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Suien VC Cleaver profile.

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mateo

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Hello! I currently have a CCK 1102, and like the size, weight and edge profile. What I don't care for is the cheap handle and, more importantly, the steel. It doesn't hold an edge for very long and I'd like to upgrade to a cleaver with better steel.

I have a question to those that own them though, is how is the profile? Looking at JapaneseKnifeImports photos it looks too curved, while the JCK website looks like a much flatter profile, which is what I am looking for. So, which is it? Or has the knife changed over time, or is there a lot of variation in the batches? I also saw some photos that Andy777 posted a long time ago (that I can't seem to find now) with the Suien on top of the CCK 1103, and that seemed to show the Suien as having a pretty flat profile. So, owners -- what is it? I don't think I would want to flatten the curve as it is also 5-10mm shorter than the CCK I have now. Any thoughts?
 

Potato42

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I don't own one so I'm not sure of the current profile, but I have a word of caution for someone coming from a CCK. The knife you have, is thin. I've handled a good number of cleavers and the CCK's are definitely the laserbeams, but as you noted the steel is not super great and the handles are passable. This means that if you were to get a suien or some other #6 cleaver, it will almost certainly be heavier and thicker. This is not really a bad thing, as a well made knife will still glide through food just as easily. The extra weight also helps the edge fall right through food.

Just keep in mind that when going beyond the CCK they look and feel a little different.
 

echerub

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Very true about the CCKs being super-thin. I haven't used a Suien VC, but I have a few very nice cleavers that handle great, feel great, cut great but aren't as thin or as light as a CCK. I don't know what's out there that matches the CCK in terms of weight but with better steel.
 

mainaman

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Suien, is very nice cleaver. As far as I remember mine , it was not that thick it is lighter than standard #6.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that they have more belly than usual.
 

Cnimativ

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Sugimoto and CCK handles are far superior in usage compare to those fancy ho and yo handles. But ho and yo handles make excellent display.
 

mikemac

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I have CCK 12xx & 13xx, and have never had/held a Suien....That said there is usually much more variation in the appearance of web photos than there is in the actual knives, so hopefully a few Suien owners will jump in and describe their profiles. And if handles (and F&F) are generally considered an after thought thru out J-knife production, handles on cleavers are truely the red headed step child...

To improve the edge retention on your CCK, try sharpening at a higher angle...pretty sure this is not hi-end J steel quality & hardness...
 

echerub

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I find the nicer wa handles on other cleavers quite nice, actually. A little more comfortable than the CCK one, but that's primarily because of the stamped metal ferrule on the CCK rather than the handle itself. But the CCK handle (and ferrule) are perfectly acceptable for use, I think.
 

Rottman

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Here's a tracing of the Suien next to a ruler for comparison:
 

mateo

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Thanks for the replies... I'm not too concerned with the handle that much -- what I most dislike about it are the 4 "rings" that are in the handle. My first sharpening I grabbed the knife with stone/muddy hands and now the rings are nicely stained! It doesn't affect the function of the knife, it just looks dirty all the time.

I am much more concerned about the steel and the profile, so I am hoping some owners of both will comment!
 

Cadillac J

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I don't have my Suien anymore, but here are some older pics. It wasn't a flat profile like the CCKs look to be.

The Kagayaki next to it also had a round profile when I first got it, and I had to put in a lot of work flattening it out to the pic below. Not sure if I'd want to do that again though.


 

malacara

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Sorry for Hijacking the post a bit.

I don´t have a Suien nor CCK so I can´t comment on this but I am considering buying my first carbon cleaver (thinking of Sugimoto nº6) and I am also worried about the edge profile of this as I recently read a post on another forum where a member (CCKdisciple) complainted about the curved edge of his Sugimoto. I have seen old pics of this cleaver and it seems pretty flat.

I do like flat cleavers and I wouldn´t want to spend that money in one that it is not. Has anyone bought a Sugi recently and can comment? I would appreciate it.
 

Cnimativ

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Sorry for Hijacking the post a bit.

I don´t have a Suien nor CCK so I can´t comment on this but I am considering buying my first carbon cleaver (thinking of Sugimoto nº6) and I am also worried about the edge profile of this as I recently read a post on another forum where a member (CCKdisciple) complainted about the curved edge of his Sugimoto. I have seen old pics of this cleaver and it seems pretty flat.

I do like flat cleavers and I wouldn´t want to spend that money in one that it is not. Has anyone bought a Sugi recently and can comment? I would appreciate it.
Most Chinese cleaver, if properly made, should have a slight belly to the edge profile. If you really want a dead flat cleaver, maybe consider a Menkiri or grind a cleaver to a flat profile?
 

Potato42

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He might not mean perfectly flat. I like just a slight bit of belly on mine, but far less than what you seen in the suien profile. Besides, it's probably easier to grind a bit of belly into a perfectly flat cleaver than to make straight a very curvy one.
 

