Just watching the video below should be enough to get you intrigued about this knife and its maker. We originally purchased a handful of knives from him to give our forum members a chance to try them. Well, the response was overwhelmingly positive…in the main! So we are having him make more for us using our members’ input to improve the product.
The knives do not possess the highest level of fit and finish. They are not made from exotic materials. And they are as much a curio as a desirable kitchen knife. But what they do possess is a character and an ability to cut that is as good as many knives we sell.
The blades themselves are fashioned from old leaf springs. These auto cast offs are actually a great source of knife steel, usually being made from 5160 steel. In fact many highly regarded US custom knife makers use this steel source for their expensive creations. The edge profile is all belly. There is not a flat spot to be seen! But the blade is super thin and ground really well. With a height of 90mm and an edge length of about 210mm, it resembles a classic Chinese cleaver ratio.
Putting aside the less-than-perfect finish, one thing everyone agrees on is their cutting ability. These blades are sharp and take an incredible edge. For someone looking for a unique version of a cleaver, a fun project knife, or a sharpening practice knife, the Daovua is a perfect and high value choice. Please remember these are made under crude conditions with used steel so you should expect that they're rough and have imperfections that exceed most of our other knives. Expect dents, scratches odd sizes, different handles etc. If you're into great fit and finish or are overly particular run away! If you want to try a cool piece of living history and you're not uptight about a crude but cool cutting tool than you'll love it.
Weight: 8.3 oz/ 236g
Blade Length: 201 mm
Total Length: 333 mm
Spine Thickness at Heel: 2.3 mm
Blade Height at Heel: 83.7 mm
Handle: (Wood type varies from knife to knife)
5Simply the best!, April 6, 2021
Posted By: David Leflar - verified customer
Absolutely blown away with the quality of this Dao Vua cleaver. The carbon steel finish is beautiful and oh so sharp, as well as easy and even enjoyable to sharpen. Most of all, though, is the beauty of the handle. A friend recommended the Dao Vua company to me, though my order from ChecfKnivesToGo came with a different and actually more beautiful handle than his cleaver!
All the previous reviews here are more or less spot on- the knife is nice and light, but definitely needs sharpening when it arrives. It's really not that sharp at all right out of the box. The blade has a lot of character. There was a tiny crack near the "bolster" region of where the wa handle meets the blade but it's tiny and I don't anticipate it will cause any problems.
One thing to note- part of the reason this knife is lighter than everyone expects is that it weighs 8.8 oz not the advertised 9.8 oz. I was also suprised by the weight and threw it on a kitchen scale to confirm.
This is my first knife of this style, and I'm glad I made the decision to get one! It's surprisingly light, easy to handle, and came out of the box super sharp. And it just looks badass. Would definitely recommend!
Never really knew about this style of knife but after reading about it on Serious Eats I gave it a shot. Went for the sharpening as I wanted this thing to be the best that it could right out of the box. This thing is sharp!! Love it and it sits on the kitchen counter as my go to. My Global is, for now, back in the case. If I would give one criticism and it’s not of the knife, it’s the wooden block that I bought with. It’s a little savory for the blade and the edges of this very sharp knife hang over a bit. Thanks!
Interesting comfortable handle even for smaller hands, thin light blade, true forge finish. Perfect high speed beater with tons of personality. Not the most exotic steel but that makes it less of a chore to sharpen for monosteel offering. Long time pro customer and this is my favorite thin, line knife since the first run ITK kiritsuke
4This is a great cleaver for the money, January 8, 2021
Posted By: Richard L Martin - verified customer
I was looking at cleavers and had settled on the Shun when I found this product. It really looked neat and I liked the back story. The only thing that I would do differently is get the sharpening service as it did not come very sharp, but I smile every time I see it hanging in my kitchen.
Got this knife on a whim, because the story intrigued. Had CKTG sharpen it. Came razor sharp. Love the look. Has great character. I was worried about ti being overly reactive, but it is not. No more than my Agoumi super blue. The edge is developing a nice patina. Makes short work of cutting up a chicken, going through rib bones like nothing. Very pleased with the purchase, and it's a steal at the price. I know some people have mentioned something about it being rough, but for me that's the charm. handle is beautiful.
Posted By: Dan - verified customer 1 people found this review helpful
I like this knife a lot. I had been deliberating over which Chinese-style chef's knife to pick for months, and I'm happy with this one. Comfortable to hold, great for push cutting, and better than I expected for rock chopping. Scoops up chopped veg very easily. Plus, it's attractive!
My only qualm is that it definitely needs sharpening out of the box. I'm not one of your knife sharpening acolytes--I've only stone-sharpened my own once in five years, with the occasional honing steel. This one definitely needs some sharpening. It requires some effort to chop onions, and hasn't handled tomatoes well at all. That said, it's still sharper than most knives I use at friends' and relatives' houses, so.....your call. But really, 9/10 would buy again.
Posted By: Dennis Manuel 1 people found this review helpful
Just got this knife. Had CKTG sharpen it so I would know the potential, because I'm not a brilliant sharpener. Arrived Screaming sharp. My son sliced up a pepper with it, looked at me and said "What the Sam Hill?" He's 21. that's an expression. Whatta i know? I have no idea what everybody is talking about when they say this knife is "rough." It's beautiful. It has character. tons of it. And it took such an amazing edge, that I'm going back to school to learn how to sharpen properly! I would say it is the perfect tool for those of us wanting to learn how to use a cleaver and care fora high carbon knife properly. It's a steal as far as i'm concerned.
My husband has wanted this knife for a long time, and it made the perfect father's day gift! Such an amazing thing to be holding a repurposed material made with such beauty. It is a great knife for our foodie family cooking needs.
