Knife 30 – Cleaver

This Knife 30 – Cleaver is the last knife of the Knives 23-30 – Kitchen Knife Set .

I had played around trying to build a cleaver type utensil out of some salvaged steel and it kept warping badly when I heat treated it. I tried several things to straighten and normalize the knife several times, but nothing seemed to work, so I was a little nervous when I started this one.

This cleaver is made from 3/16″ 1080. This knife was made with the stock removal process. I copied the pattern of a vintage Dunlap cleaver.

Because of the issues with warping I decided to cut a rough shape and heat treat before grinding the bevel.  I knew I would need to be a little extra careful grinding the bevel, but with the ceramic belts and the practice

Since I wanted a traditional finish on this cleaver, I was a little intimidated on sanding it, so I purchased an attachment for my grinder to make it a hook and loop sander. I did help a little, but it tore up disk pretty quick. This is another tool that variable speed is required to perform really well.

Knife 30 - Cleaver
Knife 30 - Cleaver

To grind the bevel I clamped a straight edge to the grinder table to use as a guide and just slide the cleaver back and forth. This worked very well for me and I continue to use this technique on this style of knife.

Knife 30 - Cleaver
Knife 30 - Cleaver

Slicing tomatoes is a good knife sharpness test.

A cleaver will have different geometries depending on what it’s intended use is.

  • For breaking down carcasses you’d likely choose something like a heavy cleaver with a very high angle edge (60 degrees +/-).
  • For slicing off larger cuts between bones and for breaking down poultry or smaller game use a medium size cleaver with a more acute edge…..about 30 degrees or so.
  • And for trimming up meat cuts, mincing BBQ, chopping vegetables and general table tasks we’d make a cleaver with a longer and narrower blade, and a sharper edge. Like a heavy knife.

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