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brainsausage

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So, I'm currently in the market for a new slicer. I've been playing with my 270 Gesshin Ino Hon-Kasumi gyuto for the last few months. Great knife. Love the white #2. But I picked up my CCK the other day and realized that my heart belongs to cleavers. That being said- I'd love some suggestions. I've only ever played with the lower end of the Chinese cleaver spectrum, and I'd like to upgrade. My preferences are as follows:

220-240 mm
400 grams or less
Thicker spine towards choil, thiiiin blade.
$500 budget

I keep eyeballing takeda's stuff. Especially the menkiri, but I don't have a lot of experience with aogami. I like my Mioroshi deba by him, but I barely ever use it, and have never sharpened. So I'd love some steel advice as well. I checked out Andy's original cleaver lineup on Knifeforums again today(for about the 20th time!) and my only concern is that the review is now six years old, and I wonder how well some of those makers are still performing. As I said- any advice would be greatly welcomed:)
 

labor of love

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im close to pulling the trigger on an ashi ginga cleaver swedish steel that jon has at jki. I think its around 225mm....if you want a white 2 steel check out bluewayjapan @ebay. i think they have the same cleaver in carbon there. both of these cleavers have great profiles which is why im attracted to them in the first place. Takedas are out of my price range as far as cleavers are concerned. however, i do enjoy augami steel.
 

brainsausage

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Takeda attracts me do to the thinness and light weight. I really would prefer a pretty thick spine that tapers pretty quickly down to a stupid thin edge. My biggest gripe with CCK(besides the weird steel), is how thin the spines are. Nothing to grab, and it punishes my knife callous. But I do enjoy the overall blade geometry. Gentle rock- to flat belly. And wonderfully thin. The ginga's seem a little heavy and thick honestly. And I really don't care for stainless. Feels awful. No offense to anyone who might feel otherwise. I like how responsive the white#2 is to sharpen, but as I said I've no experience with the aogami...
 

labor of love

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good swedish steel is the exception to the rule when it comes to stainless. as far as number 6 sized cleavers go the gingas are on the light side actually...just look at the sujimotos, theyre about 100 grams heavier depending on which website youre looking at. Takedas can take an edge and hold it for some time...cant help you with thick spine recommendations that taper. good luck!
 

jaybett

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The best knife I've seen for how the spine tapers from the choil to the tip is Sugimoto #6. Enough of the spine is left at the choil so it easy to grab. With a comfortable handle, the Sugimoto feels very natural in the hand. After that the Tadatasuna has a thicker spine that quickly thins out. I've got the white steel version, which they unfortunately stopped production. They do have an inox version. A forum member owns one. Hopefully he will post and let us know about the spine. The same forum member, I can't recall his name, but as soon as a I post it will come to me, owns a CCK. He picked up the Swedish steel Mizuno and says that it's as thin or thinner then his CCK. If I ever pick up another cleaver it will be that one.

The Takeda probably meets most of your requirements. It is a light knife, for a cleaver, thin, and takes a very keen edge. The spine is also thin. Takeda's have a rustic finish. On mine the heel curves up, quite a ways. Most Takedas have have some unique about them. The hammer marks in sides of the blade, can be distracting at times, rubbing over the knuckles, as one chops. The cost of a Takeda, has risen dramatically over the years. Andy got his Takeda for around $250, now their selling for over $500. Some people will say they are worth every penny.

I'd run your idea by Jon at JKI. He has a lot going on behind the scenes. He might have already found a maker that can meet your needs.

As I mentioned earlier if I were to buy again. It would be the Mizuno Swedish steel model, but I'd dress it up with a handle. Andy has become an accomplished handle maker. I was talking to him about getting a handle done, instead he sold me one of his knives.

Jay
 

RobinW

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First, you have read Andys recap, right?

Tadatsuna comes out really nice in Andys reviews, and if you can convince him, Butch harner makes a mean cleaver. Although i am not sure it's within the reach of your budget.
 

labor of love

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Tadatsunas website is down last I checked. Anybody know where you can order tad cleaver these days?
 

brainsausage

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Butch is about double what I'm looking to spend unfortunately. I hadn't really thought of contacting John. I purchased my Ino from him, and he was incredibly helpful. I was checking out the Sugimotos last night, but they seem a little on the heavy side. The tads are a nice option, I just checked out an old post on Knifeforums, and they appear to match a lot of my needs. That menkiri is still whispering in my ear though...
 

