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Meat Cleavers

Interestingly enough, to 'cleave' can mean either 'to split apart' or 'to adhere.' In food preparation, using a cleaver means, obviously, to split apart.

There is a big difference between meat cleavers and Chinese cleavers. Meat Cleavers have very thick blades that are not very sharp; they are meant to be used for splitting bone and don't work well at all for fine cutting or chopping. Never sharpen them to a razor's edge; follow the angle of the original grind to sharpen correctly. Some cleavers have a hole because they were traditionally hung from a meat hook, or a hook on the butcher's belt.

Chinese Cleavers are the Asian version of the French chef knife. They must not be used for chopping bone, since that would destroy (chip, knick, bend) the edge. Sharpen them as you would a chef knife.

For more information on knives, check out our Knife Tutorial.
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