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Old 03-18-2015, 01:19 PM   #1
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Sharpening a Meat Cleaver?

Hi All,

i was wondering if you have tips on how to sharpen a meat cleaver.

I have bought myself a large meat cleaver which was awesome cutting through meat and bones.

I have recently sharpened it with a 2 stage (coarse and fine) knife sharpener and now it struggles to cut through chicken bones, unless I give it a good whack.

I do have a sharpening stone but i have not tried it yet. Is there a special way in sharpening a cleaver, compared to a normal chefs knife.

Kind regards

Aaron

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Old 03-18-2015, 01:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron_mky View Post
Hi All,

i was wondering if you have tips on how to sharpen a meat cleaver.

I have bought myself a large meat cleaver which was awesome cutting through meat and bones.

I have recently sharpened it with a 2 stage (coarse and fine) knife sharpener and now it struggles to cut through chicken bones, unless I give it a good whack.

I do have a sharpening stone but i have not tried it yet. Is there a special way in sharpening a cleaver, compared to a normal chefs knife.

Kind regards


Aaron
You sharpen any blade using the same method. Use your wet stone. YT some vids on how-to.
The angle is different on a clever than on a boning knife for instance. Lots of good info on YT.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
You sharpen any blade using the same method. Use your wet stone. YT some vids on how-to.
The angle is different on a clever than on a boning knife for instance. Lots of good info on YT.
I don't. I'm an expert at making a sharp knife dull with a stone. For me, there are better tools available.
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:14 PM   #4
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I had a really heavy meat clever, maybe 3/16" steel at the "butt" end. When I sharpened it, I first treated it like a hand axe using a fine tooth file. Then onto the stones.
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
I had a really heavy meat clever, maybe 3/16" steel at the "butt" end. When I sharpened it, I first treated it like a hand axe using a fine tooth file. Then onto the stones.
My wife got me a Henkle clever many years ago. Its very thick and almost impossible to use.
I cannot get it sharp, but I think the biggest issue is the design.
Its way to thick. It also angles very hard to the supposed sharp side.
I know she paid plenty for it, but I have maybe used it twice in 20 years and tried to sharpen it even more times with little success.
It was a waste of money it seems?

Watching Asian chefs I see their cleavers are thin and they use them for chopping of all kinds of foods.
This cleaver looks more like it was designed for demolition instead of cooking.
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roll_Bones View Post
My wife got me a Henkle clever many years ago. Its very thick and almost impossible to use.
I cannot get it sharp, but I think the biggest issue is the design.
Its way to thick. It also angles very hard to the supposed sharp side.
I know she paid plenty for it, but I have maybe used it twice in 20 years and tried to sharpen it even more times with little success.
It was a waste of money it seems?

Watching Asian chefs I see their cleavers are thin and they use them for chopping of all kinds of foods.
This cleaver looks more like it was designed for demolition instead of cooking.
The Chinese cleavers are made thin as they are intended to cut up vegetables and small pieces of meat.

Meat cleavers ARE designed for demolition, they are made thick and heavy because they are made to cut through larger cuts of meat and small bones. The two should not be compared.

I have a Henckels meat cleaver that I use regularly. It has remained sharp and works great. Sorry yours hasn't.
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The Chinese cleavers are made thin as they are intended to cut up vegetables and small pieces of meat.

Meat cleavers ARE designed for demolition, they are made thick and heavy because they are made to cut through larger cuts of meat and small bones. The two should not be compared.

I have a Henckels meat cleaver that I use regularly. It has remained sharp and works great. Sorry yours hasn't.
And I have a nice Chinese cleaver which would be quite useless in a butchering application. It's quite pretty, and very sharp, but I don't really use it because for the things it's good at, I prefer my 10" chef.
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:09 PM   #8
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Here are a couple of "how to's"





One is a bit longer than the other. But you should be using a whet stone. I hope you have one. And if you do, there should be directions on how to prepare it for proper use.

And then I want to welcome you to DC. This is a fun place to get answers. There is always someone who has the answer for you.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron_mky View Post
Hi All,

i was wondering if you have tips on how to sharpen a meat cleaver.

I have bought myself a large meat cleaver which was awesome cutting through meat and bones.

I have recently sharpened it with a 2 stage (coarse and fine) knife sharpener and now it struggles to cut through chicken bones, unless I give it a good whack.

I do have a sharpening stone but i have not tried it yet. Is there a special way in sharpening a cleaver, compared to a normal chefs knife.

Kind regards

Aaron
Do you have a good relationship with a "proper" butcher? If so I suggest you take your cleaver next time you go to buy your meat and ask him nicely if he can put the edge back on it. Pick a quiet time though.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #10
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A heavy meat cleaver is much like an axe. If it's too sharp, the edge won't stand up to the work it's used for. If it's not sharp enough, it won't do it's job of cutting.

An axe has a thick head so that the weight of the tool does the work. The same is true of a meat cleaver. The edge of grind of both tools is convex, that is curved from the thick blade to the thin edge. The curve is away from the center of the metal. The convex edge is the strongest edge and will give you a very sharp, useful tool. Start with a fine file to shape the edge. Follow the file with a 600 to 800 grit wetstone, then a 1000 grit wetstone. This will take some work. Always push the stone into the edge, not draw away from it, or slide the cleaver edge into the storne. This will minimise any burr that would form. When you are done sharpening the edge, hone it with a steel to remove any burr. Once it's completed, it will be very easy to keep sharp, usually honing it with a steel is all it needs.

Hope this helps.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North

If you are frequently cutting through heavy bone, or smashing the edge against a cutting board, you will have to resharpen it more often.
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