Posted By: Nick vasquez - verified customer 1 people found this review helpful
super impulse buy and im not mad about it! Takes an edge real well, i did clean off most of the "patina" with a green scrubbie and some soap on account of it staining food and smelling a little wierd... but after that its been my go to vegetable knife, i love it and would recommend to anyone who is interested in this style of knife.
5Knive as expected but service exceptional, January 3, 2020
Posted By: Chip Pitfield - verified customer 1 people found this review helpful
This is a functional small cleaver that I quite like. As its price suggests, it's utilitarian and functional but not a work of art. As much as I like the knife, what I really like is the client service. This company and its owners are super-helpful, no-nonsense customer-service people. I ordinarily wouldn't buy a knife I can't pick up and feel but I will do so again because of this attention to client service.
5Daovou Leaf Spring Small Cleaver , November 11, 2019
Posted By: Dan Blood - verified customer 2 people found this review helpful
I absolutely love this knife. I have been watching Dianxi cooking on YouTube. This cleavers primitive utility most closely approximates what she uses. It is sharp out of the box. As for functionality the height of the blade increases safety and allows for efficient removal of product from your cutting board. I have purchased at least three other cleavers all the rest of them stainless and this is the one I use. The others are in the drawer with Chefs Knives to Go blade guards on them. It is also easily sharpened because of the high carbon steel. I wash and dry it after use, sharpen by running it over the steel and then wipe it down with a lightly oiled cloth kept in a small jar before hanging it on the knife bar. The extra steps in care is part of the knifes charm to me. I just purchased 2 additional cleavers as gifts. Obviously this knife is not for everyone but two special friends lives will soon be enhanced by the gifts they receive.
Posted By: Devin Dixon - verified customer 1 people found this review helpful
Bought the Daovua cleaver to practice sharpening and, you know, have a cool Chinese cleaver to play with. Knife is fine: a little awkward for me as I’m unused to so much forward balance. Find myself choking up so far on the spine that I’m almost holding it like a bench scraper. Still—the blade is great, though a bit too thick behind the edge. Would also benefit from some distill taper. Finish is rough as advertised—I recommend some taking some sandpaper to the spine and choil. Probably should’ve went with the tall nakiri, but all in all I’m very satisfied. Used it at work and found it a read murderer of cabbages, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic. Found it excellent for mincing beef for chili—better than a gyuto, even.
As always, the finish sharpening service is excellent and gave me a real reference for what “sharp” really is.
Have since ordered the 210 Dao Vua gyuto and will likely grab more when they are in stock. Super fun knives.
Posted By: Sho Spaeth 1 people found this review helpful
I love this knife! I bought it to experiment with Chinese-style cleavers, and it's since become my main knife for general kitchen tasks (for reference, I have a Tojiro chef's knife, a couple debas, and a honesuki).
It did require a couple passes on a whetstone straight out of the package, but it got quite sharp and it holds the edge marvelously. Love its versatility and weight... really can't recommend it enough!
Recently received mine, couldn't be more happy. It was exactly what I was expecting, imperfection and excellence combined to make an intriguing and delightful to use product. I will be picking up the entire Daovua line as they become available. They aren't kidding about this material being superb for knife making. Holds scary sharp edge quite well. It's also great to be just a few hours away in La Crosse WI!
Posted By: Andrew Huang - verified customer 10 people found this review helpful
I've been a lifelong user of classic european chefs knives but decided to give a Chinese Caidao cleaver a solid trial. First, unless all you do is slicing, it's a lie that the Caidao is the only knife you ever need. I have a custom shaped parer for peeling onions and scraping ginger, I have a flexible utility for filleting, I have a Santoku that is a necessity for quartering brussel sprouts, all tasks that a Caidao could do, but at a compromise in speed and efficiency.
The Caidao's advantage is in it's thin, thin, thin blade that minimizes the effort of slicing. The thin blade and its huge width allows for consistent paper-thin slicing, at speed. Of course, the width makes it an excellent spatula for moving things around.
The story of the Daovua's craft holds exactly the right sentiment for me: prioritizing workmanship and thrift over production and beauty. My son (for whom the knife was originally intended) and I fussed endlessly over the hand hammering and grinding on the blade. The stories we read in the dents were the reason for the knife.
But after finish sharpening (diamond to 3K, then 6K King waterstone) and a side-by-side comparison with the small CCK, we found differences that made the CCK the knife he was keeping. Sharpness, of course, is rarely the issue - given sufficient time and abrasives, we can get anything sharp. Instead, the deeper rocker of the Daovua meant a very small "sweet spot" for chopping, requiring a longer rocking stroke for a full cut, or if push cutting rather than rocking, rocking is still required to finish the cut. I'll use both rocking and pushing when I'm working and I don't like how the Daovua is so specialized for one stroke.
The deep rocker has two other effects: first the edge sinks deeper into my cutting board so that the blade sticks when I want to move vegetables away from the cutting area. Secondly, when using the blade as a spatula, the rocker tends to dig in rather than sliding smoothly. Though familiarity will make this less of an issue, the rocker also means that vegetables away from the sweet spot won't get picked up.
Finally, the metal of the blade causes onions to discolor after a while.
I will be keeping the Daovua, but spending some quality time with an 180 grit diamond plate to reduce the rocker as well as cleaning up various rough edges. It's good knife.
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Mark is great at answering questions for knife nuts of all levels. His service is second to none. Really appreciate the time he puts into every email as well as the free forum he hosts.
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Very grateful such a dedicated and informative group of people provide excellent steel at competitive prices with superior customer service! A million thank yous!
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