How to Make a Meat Cleaver

The meat cleaver (also known as a bone chopper) is the largest and heaviest of kitchen knives, bold and brawny. It’s made to hew through tiny to medium bones and gristly connective tissue by breaking down the meat.

Chopping through giant melons, tough-skinned squash, and extra-large tubers is also a breeze with this instrument. They also have a lucrative side business scaring the pants off horror movie lovers!

How to Make a Meat Cleaver
Making meat cleaver at home by myself

How to Make a Meat Cleaver?

To begin, I cut out a cardboard template of the cleaver that would fit on the blade. It’s an antique blade that’s been honed multiple times:

Making a Profile of the Blade

The blades’ bodies are usually made of high-quality steel that has already been hardened and tempered. Cutting it out and molding it with care will not prevent it from hardening; the key is to keep it cool. While the steel has been hardened, it has not been hardened to the degree that a high-quality knife would require. It will be great for a cleaver, as it is mostly used for chopping and should have a robust blade.

After cutting off the basic shape, I used another piece of the same blade to solder on a handle extension. I also used the same steel to make a plug for the arbor hole.
An angle grinder and a flap sander were used for a lot of the contouring. For the majority of the rough smoothing, I utilized my belt sander platform:

Sanding the Blade to a Clean Finish and Polishing the Blade’s Bevel

I kept the blade cool by immersing it in a paint tray filled with water while doing this.

I believed it was crisp enough for a quick test now that the preliminary shaping was complete. I chopped a 1′′ maple dowel to a point (and several times into my bench) and the edge was still sharp enough to slice paper:

The black walnut was used for the handle, which was attached to the blade tang using slow-setting epoxy. I used maple dowels instead of metal for the pins, which is something I’ve never seen before. I stuck the maple dowels in with construction adhesive after making them on the spot:

Using Wooden Pins to Pierce the Handle

I used linseed oil to protect the handle while maintaining the natural feel of the wood. Several coats of paint were applied and rubbed in:

The Handle’s Edge

The finished cleaver was never intended to be displayed. It was designed to be used, and it has been hundreds of times in the three years after I created it. I wash the blade, dry it carefully, then use vegetable oil to keep it in good shape. This, combined with regular use, maintains it rust-free.

How Thick Should a Cleaver Be?

The thickness of the cleaver knife is a vital issue in cutting and slicing fish and meat. The thickness increases the versatility and durability of the knife. A perfect cleaver knife should be at least 12″ Long and 1/16″ in width.

Thin cleavers, which can be used in place of a chef’s knife, are highly popular in China. It would be 1/16″ to 3/32″ thick and 8″ long, similar to a chef knife.

How Big Should a Cleaver Be?

A cleaver knife (also known as a meat cleaver) is a large knife with a rectangular blade that resembles a hatchet. Cleaver knives usually have an overall length of 10.5 to 12 inches. The blade measures 6 to 8 inches in length and has a round hole in the top edge opposite the handle. The blade’s height ranges from 3 to 5 inches. These muscular tools are available in a variety of weights, ranging from 19 ounces to 2 pounds.

What Are Meat Cleavers Made of?

Cleaver, a hefty, ax-like knife used to cut through animal bone and meat for over a million years; in modern times, the cleaver, usually made of iron or carbon steel, is still a necessary butcher’s tool and a typical kitchen utensil. The cleaver’s flexibility is best demonstrated by its significant position in Chinese-style cuisine, where it is used for anything from chopping firewood to slaughtering meat to slicing delicate vegetables to whittling chopsticks. Its flat side is used to pound and tenderize meat like a mallet.

Aside from the all-purpose broad-bladed cleaver, a conventional narrow-bladed and lighter cleaver is also available for gentler slicing.

Read Next: What is a meat cleaver used for?

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