Cnimativ

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Moritaka looks pretty flat to me but only seen it in pictures
 

malacara

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He might not mean perfectly flat. I like just a slight bit of belly on mine, but far less than what you seen in the suien profile.
That´s exactly what I meant. I like a bit of belly on my cleavers as well but not as much as the Suien (and I dont know if also the Sugimoto) looks to have.
 

Seb

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Moritaka and Ashi Hamono take custom orders. If you say 'make it flat' they will make it flat. If I'm not mistaken, Moritaka's timeframe for filling an order is around two months; Ashi Hamono will finish it in less than a fortnight (that's about how long mine took). With Moritaka, you only get a choice between Blue#2 and Blue Super but with Ashi you can choose either White#2 or Swedish Stainless.
 

mateo

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Hmm... thanks for the replies... I think I might have to ditch the budget and spend the refund on something a little different :)

What we need is someone to take scale photos of knife profiles and put them into a database for comparison! Any ways, maybe I'll have to check out the Mizuno Tanrenjo cleaver... it's a beautiful knife.
 

malacara

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mateo

What we need is someone to take scale photos of knife profiles and put them into a database for comparison! Any ways, maybe I'll have to check out the Mizuno Tanrenjo cleaver... it's a beautiful knife.
I have got the Swedish steel Mizuno and it is an amazing cleaver, it is pretty flat and also extremely thin. It feels just right on the hand.
 

mateo

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I have got the Swedish steel Mizuno and it is an amazing cleaver, it is pretty flat and also extremely thin. It feels just right on the hand.
Yeah, that's the #6 right? It looks like (on JCK) that both the carbon and Swedish are #6, but the carbon has more belly to it. I'm not considering stainless for this, especially after hearing Andy's absolutely glowing review of Mizuno's carbon steel (10.5 out of 10 on his scale :p) -- the cleaver-master also gave the Mizuno a 9.5 for edge profile, while the Suien got 7.5, I'm assuming that's because of the big belly. Either way, Suien to Mizuno = big step up in $$...
 

Cnimativ

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What does the #6 mean? Sharing the same blade profile w/ Sugimoto #6?
 

mainaman

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What does the #6 mean? Sharing the same blade profile w/ Sugimoto #6?
I think it is related to the type of the cleaver (slicer, chopper, meat cleaver), and weight, does not have anything to do with profile.
 

mikemac

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I think Andy777 has a nice that method that takes some of the size variation out of cleaver classifications...look at gr/cm2.
I've looked at #6 slicers that seem to vary in size from 95 to 110 tall, and 210 to 240 in length, and then there's taper.

FWIW - I've had the opportunity to bounce into Action Sales in Alhambra a few times lately - this place easily has 1000 woks over 20" on the sales floor. It has to be the walk in asian restaurant supply in LA County. In cleavers, they probably had over 100 CCK's = BUT nothing in the 11xx series, only 12xx and above.

For Slicers in the #6 size it was all about the Dexter Russell Connoisseur large size in SS
 

jaybett

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Some companies, Sugimoto, Mizuno, use the number 6 do designate a slicing cleaver. Number 7 is a chopping cleaver, which is a bit of misnomer. A better term would be 'all purpose'. Moritaka uses the term 'all mighty', to describe their chopping cleaver. Tojiro uses their own numbering system. Some manufactures just list size and weight. This is when Andy777's system, helps identify the cleaver type.

Jay
 

jaybett

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Yeah, that's the #6 right? It looks like (on JCK) that both the carbon and Swedish are #6, but the carbon has more belly to it. I'm not considering stainless for this, especially after hearing Andy's absolutely glowing review of Mizuno's carbon steel (10.5 out of 10 on his scale :p) -- the cleaver-master also gave the Mizuno a 9.5 for edge profile, while the Suien got 7.5, I'm assuming that's because of the big belly. Either way, Suien to Mizuno = big step up in $$...
I'd still recommend getting the Suien, to try out a full size cleaver in Japanese steel, to find out if you like the size and weight. The Suien will do most of what the higher end cleavers can do. The price is right and you can always sell it, if it doesn't work out.

The Mizuno has more belly then the Suien. It is a larger cleaver, mine is 235mm, but it is surprisingly light. Mizuno steel has a reputation on the In the Kitchen forum as being very hard. I don't own other blue steel knives, so I can't compare. In my hands the steel feels tough, I feel that I can cut any type of food without having to worry about the edge.

Curtis posted his pm's he had with Andy, about his experience with the Mizuno, over on ITK. Andy also posted his own experiences and review.

Over the past few years, cleavers have gotten really expensive, along with all the other high end knives. When Andy started, he picked up his Takeda's for around $200, a few years later I got one for $350.00, now they are being sold for $500. The Mizuno was around $300.00, when I picked it up. Now its getting close to $400.00. Ironically the knife pointed out in his review as being on the expensive side, the Sugimoto #6 has maintained its price, and is the one I'd recommend, as a high end knife.

