Chinese style Cleaver
For his latest run of Chinese Style Cleavers, James wanted to make a heavier chopper to go alongside his usual thin blades. He was inspired by seeing how these 2 blades, one laser thin and the other weightier, can be used alongside each other. For example – in the preparation of roast duck or other poultry, the heavy blade can be used for chopping through bones whilst the thin knife lends itself perfectly to slicing the meat and also makes a great spade for transferring it to a plate. Both blades feature hollow forged upper faces. This means that the upper section of the knife is very slightly concave, and helps with food release on the thin knives as well as keeping the weight down on the thicker blade, without reducing the strength of the edge.
The forging of the thin blades is particularly challenging. To achieve the thin, slightly concave upper blade geometry James had to forge them in multiple stages. First rolling the steel out sideways to achieve the depth before forging them with specially made dies on our vintage Sheffield made spring hammer. The final stage involved cold forging them to final thickness. This cold forging, although slower and riskier (due to increased chances of cracking the steel), allows for greater precision and leaves a super smooth forged surface.
Traditionally Chinese Style Cleavers have short thick handles and James has stuck to this design for his ones. He has chosen to use English Box Wood, a first for us. Box Wood is an incredibly dense, bright yellow timber, with a beautiful hardwearing and fine grain. It takes a glassy finish that you would normally only expect to achieve from a tropical hardwood. Expect to see more of this unusual timber from us in the future.
Chinese Style Cleaver – The thin blade is a great all rounder, perfect for vegetable prep and slicing cooked or raw meat and fish.
Butchery Cleaver – The thicker blade lends itself to butchery tasks and other heavy cutting.
Our local leather worker, Harry Owen, from Owen Leather has put together some sheaths for both the individual blades and a limited number of cleverly designed double sheaths to hold the thick and thin blade together. These sheaths are made from hand finished Italian vegetable tanned bovine shoulder. They feature a split welt and two rows of hand stitching along the blade’s edge to ensure the blade will never cut the stitching. Sewn with fil au chinois linen, the seams are framed with crease detailing and the edges are burnished to a matt sheen with gum tragacanth and beeswax. The straps are secured with solid brass Sam Browns and solid brass saddlers rivets.
*Blade – Mild Steel clad Blue Paper Steel with a thin layer of Pure Nickel
*Handle – Box Wood with Stainless Steel ferrule
*Leather cases – Un-dyed, hand finished Italian vegetable tanned shoulder, solid brass hardware and hand waxed fil au chinois thread
*Blade length -230mm
*Overall length – 355mm
*Blade thickness at the handle – 5mm
*Blade thickness at midpoint – Thin Cleaver 2mm; thick Cleaver 5mm
*Blade Depth – 105mm
*Weight – Thin 420g; thick 750g