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Old 12-04-2010, 02:54 PM   #51
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A Dick steel can be rehandled by anyone with a pen lathe in a matter of minutes. The one I have came originally with a painted black handle. The bore is slightly different than the standard pen, and the handle is longer and thicker, but the bit can be purchased at Woodcraft. Any scrap of wood will work.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:18 PM   #52
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Well, I see this discussion has drifted into sharpening, a topic that I could stand to learn a bit more about, so I'll just read up on what's being posted. But if I can get back onto the topic of knives for a moment, here's my take, FWIW, YMMV, and all that.

My wife and I have accumulated something of a hodgepodge of kitchen cutlery over the past 20 years. None of it is cheap, mind you. We have a few Henkels and a couple Wüstoffs, a Victorinox and a few others. But if you ask my wife what to buy, and she's the trained chef in the family, she'll tell you that, besides maybe a good paring knife, these are the only knives you'll ever need:

Knives | Dexter-Russell Gr

Of the two in that link, she uses the one on the right -- the small Chinese chef's knife probably 80% of the time. I use it a lot too -- it really is a sweet knife. But I'll reach for a Henkels or Victorinox or whatever if I feel the need.

Now don't be fooled by the price. These knives hold a sharp edge just as well as our Henkels do. These are traditional Chinese shaped knives, which are shaped differently from the Japanese Tojiros. But you can do just about anything you want with them. We have a few high-quality Japanese knives too -- a Santoku, a meat slicer (that I forget what it's called now) and a sushi knife. Again -- these are expensive knives. But once we bought the Russell knives they just never got used anymore. Maybe it's becauses my wife is Chinese that she feels more comfortable with them? I dunno if that's it or not -- she basically wore out the Santoku. But we've been using these Russell knives now for -- geez -- 15 years or more? They're about the best value out there, IMO.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:01 AM   #53
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It really depends on the kind of cooking you do and the kind of training you have. I've seen some folks that really can swing a cleaver. IMOHO it's more suited to Asian (especially Chinese) cooking that typical Western cooking. My collection has only one cleaver, a lightweight Japanese version of a typical Chinese model. The steel isn't fantastic but it takes a reasonable edge. I suppose eventually I'll get a CCK to play with since they're pretty cheap while still being very good quality.

Although JPaulG would probably recommend one of these:

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Old 12-13-2010, 02:55 AM   #54
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That's a nice cleaver, a little on the small side but it will do in a pinch.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:22 AM   #55
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Heh! Sure is. Actually, the large knife in the link I posted above isn't a cleaver -- it's a general purpose knife that many Chinese chefs use for all sorts of work, including slicing vegetables. And that CCK "cleaver" is the same thing. Its blade isn't thick enough to be a cleaver. A big difference between the Russell and the CCK, besides the Russell costing a few $ more, is the CCK is made in China, whereas the Russell is made in the USA.

As I mentioned, my wife prefers the smaller one for most of the kitchen work she does. And so do I, honestly. And even though my wife is Chinese, she can cook many different food styles and frequently does. She uses it mostly for slicing and dicing chores, whether its meat or veggies. Actually, I just think the Russell Green River knives are a very well kept secret.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:33 AM   #56
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The general public may not be aware of Dexter Russell cleavers, but many Chinese restaurants in the states, use them.

Cleavers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the animal and sometimes fruit it was intended to break down. As far as I know, there is no standard shape or size for a cleaver.

Mr. Babcock, generally I agree with most of what you post. With all due respect, I disagree, that a cleaver is more suited for eastern foods, rather then western. The cleaver in many ways is a superior design to the gyuto.

Cleavers feel alien to people who are use to gyutos. It does take time to learn how to use a cleaver. Even those who put in the the time, to learn, typically will go back to a gyuto. Which is fine, a person has to be comfortable using their knife.

Jay
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:54 AM   #57
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I agree that a cleaver has many uses. Someone very adept at using one may find it appropriate for many tasks that most would select a gyuto for. Of course, someone who's good with a gyuto is pretty nifty to watch, too.

Ultimately I think you should use what you're most comfortable with.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:58 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybett View Post
Mr. Babcock, generally I agree with most of what you post. With all due respect, I disagree, that a cleaver is more suited for eastern foods, rather then western. The cleaver in many ways is a superior design to the gyuto.

Jay
BTW, just out of curiosity, in what ways do you find it better?
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:43 PM   #59
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I used to be pretty good with small, Chinese cleaver. That's 'cause it was the only really sharp knife we owned. We paid $10 for the cleaver. Yes, it needed to be sharpened often, but that's easy with a knife that isn't stainless. That was when I learned to wash and dry a knife immediately after use.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:06 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Babcock View Post
BTW, just out of curiosity, in what ways do you find it better?
A large part of what makes a gyuto a functional knife is the Japanese steel. A cleaver can be made of cheap steel, and still be able to perform at a high level. The extra weight of the cleaver, makes it ideal for chopping. The extra width is a built in knife guard. As long as the cleaver isn't raised above the knuckles, its hard to cut oneself. Also the extra width, is a plus for board management. Jay
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