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ZHEN Japanese VG-10 67-Layer Damascus Steel 8-Inch Slicer Chopping Chef Butcher Knife/Cleaver, Large
|Price:||$135.95 & FREE Shipping|
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- MADE WITH TOP GRADE JAPANESE 67-layer Damascus Steel, VG-10 cutting core, HRC 60-62 hardness for exceptional sharpness, edge retention, and durability while being easy to sharpen
- Blade size (length x width x thickness): 8 inches x 4 inches x 1.8 millimeters; net weight 0.75 pound
- Full tang design with sealed-tight, waterproof, and durable brown color Pakkawood handle for a non-slip and comfortable grip
- Long-lasting, sharp edge for cutting meat, fruit, and vegetables (DO NOT chop bones)
- Crafted in ISO 9001 certified Taiwan factory with steel imported from Japan; limited lifetime warranty against defects
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|Sold By||Rader Knife Store||CutleryMania||Mouri shop||Amazon.com||EKUER|
|Color||Silver||Stainless Steel||Dark brown, silver||Stainless Steel||Style 1|
This ZHEN Damascus Steel knife is designed for cutting meat, fruit, and vegetables. The blade is made of Japanese 67-Layer Damascus steel with a VG-10 steel cutting core at HRC 60-62 hardness for durability, exceptional strength, and stain resistance. The full tang handle comes in brown color Pakkawood that is non-slip, bacteria resistant, easy to clean, and waterproof. A mirror polished steel bolstering completes this essential kitchen cutlery piece. Every ZHEN knife comes inside a handcrafted box or storage box perfect for displaying or gifting. *DO NOT chop bones or use on glass, tile, or granite cutting boards. Hand wash with gentle dish soap, rinse, and towel dry immediately. We recommend sharpening ZHEN knives on a whetstone at a 15 degree angle. Limited lifetime warranty against defects, 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Our knives are made from imported Japanese steel and expertly crafted in our ISO 9001 certified Taiwan factory.
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Background (2): I used a Dexter/Russell Chinese cleaver for many years. After that I bought a Chinese cleaver made in Japan by Mac, for Martin Yan (same approximate dimensions of the Dexter), which I really loved; but I broke the blade cutting frozen chicken and couldn't find another since they stopped making it. Since then I've purchased maybe 10 Chinese cleavers -- Martin Yan; Joyce Chen; Messermeister; Forschner; a heavy-duty Chinese cheapie ($6) for whacking through bones; and a few others. But I've never purchased a super-expensive one (e.g., one of the Japanese ones sold at JCK, some of which sell for close to $400). The most expensive Chinese cleaver I own is the Kershaw Shun DM0712, which now sells for $200, more or less. The Shun is very finely crafted, but it's small, heavy for its size, and, because of the weight of the blade, not particularly well-balanced.
Now, as for the Zhen Damascus -- My initial impression is: (1) It's very very sharp; (2) It's extremely and surprisingly light for its size -- light to the point that I'm a bit worried that it might be fragile. (Only time will tell.) The blade is thin at the spine (less than 2 mm.), and narrows severely to the edge -- almost like a straight razor. However, there is no taper on the spine, from the heel to the point. (3) The craftsmanship is good to very good, but not obsessive/perfectionist, like top-level Japanese craftsmanship is; (4) It's well-balanced and well-designed (assuming, again, that it holds up); (5) The handle is very comfortable -- but this may be a matter of personal preference; (6) Over all, it's pretty much what you should expect it to be, given its description and price.
$130 for a knife is not cheap; but it's less than half the price of top-tier Japanese knives of similar design. And the Zhen is clearly a knock-off of the Kershaw Shun -- similar metal in the blade; similar handle design. But the dimensions (of the Large, which is what I bought) are very different from the Shun; and the workmanship is not quite as good. The blade out of the box, while literally razor sharp, had tiny burrs on the side of the edge. I could feel them with my fingernail. They were easily removed with a honing steel or fine stone, but it's the kind of thing that a high-end Japanese craftsperson would never have let go. Similarly, you can feel just a bit where the rear bolster attaches to the handle -- it's not perfectly smooth. And where the bolster is welded to the blade, it's not as uniform and nicely done as the Shun. I attribute these slight imperfections to the fact that this is a $130 knife, not a $330 knife. If I had paid $330, and the knife was made in Japan, I'd be seriously disappointed, even though none of these things affect the knife's functionality.
That's about as much as I can say after just a day's use. I personally like this particular handle design -- I find it very comfortable (similar to the Shun, but without the bulge toward the palm). So far the knife has been easy to use, though I'm still adjusting to its dimensions. (It's about 8" x 4"; the other cleavers I own are about 3" wide; but many of the top-end and commercial Chinese cleavers are 4" wide, or wider.) My primary concern is that the blade will prove to be fragile. (While I don't plan to whack bones with it, I do expect it to hold up when used as intended. And I'm trusting Zhen that the knife is really made from first-class Japanese steel. I hope they are telling the truth, but how can one really know?)
