I'm thinking about getting a thin, stainless or semi-stainless Chinese-style cleaver to play around with, and the recent specials at JCK got me curious about cleavers that represent a lot of value. For carbon cleavers, CCK clearly represented that value, and probably still does even as its price keeps rising. I know very little about stainless options. I'd ideally like a larger cleaver like the CCK 1103. I was recently at the Wok Shop in San Francisco, and I didn't see any large cleavers. Of the smaller blade size, they had no stainless cleavers with a thin enough grind. They did have a $10 carbon with a thin grind, which I bought, but the F&F is terrible and the alloy makes my Misono Sweden seem stainless. It was also clad in some kind of sketchy faux kuro-uchi paint that partly came off when I washed it but has so far scared me away from actually tasting food that I've cut with the knife. Note that my seeking stainless has nothing to do with that but rather because I want to use it as a bench scraper without having to think about it. Anyway, I've seen various brands at JCK, JKI, and CKTG, but I haven't seen a whole lot on the cheaper end, and I was wondering what's out there.
Stainless or semi-stainless chukabocho?
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The inexpensive stainless cleaver option I have been using for almost 40 years is:
There are good reviews that explain blade thickness, etc. I've found it easy to sharpen and keep sharp.
This one is said to be 3-1/4 inch wide. Mine is wider - like about 4 inches.
By the way, I'm quite curious about those really inexpensive Wok Shoppe carbon steel cleavers. How easy were they to sharpen and how bad was the F&F?
Brian, I've heard stainless Dexter knives use a pretty dated alloy--goes out of true as easily as X50CrMoV15 and unlike X50CrMovV15, generally unable to hold a 15 degree edge. Have you found that to be true with the cleaver? That knife also has a slightly smaller blade than I'd want and is slightly heavier than I'd want for that blade size. I suspect that those "slightly"s would add up to a lot for me. I guess by "value" cleaver I'm looking for something like those recent Hiromotos or the CarboNext or the Gesshin Uraku and/or the newer Gesshin Stainless lines. Something significantly cheaper than high-end options but still with modern performance and decent enough edge properties. If the CCK isn't very reactive, I might just go with that.
Oh about the particular Wok Shop cleaver that I got, the paint was too sketchy for me to actually use the knife for more than a few minutes, so I didn't bother sharpening it. I ended up using it as a $10 medium of conducting iron oxide experiments.
As for the F&F, I'm fine with a cheap knife not having its spine rounded, but this spine wasn't even finished.
Also, the handle is hollow and has a hole in the back. It's shaped like the traditional Chinese handles but it gets waterlogged and there's no using it as a pestle...
Haha sounded too good to be true, but that's still pretty cool. I'm fine with a patina forming. I'll certainly wipe the knife between foods, but I don't want to have to go to the sink and rinse the knife between foods or worry about rust. I also don't want to worry about discoloration of acidic foods. Did you try onions again (without dumping them in water) and did they not discolor?
CCK sounds good. But after thinking about it, there are other things I'd sooner spend $100 on than a test cleaver. After doing some more research, a Shibazi might be the value in large but thin stainless cleavers that I've been looking for: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LPCYGOS
Then again, it might not be. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the profile might be too flat, and rumor has it that Shibazi knives tend to be a bit too soft and prone to rolling. On the other hand, they're supposed to have excellent F&F for the price.
There's also the Town Food Service cleavers, at least one of which was recommended by the Andy of various knife forums who popularized the CCK. The particular one he recommended was called Town Food Service #1, which is reviewed by someone else here: http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showtopic.php?tid/784030
Andy had described it as almost as thin and amazing as the CCK and with a similar alloy. The above reviewer described it in slightly less glowing terms but still very positively. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they still make that model. The only carbon cleaver they seem to still make is the 47372, as listed here: http://townfood.com/catalog_cutlery.html
It's in the same dimensions as the one those users raved about all those years ago. Many sites sell it for around $10 plus shipping, but some of those sites describe it as stainless. I suspect the manufacturer's description is the correct one, but I've found that that's not always true. Anyway, I might get it and give it a try.