Custom Heirloom Go Mai Veggie Cleaver
This cleaver was a custom order for a returning customer wanting to create a special gift for his father. The special part comes in to the materials used. When the customers grandfather emigrated from Vietnam, he brought a cleaver with him and that cleaver has been in the family ever since.
The current state of the cleaver was not great. The blade had multiple warps on the edge and I was told that it had been used for everything including yard work over the years. The original blade was very thin, only about 1/16" at the spine so with the waviness of the edge, there was no salvaging it. The customer wanted to see if we could use the steel in some way to make a new knife. We settled on using it in a go mai (5 layers) with a layer of nickel to go in between the old cleaver steel and the new 80crv2 cutting edge. We also wanted to stick with the original intent of the knife, which seemed to be a veggie cleaver. While it resembles a chopping cleaver, it is much thinner and is used as more of a chef's knife than a chopper. It has a very fine edge with a tall profile that makes it great for slicing and cutting.
The challenge for this knife was in the forge welding of the go mai. The original steel was of unknown type and was so thin that as soon it was heated, the steel it would warp. There was also not a substantial amount of it because it was so thin. My solution was to make a canister that would hold all the steel together so it could be forge welded into one billet. The other challenge was there was only one shot at this because there was not more material if things went sideways. Luckily a lot of prep work on the steel paid off and gave us a billet that had enough steel in it to forge the new knife.
For the handle we went with a beautiful piece of Vietnamese Rosewood burl. It seemed only fitting to use a wood native to Vietnam. The handle is a one piece construction and is held on with a hand peened sterling silver pin.
Every step of this process was completed in my workshop, creating a one of a kind, hand-forged knife.
Steel: Recycled Heirloom Cleaver / Nickel / 80CRV2 High Carbon
Handle: Vietnamese Rosewood
Blade Length: 7.75" (197 mm)
Weight: 11.3 oz.
Overal Length: 12.5" (318 mm)
Heel Height: 3" (76 mm)
Spine thickness at handle: .25" (6 mm)
High carbon steel knives require a bit more maintenance than a stainless steel knife that you might be used to, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of cutting performance. Generally speaking, high-carbon edges can be sharper and stay that way longer; which is why many professional chefs choose them.
The only drawback to high-carbon steel is that it will rust if not properly cared for. The blade must be rinsed and dried by hand immediately after use, and never put in a dishwasher (btw, you should not put any knife in a dishwasher). If properly cared for, the blade will develop a patina over time that will help protect the knife steel from rust. As you use the knife, the metal will lose its shininess and will change an array of colors based on the food you cut with it, eventually settling into a medium to dark grey.
Some of our knives already have a patina or are on their way to developing one depending on the finish of the blade. Either way, you should know that your blade will not look as it does here after you start to use it. If you do not have experience with high-carbon steel knives this can be a bit a of a shock, but many have grown to love the organic nature and character of high-carbon knives and how they evolve and interact with you and your food.
Use the knife safely and properly. Knives are designed to cut, chop and slice and different blade styles are better suited than others for certain tasks. Kitchen knives are not designed to be bent, dropped or thrown. The edge is meant to cut food on surfaces that will not damage or dull the edge. Acceptable cutting surfaces include... cutting boards. Unacceptable surfaces include metal, ceramic plates, granite countertops, etc. These surfaces will rapidly dull or deform the edge and lead to poor performance.
Keep it clean and dry. Steel will rust and moisture left unattended on a knife will cause the ugly orange oxidation. High carbon steel knives will develop a patina over time that will change and darken the blades appearance, but will also help prevent rust from forming. We recommend gently rinsing your blade clean after use and then wiping it dry. This will promote the patina and not the rust. Never wash knives in the dishwasher. This will compromise your edge and your knife.
Maintain the Edge. It is not uncommon for a chef to start each day by sharpening all of their knives. Maintaining your edge will make complete resharpening less frequent and will keep you at optimal performance. For maintaining your edge, we recommend a steel rod or sharpening stone. If this does not bring back your edge, then it is time for a full resharpening. You can take your knife to a reputable knife sharpener in your area or, if you prefer, you can send it back to us for resharpening. We will sharpen it for free and only invoice you for the return shipping cost.
Store Properly. Keep your knives in a dry place and try to protect the edge. Magnetic knife boards or blocks are the best storage options but a kitchen drawer, can work as well. In a drawer we would recommend an edge protector to keep the edge safe as well as your fingers.
We want our AlligatorHorses to go to good, caring homes and we want them to give you the best possible experience. We do our best to handcraft superior knives and test them thoroughly before they go off into the world, but your feedback is an important way for us gauge performance and make improvements as needed. If you have any issues, concerns or questions, please contact us.
We unequivocally guarantee our craftsmanship and materials. We strive to make tough, capable knives and if there is any issue we will work with you to reach a solution. If there is any defect in materials or craftsmanship we will offer complimentary repair, credit or refund.
That being said, no knife is immortal. To get optimal performance a certain amount of maintenance and care is required.
Your Pledge: (please recite out loud)
I do solemnly pledge to care for my AlligatorHorse. I will keep it clean, I will keep it sharp. I will not abuse it, use it as a pry bar or throw it, and I will do my very best not to drop it. I will use it safely, I will use it as intended, I will use it every chance I get.
We cannot be held responsible for things such as neglect, misuse or abuse.
We offer free shipping within the U.S.
Shipping Time - U.S.
We require 5 business days to prepare your shipment. Delivery times vary by location and are not guaranteed. Typically it takes 3-5 business days to receive your order after it is shipped.
Shipping Time - International
We require 5 business days to prepare your shipment. Please allow 14 - 21 business days to receive your order after it is shipped. We cannot guarantee International delivery times due to customs. NOTE: You will be responsible for additional costs of duties/taxes assessed by the government upon delivery.
You will receive an email with tracking info once your order is processed and packaged for shipment.