[Regarding fragility of blades: I've been surprised before. I found that the blades on my Dexter/Russels were easy to deform and knick. But the blade on my Messermeister -- which I bought on E-Bay for $40 a few years ago -- seemed very thin and light, to the point that I was worried that, though made in Japan, it could be fragile. But I was surprised to find that that thin and innocent-looking blade was actually really tough. Since it was only $40, it became my work horse, and I kept pushing it to see what it could handle. I eventually starting using it to chop chicken bones (both raw and cooked), including leg bones -- and the blade doesn't bend or knick or anything. Pretty amazing.]
Anyway, the bottom line for the Zhen Damascus is that it seems well designed; it's very very sharp; craftsmanship is fine but not perfect; it's too early for me to report on the quality of the blade; and finally, relative to high-end Chinese cleavers it seems to be reasonably priced at $129.
UPDATE - 6/15/12
Well, I've been using my new Zhen knife for about a month now. Overall, I'm very happy with it. For the first couple of weeks I was very cautious; the knife and I were getting to know one another. Among other things, it's so sharp that it tends to catch on the cutting board when I scoop up veges. (The remedy is to scoop, spatula-style, at a very very low angle.) But just a few days ago I realized that I was becoming very comfortable with the knife. At first I would have been more comfortable using one of my old knives, because that's what I was used to. But I now prefer the new one to my other knives -- a good sign.
As with any razor-sharp blade, the edge dulls with use. But I've been able to keep it sharp with a few strokes on a stone (my main stone is soft arkansas) or, my favorite, a ceramic sharpening rod.
I still find the handle very comfortable. And I'm liking the extra width -- it's great when cutting something big, like napa cabbage, or watermelon. And it also means I can scoop up a larger pile of stuff in one scoop.
Having said all of that, if you've never used a Chinese cleaver before, but you're thinking of giving one a try, IMHO this would not be a good choice. I say this because a 4" wide blade is indeed quite big; and the width of the blade definitely alters the ergonomics. All of my previous chinese cleavers had 3" wide blades. If you're thinking of trying out a Chinese cleaver, I'd suggest getting one with a 3" wide blade first. There are plenty to choose from. Get used to that. The 4" wide blade makes for a big knife.
Ergonomics note: If you get a chance, watch some cooks and prep-cooks in a Chinese kitchen. Chinese kitchens are set up very ergonomically -- but they are very different from standard western kitchens. With respect to chopping and food prep, the counters tend to be lower, to make room for (1) the big fat round of a fir tree that is the chinese chopping block, and (2) the wide chinese cleaver. With a standard American kitchen counter, you may find (depending on your height, of course) that the 4" blade of a big chinese cleaver requires you to raise your arm and wrist higher than you're accustomed to. To a certain extent, this can off-set one of the advantage of a chinese cleaver -- which is that you don't have to "push" the knife very much, because the cleaver's weight does much of the work.
first thing: this is not a cleaver - this is a chef knife, specifically, a "chinese" chef knife. i love this kind of blade as it does vegetable prep better than any other, imo. metallurgically, this blade is similar to other well-received knives, that is, an inner core of vg-10 sandwiched between layers of a different stainless steel. this set-up give the blade a very sharp/hard cutting edge but also better clean up and stainless properties than only vg-10 would provide. additionally, it provides increased tensile strength. and, most importantly, it makes for a light knife, with this one being a tad heavier than some due to it's size.
the size aspect is unique to just this make/model - you will not find a chinese chef knife of this kind of construction and quality in this size. basically, it's the biggest chinese chef knife that i know of that uses this metallurgical approach. for me and my large cook-ahead meals, this big blade is perfect. i need the long and wide blade for the mass peeling, cutting, and shoveling of veg. you can do a surprising amount of fine detail work with it as the size also lends stability. i also use it for meat but that's actually one place where a long and pointy traditional chef's knife shines brighter. my preferred meat-carving blade is the tojiro gyuto DP (DP = Dual Plane = same construction as this chinese chef knife).
do not expect to see similar versions of this knife for cheap coming from china. they do not exist. even tho it is made in taiwan, it is made from japanese steel and is essentially a japanese-influenced take on the traditional chinese chef knife and it is a really great blade if you are looking for the biggest chinese chef knife in this metallurgical class. there are smaller and cheaper versions of this, some made by zhen, but also by others and that might also be a good place to look. still, if you cook big, if you have medium to large hands, this is a great fit.
8:20 P.M.- Never expected for my Zhen Cleaver to arrived this late, but it did arrive as Amazon guaranteed it would. Boy...Oh Boy!! this is a serious Cleaver to say the least!! It is an absolute work of art and it means business when it comes to cutting vegetables. Yes...I put it through the test and cutting veggies could not be easier. The wide blade makes it easy to scoop the vegetables when you are done. Needless to say, I am very happy and recommend this product to anyone serious about owning nothing but the best in kitchen cutlery.
Most recent customer reviews
Tell them it's for vegetables and try it out!Read more
It's large enough and good to cut.Read more