Kiri Cleaver vs Rectangular Cleaver

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Hobbyist / Craftsman
Jan 27, 2020
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For those who have used both the kiri cleavers (k-tip cleaver) and the more traditional rectangular ones, what are your thoughts on how they compare? I've been intrigued by progressively taller and taller gyutos, but I wonder at what point I should simply just get another rectangle instead of a sort of hybrid.
What I found was that taking away the weight at the tip took away from part of what makes cleavers fun, the weight. Makes them not drop through things as easily as a regular cleaver would. For me the right angle is plenty precise so having a k-tip is a bit redundant. All these things combined with the fact that most k-tip cleavers are in the 180mm range keeps them firmly in the "I really want to like this shape" category
Yeah, call me a purist, maybe, but I always look at these Kiri cleavers like a women who has too much plastic surgery. It just don’t look natural too me. Besides, what do I need a tip for on a cleaver like that. The tip is there at the bottom of the edge profile. It does what you need to do. It’s not like I’m taking out a cleaver to do something like silver skin.
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They're different, but certainly worth trying. I picked up the Tinker Tank below on BST and enjoy using it, even if not very often. The edge profile is different to more traditional Chinese cleavers, which I'd describe as tallest at the middle/belly, whereas the Tank is more like a bunka or gyuto - tallest at the heel and rising towards the tip. I overlaid this with a 180mm Mazaki KU gyuto and the edge profile was nearly identical.
The weight reduction at the tip is not really noticeable in actual use, at least in my experience - the nearly 350g of heft is certainly sufficient to drop through product. The neck and choil area is more like a bunka/gyuto as well - as opposed to the traditional cleaver stile with a short, thick handle butting right up to the blade. It is comfortable and well rounded/polished. Mine also has a subtle bit of forged geometry going on which helps with food release.
I haven't quite found what it excels at specifically, and don't use it all that often admittedly, but it is certainly fun for a change.
( I'm including the BST link as it had good photos).
Kiri cleaver seems to come in many shapes and sizes.. it appears to me that most profiles mirror more of a low tip gyuto or santoku profile, rather than a cleaver flat flat. Take from that all the (dis)advantages I suppose?

I find I use my kiri for more general tasks than the cleaver, which only comes out for medium harshness tasks. The giant pork knife only comes out for bones. So I guess I use it like a short gyuto when I would like a lot of weight concentrated into a short, slightly chubby edge. Monster petty? Basically when I want more power/less effort in small tasks not involving bones. And scoopiness.

although a direct comparison would be Chuka bocho vs kiri cleaver.. In this case, the reduced weight over the tip is really the only benefit, at the cost of scooping/scraping utility. I can pick out grape seeds easier with the kiri. There. One difference 🤣
There's something so satisfying about using a cleaver to do fine tip work like shallots and garlic. Almost like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole and then BAM it fits perfectly and you realized the hole was round the whole time. A tip would ruin that for me I think.