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carbon steel chinese cleaver

f
flies Jun 20, 2008 09:22 AM

i want a chinese cleaver mainly for veggies, and it seems like carbon steel would be a better bet than stainless since i want to go cheap.

Here are two items that i think look good.

http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/cleavers/vegetable-cleaver.html

and

http://www.centralchef.com/storefront...

the bottom one has full tang, which is nice.

ur thoughts? i'm happy to know about particular knives or whether you think carbon is a good idea, etc etc. I would be willing to spend up to $50.

  1. scubadoo97 Jun 20, 2008 10:48 AM

    Do you have experience with a cleaver? I have never developed proficiency with one compared to a gyuto or nakiri. Remember a carbon steel can form rust in a short time if left wet. Once patina develops it will show down the reaction time but it will still require increased maintenance over a stainless blade.

    7 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97
      f
      flies Jun 20, 2008 11:00 AM

      no, i haven't used a cleaver (aside from a meat cleaver).

      I think i can handle the carbon steel.

      I was thinking of a nakiri as well, but i was worried about a few things. one, that it would be hard to find something decent in my budget. two, that japanese knives require special handling i'm unfamiliar with. I think a nakiri might be more familiar in my hand but i think i could learn to use the cleaver. I've been getting in to the quick knuckle-guided chop recently and I want something with a wide, flat blade.

      1. re: flies
        scubadoo97 Jun 20, 2008 11:40 AM

        scroll through and you will find a few in your price range

        http://www.japanwoodworker.com/dept.a...

        1. re: scubadoo97
          f
          flies Jun 23, 2008 07:13 AM

          i decided that a nakiri just isn't wide enough. I went to Korin over the weekend and tried a few out. They had 2 chinese style cleavers which i liked a lot better. The lighter one was much more to my liking.

          while i was there I bought this for a friend's wedding:http://www.korin.com/product.php?pid=...

          1. re: flies
            scubadoo97 Jun 23, 2008 08:15 AM

            The Tojiro DPs are excellent knives and for the money are a great buy. I have the 240mm gyuto as well as a 150 honesuki and 270 sujihiki. It was good that you could go in and try them. I got all my Tojiros from Korin.

        2. re: flies
          y
          Y.T. Jun 24, 2008 12:39 AM

          i got a pretty decent nakiri (cant remember how much i paid for it but i think it was quite cheap) in some random chinese store in bkln, i also got an awesome cleaver for as little as $20, i think its stainless steel, its easy to sharpen and it holds its edge nicely. u might want to check ur local chinese stores 1st.

        3. re: scubadoo97
          t
          texascarl Jun 23, 2008 03:56 PM

          I like my old cheapo Chinese cleavers, recommend them as good QPR. Here's a tip - when I buy any new carbon steel blade I rub mustard all over the blade, put it into a plastic produce bag or wrap it with plastic wrap. Let that sit overnight, wash the mustard off in 24 hours or so. Instant patina. I also find the Norton ''india' stone gives a great 'toothy' edge on most 1095 carbon steel knives if you can freehand sharpen. Norton India stones are recommended by Jerry Fisk for his carbon knives, and a 'national treasure' knifemakers suggestions are good enough for me.

          1. re: texascarl
            t
            texascarl Jun 24, 2008 04:25 AM

            You did see the less expensive carbon cleavers at the Wok Shop, yes?

            http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/...

            I can vouch for the No. 1 from that site and one of my friends raves about the Dexter-Russel.

        4. Alacrity59 Jun 20, 2008 12:55 PM

          Lee Valley www.leevalley.com has a stainless cleaver for less than $20. I bought one a couple of years ago. It's nice when I'm chopping a lot of veg.

          1. d
            daeira Jun 20, 2008 10:16 PM

            Personally, I prefer the the stainless steel full cleaver with metal handle because I get a better grip with it for my own hand (shown in the wokshop's link above your own under "stainless steel cleaver"). The lightness of the cleaver makes for better maneuverability and chopping. Plus, I've found that it's very easy to clean when there aren't small ridges and dents in which dirt and grease can collect. The one I use is from my mom which she used for 30 some years so it's durable.

            3 Replies
            1. re: daeira
              Alacrity59 Jun 21, 2008 11:47 AM

              I don't see it in the link above mine (I am book marking Japan Wood Worker! nice site) The one from Lee Valley does have a steel handle. Maybe you were looking at my link.

              1. re: Alacrity59
                d
                daeira Jun 21, 2008 04:03 PM

                Sorry Alacrity. I was actually referring to OP's original post which gave the wokshop link. The type of cleaver I use is located in the link above the one the OP gave from the wokshop

                1. re: daeira
                  JenBoes Jun 23, 2008 08:35 AM

                  I have the same stainless steel cleaver from the Wok Shop (with metal handle) and I love it. I think it is a great value.

