The Yaxell Zen Chinese Cleaver 180mm is a wide and slightly heavier Chinese cleaver for all-around use. This knife falls into the category of multipurpose kitchen knives that allow you to prepare a variety of vegetable and meat dishes. In Chinese kitchens, such large knives are widely used, as their flat and tall blades are great for chopping and easy food transfer, but are made of softer stainless steels. Yaxell opted for VG-10 steel, with similar easygoing stainless characteristics, but a high carbon content and hardness upwards of 61 HRC.
In Chinese kitchens, the bulk of the work is usually done with just one knife. The large cleaver shape is great for chopping and easy food transfer, with an added heft that allows the user to hack through harder produce (🚨 but not through bones and joints!). Longer slicing motions, as well as finer techniques such as mincing, dicing or the julienne are no trouble for the Chinese cleaver, either, due to the long and thin cutting edge.
VG-10 (V for Vanadium, G for "gold" as in "gold standard") is made by Takefu Special Steel Company, a relatively small steel company that around 60 years ago managed to find just the right balance of different elements to create the most popular Japanese knife making steel today. VG-10 steel is stainless steel with relatively high Carbon (C) content (1%), 15% Chromium (Cr), 1% Molybdenum (Mo), 0.3% Vanadium (V) and 1.5% Cobalt (Co). The combination of Cr, Mo, and V forms a lot of hard carbides, making the steel abrasion resistant, which translates to long-lasting, smooth sharpness.
A high hardness of around 61 HRC means the blade won’t be very tough, so the blade’s core was laminated using the san-mai method to improve its structural integrity and subsequent ability to withstand impacts and prevent chipping. San-mai translates to “three layers” in Japanese, referring to a blade that is composed of an inner layer of harder steel (hagane) and of two outer layers of softer steel (jigane) that protect the core.
The blade sports a beautiful 36-layer Damascus finish. In the final stage of the process, a fine hammer pattern - also called tsuchime - is pressed onto the blade, as is the Yaxell smithy's signature concave kanji.
The knife is perfectly balanced thanks to its black pakka beech wood handle, which is extremely durable and wear resistant. The handle offers a secure and firm grip that will prevent your hand from slipping towards the blade. The bolster of the blade is stainless and ensures a smooth and comfortable transition between the handle and the blade. Two stainless steel rivets hold the knife securely attached to the handle.
This exceptional knife combines centuries-old tradition with modern Japanese technology. Yaxell knives are made in the city of Seki, which has been a center of traditional blacksmithing for more than 800 years. The smithy combines high-tech processes and meticulous hand craftsmanship to produce the knives, ensuring superior design, perfect balance and exceptional sharpness.
Since 1932, Yaxell has been a leading world-class manufacturer of premium kitchen knives used by top chefs, professional cooks and home chefs worldwide. Over the years, the forge has won several awards for the best kitchen knife in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the USA.
Blade shape: Chinese cleaver
Steel type: VG-10
Blade construction: San-mai / V-edge / tsuchime
Hardness (HRC scale): 61
Overall length: 325mm (12.8")
Blade length: 180mm (7.1")
Blade height: 72mm (2.8")
Spine thickness: 2.1mm (0.08")
Weight: 315g (11.1 oz)
Handle length: 130mm (5.1")
Handle type / wood: Western / Pakka
Kanji on the blade:
Location of the smithy: SEKI / Gifu Prefektura / Japan
☝️ Japanese kitchen knives in our store are handmade from natural materials. Slight variations in color, texture, weight and other dimensions are possible. We try to give a good photographic representation of our products, however computer screen resolution and colors do vary, so products might not look exactly as they are seen on screen.
Blade wear depends on the quality of steel, usage and maintenance of the blade. Japanese knives are made of high-quality steels. Follow these tips to keep your Japanese knife in top-notch shape:
✔ Use a wooden, plastic or rubber cutting board.
✔ After use, wash the knives and wipe them dry.
✔ Use a magnetic rack, knife blocks, or use protective knife sheath (saya).
✔ A good cutting technique is your best bet to prolong sharpness.
✔ Use sharpening stones to sharpen the knife.
❗️Don’t leave the knife in the sink. Wash it by hand.
❗️Don’t wash the knife in the dishwasher.
❗️Don’t use the knife on glass, ceramics, marble or steel surfaces.
❗️Don’t scrape the food off the cutting board with the edge of the blade. Use the spine of the knife instead.
❗️Knife is a tool intended for specific use - cutting food. It is not a can opener, screwdriver, trowel, wire cutter, hammer etc.
→ For more details, read our guide
on Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.
🤙 Contact us if you need some help. We reply within 1 business day.
- €10 - flat worldwide rate with DHL Express (express delivery, 2-5 business days).
- FREE - all orders over €300 (DHL Express).
- United Kingdom - shipping to UK costs €15. All orders are shipped with UPS Express (2-3 business days). Free shipping on orders over €300.
- Russia (currently not available) - shipping to Russia costs €40. All orders are shipped with EMS postal service.
DUTIES AND IMPORT TAXES:
We ship all orders DDP (duties & taxes paid). This means you will not be charged for any import fees and taxes (including VAT). All our prices are final. The price you see at checkout is the final price, no hidden costs.
- Europe: 1-2 business days
- US & Canada: 2-4 business days
- Rest of the World: 3-5 business days
Our return policy lasts 30 days. If more than 30 days have gone by since the day you received your order, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange.
Each knife comes with:
✔️ Instructions and knife care leaflet.
✔️ A preventive Band-Aid – the knives are very sharp! 😉
✔️ Original box from the blacksmith, which we wrap in an old Japanese newspaper sheet – so every knife is ready to be passed on as a gift as soon as it hits your doorstep!
✔️ We also offer a special gift wrapping option with the traditional Japanese washi paper.
Still doubting which type of Japanese knife should best fit your needs?
We created a 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.