Cookware 45

Does getting a Chinese cleaver make sense for me?

skyline | Sep 3, 201111:31 AM

Now that the birds' beak knife question has been so efficiently settled, there's another knife I've been dithering over: a Chinese cleaver. The eternal question is of course, How much am I likely to use it? Unlike the birds' beak, there aren't any under-$10 versions out there, LOL.

It happens every autumn: I see the winter squashes in the produce section and think, Hmmmm... then immediately recall the times in the past when I gave up in disgust (or swore from pain as I re-injured my wrist) trying to cut the thing with an 8" chef's knife. Now that I have a GOOD (Shun) chef's knife I'd never risk that blade on something like a winter squash, so I've been just avoiding them, period. Also, I confess, buying already cut-up chickens when I'm not planning to roast them whole, simply because ... again... I'm not going to use my best knife/knives on anything that has bones in it. Not that we make chicken all that frequently ... maybe once a month? ... but again, holiday season means guests and that's another time that poultry is made more often than usual.

So I'm wondering, is it worth getting a Chinese cleaver that would PROBABLY only get heavy use for 1/3 of the year? Or am I likely to find other uses for it as well, that I haven't thought of?

Many of them seem to be $$$ so I can see that wouldn't make sense. I did, as a result of another post I found here, see there are a couple for under $200 at Japanese Chef's Knife which is where I recently bought a nakiri that I have quickly come to LOVE (my Shun is definitely feeling neglected now, LOL) . There is a JCK Kagayaki "Small size" cleaver (180 mm) for $80 which is currently sold out; and two 220 mm blades for $90 and $95 which seem to differ in the thickness of the blade (?). Should I assume that thicker is better/stronger no matter what?

I also see a Misono for $138 which was recommended on the other thread. Blade 190 mm which is between the other two in size.

Of course the HANDLE that I like best is on the Hattori FH Series which has "Ask for Price" on it... a red flag if I ever saw one, LOL. A few other western-shape handes which are of course all on the $300-plus models. Grrrr. I can't get over the feeling that the other handles look so darn, well... "insufficient". As if there won't be enough to securely hold onto, or is that impression simply because its blade is so much bigger than any other type of knife? I sure wish I had some clue as to how long the handle on these typical cleavers actually are, but the only measurements given are for the blades.

For the uses I've mentioned, and for someone with a wrist that needs to avoid unnecessary stresses, which affordable (under $200, preferably under $150 if possible) Chinese cleaver would you suggest? If it makes sense for me even to get one at all, that is.

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