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Sharpening my cleaver

Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:36 am

Hi Mark, I am one of many costumers that are very happy with your videos and company, and I find myself in a tight spot and seek some word of advise from you if you have time to answer it.

I own a Hattori Chinese Cleaver 2.4mm thick at spine, 21cm blade 10cm high 500g weight made of VG-10 steel, the knife is from Mr Hattoris FH series.

the knife itself is a masterpice in all possible ways, and I love the idea of chinese cleaver model.

There is just one thing that is bugging me atm.

with my skills and prefformance on my whetstones and leather stroping so far with all my knifes I been able to get out a razor sharp hair cutting machine , but not as good end result on my Cleaver,

I start to wonder if im using the wrong technique for the model itself when im sharpening it or if it could be that the VG-10 steel is much harder to sharpen to an astonishing edge compare to my other more higher and precious steels as example to that I have a beuty Usaba of Blue carbon steel #1 but ofc I dont expect it to be that sharp as my Usaba but there is something missing.

so my question to you is the following.

is there anything you could advise me when it comes to sharpening my chinese cleaver and how to bring it up to that razor sharp quality that we all know how awesome its to work with.

Kind Regards


Re: Sharpening my cleaver

Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:37 am

Tell me in as much detail how you are sharpening the cleaver. Stones used, deburring routine, strops etc and I'll try and help you with some suggestions.

Re: Sharpening my cleaver

Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:48 am

well it´s sort of basic I would say but here I try to brake it down as good as possible from my head.

I use 6 stones, start from a 320 grit then 1k then 4k then 6k then 8k then 10k and then I go over to balsam strop with 1 micron 10 carat Dimond spray and finish off with horse back leather strop, for deburring I use deburring cube that you sell. works good. I use it everytime I swap to a new stone. so everytime I start to work on a new stone it has been deburred. I allways keep my stones wet during the process. and they are japanese whetstones bought from Japaneseknifechef.com

when It comes to my technique I start to choose if the edge need to be restored from scratch = started on my 320 grit stone, if not I normaly start to work on my 1k stone and work myself through the rest.

I face the blade first on my right end with what should now be quiet a possitive 12-15 degree angle for my edge and holding the knife 30-40 degree placed from the stone ( hope you understand what I´m trying to say on that:p) then I start to work my way from the tip down to the heel, with a method that can be described as 3 parts, = Tip then Middle then bottom / heel. depending on the knife dullness the repetitions will be around 8-20 on each section, once one side is done I swap over to the opposite side, same amount of repetitions = I try to remember the right number, there about. if I find that my choice of rep on each section wont do the trick then I work on each section untill I can feel the edge been curved on the side that hasnt been worked = untill I got that nice rolled edge and then I swap exct exct untill im happy, I do this method on my lower stones up to 1k, all my other stones above 1k I will change my method to stropping style. I do i stropp on each side at the time so the whole new edge wont change to much during this process.. this method all in all have giving me great edge´s on all my knives but the cleaver dose not come out as I was hoping it would.

plz answer with thoughts that might add some improvement to my sharpening, I can take both good and bad critic, all I want is some thoughts.

Kind Regards.

Re: Sharpening my cleaver

Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:15 am

The first time I sharpened a CCK cleaver I noticed my results were very poor. You have too keep a consistent angle. Since it's so large and far away from the stone you will find that a movement of even 1mm will be a few degrees. Really take your time and make sure you're not wobbling the edge over the stone. I made a conscious effort and the second time the cleaver came out hair popping sharp.

Other than that I can't see what you're doing wrong. The only other question I can think to ask is, have you sharpened VG-10 before? VG-10 if not handled properly can be a pain in the ass with burr formation.

Re: Sharpening my cleaver

Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 am

Try setting your angle using your off hand as a guide. Apply very light rotational pressure with your hand holding the handle. Lifting the spine and pressing the edge down. Imagine a line, parallel to the edge, about 1/2 an inch away from the edge. With your other hand place your fingers anywhere on this line and stop the upward movement of the spine. This way your angle is set, by your off hand, much closer to the edge which allows for a bit more control with tall knives like cleavers.

Re: Sharpening my cleaver

Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:23 am


Consider not going finer than 16 degrees per side on VG-10 steel. Sometimes going more acute brings out 'problems' with certain steels. I find you can go more acute with steels like Aogami super, etc.

Consider getting an angle gauge for your cleaver. Mount the gauge ON the cleaver. With your stone flat on the table (0 degrees), hold the cleaver at 16 degrees. Now SLOWLY do some strokes keeping the angle close to 16 degrees. If you move fast, the gauge will go all over the place. Do this several times to 'learn' what 16 degrees is. Once you are consistent, you can go without the gauge. This should teach you to be more consistent and to actually know what angle you are at.


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