Thoughts/Opinions on this Meat Cleaver

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by jack sawyer, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    Hey everyone,

    I've designed the below image of a Bamboo Meat Cleaver.

    It is made of solid bamboo with a metal blade extruding down. One side is completely flat, the other angled.

    Please let me know what your thoughts and opinions are, if you have any concerns about it and whether you think it will work/if you like it!

     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    The geometry doesn't impress me. Way too much wedging going on. 
     
  3. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    The prototype of the cleaver has been made far more sleek and ergonomic, does this change your mind at all?


     
  4. ordo

    ordo

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    Whats the benefit of having a non all metal cleaver blade? And did you considered the cost of that piece of wedged metal? How are you going to manufacture it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    What sort of cleaver action do you want it do? As a Chinese chef's style cleaver, much too thick still. As a hacking cleaver for chicken bones, it's probably OK, but still not my preference in design. I can see fractures at that first step in the steel backing from bone work and it's still way too thick. For heavier bone work, I'm not qualified to give an informed opinion. I suspect the impact will fracture the blade away from the bamboo over time. Adhesives don't hold up to shock that well. 
     
  6. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    The cost of the metal will obviously be lower than if it was all metal, and the benefit of a bamboo meat cleaver is the natural anti-bacterial qualities of bamboo.

    This product is being designed with a company in mind which makes products of bamboo, being its unique selling point
     
  7. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    This meat cleaver is aimed at the novice chef, the homely family cooking, meaning the more hardcore cleaver actions won't be used, as it is aimed at a particular company.

    I was thinking of small screws to hold the blade to the wood, countersunk into place.
     
  8. ordo

    ordo

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    I don't think so, seeing the work the metal needs with those indents. 
     
  9. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    I was planning on making the blade by using a mould and pouring the metal so it doesn't need to be shaped. It could than be sharpened after.

    Do you think this is a possibility?
     
  10. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It does have an interesting aesthetic, but the geometry of the blade section is poor.  There's a reason knives are thin in the blade. 

    Cleavers are rarely used by home cooks. It's almost purely a butchering tool. Those are thick as knives go, but still thinner than this and often convex ground like an axe head for pretty much all the same reasons an axe is shaped that way too.  

    The Asian style of thin cleaver knife for meat and vegetables, this is a poor design for that task.

    Cutting an onion, potato, carrot with this design and compare it against a standard kitchen knife will demonstrate the geometry problems. Sharpening it is also problematic as a chisel grind will throw off most equipment home cooks have. 

    I predict a raft of poor reviews on Amazon for it. 
     
  11. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    This is one of a set of knives for the home, with others which would be aimed at veg etc.

    The point of this cleaver is simply to be sold to households which have a strong desire for designer products which serve a purpose.

    This isn't something which would be sold on anything like amazon, but rather hand crafted in China, however what you said about the thin blade of a knife is interesting.

    Do you know why a knives are thin at the blade because this could be something which may influence my design to change and hopefully make it thinner to solve the problem you said previously
     
  12. ordo

    ordo

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    No way. That's a cast iron blade, wich is not viable cause of extreme fragility. You should first learn how knives are made. Forged, stamped, etc.
     
  13. mano

    mano

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    There's a reason why cleavers have essentially the same design for the past 150+ years. The cleaver you're proposing for the home and novice cook is doing them a disservice. Even for light duty your cleaver is poorly designed. It's thick behind the edge and after less than an inch of m metal blade the bamboo will cause impossible wedging. You say it's for people with a "strong desire for designer products which serve a purpose" but there's no real practical purpose to it. It seems you're imagining or hoping it will work well because you are committed to a certain form/design over function.

    No kitchen cutlery maker would pour metal into a "mould" (sic) or use small screws to hold the blade in place. I'm unaware of any proven "natural antibacterial qualities of bamboo." Washing a blade has worked for billions of people so far. No cook wants to cut or chop with an angled blade.

    Before asking for opinions here you would be better off spending a few hours researching how and why kitchen knives and cleavers are made as they are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  14. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    The current decision of a metal blade or a ceramic blade is yet to be made. Currently kitchen blades are made using rivets

    The CAD model doesn't show the length of the blade, although the prototype suggests that it will easily cut through necessary meats etc.

    It's a meat cleaver, NOT to be used with vegetables as it comes as part of a set with other kitchen blades, used for this.

    Currently kitchen knives are made they way they are because this is the most efficient way of producing something low costing, but high performance, however the company and target audience of this product is willing to have a slightly higher cost for a lower performance due to the added aesthetically style of the product.
     
  15. mano

    mano

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    With all due respect, you really need to do your homework. You keep arguing about why your design should work, even with modifications. If you want to design and sell an expensive aesthetically pleasing but virtually worthless cleaver, fine. But don't ask the opinions of people who know how to cook.
     
  16. jack sawyer

    jack sawyer

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    I'm honestly just after your opinion to help me progress the design.

    Why do you think it is virtually worthless?

    So i can change and improve the design to make sure it isn't, and will work
     
  17. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Strengths
    • Attractive
    Weaknesses
    • Too thick behind the edge, wedging will cause problems
    • Insufficient mass(weight), bamboo weighs far less than metal, cleavers rely on mass to help penetrate
    • Difficult to sharpen, any thinning of blade will affect bamboo
    • Handle appears uncomfortable for most users
    • Appears to favor single handedness
    • Limited market
    • Blade attachment potential problems
    Opportunities
    • Narrow niche for those who value form over substance
    • Narrow niche for "green" purchasers
    Threats
    • Offers no new performance characteristics over conventional and available cleavers
    • Manufacturing costs appear to be higher than conventional cleavers
    • Durability appears questionable, e.g. blade attachment (handles are attached to conventional blades, not blades attached to handles), layers of bamboo (potential separation due to moisture and repeated shock from use)
     
  18. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    well, we're pretty clearly not the right market for your product. 

