Meat/Bone Cleavers - Is Hardness a Liability?

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Konig9402

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I'm looking to add either a Sugimoto #22 or a CCK Bone Chopper (KF1602) to my existing collection of a Sugimoto #6 and Sugimoto SF4030.

Noting that at this point that a Sugimoto #22 is almost five times the price of the CCK at this point for a blade where sharpness is hardly critical, I find it unjustifiable to get the Sugimoto #22 but want it all the same.

However, assuming the Sugimoto #22 is White #2, or otherwise in the ballpark of HRC 62-63, and the CCK is HRC 58 or lower, is the superior hardness of the Sugimoto actually a liability when hacking at bones and using the knife as a blunt instrument? Wouldn't the CCK and its relative softness actually be more performant in this case, being less likely to chip?
 

Knife.Knut

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All I can tell you is that I have owned CCK bone choppers in stainless and carbon steels and never chipped one ever. One just has to look at its dominance in kitchens all over Asia to know that's the one to go for. Honestly, at its price point and for what it does, I don't need to look elsewhere. It is unglamorous and unheralded work. LOL!
 

Benuser

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Western soft steel bone cleavers hardly have an edge. They are very rounded to avoid splintering. Am curious about the grinding of their Japanese equivalents.
 

deltaplex

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Western soft steel bone cleavers hardly have an edge. They are very rounded to avoid splintering. Am curious about the grinding of their Japanese equivalents.
I'll see if I can get down to clean up the edge on my Itinomonn tonight, then snap some pics.
 

Pie

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I think if you’re smashing bone, the cheaper, softer alternative would be the better choice.

I like to think of my cleaver as indestructible, and use it as such. If there’s even an inkling of worry when using a cleaver, I feel as if its’ core purpose has been compromised.

CCK steel is both very agreeable on stones and tough as nails.
 
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Of my 8 cleavers, the CCK 1602 is the one I use for any bone chopping. In fact, I used it yesterday to break down chicken wings. I prefer to save the thinner Chinese slicing cleavers that include CCK carbons and stainless, along with a custom VG10, a 52100, and an AS, for their intended muscle and veg slicing and smashing purposes.

IMO, that 1602 is a tool to have for cutting through bones and at a reasonable price.
 

M1k3

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Geometry and steel hardness both play a role.
 

Delat

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I have a Chicago Cutlery heavy cleaver that I bought 40+ years ago, when I was a obsessive duck hunter. Head and wings were no match for it, currently it is a great garlic smasher.

I think I have the same one, I use it for cracking open lobster and crab, and chopping up tough blocks of dark chocolate. Ugly, tough, and heavy but indestructible. Split one of my poly cutting boards clean in half when I swung a little too enthusiastically at a ridiculously tough dog treat my wife wanted cut in half.
 
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So I don’t have any cleaver experience, but I am a Teppanyaki Chef. I use a Takeda on the grill because it’s got a lot of edge support behind the edge and makes it harder to chip. If it was super thin behind the edge it wouldn’t work as well.

thicker steel, harder to chip
 

Konig9402

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For anyone who happens upon this thread in the future while researching the Sugimoto No. 22, here is a (hard to find) video showing the dimensions and weight:

 

Konig9402

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All,

After much research, I've decided to go for the Sugimoto #22 over the CCK 1602 "Bone Chopper".

I had the rare privilege today to try the heavy-duty CCK cleavers in person, namely the CCK 1602 "Bone Chopper", the CCK 1503 "BBQ Chopper" and CCK 1411 "Kau Kong Chopper". Here are my thoughts.

I was disappointed with how CCK 1602 balanced relative to the CCK 1503 "BBQ" cleaver. While both knives were of similar weight in the 850g to 900g range and both were obviously front-heavy, the CCK 1602 has a longer but shorter blade (228mm x 100mm; a ratio of 2.28x) that seemed harder to control when whacking bone-in chicken. In comparison, the CCK 1503 with a taller blade of similar length (235mm x 125mm; ratio of 1.88x) was a much more balanced experience and let me exert force much more effectively. My theory is that the increased height and decreased length puts the center of gravity closer to your hand despite the same weight, and therefore the momentum of the knife feels less like an uncontrolled swing and more precise. Your mileage may vary, but I find the CCK 1503 much more ergonomic, but a much harder knife to find.

For posterity and for anyone picking between the heavier duty CCK offerings, the CCK 1411 is not in the same league as either the CCK 1503 or CCK 1602 in terms of robustness, thickness or size. The CCK 1411 is a medium-weight cleaver (650-700g) that is likely to be fine with the occasional small bones or fish bones, and generally matches the class of the likes of a Sugimoto #7 as a chopper, but is a compromise and not a knife that someone who already has a general purpose slicing cleaver (e.g. Sugimoto #6) or chopping cleaver (e.g. Sugimoto #7) should consider for dedicated or sustained bone work. This said, for many who have a smaller general-purpose slicing cleaver (e.g. CCK 1303, Sugimoto CM4030 or SF4030) who only occasionally deal with small bones, the CCK 1411 may be suitable for you.

In the end, I went with none of these CCK offerings, because in spite of the cost, I prefer the ergonomics, white steel and the general aesthetics of the Sugimoto. The Sugimoto #22 is 200mm x 110mm, a ratio of 1.81x, and so fits the exact profile of the CCK 1503. Handling the CCKs confirmed my preference for the 1.80x-2.00x profiles.

I will do a review of the Sugimoto #22, along with my Sugimoto #6 and Sugimoto SF4030 in due course in a separate thread.

* Edited for additional thoughts *
 
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Pie

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All, after much research, I've decided to go for the Sugimoto #22 over the CCK 1602 "Bone Chopper".

