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 vs. Stainless steel
Stainless steel is the most commonly found steel used in knives. It is a popular choice because it has a high resistance to rust and is easy to maintain a bright shiny surface. This rust resistance is provided by the addition of chromium to the alloy. While rust resistant it is "stain less" not "stain proof" and still requires a basic level of maintenance. What is gains in ease of maintenance in terms of appearance it loses in ease of edge maintenance. Generally, stainless knives are harder to get razor sharp and loose their edge faster. For someone looking for the highest possible performance, like a professional chef, stainless can have some drawbacks. For a knife used in a saltwater environment, like on a fishing boat, stainless steel would be a great choice.
High carbon steel knives generally are sharper and will stay that way for longer. Because we are interested in making the highest performing knives possible, many of our blades are made from or contain a component of high-carbon steel. These knives will require a bit more maintenance than you may be used to, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of cutting performance.
The drawback to high carbon steel is that it has little in the way of rust resistance. Over time and use the steel can develop a patina that will protect the knife from rust, when properly cared for. The metal will lose its shininess and will change an array of colors eventually settling into a medium to dark grey. This patina adds a certain level of character to the blade when compared to its shiny stainless counterpart. 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 change in appearance after you start using it.
Knife care & maintenance
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. Use caution when using a knife and try not to use a knife to pry things or cut things that can damage the steel and edge.
Keep it clean and dry. High carbon 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.
Maintain the Edge. 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.
THE alligatorhorse pledge
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.