Chinese cleaver fatigue

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by oval99, Jul 8, 2019.

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating:

  1. Jul 8, 2019 #1

    oval99

    oval99

    oval99

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Messages:
    73
    Nope, I’m not tired of Chinese cleavers, but they sure are tiring me! I’ve always loved my small CCK slicer (KF1303). It would be my daily driver if it weren’t carbon — I’m a home cook who wants low maintenance. And I wanted better stainless steel than the CCK stainless.

    I now have a Sugimoto 4030 stainless. It’s shorter and less tall than their full-sized ones. And, most importantly, it only weighs about 12 ounces (only 2 ounces more than the CCK and way less heavy than the full-size Sugi).

    Unfortunately, those extra ounces feel REALLY heavy. I’m getting forearm and some shoulder fatigue after about 10 minutes of prep. I use all the typical grips (inverted peace sign, pinch grip) and do mostly push or chopping cuts.

    Is this something that will just take time to adjust to? Perhaps muscle memory will come to the rescue here in another week or so.

    Anyone had similar experiences? Am I missing something?
     
  2. Jul 9, 2019 #2

    Silky

    Silky

    Silky

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    107
    One thing that has helped me when I moved up to a full size Japanese cleaver is to let the knife do all of the work with the push cuts. I just bring the knife up, put it on what I want to cut, and move it forward through the cut. The only time I exert myself is to lift it up onto the food.
     
    Talim and SeattleBen like this.
  3. Jul 9, 2019 #3

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    3,519
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Have
    Used light and heavy cleavers Do not even think twice about it. That Suji 4030 is a good choice for a stainless veg. Cleaver. Just use it.
     
  4. Jul 9, 2019 #4

    stringer

    stringer

    stringer

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    It could be your posture. If your cutting board is too low then you tend to hunch over, point your face down, and drop your shoulders. If it's too high then you tend to hunch your shoulders up behind your neck. Make sure that you're in a nice relaxed position. Balls of your feet. Knees slightly bent. Shoulders relaxed. Let the length and weight do the work. Find a rhythm. Never hurry. After that it's just muscle memory and conditioning.
     
    pd7077, Carl Kotte, M1k3 and 2 others like this.
  5. Jul 9, 2019 #5
    I would naively think that with a knife 8 - 10 cm tall the cutting board is more likely to be too high for most what can indeed be tiring as it forces an awkward position of the wrist and forearm. But I am yet to try that myself with a cleaver (the height of the counter-top in our apartment is indeed a bit too high for me)
     
  6. Jul 9, 2019 #6

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Benuser

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    5,526
    A few centimetres in counter height make the difference.
     
  7. Jul 9, 2019 #7
    We should be setting up a new kitchen eventually - I am starting to consider to have different parts of the counter top with different heights (say by 10cm or so). For anything but cutting I prefer taller counter top position. But I will come for an advice to a respective subforum when the time comes :)
     
  8. Jul 9, 2019 #8

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    2,091
    The fastest way to alter the height without sunken or built in tops
    I suppose is standing on thicker mats?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  9. Jul 9, 2019 #9

    Noodle Soup

    Noodle Soup

    Noodle Soup

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,503
    What am I missing here? When I went looking for a 4030, they were all carbon steel not stainless? The first place that came up on a google search was "he who's name must not be spoken." :) I have a No. 7 and I would have to say the cladding rusts very easy.
     
  10. Jul 9, 2019 #10

    Xenif

    Xenif

    Xenif

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    896
    A few things cometo mind.
    Feet position relative to knife. So if you are facing shoulders parallel to the counter then knife should be pointing roughly at 10oclock. If you are pointing knife at 12, then you are rotating spine and not getting full leverage.
    Arms close to the body as possible without feeling uncomfortable, again shorter distance away from you center of gravity, more leverage less muscles.
    When pushing and slicing, stand a bit taller, make as much of a circular motion as possible using the curvature of the blade to cut.
    When dicing chopping, stand closer, hunch down a bit more, more control.
    Muscle memory, imho, takes longer than a week to kick in.
     
    Benuser, pd7077 and Carl Kotte like this.
  11. Jul 9, 2019 #11

    gman

    gman

    gman

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    109
    my first thought was also that it's not the weight of the cleaver that's the issue, it's the weight of your arm that you must lift higher, which you would feel mostly in your shoulder and neck. in that case, look for a lower board, or use a thick floor mat, or thicker shoes to get you up and over. the pain in your forearm could be a result of a weird wrist angle, which will also change with the relative position of your body to the handle.
     
    Jville and Benuser like this.
  12. Jul 10, 2019 #12

    jaybett

    jaybett

    jaybett

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    522
    Typically fatigue is a sign that cleaver is being manhandled. A cleaver needs to be guided. It's almost counter-intuitive but you are almost holding the cleaver up, while pushing the cleaver forward or pulling back for the cut. The movement is what cuts instead of pushing down into the vegetable. The cleaver is going down while the cut is being made, it is not being pushed into the vegetable. Imagine cutting the upper parts of green onions.

    Fatigue can also be caused by gripping a cleaver to tightly. A cleaver is held between the forefinger and thumb. I've seen people use pinch grips, but I extend my forefinger down the face of the blade. The fingers around the handle should be loose. More to balance the blade then grip the handle. The peace grip is for doing finer work.

    Jay
     
    Jville likes this.
  13. Jul 10, 2019 #13

    Dan P.

    Dan P.

    Dan P.

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    440
    I'm a bladesmith, not a cook, and these are observations on the use of hammers, not cleavers, so these points will hopefully apply to some degree, but may be totally irrelevant, but in my experience of hammer usage in my trade, fatigue can come from:
    -Squeezing the handle
    -Relying on one joint to do all the work
    -Not giving enough thought and support to lifting the hammer, ie lifting with the wrist
    -Trying to push the hammer through the work
    -Not keeping your elbow tucked in

    Hopefully of some help?
     
    HRC_64, Benuser and Matus like this.
  14. Jul 11, 2019 #14

    playero

    playero

    playero

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Messages:
    189
    I do the same but pulling back
     
  15. Jul 11, 2019 #15

    playero

    playero

    playero

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Messages:
    189
    It also depends on the weight distribution and the handle type. I have some knives that after cutting some products my fingers hurt but on other knives there’s no problem
     
  16. Jul 11, 2019 #16

    Customfan

    Customfan

    Customfan

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,403
    Variety (rotation) between different types of blades works for me....
     
  17. Jul 11, 2019 #17

    silverneedle

    silverneedle

    silverneedle

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    UK London
    In my experience the thin ones at around 320g dont have the weight to fall through the food like one at 480g and so needs to be pushed through the food and the thin spine isnt nice on the fingers. Also veriety of techniques like you could chop a bit then if it gets a bit tiring rock cut a bit then switch back.
    Also check if the tasks you are useing it for suit that type of knife . Would parer or a petty be better for part of the job and finish with the cleaver?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  18. Jul 18, 2019 at 4:36 PM #18

    boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Messages:
    1,724
    I’m actually shocked how slow my CCK carbon is prone to rust. It’s my daily blade in the kitchen. I just honed it last night and it’s frightening at this point.

    I keep a folded towel on the counter and wipe occasionally but ive lapsed and had no issues.
     

Share This Page