mikemac

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RE: Tad's....check with A-Frames. He's out of stock on Tad's, but he may know what the story is. Menkiri doesn't get talked about much, but make sure you know - it's NOT a chuka...more shaped like an extra long nakiri with a super flat edge. I know somebody in the past (maybe Andy?) had one reprofiled more like a chuka, and it still ended up on the B-S-T forum. As for takeda in general, my Takeda (now sold) was one of the earlier versions, and was the best quality of the Takedas I owned. Three subsequent Takedas all had waves from choil to tip and spine to edge...all at the same time.
PM Sent
 

Lefty

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I'm not sure what Pierre charges for a cleaver, but I'm pretty sure there's an O1 available from him.
 

malacara

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The best knife I've seen for how the spine tapers from the choil to the tip is Sugimoto #6. Enough of the spine is left at the choil so it easy to grab. With a comfortable handle, the Sugimoto feels very natural in the hand. After that the Tadatasuna has a thicker spine that quickly thins out. I've got the white steel version, which they unfortunately stopped production. They do have an inox version. A forum member owns one. Hopefully he will post and let us know about the spine. The same forum member, I can't recall his name, but as soon as a I post it will come to me, owns a CCK. He picked up the Swedish steel Mizuno and says that it's as thin or thinner then his CCK. If I ever pick up another cleaver it will be that one.
I think it´s me the one you are refering to :) I have already posted pics of my Inox Tadatsuna here http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/s...-on-why-I-love-Chinese-Cleavers-re-post/page5 where the spine and the thinness can be seen. Basically,As you can see, the spine is aproximately 2mm all the way long. I have also posted pics of the stainless mizuno profile where its thinness can be also appreciated (in spite of the awful pictures) It´s not as thin the my CCK 1103 but it is VERY VERY close. They are both incredible cleavers, pieces of art if you ask me but both over 400 grams.

Regards
 

jaybett

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I think it´s me the one you are refering to :) I have already posted pics of my Inox Tadatsuna here http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/s...-on-why-I-love-Chinese-Cleavers-re-post/page5 where the spine and the thinness can be seen. Basically,As you can see, the spine is aproximately 2mm all the way long. I have also posted pics of the stainless mizuno profile where its thinness can be also appreciated (in spite of the awful pictures) It´s not as thin the my CCK 1103 but it is VERY VERY close. They are both incredible cleavers, pieces of art if you ask me but both over 400 grams.

Regards
I was referring to you. I missed your post with the pictures. A belated thanks for posting them. I've been curious about the spine on the Tad Inox.

Jay
 

jaybett

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Butch is about double what I'm looking to spend unfortunately. I hadn't really thought of contacting John. I purchased my Ino from him, and he was incredibly helpful. I was checking out the Sugimotos last night, but they seem a little on the heavy side. The tads are a nice option, I just checked out an old post on Knifeforums, and they appear to match a lot of my needs. That menkiri is still whispering in my ear though...
The Sugimoto is as close to ideal, as far as size and weight. It's big enough to provide the benefits of a full size cleaver, but small enough to be agile. There is a distinct distal taper with the tip being distinctly thinner then the heel. Fit and finish is interesting. On all the areas that matter, rounding the spine, choil, are nicely done. Their are noticeable scratches on the hamon of the knife.

I really like how the Sugimoto performs. Andy has spoken positively as his Sugimotos. There is a member who had a negative experience. From what I can tell, he got a knife, where the bevel had been reground by the former owner, to an obtuse angle. There was all sorts of issues getting the knife back into shape. He is not shy about venting his frustrations or sharing his opinion that Sugimoto sucks. I never was able to understand, how those issues were Sugimoto's fault.

The Tadatsuna that I own, is a really nice knife, but the handle leaves a lot to be desired. Either it will need to be replaced, or at least reshaped a little, by sanding.

Jay
 

chazmtb

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No one has talked about the Mizuno aogami. I don't own one but love CDogs vid on YouTube. I have the suien vg and I love it.
 

malacara

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No one has talked about the Mizuno aogami. I don't own one but love CDogs vid on YouTube. I have the suien vg and I love it.
Are you sure it is aogami? I thought the only Aogami cleavers on the market were the Takedas or the Moritakas. According to Japanesechefknives webpage is made from Virgin carbon (don´t really know what that means by the way)
 

cnochef

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+ on Takeda, based on my experience with his nakiri. The finish really protects the knife and looks super cool, they are nice and thin and AS steel keeps an edge forever. In over 6 months of heavy use, I've only had to strop it a couple of times to touch it up. Prices are admittedly a bit steep now, but I will bet that the amount you will use it will make it seem worth every penny!
 

brainsausage

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The Sugimoto is as close to ideal, as far as size and weight. It's big enough to provide the benefits of a full size cleaver, but small enough to be agile. There is a distinct distal taper with the tip being distinctly thinner then the heel. Fit and finish is interesting. On all the areas that matter, rounding the spine, choil, are nicely done. Their are noticeable scratches on the hamon of the knife.

