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Cleaver: What about weight?

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Peco

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Been looking at a few cleavers and noticed that they weigh from 300-600g. Any cleaver users that can give some feedback about weight - pros and cons ... 500g + seems to be heavy or? Might use this for several hours a day, don't wanna be fatigued within an hour :scared4:

Do you guys favor Stainless or would Shirogami 2 be a good choice as well?

Thanks
 

jm2hill

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I have the CCK Large. Not sure of the weight but the first couple weeks of using it (maybe 5 hours a week) it was a bit sore on the wrist. This involved more then just the weight, it was also the new grip.

This is on the cheaper variety cleaver so I would say stainless. If I was to get a good one Semi-stainless clad would be the choice. I'm a carbon sucker but with a large cleaver I'd be nervous of the top rusting if it wasn't clad.
 

kalaeb

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I am a light weight so I tend to stick to the smaller cleavers. I like mine around the 300g to 350 g. I have never had a problem with carbon cleavers, they do take some getting used to, but IMO they are well worth the effort.
 

slowtyper

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Any good links on how to effectively use a cleaver? Gonna get some for fun but have never used one.
 

Eamon Burke

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Never gets old...
:popcorn:


[video=youtube;zs5WiddD7i0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs5WiddD7i0[/video]

:hungry: :hungry: :hungry:
 

JohnnyChance

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Any good links on how to effectively use a cleaver? Gonna get some for fun but have never used one.
[video=youtube;1rUoxxQBeQk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rUoxxQBeQk&feature=player_detailpage[/video]

And a link for those who can't see embedded videos.
 

tgraypots

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So far, I'm well pleased with my small CCK slicer. I may upgrade to something else later, hopefully one I've made myself, but for now it has served me well. Cleavers are a whole lot of fun to use. Look at all the fun Martin Yan has :) Here's a pic of mine right after I pimped it -- buffalo horn ferrule, ironwood and brass pin. The kiln gloves were just there.
 

tgraypots

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Thanks kalaeb. It was fun, my first attempt at any project like this and full of flaws. But, they were my mistakes, and part of the learning curve. BTW, that movie clip came from a 1994 movie, Eat Drink Man Woman. I think I'll DL it tonight from amazon video on demand.
 
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mainaman

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I like cleavers for veggies prep only, I found out the 450-500 g ones are a bit too heavy for my liking.
I got a custom Ashi Hamono that is 400 g in white 2 and works perfect for me.
 

mateo

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My Kono #6 is 490g... which I was a little worried about initially, but now when I pick up my gyuto (which is a Yoshikane -- not at all known for being lasers) it feels... so small. I don't find I get tired with long cutting sessions, it's all about how you move -- don't cut with the wrist, use you elbow and shoulder more.
 

jaybett

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There are a number of ways cleavers are divided, slicing, chopping, thin, all purpose. I find the most helpful to be by edge type, thin, medium, and thick. Equivalent gyutos would be, thin or lazer, all-purpose or work horse for medium. A Western Deba would be similar to a thick edge cleaver. The most popular cleaver type, is the thin edge, slicing cleaver.

The size and weight of a cleaver are the common complaint of people who don't care for them. Its the size and weight are what makes a cleaver work. The height of a cleaver aligns the wrist and forearm, so that the larger muscles of the forearm can be used. That's why it can be less fatiguing to use a cleaver then a gyuto.

The height acts as a edge guide. As long as the edge doesn't get lifted above the first knuckle, then it is almost impossible to get cut. It is much easier to make a straight horizontal cut with a cleaver then a gyuto, because the blade doesn't get lost in the food. Board management is easy with a cleaver. Usually I can clear the board with one pass with a cleaver, it can take up to three or four passes with a gyuto.

The biggest objection to cleaver is the weight. The weight of a cleaver assists in making the cut. Placed on top of food, the lightest pressure should make the cut. Most of the energy used with a cleaver is lifting up the blade. The movements of a cleaver are generally small, so it ends up being an efficient way to cut.

Most of the problems people have with a cleaver can be traced back to the grip. The pinch grip on a cleaver usually does not work. The blade of a cleaver is held between the forefinger and thumb. While I've seen videos of people who curl up there forefinger against the blade, I get better results when I extend my thumb and forefinger down the blade. Best control comes when I extend my index finger down the blade, sort of an upside down peace sign. In the above video Andy demonstrates both grips.

The other issue with cleavers is that people don't give themselves enough time to learn how to use them. For people who have grown up with western style knifes, the cleaver is an odd knife. It takes about a month to just get comfortable with a cleaver. Even after using cleavers for five years, I don't know if they will ever feel natural, the way a gyuto does.

I do feel that learning to use a full size cleaver 220 x 110mm, in the 400-600 gram range has improved my knife skills. All gyutos feel very small in my hands. Plus the control I learned on cleavers has transferred over to gyutos.

Jay
 

jm2hill

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I do feel that learning to use a full size cleaver 220 x 110mm, in the 400-600 gram range has improved my knife skills. All gyutos feel very small in my hands. Plus the control I learned on cleavers has transferred over to gyutos.
+1

My first gyuto was 210 and it felt large in my hands. My Yanagiba was 270 and I thought WTH I can't use that. Now it feels small. Cleavers can help you learn and hone your knife skills because for the most part they are something new. New grip, new technique. It will, after using it for a while, make larger knives feel much more stable and enjoyable in your hands.
 

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