I have a thin sharp hard stainless steel cleaver that’s part of my classic Kai Shun block set, and it’s fine for vegetables. I attempted cutting through a chicken leg once and noticed it damaged the edge, so I stopped.
I have a slightly thicker Chinese carbon steel clever which I’ve also used mainly for vegetables. Because it’s slightly thicker than the shun model and much less expensive, I use it more for general purpose cutting of meats, veggies, and whatever else.
Yesterday my wife and I were craving lamb shanks so we went to a Halal butcher who always seems to have lamb. He mentioned his shanks (forelimbs) come previously frozen but the hind limbs were fresh. So I took his advice and bought the ends of the hind limbs at about the same level as where shanks would be cut, well below the knee joint. I got it home and it was a bit too long to fit in my pressure cooker so I had to cut through the lower leg bone to make it fit. I attempted this with the Chinese cleaver as it’s the heaviest one I have. I sprayed bone fragments everywhere in the kitchen and even made a huge gouge in the blade edge such that it’s going to goodwill this weekend.
Now I need a heavy cleaver that can handle big bones. Any suggestions on brands or models, contemporary or antique?
I also need a new medium thickness cleaver to replace the chinese one I ruined.
How many varieties of cleavers are there, and which styles do you own and use?