I got the chance today to try the CCK 1602 in person and was disappointed with how the knife balanced relative to another CCK heavy-duty cleaver, the CCK 1503 "BBQ" cleaver. While both knives were of similar weight in the 850g to 900g range and both were obviously front-heavy, the CCK 1602 has a longer but shorter blade (228mm x 100mm; a ratio of 2.28x) that seemed harder to control when whacking bone-in chicken. In comparison, the CCK 1503 with a taller blade of similar length (235mm x 125mm; ratio of 1.88x) was a much more balanced experience and let me exert force much more effectively. Your mileage may vary, but I find the CCK 1503 much more ergonomic, but sadly a much harder knife to find.

In the end, I went with neither of these, because in spite of the cost, I prefer the steel and the general aesthetics of the Sugimoto. The Sugimoto #22 is 200mm x 110mm, a ratio of 1.81x, and so fits the exact profile of the CCK 1503. Handling the CCKs confirmed my preference for the 1.80x-2.00x profiles.

I will do a review of the Sugimoto #22, along with my Sugimoto #6 and Sugimoto SF4030 in due course in a separate thread.
I’m a little awed at how you have quantified your preferences and how analytical it all is. A great purchase.

Sadly I just see “iron clad” and press buy it now 🤣
 

Konig9402

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There is such a dearth of information on the (English-language) internet about the relative performance of popular Chinese cleavers, so I hope I have contributed to the yapping scholarship of such knives.

To circle back and close the loop on the title of this thread and my initial question, I continue to believe that a high HRC white steel offers little to no benefit than an average HRC carbon steel for a heavy-weight cleaver of this class, but am persuaded that whether high HRC white steel is more prone to chipping is dependent on the grind profile and the thickness behind the edge, as a few of you have mentioned above. I will find out.
 
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All,

After much research, I've decided to go for the Sugimoto #22 over the CCK 1602 "Bone Chopper".

I had the rare privilege today to try the heavy-duty CCK cleavers in person, namely the CCK 1602 "Bone Chopper", the CCK 1503 "BBQ Chopper" and CCK 1411 "Kau Kong Chopper". Here are my thoughts.

I was disappointed with how CCK 1602 balanced relative to the CCK 1503 "BBQ" cleaver. While both knives were of similar weight in the 850g to 900g range and both were obviously front-heavy, the CCK 1602 has a longer but shorter blade (228mm x 100mm; a ratio of 2.28x) that seemed harder to control when whacking bone-in chicken. In comparison, the CCK 1503 with a taller blade of similar length (235mm x 125mm; ratio of 1.88x) was a much more balanced experience and let me exert force much more effectively. My theory is that the increased height and decreased length puts the center of gravity closer to your hand despite the same weight, and therefore the momentum of the knife feels less like an uncontrolled swing and more precise. Your mileage may vary, but I find the CCK 1503 much more ergonomic, but a much harder knife to find.

For posterity and for anyone picking between the heavier duty CCK offerings, the CCK 1411 is not in the same league as either the CCK 1503 or CCK 1602 in terms of robustness, thickness or size. The CCK 1411 is a medium-weight cleaver (650-700g) that is likely to be fine with the occasional small bones or fish bones, and generally matches the class of the likes of a Sugimoto #7 as a chopper, but is a compromise and not a knife that someone who already has a general purpose slicing cleaver (e.g. Sugimoto #6) or chopping cleaver (e.g. Sugimoto #7) should consider for dedicated or sustained bone work. This said, for many who have a smaller general-purpose slicing cleaver (e.g. CCK 1303, Sugimoto CM4030 or SF4030) who only occasionally deal with small bones, the CCK 1411 may be suitable for you.

In the end, I went with none of these CCK offerings, because in spite of the cost, I prefer the ergonomics, white steel and the general aesthetics of the Sugimoto. The Sugimoto #22 is 200mm x 110mm, a ratio of 1.81x, and so fits the exact profile of the CCK 1503. Handling the CCKs confirmed my preference for the 1.80x-2.00x profiles.

I will do a review of the Sugimoto #22, along with my Sugimoto #6 and Sugimoto SF4030 in due course in a separate thread.

* Edited for additional thoughts *
I have a CCK 1411 I used for chopping chicken bones when making stock. Worked fine for that but later I tried to chop beef ribs for a different stock. Dinged the blade up pretty bad. So the question might be what kind of bones do you intend to chop?
 

Konig9402

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I have a CCK 1411 I used for chopping chicken bones when making stock. Worked fine for that but later I tried to chop beef ribs for a different stock. Dinged the blade up pretty bad. So the question might be what kind of bones do you intend to chop?

That's definitely the right question and thanks for corroborating with your experience using the CK 1411.

Just to make sure there is no ambiguity, *none* of the cleavers above, whether the CCKs or Sugimoto, are suitable for pork or beef bones with significant density or, I think, a thickness beyond 2.5-3 cm. All of the foregoing cleavers tend only to be ideal for chicken or duck bones.
 
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Get a big soft one for beef and pork bones. I have tried several American, German, and Chinese ones. The one I have kept is from a Chinese grocery store. I don't use it often but when I need it I'm really glad I have it. It's a beast and could probably handle anything you wanted to chop.

PXL_20220320_203033772.jpg


PXL_20220320_203139445.jpg
 

chefwp

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I'm looking to add either a Sugimoto #22 or a CCK Bone Chopper (KF1602) to my existing collection of a Sugimoto #6
Off the subject. I am looking to maybe upgrade my cleaver situation. I have a CCK 1103 (230mm), and am looking at a Suugimoto #6. What do you think of yours? Would this be a decent upgrade in your opinion? It looks like it has more belly than my CCK, this is the one thing that makes me hesitant.
 
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