I really like how the Sugimoto performs. Andy has spoken positively as his Sugimotos. There is a member who had a negative experience. From what I can tell, he got a knife, where the bevel had been reground by the former owner, to an obtuse angle. There was all sorts of issues getting the knife back into shape. He is not shy about venting his frustrations or sharing his opinion that Sugimoto sucks. I never was able to understand, how those issues were Sugimoto's fault.

The Tadatsuna that I own, is a really nice knife, but the handle leaves a lot to be desired. Either it will need to be replaced, or at least reshaped a little, by sanding.

Jay
That's one thing that turns me off about the Tads- their handles. Admittedly- I've never used the scaled handle style on a chuka. But I find the handles on the CCK's very comfy. Although I'm pretty interested in using an octagonal wa style on a chuka, as it's my favorite handle style thus far. Another reason I'm interested in the Takeda's... Moritakas are the only other chukas I've seen with wa's and it seems they're becoming a little less reliable lately... How much does your Sugimoto weigh btw? I think I'd prefer something that's about 450 grams or less. I have crunchy wrists due to years of kitchen abuse(along with various other hi-jinks), and a lighter cleaver means a little less wear and tear...
 

labor of love

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http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/zakuri.html theyre kurouchi finish is nicer than moritakas. i like theyre handles more as well. Takeda cleavers are over my budget and many people have had grind problems with moritakas. that being said i have a moritaka gyuto that i like quite a bit. zakuri knives are priced the same if not sometimes cheaper than moritaka also. it would be cool to have more to choose from in the blue steel/augami steel cleaver options besides moritaka and takeda is what im trying to say basically.
 

labor of love

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good swedish steel is the exception to the rule when it comes to stainless. as far as number 6 sized cleavers go the gingas are on the light side actually...just look at the sujimotos, theyre about 100 grams heavier depending on which website youre looking at. Takedas can take an edge and hold it for some time...cant help you with thick spine recommendations that taper. good luck!
I just wanted to correct myself here the sujimoto #6 is listed at 448 grams. I was looking at the #7 cleaver at jck which is listed at 500+ grams
 

Andy777

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There's been some good advice in this thread. But you're not going to find a 22x11 cleaver under 400g, I think the closest I've seen is the Devin Thomas one and I think my Masahiro M3 came in slightly under mostly because the handle was very small and light. Most of the thin ones fall between 400-450g. You need to narrow your scope a bit, because a sub 400g lazer with a fat spine just isn't going to happen. If you want something super comfy with a fat rounded spine that tapers nicely and a handle that won't scream to be replaced, the Sugimoto #6 is a nice option. If you want a light laser the Takeda is probably the best I've seen. I've heard good things about that Mizuno Swedish steel model, in fact I'd better stop thinking about it. :wink:

The problem with a good majority of the high end cleavers is they have piss poor handles that require replacing. You need to be really dedicated to shell out $400 for a knife that will have a poor handle with shrunken scales and gaps. That Mizuno Swedish is sounding pretty badass and those pics Malacara posted looke really good. If it were me I'd go with one of those and have a custom handle put on it, you'd still be under your $500 budget. Honestly, all the high end cleavers have good things about them. They just need some tweeking which can be a pain for such an expensive knife. I'd just look at all the ones out there and see which one speaks to you, if it has a crappy handle just budget for that and someone on the forum can hook you up with a custom.

One last thing semi off topic, I am disturbed by the amount of blade curvature I'm seeing on the Suiens coming out now. I personally prefer a flatter edge, so that's another thing to look out for.
 

brainsausage

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There's been some good advice in this thread. But you're not going to find a 22x11 cleaver under 400g, I think the closest I've seen is the Devin Thomas one and I think my Masahiro M3 came in slightly under mostly because the handle was very small and light. Most of the thin ones fall between 400-450g. You need to narrow your scope a bit, because a sub 400g lazer with a fat spine just isn't going to happen. If you want something super comfy with a fat rounded spine that tapers nicely and a handle that won't scream to be replaced, the Sugimoto #6 is a nice option. If you want a light laser the Takeda is probably the best I've seen. I've heard good things about that Mizuno Swedish steel model, in fact I'd better stop thinking about it. :wink:

The problem with a good majority of the high end cleavers is they have piss poor handles that require replacing. You need to be really dedicated to shell out $400 for a knife that will have a poor handle with shrunken scales and gaps. That Mizuno Swedish is sounding pretty badass and those pics Malacara posted looke really good. If it were me I'd go with one of those and have a custom handle put on it, you'd still be under your $500 budget. Honestly, all the high end cleavers have good things about them. They just need some tweeking which can be a pain for such an expensive knife. I'd just look at all the ones out there and see which one speaks to you, if it has a crappy handle just budget for that and someone on the forum can hook you up with a custom.

