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Mar 5, 2013 10:03 AM

Asian veggie cleaver vs bone = bad things

We talk about it a lot here are pics. Just don't do it!

Buy a legit bone cleaver in that asian market.


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  1. That's why it's called an Asian vegetable knife, not a cleaver.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      <That's why it's called an Asian vegetable knife>

      Except a lot of stores do not sell it as Chinese/Asian vegetable knife -- which you and I know is the real name. Instead these knives are often sold as "Chinese cleaver", so many people may think: Oh yes. I remember them. These are the heavy cleavers I see in Chinatowns --

    2. Ha ha ha. When I read the title, I was like "Why is Jim telling me what he and I already know?" Now I know. Yeah, it is a very unfortunate case. The person probably does not know Chinese vegetable cleavers are not really cleavers for bone. It is also unfortunate because this is a Shun VG-10 Chinese vegetable knife which is a moderately high price and high quality knife. Yes, I know that knife fans do not love the Shun Chinese knife, but that is mostly because of the knife size and the knife profile (from tip to heel), not because the quality of the steel.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Perfect! This is an opportunity to give the knife a new size and profile, yes?

        1. re: GH1618

          <Perfect! This is an opportunity to give the knife a new size and profile, yes?>

          Ha ha ha. Well, it will fix one of the problem, but not the other. :) You are great.

          The two common complaints are that Shun vegetable knife are: (a) a bit too curved, too much belly, and (b) slightly small/short. It is 7" in length, I think.

          Jim can certainly fix (a), but not (b). :P

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I see. I put a bad nick in my carbon steel Chinese knife awhile back, and it had to be narrowed toward the tip to remove it. I actually like the new profile (more curve) better. I'm more careful with it now.

          2. re: GH1618


            I have a question for you. As a professional knife sharpener, I know you usually have set price for knife sharpening and even for fixing knives. However, not all knife damages are the same. Some are much easier to fix than others. Do you charge people differently? I remember Dave Martell (also a knife sharpener) said that he was thinking about charging people extra for Moritaka knives because of a Moritata overgrinding issue.

            Do you also sometime tell you customers that "Man, this is just not worth to fix it. You may as well buy a new knife"?

            P.S.: So sorry, GH. I don't mean to reply this to you.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Damaged stuff I have to see and give a price after looking at it. Sometimes things are beyond possible repair and sometimes just beyond economical repair.

              Chinese cleavers are not worth fixing since a new Shi Ba Zi bone or vegetable cleavers can be had locally for 9-12 bucks.

              I have done one that bad off for someone since it had family history and I wanted to see what it took. Took about an hour and a half and ate a 40 grit belt getting it ground down and thinned.


              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Sometimes a person just likes a particular knife, even if it's not an expensive one. My carbon steel Chinese #1 knife couldn't have cost me more than a couple of dollars around 1975, but when I put a bad nick in it I wanted it fixed. I like the handle, which is smooth and hard, unlike a lot of Chinese knives, and it has sentimental value. I don't remember what I paid to have it fixed a few years ago, but it was reasonable.

                1. re: GH1618

                  There are always exception for family heirlooms or other sentimental knives that have issues.

                  I have had people ask that the dents on the spine not get fixed because of the story behind them.


          3. So what happened to the knife? Did you send it back so it could end up on ebay...? Had a weird "I've seen this before" moment lol.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Wapptor

              Ha ha ha. It is the same knife. So I guess this is not a knife in Jim's shop. I thought it was from one of his customers. (Jim is a knife sharpener).

            2. Something nice for everyone to read. These are some negative reviews for these Shun Chinese cleaver knives.

              'All Shun Kaji cleavers are sharp and easy to handle, however, I was very disappointed with this 7" cleaver. I thought all cleavers can chop meat and bones. But whenever, I chopped chicken legs (raw or cooked) the knife will be chipped. My cleaver is still new but has several chips on it. I will lkie the store, Williams-Sonoma, replace this cleaver. The instruction did not state "Do Not Chop Chicken leg bone".'


              'I purchased this Chinese Chef's Knife under the impression that it was in fact a Chinese Chef's Knife. The do everything kitchen knife wideley used for hundreds of years in Chinese cuisine. Well, after trying to use the knive to split some bones, large chunks of the edge broke off.'


