Posted By: Andrew Huang
- verified customer
4 people found this review helpfulI'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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