Best steel for a large meat cleaver

jwood

Member
I'm making a meat cleaver for a friend's daughter who's graduating from culinary school this year. She wants one that'll hack through bone and large carcasses when preparing meals. Naturally Im starting with 1/4" thick stock but I am stuck on what steel to use, she wants a carbon steel knife. My last big chopper knife was 1/4" 1095 however the blade will be 5" wide and 8" long not including the handle. So in your opinions would 1095, O-1, or 1084 work best? I thought about 5160 but I wanted something with higher carbon content.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Personally for the application, I would choose 5160 of the steels you mentioned. I know you mentioned you want something with a higher carbon content, but in this case that's not necessarily a good thing. With any of the other steels you mentioned, I would be drawing the temper back more then if were being used for a "regular" type blade. With 5160, the proper heat treat, and geometry, you're going to get a tougher edge then what the higher carbon steels will offer. Personally, I wouldn't build a cleaver out of any of the other steels if I had 5160 available.
 

jwood

Member
I'm currently conversing with Aldo to see if I can get a piece of 5160 wide enough for my project. If I can't get a piece wide enough what would be a suitable replacement? Also due to the size of the knife its larger than my heat treat equipment so I plan to use Peter's Heat Treat to do the cleaver for me. I was figuring a hardness around 55 HRC would be best, or should I go higher or lower?
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Rc for me would depend on the grind/geometry. For a cleaver I would go with either a full convex grind, or a flat grind/convex edge. For the type of convex edge I generally use, I'd want the Rc a point or two higher. For the size of blade you mentioned, I'd personally go with a flat grind/convex edge in order to cut down on overall weight. If you intend a full flat grind, go with the lower Rc. I'm not a fan of hollow grinds, so I can't advise on those.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
I agree with Ed on the 5160 over the other steels for all of the same things he said about it.

Flat grind convex edge would definitely be my edge geometry of choice.

1075 would be another good choice for a cleaver. It might be easier to get in wider pieces. I know Aldo has some wide 1075. It's also a very tough steel and holds a good edge.
 

taylormadeknives

Well-Known Member
80crv2 would be a great choice as well. You're needing toughness and it will definitely work. I know you can get it in bigger pieces from Aldo. I have done quite a bit of testing and have seen first hand how tough it is. Lin Rhea M.S. just used it in our cutting competition in Little Rock on his X-Rhea design. It preformed beautifully. Super tough stuff with excellent edge holding.

Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk
 

jwood

Member
The 5160 I need is out of stock and need to finish this one soon, so I've been looking into the 80CrV2 and am really liking what I'm seeing about how tough and durable it is. I'm thinking that's the direction I'm going to go thanks for the input.
 
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