Takeda Chukabocho(Cleaver) 213mm(8.5")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Takeda Cleaver 213mm(8.5")


- As I mentioned above this is my first Chuka Bocho. Never had experience with Chuka Bochos before. After a few months of intensive use I can say I have some experience :) Although, today I'm nowhere near being an expert or even really good at it, thus take this review for what it is, just my point of view and impressions. Overall, my opinion and experience have been very positive with this cleaver for vegetable cutting, not so good for other cutting jobs, some I've never attempted at all. Vegetable cutting is where Chinese cleaver really excels, at least in my hands :)
    Initial Edge - Originally the knife had quite thin edge, it was less than 10° per side. Therefore, cutting ability obviously was very high compared to any kitchen knife you might buy in the store and from lots of custom makers too. Edge was highly polished as well. I am not sure what was the final grit used, but probably somewhere around 8000-10000. I can't judge the edge just by the looks of it better than that:) But, unless it's a special order makers won't spend time putting 30000 grit edge on a knife, especially if they don't really know for whom the knife is made. Anyway, that was no biggie, I've finished edge with 2, 1, 0.5 and 0.3 mic abrasives. First two were silicon carbide based films, then CrO loaded strop and Al2O3 film again. Couple months later when I got Diamond paste from Dave at Japanese Knife Sharpening, I've used diamond paste loaded leather strop to get the 0.25mic edge. It's not that big of a difference by numbers, but percentage-wise it's 20% difference :)
    Grip - Due to its super wide blade cleaver is very safe and easy to use for cutting. Blade so wide, is really hard to rise above your finger knuckles during al types of cutting, so you constantly have your claw(or guide) hand knuckles against the blade protecting your fingertips. Also, because of the same reason, clearance between the handle and cutting surface is very high. Again, extra safety for your fingers. And one more aspect to this wide blade is that your pinch grip can be slightly modified, that is you can fully extend your index finger alongside the blade for added comfort and better control. Although, I assume that is a matter of personal taste. To me it is more comfortable to have pinch grip index finger fully extended vs. more curled when using gyutos. In a long term use I feel more comfortable with cleaver pinch grip and also, because my hand is much higher from the cutting surface I feel I have much better control of the knife this way.
    Cutting - Obviously, because almost rectangular blade geometry you can't really use rocking motion, but slicing and push-cutting with is are no less efficient and wider blade makes a lot of work much easier. Basically vertical push-cuts are very easy and so is slicing. Angled cuts are ok until you exceed 30°-35° from the vertical. After that it becomes rather inconvenient. Well, try it yourself, may be you'll be ok. To me such a wide blade at lower angles is not too convenient. For the sake of experiment and because I wanted to learn I've also used cleaver for slicing small items such as red radish and shallots. It's considerably more difficult compared to gyutos to hold the cleaver parallel to the cutting board and make precision cuts, even if my grip and forearm strength are really good thanks to all the kettlebell training I do. However, for mincing the same ingredients using vertical positioning cleaver worked very well, even if the items are so small, the blade so wide provides very good support for your finger knuckles. Overall, once you get used to its unusual size and blade geometry, you can work with it just as fast or even faster than with traditional chef's knife.
    BTW, by no means all that is should be taken as advocating for high-speed cutting, especially with very sharp knives and with insufficient experience using them. That's a sure way to lop off one or more of your precious fingertips. Take your time, learn how to use your knife and pay attention to precision, grip, hand positioning, efficiency and other details. Speed will come to you later, but fingers don't grow back unfortunately. Just enjoy cutting with a sharp instrument and that's all to it :)
    For veggies Chuka Bocho works like charm, I already stated that. Especially good it works for mincing, batonneting and julienning various vegetables. Not sure why exactly but for me making batonnet or julienne from a carrot is much easier with Takeda cleaver than any of the gyutos I have. This clearly is a matter of blade geometry, mainly its height because edge sharpness and blade thickness are very close and blade length is considerably longer on gyutos, starting at 240mm for my shortest gyuto and ending with 270mm for the longest one, while cleaver has only 210mm long blade.
    Handling larger pieces of various plants, like cabbage, broccoli, califlower is also very easy. Shredding cabbage for example is more convenient with the cleaver compared to other knives. Same goes for the pineapple. Just like carrots pineapple has tough, sticky core and cutting through it is no big deal with a cleaver. Although, unlike carrots I just cut the core off and throw it away, but when I need to make a batonnet from carrots somehow I'm more efficient with the cleaver than with gyuto, even if both knives are hair whittling sharp.
    One more thing worth mentioning and is related again to extra width of the Chuka Bocho blade is the ease of scooping the processed food from the cutting board. For some it can be a small detail, but I do appreciate that aspect of using a cleaver too. Makes things faster and less messy.
    Misc. cutting - Well, like I said above I'm more or less efficient (or proficient) with this knife cutting veggies. Although, there are many sources citing that once you have a Chinese cleaver, aka Chuka Bocho you'll never need (or look at) another knife, so far I don't see it that way. Can be my inexperience with it too, but I really doubt this type of knife will ever do good for paring as for example Tojiro Paring Knife or Watanabe Small Knife. Simply because of the sheer size differences, both in length and width. I don't know if someone has a special technique to peel something with the cleaver, but I can't. Same goes for slicing. If all you have to do is make vertical slices, then the cleaver is just as good as Aritsugu Yanagiba or Akifusa(Ikeda) Gyuto. On the other hand it's not as good once you have to start maneuvering knife and getting into places with it. For the same reason Watanabe Honesuki will do much better for boning. Deba will perform better because of thicker blade and stronger edge for fish decapitating and so on. In the end any specialized knife will perform that specific task better.
    So, in my opinion, is Chuka Bocho one, do it all knife? No. If I had to stick with one universal cutter that'd still be the gyuto, not the cleaver. On the other hand very often I reach for it when I have to cut lots of vegetables, especially when I have to do julienne or batonnet, it allows me to work faster because I feel safer with wider blade and don't have to think too much about my knuckles, how high I am rising the knife, etc. Overal, I am very happy I have this knife and it performs excellent for whatever I need it. Edge holding has been very good and maintenance is very easy to me at least, despite of being non stainless knife.


  • Blade - 213.00mm(8.39")
  • Thickness - 3.00mm
  • OAL - 340.00mm(13.39")
  • Steel - Aogami Super Steel 62HRC
  • Handle - Wood
  • Weight - 360.00g(12.17oz)
  • Acquired - 08/2008 Price - 377.00$


Last updated - 05/19/19