or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › what angle to use for sharpening a cleaver
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

what angle to use for sharpening a cleaver

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I found an old cleaver (European steel).

It's as blunt as blunt can be, so I want to try and sharpen it.

I suspect that if I sharpen it the same as "normal" knives, it will get blunt very quickly again.

 

What angle do you suggest I should sharpen at? I was thinking of something like 30-40 degrees either side?

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #2 of 7

I sharpen a double bevel on mine.

 

Because yours is so old and blunt, you'll have to profile it on a coarse stone before sharpening.  Unless the cleaver is very thick indeed, sharpen it to around 22.5* by estimating a 45* angle then halving it.  This is the same angle at which you already probably sharpen most of your European knives.

 

Sharpen the knife symmetrically so that the bevel width is the same on both sides.  This will aid durability and make the knife easy to steel.  

 

Finally, after you are satisfied that your bevels are flat and even, and that the edge is reasonably good -- resharpen at around 30* just until you draw a burr on both sides and deburr.  A 30* cutting bevel (also called the "primary bevel" by most sharpeners) is sufficiently obtuse to hold up to a lot of abuse.  Meanwhile you don't want the edge too wide or it will wedge -- even being used as a cleaver.

 

You probably already know this, but it's worth syaing for the benefit of others who may be lurking.  A "meat cleaver" is not a "Chinese chopper."  They are used for different things, and one cannot perform very well as the other.

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks BDL,

Think it is going to be a good exercise for me!

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #4 of 7

I edge and hone my heavy meat cleaver with an electric grinding stone then finish on regular stone.. My Chinese cleaver is done on wet stone.It really does not have to be razor sharp as a lot of its work is done by weight. Chinese cleaver on other hand should be razor sharp and is not for cutting through heavy bone.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

@chefedb:

I want to get better at freehand sharpening, so I'm taking every opportunity and every dull knife I can find to work on.

Otherwise I would probably go for an electric grinder.

This grinder is a heavy one and is dull, even for a cleaver. I actually have another one (same brand etc) that's a lot sharper (but also blunt compared to a chef's knife), so I want to get the blunt one up to at least that level.

I realise it's not going to be razor sharp.

Look at is as me just getting more practise thumb.gif

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #6 of 7

Slight confusion here:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by butzy View Post
This grinder is a heavy one and is dull, even for a cleaver. I actually have another one (same brand etc) that's a lot sharper (but also blunt compared to a chef's knife), so I want to get the blunt one up to at least that level.

I realise it's not going to be razor sharp.


The cleaver can be razor sharp if you wish -- that has nothing to do with the angle. Sharpness is simply a matter of how cleanly and consistently the two planes of the bevel meet. If the cleaver is sharpened to a 60-degree included angle (i.e. 30 degrees per side, as BDL suggests), and you do it perfectly cleanly, you have a razor-sharp edge. And ideally, that's exactly what you want, with every knife, no matter how it's profiled and no matter what the bevels are.

 

The thing is, the larger the included angle, the more durable the edge will be, and conversely the more the knife will act as a wedge to split rather than cutting the food. That wedging happens above the edge itself: it's a matter of where the shoulders are. A cleaver is used very brutally, and wedging is a pretty trivial concern, so you want a large included angle.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks all,

 

Chris, you actually clarified BDL's post by stating the 30 degrees per side (which I though he meant, but wasn't 100% sure).

 

Sad to say though that I didn't manage very well on the cleaver. It might be that my stones are not coarse enough (I don't know the grit) or that my technique is not yet up to scratch.

I assume a combination of the two.

I ended up giving it a bit of an edge by sharpening at an angle of about 30-35 degrees (either side), but know that it will be blunt again in no time.

Think the grinder will have to come to the rescue for this one.....

 

Or could it just be that I'm too impatient? Should I continue on whatever grit my coarsest stone is at the 20-25 degrees per side and just take half an hour to an hour every day till it's getting sharp(ish)?

 

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › what angle to use for sharpening a cleaver