    As to the molded steel for the blade there are some issues there. You can't just cast steel and grind to have a good edge. Most castable steels are not well suited to blade use. Of those that are, you'll still have heat treatment and plenty of finishing work. You'd probably save steps to have a good steel CNCed, then heat treated, then final finish. 

    Ceramic will shatter in meat cleaver use.

    A meat cleaver is for butchering, hacking apart the animal including through bones of pigs and cows. The mass is wrong, the blade is wrong, the geometry is wrong. 

    It might sell to your target market, but as you've seen in the responses, we are not that market. 
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  19. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    This looks to me as if it's part of a class assignment by some instructor who wants to give new students some sort of "think outside the box and don't worry about whether it works in the real world" thought process.  This forum gets those from time to time.

    All the points raised by everyone else are spot on, but I will come in and belabor the point (if only to overstir the pot).

    There are two types of cleavers - the western, butcher type of cleaver and the asian cleaver, more accurately called a "broad knife".  (to avoid confusion, I will refer to the western version only as a "cleaver" and will call the asian version a "broad knife").

    Cleavers are instruments of mass impact destruction.  The entire purpose is not to slice your way through tissue, but to concentrate a tremendous amount of force into the edge during the impact with the food.  Cleavers do that not just with the edge behind them, but with the metal in the blade and with a longer handle.  More mass (weight) being swung down + more speed at the time of impact = more force upon impact.

    Take a look at these two cleavers and a comparative basic chef's knife.  (I am keeping it to Dexgter Russell, since they make a wide enough range of knives so you can get a good scope of cleavers vs chef's knives.







    The first, the Dexter Russell 5096, is extremely light weight, as cleavers go - it weighs about 12 ounces.  The tang extends only about halfway down the handle.  For anyone wanting to seriously use it as a cleaver, it would be extremely fustrating.

    The second, the Dexter Russell S5288, is truly a cleaver you would find commercially used.  It's a heavy beast - 2.75 pounds, or 44 ounces.  And yes, it should be called a "beast" - I will accept that description.  And it needs a serious chopping block as a work surface (none of your puny plastic boards).  In short, it's a serious cleaver and it CHOPS!

    The third is a stock, standard entry level 10 inch basic Dexter Russell chef's knife.  The shipping weight is 9.3 ounces.  It's a lot more handy for slicing than the 5096.

    In short, a light cleaver is an oxymoron.  It won't work as well as a chef's knife, and it's just too difficult to get enough force into a swing to be able to chop through even chicken bones.

    Now, compare each of those to your proposed bamboo backed knife.  Neither the S5288 nor the Basic 10 inch chef's knife are in for much competition to your bamboo cleaver.  Heck, even the 5096 will work better.  You won't be able to exert enough force to use it as a cleaver.

    There is another factor to consider if the intended market is as a chopping cleaver - safety.  I have three concerns - attachment of the metal to the bamboo, use of cast steel for a blade material and use of bamboo for impact force transference.

    There's a good reason that cleaver blades are traditionally one piece - the amount of force that your blade will end up with will be substantial.  In a composite knife with a bamboo spine and metal cutting blade, any impact force will be concentrated directly to the singular points of attachment.  You will also need to factor in the issue of twist and the forces of that twist, if the impact does not come down directly onto the blade.  My worry is that one whack, and the blade will separate from the bamboo and go flying around.

    Next, about casting a steel blade.  Not a good idea.  In each of the knives above, the blade is from metal that has been rolled from sheet steel, cut, machined and then annealed, quenched and tempered.  Yes, the steel probably started out as molten in the crucible, but that was a long time before.  The history of small batch molten metal production, especially by first-time amateurs, is not good, either in terms of product quality (think voids and hidden flaws in the metal) and in terms of safety.  If only for your own safety, drop the idea of casting a steel blade.

    Third, bamboo as a structural material leaves a great deal to desire about localized impact forces in the tons per square inch.  Again, there's a good reason that knives are made out of thick metals such as steel - it's just a lot stronger than bamboo.

    (STRONG SUGGESTION: FOR THE FIRST EVER CHOP WITH ANY PROTOTYPE, SET UP VERY STRONG SAFETY PROCEDURES, INCLUDING EYEWEAR PROTECTION, HEAD PROTECTION AND TORSO PROTECTION.  MINIMIZE THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS IN THE VICINITY.  AND KEEP FIRST AID SUPPLIES NEARBY!).

    What about as a basic slicing knife? Well, the competition here is the traditional chinese broad knife.  These are not knives involving chopping.  Think instead of the broad knife as a, well, very broad bladed slicing chef's knife.  Take a look as this one from Dexter



    Here, the most glaring problem of your design is the wedging.issue.  Instead of slicing cleanly through the food, your knife design will get significantly slowed down simply by its own thickness.

    And finally, there's production price.  Here, I will introduce the Kiwi knife, beloved by all cheap knife lovers



    Here's what one ChefTalk reviewer had to say about the Kiwi:

    Kiwi knives have changed my life.    My teeth are whiter, my clothes brighter , my car runs faster, girls throw themselves at me and I just won a lottery.

    When I used just my MACs and Wusthofs my wife left me , my dog would bite me whilst I  slept and my house caught on fire..

    No more now that I own a light as air sharper than sharp Kiwi . 

    (Thanks to and a shoutout to ChefTalk member Snappy Hat.  This is from Post #26 in this thread: http://www.cheftalk.com/t/64354/kiwi-brand-knives  )

    Galley Swiller
     
  20. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    The weight and or heft is not sufficient to make it a viable implement for butchering. Also a blade such as shown would chip or fracture in no time.