Tamahagane "SAN" Chinese Cleaver 175mm (6.9")


Tamahagane "SAN" Chinese Cleaver 175mm (6.9")


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Best To Use

vegetablesnot for meatnot for fish

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The picture that comes to mind when hearing the word cleaver is usually one of a skilled butcher swinging it to cut through bones and using it to take whole carcasses apart.

While the Tamahagane San Chinese Cleaver 175mm (6.9") might resemble those badass knives visually, it does, however, serve a different, more refined purpose. The blade itself is not as thick and made of a harder—and thus slightly more fragile—steel, making it more prone to chipping if used to hack through bones.

Instead, this cleaver is closer to a universal chef's knife, and it is in fact used as one in traditional Chinese cuisine. Its long blade makes it perfect for chopping larger pieces of vegetables, but it will perform well with slicing raw fish and meats as well. The slightly curved cutting edge also allows for rocking motions, while also being thin enough for more precise cutting techniques, such as mincing, dicing or the julienne.

Another great feature is its extremely wide profile, which can be utilized to transport any food that's chopped up and ready to depart to its final destination – a piping hot pan. Who needs a bench scraper when you have this beauty sitting in your knife block (or hanging on our knife magnet)? 🚨 Just make sure to use the spine and not the cutting edge, as scraping the chopping board can dull it or even cause it to chip.

The core layer of the blade is VG-5, high carbon molybdenum vanadium steel. The powdered steel contains a lot of carbon and has an unprecedented hardness of approximately 61 HRC. The core is enveloped by two outer layers of SUS410 stainless steel hardened to between 28-32 HRC that enhance flexibility and protect the core from external elements. The beveled edge is sharpened by hand at a 14-15˚ angle and features an incredible mirror polish finish with perfect balance between sharpness and strength, thus the blade is also suitable for work in a professional environment.

VG-5 steel belongs to the V-Gold group of steel which means that it is extremely hard and corrosion-resistant and gives the blade a sharpness that is second to none. It is durable, as well as easy to sharpen and care for.

The outer layers are polished to a clean, featureless polish, also known as mirror polish. The fine line between the jigane (softer steel) and hagane (hard steel) layers resembles a barely noticeable growth ring that divides the knife into two parts and adds to the elegant look of the knife. 

The handle is made out of pakka laminate in light brown color. It is quite large in comparison to handles on other Japanese knives and thus enables a firm grip. It is suitable for both right- and left-handed users. We especially recommend this type of handle to chefs with larger hands who usually struggle to find a suitable and comfortable Japanese knife.

About Tamahagane:

Tamahagane knives are made in the Tsubame-Sanjo region of Niigata prefecture in the North of Japan. The region is known for steel products that are made using traditional skills and knowledge blended with modern methods and technology. The smithy uses the name Tamahagane for this exceptional line of knives which boasts long-lasting sharpness and is an intricate blend of tradition, centuries worth of experience and the advancement of modern metallurgy.

Does ‘tamahagane’ sound familiar?

Well, if you are only slightly interested in the ancient Japanese craft of forging blades, then you probably already heard about tamahagane steel.

Tamahagane is considered the mother of all steels when we talk about katanas.

The word tamahagane can be broken down into two parts. Tama means "round and precious", like a gem, while the word hagane means "steel". Tamahagane can therefore be directly translated into precious steel - it is raw steel of the best quality used to make true katanas, those that are the hardest, most flexible, light and exceptionally sharp.

👆 While Tamahagane smithy does not make knives from tamahagane steel, they certainly carry the knowledge and history of this precious metal.



Blade shape: Cleaver
Steel type: VG-5
Hardness (HRC scale): 61
Overall length: 307mm (12.1")
Blade length:
175mm (6.9")
Blade height:
86mm (3.4")
Spine thickness: 2.1mm (0.08")
Weight: 355g (12.5 oz)
Handle length: 125mm (4.9")
Handle type / wood:
Western / Pakka
Blacksmith: Tamahagane

Use & Care:

  • Handwash in warm water and towel dry
  • Use a sharpening stone (not a honing steel!) to sharpen your knife
  • Do not cut frozen foods and meat bones
  • Do not put the knife in a dishwasher
  • Read our comprehensive guide on proper Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.

Still doubting which type of Japanese knife should best fit your needs? We created a quick, 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.

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