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Custom Heirloom Go Mai Veggie Cleaver

SKU: AH-0047

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)