One last thing semi off topic, I am disturbed by the amount of blade curvature I'm seeing on the Suiens coming out now. I personally prefer a flatter edge, so that's another thing to look out for.
Thanks for the input Andy. I'm leaning more and more towards a 210-220 Takeda. As I said, I really enjoy the octagonal wa handles, although I've yet to use one on a chuka. In your review over on Knifeforums you gave takeda's menkiri and chuka pretty high marks. Granted they're much more expensive now, but do you still think they hold up? And what was your experience with the wa versus traditional Chinese style round handles?
Btw- I just wanted to say thank you also for all the reviews you did over on Knifeforums. Very informative. You single handedly kick-started my cleaver addiction:)
 

Andy777

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Oh and one other thing regarding the menkiribocho. It's a great knife as are all Takedas, but it's probably over priced now IMHO. My big issue with it was that no matter how much I wanted it to be a cleaver it never was, it's a wierd nakiri cleaver thingamabob as has been mentioned. Plus it has a dead flat edge which will need at least a little sweep to it. The dead flat edge is way too jarring with the board. It did have a super fat spine, like maybe 4-5mm or more, and was light. Theoretically if you wanted a 22x8-9cm cleaver, and could find a good deal on a menkiri in that size, and it had some edge or you felt confident to add some, it could fit the bill.
 

brainsausage

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+1 on the flatter edge btw. And speaking of custom work... I figure this is as good a place as any to fish around for leads on custom chuka sayas... Anyone have any suggestions? Or mayhaps I should start a new thread?
 

brainsausage

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Just to clarify- I was referring to the flatter edge on the suien. I think we posted simultaneously... I've also heard others mention they had to work on the menkiri a little to get more suited to anything besides cutting noodles.
 

Andy777

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Thanks for the input Andy. I'm leaning more and more towards a 210-220 Takeda. As I said, I really enjoy the octagonal wa handles, although I've yet to use one on a chuka. In your review over on Knifeforums you gave takeda's menkiri and chuka pretty high marks. Granted they're much more expensive now, but do you still think they hold up? And what was your experience with the wa versus traditional Chinese style round handles?
Btw- I just wanted to say thank you also for all the reviews you did over on Knifeforums. Very informative. You single handedly kick-started my cleaver addiction:)
I really thought the menkiri was a killer knife, but I just personally slightly prefer a more standard cleaver shape. I never planned on selling it off, but when I started adopting the more minimalist approach to my collection it fell on the chopping block. I have been and will always be a huge Takeda fanboy. :D It's hard to say how "worth it" they are now that the price has increased 150% since I bought mine. I sold my Takeda a few weeks ago and I do miss it, maybe more than any cleaver I've sold in recent memory. Like I said earlier, my personal favorite route is to pick a blade that speaks to you and then add a custom handle. I do like wa handles on cleavers, but I think I prefer in the end a shorter handle. I do love the CCK handles but I like a slightly fatter version like the original on the Masahiro M3 (sans the horrible finish and huge gaps :) )



I made something similar (round and bulbous) for my Tatatsuna



But it's also hard to beat the style that the late great Fish perfected:



If the Takedas speak to you then go for it, you can always add a larger / smaller / shorter / fatter octagon handle or even a round one later more like the CCK style if you want.
 

Andy777

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+1 on the flatter edge btw. And speaking of custom work... I figure this is as good a place as any to fish around for leads on custom chuka sayas... Anyone have any suggestions? Or mayhaps I should start a new thread?
Just to clarify- I was referring to the flatter edge on the suien. I think we posted simultaneously... I've also heard others mention they had to work on the menkiri a little to get more suited to anything besides cutting noodles.
I haven't heard of anyone who does chuka sayas, that doesn't mean someone wouldn't be willing though. And yes, the menkiri will need some work, but it is a killer knife, just different is all.
 

The Edge

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If I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure Eamon Burke can make chuka sayas.
 
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