Hey guys, I am tired of spending so much time and effort trying to sharpen my meat chopper, mine is a heavy duty one and very hard to sharpen manually, it is an 8" x 3" thicker cleaver and very heavy and I am seeking some sort of a sharpening tool which will not require any or much technical skill,I was always using a sharpening stone to sharpen it but after cutting meat one or two time I would need to sharpen again and now with my arthritis issues it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep sharpening this thing. I don't have a big budget but I am seeking something affordable which will require minimal effort from me, any recommendations please?
Good sharpener for heavy duty meat cleaver?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
A good used belt sander is what you really need here I think. At this point I'd say your cleaver needs a bit of thinning, the thicker you get at the edge the more stone/finishing work you need to do. You could also send it out for $30 or so. Maybe use a less acute angle also. Exactly what kind of cutting are you doing that it dulls with 1-2 uses?
Yes, I have been told by a few construction friends exactly w
Yes Rick, that's exactly what a few of my construction friends have said and they suggested using a grinder to create a thinner edge, since they have grinding disks which they use on their job I am wondering is we can go that way? I had thought of taking it to some place to get it sharpened but over time I will have spent a lot of money for this so I might be better off either purchasing something which I will always have? I use this cleaver only to cut up meat but I think the meat bones is what is dulling the edge?
When I suggested sending it out that would be to someone who would thin it for you. If you are very careful you can use a bench grinder for this, just be careful not to hit the edge itself with the grinder, but everything just behind it, and dip it in water frequently to keep things cool, you don't want to loose the temper.
You can use a small hand-held grinding disk and drill, but best to hold the cleaver in a vice for this, and make sure the disks rotation will move the tool away from the edge, otherwise you will damage the edge for sure.
For cutting into bone you absolutely have to micro bevel the edge to 30deg/side. Sharpen to your usual angle then microbevel, just a few light swipes per side with the finishing stone. I do this for my boning knives. But if you're cutting into bone you can't expect that knife to be great for slicing through meet, unless you keep the far end of the blade sharp and only use the back end for hacking bone.
That is the problem Rick, the technical stuff aside from the physical issue with my arthritis is what I am trying to avoid, I looked into nife sharpening machines such as this to make things easier on me, what do you think?
That thing is only working the edge, not thinning. The best for what you want to do is a wet grinder, something like this:
Hiring someone to do the thinning for you or just buying a whole new meat cleaver would be cheaper.
Well, at least we are narrowing this down, that machine would still require some expertise so ok my 2 best options would be hiring someone, not sure where I might find such a person, guess I could ask my fish market guy to sharpen for me when needed but problem is how often would I need to sharpen since using my cleaver needs sharpening after one or two uses? If I were to buy a new cleaver then I would be in the same boat with the sharpening issue?
A heavy duty cleaver has a broad edge that has more in common with a hatchet than a kitchen knife.
A Chinese vegetable cleaver is very thin and is nothing like a hatchet.
Bone cleavers don't need thinning but if the blade wasn't maintained they are a lot of work to restore just due to the amount of metal involved.
Post a picture of the cleaver.
Hmmm, at 284sfm I don't think that wet-grinder isn't going to be Speedy Gonzales even with a 40 grit wheel to replace the 220, which doesn't seem available.
Again I believe that I guy with a belt sander can easily put a secondary bevel of 3deg/side, bring the edge thickness to .025" (still pretty thick I think) or whatever minimum is desired in a bone hacker, and that should work for a reasonable while. A belt sander is what gets typically used by knife makers for mass stock removal. I could check with kitchenknivesforum to see what these guys typically charge.
Then as I said sharpening the blade differently front to back should greatly extend the edge life. Maybe 3" at the front acute, the rest obtuse. I don't use a cleaver, but I the Mad Cow guy might still be hanging around this forum, he'd really be the one to ask about these things.
The Ken Onion machine you linked to is actually an excellent piece of equipment, and better still with the new aftermarket belts you can get. The learning curve is very gentle, you can learn to use it in a very short amount of time. The machine will sharpen quickly enough but runs at low enough speed to avoid harming the temper of the blade. If I say it's idiot proof then someone will come along with a better idiot, but it's certainly close! It has the benefit of being compact, too.
I use stones and belts. My main belt grinder is a 1"x42" Kalamazoo which I can't recommend highly enough. It's a fantastic machine! Probably overkill for what you want, though. The KO Worksharp should serve you well. Short of that maybe find someone local to do the work, but it's very satisfying to do your own sharpening.
I used a heavy old chefs knife for breaking up chicken bones, before taking to a 5 pound hammer, it never required sharpening either, the hammer or the knife. ;-)~ I sharpened it as I recommended for the OP, so it was also very good for breaking down whole chickens. After taking up the hammer I thinned it down and used it for squash, swede, etc. The Vic I reviewed recently now takes its place.
A heavy cleaver may run $8-15 depending the condition. Dull only about the $8 but damaged edge that needs reformation maybe 15+
I did a 2 lb cleaver that had a big ding in it and the whole edge had to reduce by about 3-5mm and that was eating a lot of steel.
The KO would not be up to that kind of heavy duty task but It can be fine otherwise and comes with a respectable sequence of grit belts.
As you can see probably see guys, the edge is kinda thick which makes it very hard to sharpen manually. I am thinking I try 2 things right now from the advice given here, first option to take my existing cleaver to my fish market and ask the guy if he can sharpen for me, then i will know the cost and how long it will last before next sharpening is due. If that does not work out then meantime can you guys suggest a cleaver which will be suitable for cutting whole chickens and duck and pork slabs and goat slabs which will not need sharpening after using only a few times please?
If you were a hog butcher in hong kong this is what you'd use :)
These are the type of guys that do the whole roasted pigs and ducks and then chop through the bone. It should be able to handle both bones and meat. I saw a guy on Iron Chef Thailand chop through alligator with these. Most are carbon so they'd be easier to sharpen. But you have to make sure to clean them and dry them when you're done cutting.
This is incredible, how in the world did you know this cleaver was made in Hong Kong? The words "Made in Hong Kong" is ingrained in the metal.
Those are some serious cleavers in your link [thanks], will look into them and get back here.
Yes, that's some video, reminds me of my hunting days, just a few years ago, a friend in NJ who goes hunting regularly gave me the top half of a deer and I needed only 2 chops to totally severe the head using my existing cleaver so when my cleaver is sharp is can be very effective. For now though I mainly need something lighter duty for the regular every day meats. I am thinking this one:
so it would be back to the sharpening issues, meaning how often it would need to be sharpened will be the major issue.
I want to clear up a few things on this thread:
1) For what you're doing, the "Chinese Cleaver" is not right. It's used more as a chef's knife. Thin for slicing vegatables and boneless meat. You want the meat/bone cleaver for bones.
2) A cleaver that is going to hit bone does not really be need to be thin to break through bone. The angle doesn't have to be too sharp either. I have mine at 25 degrees per side.
3) Recommended technique is not hacking from a distance, but cutting through the meat up to the bone, lining up your chop, then pushing through with your other hand. You are less likely to chip the blade this way.
If you were a hog butcher in hong kong this is what you'd use :)
Oh sorry, I see now you were talking about the items in your link.
So any of these would be ideal for my use?
Yeah those are the types you'd want if you're going to chop through pig/goat/deer bones. I dont' know if it's better to buy one or try to figure out how to best use the one you have. The one you have looks like carbon steel? That should be easier to sharpen than stainless already. Can you get a picture looking at it from the heel so we can see how thick it is?
As mentioned I will see about sharpening my existing cleaver this weekend when I visit the fish market. What's the difference between something like this and what's in the link above please?