              9 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Like the saying goes, "Stupid should hurt."

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  OMG, this is a clear case of user abuse and ignorance, yet they want WS / Shun to pay for their stupidly. Just wow.

                  My favorite idiot video..

                  1. re: JavaBean

                    <OMG, this is a clear case of user abuse and ignorance>

                    I like the part where this person wrote: 'The instruction did not state "Do Not Chop Chicken leg bone".'. I thought to myself. I am sure the instruction does not include every possible scenarios.

                    As for your video, I have seen this one -- many times. It is so funny. Not only she did not know it is a nakiri instead of a cleaver, she also managed to use the knife wrong. The way she used it is not the techniques for a nakiri, or a Chinese vegetable cleaver or a regular bone cleaver. I don't know what she was doing. I was so worry that she would cut her fingers when she chopped the crabs.

                    Laura Banford (the manager/instructor) seems like a well meaning person, but her videos are just too awesome in the silliest ways. It isn't just this videos. It is all her videos.

                    You should see her knife sharpening video if you have not.


                    But you should watch the mango one first (notice the sharpness of her knife):


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks Chem, i haven't seen those before.  I'm sure she means well, but for someone who claims to be a pro cook, cooking instructor, and a so called expert, she's totally clueless and dangerous.   Like you, I'm surprised she didn't loose a finger in the Nakiri video...wrong knife, lousy grip, mystery technique...or slit her hand open in the "sharpening"  video.  

                      Omg, the mango...plastic knives from the cafeteria are sharper than what she has.

                      1. re: JavaBean

                        <Omg, the mango...plastic knives from the cafeteria are sharper than what she has.>

                        I was thinking exactly that. Either her knives are super dull or that her mangoes have some of the toughest skin I have seen.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Her cutting and sharpening techniques scare me!

                        Aside from the bad angle she too often has the business end moving towards her hand.


                        1. re: knifesavers

                          Read some of these comments. They are not very nice. I am surprised that she didn't ask to remove these videos. I know I would.

                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Actually, the webpage you linked to abov for Wiliams Sonoma does say it's for "vegetables and boneless meat" and on the Use and Care tab it points out "It is not advisable to use any knife but a meat cleaver to cut through bone, as other blades can be easily damaged."

                        Apparently people just can't read.

                      4. odd arc-shaped spall...I woulda expected something more jagged and gnarly from carbon steel

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                          That one was lifted off E-bay since it was such an epic example.

                          Here is one somebody brought me that although stainless was very "jagged and gnarly". ;)

                          I did called a Mac ruined that had a similar arc but had radiating stress cracks all the way to the spine and tip.


                          1. re: knifesavers

                            I don't get it. Aside from the fact that they should not be using their knives like this, would it cost more to fix the knife than buy a new one? I believe this knife (this quality) is about $10.

                            People should really get one bone/meat cleaver and then they can get whatever they want for a thin Chinese slicer or a santoku.

                            I don't even see the point of fixing the knife for this person unless he/she is willing to change the way to use knife. They are going to do it again. I know. Just look at the level of damage. After the initial damage, the person kept on damaging it again and again.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              seems like this knife owner made their own "finger guard" :)

                          2. re: BiscuitBoy

                            I think it's a shun cleaver in VG-10. Murry Carter did a video on knife chips and created a similar shaped arc chip by applying side pressure to the edge with a bic lighter.

                            Anyway, that's a big hunk of missing blade. maybe grind it into a nakiri?

                            1. re: JavaBean

                              "maybe grind it into a nakiri?"

                              LOL, that's EXACTLY what I was thinking!

                              I can hear Jim's dialogue with the customer now (Jim, I know you didn't get this knife to fix, but hey, it's my imagination!):

                              "Yes, ma'am, I know $100 sounds like a lot of money to fix your $260 knife, but a NEW Shun nakiri will cost you $160, so you're actually SAVING almost 40% off the cost of a new knife!"


                              1. re: Eiron

                                Ha ha ha. Maybe Jim can link a eBay page to this chipped knife. The sale will be "If you want to fix this knife, lick here and buy my service"

                                    1. re: Eiron

                                      It kind of take on a total different meaning. :)