

Maybe I just need tall nakiris to play with.
 

Matus

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I bought a Dao Vua cleaver on a whim, about a year ago. I find it heavy and tall. Am I not a cleaver guy, or are there shorter and lighter alternatives?

Maybe I just need tall nakiris to play with.
What is the size and weight of the one you got? Tall nakiris are great, I agree :)
 

BillHanna

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image.jpg
I lied. 210x91 at the heel, 95 at the tallest, 87 at the very end.
 

cotedupy

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I bought a Dao Vua cleaver on a whim, about a year ago. I find it heavy and tall. Am I not a cleaver guy, or are there shorter and lighter alternatives?

Maybe I just need tall nakiris to play with.

There are a few smaller versions, the link I posted above shows the selection made by CCK for instance. Tho I'd probably say they might just not be for you, and a tall Nakiri would be better.

I'd personally probably want your Dao Vua to be taller if anything. The grip that I think is ideal for this kind of cleaver involves your index and middle fingers extended in a v-shape down the outside of the blade, with your thumb on the inside. This gives a level of control which you can't really get on less tall cleavers, because your fingers would extend over the edge. And which, kinda counter-intuitively, makes smaller cleavers less easy to use.

Did that make sense...?

EDIT - So actually you might be a cleaver guy, but just need a bigger one ;)
 
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