The Sugimoto has it all, its the right size, so its quick and nimble. The handle is the most comfortable on a stock cleaver.
The spine is rounded. The distal taper starts an inch away from the handle, my thumb and finger naturally rest on this spot, giving the cleaver a locked in feel. The distal taper is nice, the front end, does well with slicing, while the back end has enough heft to go through thicker foods. It is a very easy knife to sharpen, takes a keen edge, and holds it a long time.

The ultimate slicing cleaver would be from Butch. He has a reputation for making a thin knife. A few years ago, he collaborated with Andy and came up with the ideal slicing cleaver. For a thin, but heavier cleaver, I'd suggest Murray Carter. Again Andy placed an order with Murray, so I don't know if it was his specs, but the cleaver has what I'd consider to be the ideal profile. Curved at the tip, but flat at the heal.

Hope this helps,

Jay
 

joec

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I've had a number of cleavers from CCK (3 different styles from thin to the bone buster BBQ), Suien VC, Takeda, Sugimoto, Forum Cleaver, Dexter, Tarhong Wan Woo Knife (cleaver), Shun and a Masahiro M3. I even have a bone buster from the 1903 Worlds Fair (great grandmothers). At any rate I got extremely lucky with the Masahiro M3 as they are a turkey shoot as to what one will get. I got a perfect one and love it. I rate the Suien VC and Masahiro equals in both steel though I have fish handles on both. The Takeda is also in their ranks as is however I was really disappointed in the Sugimoto I got and rate the rest as simply OK for a home cook. The only Suien I've lusted for is Andy's VG10 version but never got him to sell it to me so I bought the Forum VG10 and also rate it just below my top three picks. Those 3 I rotate regularly using the VG10 for stuff such as high acid stuff. I would be hard pressed to sell any of the top 4 regardless.
 

jaybett

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The Takeda is also in their ranks as is however I was really disappointed in the Sugimoto I got and rate the rest as simply OK for a home cook.
If you want to say that the used Sugimoto #6, that you picked up from a member off of In the Kitchen was a messed up , is a fair statement. The person who sold it, admitted that he changed the bevels to hack up chickens.

You don't have a basis to imply that there is something wrong with the whole line of Sugimotos. A number of us have found them to be an excellent knife.

Jay
 

joec

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If you want to say that the used Sugimoto #6, that you picked up from a member off of In the Kitchen was a messed up , is a fair statement. The person who sold it, admitted that he changed the bevels to hack up chickens.

You don't have a basis to imply that there is something wrong with the whole line of Sugimotos. A number of us have found them to be an excellent knife.

Jay
I didn't say anything about the whole line as I stated the one I had was a real disappointment. The same can be said for the M3 as I've seen several and some actually are a thick as a bone buster while others are thin with a great profile. I don't put down the whole line of any knife/style/maker. When I post an opinion it is always in regards to what I own/have owned only and only in regards to what I found with those own blades. I hope that is clearer to you Jay.
 

Cadillac J

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Is it weird that for the last few years, whenever I hear/see the word "cleaver", I've always pictured a turtle with a pirate's patch on one eye in my mind?
 

Cnimativ

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Some companies, Sugimoto, Mizuno, use the number 6 do designate a slicing cleaver. Number 7 is a chopping cleaver, which is a bit of misnomer. A better term would be 'all purpose'. Moritaka uses the term 'all mighty', to describe their chopping cleaver. Tojiro uses their own numbering system. Some manufactures just list size and weight. This is when Andy777's system, helps identify the cleaver type.

Jay
How about no.30?

It's much easier to know a knife's purpose in Chinese with proper naming. Instead of an all encompassing name of 'cleaver'.

BTW, price appreciation of these knives are mild if you compare to the JPYUSD exchange rate. The dollar has been steadily declining for decades and accelerated dramatically since '09.
 

jaybett

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I didn't say anything about the whole line as I stated the one I had was a real disappointment. The same can be said for the M3 as I've seen several and some actually are a thick as a bone buster while others are thin with a great profile. I don't put down the whole line of any knife/style/maker. When I post an opinion it is always in regards to what I own/have owned only and only in regards to what I found with those own blades. I hope that is clearer to you Jay.
Often when there was a positive post about Sugimoto, typically you respond with a glib comment that your Sugimoto was a disappointment. The problem is that to date you have not been able to come up with a reason why the Sugimoto was a disappointment. In the past when I've asked for more details, you have either been evasive or defensive.

In the end, it comes out that your Sugimoto was screwed up, by the previous owner, who posted that he changed the bevels so he could chop up chickens. After all the effort you and Dave put into the knife, the problem was unable to be fixed.

How can you form an opinion on a knife that came to you with problems? How is any of this Sugimoto's fault?

Jay
 
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