            2. s
              soupkitten Jun 23, 2008 08:38 AM

              the normal cleaver in the wokshop link is overpriced. you can get that item for under $10 in an asian grocery store. it is commonly used in restaurants, & is very durable. it is a good all-purpose tool but i like it for butchering poultry and small animals. if you are not used to working with a cleaver, for veg i would go with a lighter, basic japanese-style veg knife, which you can also find in the same store for under $20. i am not sure where the op is from, but my advice would be to browse the biggest local asian grocer in a nearby metropolis and get a feel for the knives in your hand before you buy. of course, i also advocate saving up money and getting the best knives you can afford, but i still use these cheap carbon steel knives regularly and there is nothing wrong with them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: soupkitten
                d
                daeira Jun 23, 2008 08:39 PM

                I'm with soupkitten on this. In my Chinatown, you can get a Chinese cleaver for under $10. It's important to get a feel for the cleaver and judge whether you're comfortable with the weight, grip and general feel of the knife. Since I have a small hand, I often find that the knives recommended by others are simply uncomfortable for me to grip. I'd recommend that if you're going to use a Chinese cleaver to also use it on a wood chopping/cutting board. I really don't like the way a cleaver cuts on glass or plastic and have found that wood provides the best textured surface.

              2. f
                flies Jun 23, 2008 08:50 AM

                so i think i'm about to buy the central chef one i linked to. I think it'll be a bit lighter.

                1. r
                  rerem Jul 12, 2008 05:03 AM

                  A fairly good Japanese Nakiri or Usaba carbon knife will tend to be a harder steel and so can get sharper.

                  The classic Chinatown cleaver is the CCK which is an above average steel. Alas..it's near impossible to buy on line. Most Chinese cleavers takle a decent edge but need to be sharpened often. I got a Lamson which is USA made stainless and more comfortable to use more than a few minutes. It holds it's edge well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rerem
                    w
                    will47 Jul 12, 2008 03:07 PM

                    See this post and the post two down from it for some possible sources.... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/50256...

                  2. b
                    blubryscone Jul 8, 2010 08:44 AM

                    I've been hearing a lot of people telling to buy a cleaver from your Asian market.
                    Does anyone know of a good place in the Philadelphia region? There's a large Chinatown in Center-City, but most of the places I have seen sell mostly produce, not knives.

                    I was also looking into a nakiri, but can't find one that's inexpensive.

                    Since I'm already asking a couple questions in one post, what is the main difference between a Chinese cleaver and a knife like a nakiri or usuba (i do know that the usuba is single bevel where the nakiri is double)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: blubryscone
                      w
                      will47 Jul 8, 2010 09:04 AM

                      The Chinese cleavers are usually taller, and often thinner, than a usuba; a nakiri to me often is kind of like a short cleaver. Keep in mind that, while they all look pretty similar, there are big differences between the cleavers designed for cutting meat / bone vs. those designed for general purpose cutting / slicing.

                      A big Asian supermarket will have some sort of cleaver, but often not the ones used by professional chefs, same way you usually won't see good quality knives at a Western supermarket. I would try to find somewhere that sells the CCK or Dexter Russell ones - maybe a kitchen supply store, or just order online (check the Wok Shop link above, or http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckclea... ). I have a CCK (a #3 slicer, I believe). One of the most commonly used knives in our kitchen for general purpose cutting, despite the fact that we have a lot of other (and more expensive) knives. To look at a cleaver, it might seem at first to be unwieldy for small work (much the same as a 10" chef knife might), but once you get used to it, it's pretty easy to use for even the most delicate work.

                      The Dexter Russell ones are stainless; the CCK ones are carbon steel, and will stain if you don't wipe them down after cutting stuff, especially acidic stuff (still work fine, though). Chinese cleavers tend to be sharpened on both sides, though you can do asymmetrical angles.

                      1. re: blubryscone
                        Chemicalkinetics Jul 8, 2010 02:34 PM

                        I go to Phila Chinatown all the time. There are at least two kitchenware stoes in that Chinatown. Several stores there sell Dexter-Russell Chinese Che'f knife (aka Chinese cleaver), which is highly regarded among Chinese-Americans.

                        http://www.katom.com/135-08110.html

                        The Dexter-Russell Chinese chef's knife is a medium blade stainless steel 420 HC knife, so it is not thin.

                        If you are interested in carbon steel thin blade Chinese chef's knife, then CCK is a good choice:

                        http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckclea...

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