When I was growing up, my mother had a massive, MASSIVE cleaver that she kept in the kitchen. It was immense and heavy. My father had gotten it when he worked in a butchery. This cleaver has since been lost to us. I would like to find something similar. When I asked her what the specific type of knife was, she said it was a "bone cleaver." It was easily 60 years old when I was little 30 years ago.

For the life of me, I can't find references anywhere to bone cleavers. I can find meat cleavers (but most have warnings not to use them for bone). They're smaller than this was, and also lighter. I can also find references to vegetable cleavers and Asian style cleavers. Again, they're smaller and lighter than this. They're hammers compared to the sledgehammer this thing was.

My mom used to use it expressly for cutting through bone. You'd raise it up, give it a little force to accompany it's natural weight, and it could go through almost anything with relative ease (up to and including femurs).

I know bone saws exist, and usually I just keep a spare blade around for my hacksaw to cut through bone when I break down a carcass. So, is there such a thing as a bone cleaver? Would it be a special order thing these days? I'm wondering if it may have been a custom made knife back then because I have never seen anything else like it.

  • I keep a spare butchering blade for my reciprocal/saber saw (aka sawzall). So much faster. – Rob K Mar 2 at 21:23
  • Most Chinese cleavers can handle chicken and pork bones. Lamb bones are harder to cut through but definitely can be done. – xuq01 Mar 12 at 22:22


I have this one here: J.A. Henckels International Classic 6-inch Cleaver ... it is billed as being designed "for chopping through joints and bones". These cleavers tend to have good, solid weight and a short blade bevel to give it endurance and power. You would not slice things with this. This is a momentum tool to crash through the target tissues with a confident swing. The hacksaw that you mention offers better control, in general.

The opposite of this is an Asian style cleaver that is used primarily for vegetables. Lighter, faster blade with a deeper bevel which makes it sharper for slicing but it would wear down faster under the impact of bones/joints.

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  • One of the useful bits to do when you see something neat that someone did for formatting - click 'edit' and see what the markdown is. Also, when editing you can click that orange '?' in the upper right of the edit box to get the editor help, and the markdown help under the advanced help link. At first it takes a little bit getting used to, but after that its easy to figure out what you want to do and where to look for how to do it. – user25991 Sep 19 '14 at 4:22
  • Thank you! I'll take a look and see if I can't find one at the restaurant store, if not, to amazon I go! – Matthew Sep 22 '14 at 13:30
  • Just watch the fingers: These huge blades don't discriminate! – Grey Dog Sep 22 '14 at 13:35

To add to the existing comments and answer. There are absolutely bone cleavers. The Chinese are very fond of cleavers. While, most commonly found Chinese cleavers that you'll find are "vegetable knives", they also make bone cleavers. If you have a chinatown or a asian restaurant supply store near you, you can probably find one for cheap. I have really nice Japanese chef's knives but see no reason to pay lots for a bone cleaver. I have one that cost me probably $20. I also have an good vegetable cleaver handed down to me, but that one doesn't get used on bones.

See here for more info: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/how-to-choose-buy-care-for-a-meat-cleaver.html

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http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckcleaver.html This is billed as a "Rhino Cleaver" and is the biggest I've seen. If it's well balanced it would be a fantastic tool.

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    Holy cow - I want one of THOSE! – Gringo Dave Dec 30 '14 at 12:14
  • eep! That is one lovely blade! – Megha Oct 17 '19 at 23:46

I have a cleaver that matches your spec's on your #1 choice, BUT the blade is about 4" (front) for veggie chopping and the rear 3" is a more fortified sharp blade angled section designed for bones. It has Chinese symbols so I don't know what brand it is. It works great, as I do not need/want a cleaver for each.

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F.dick beef splitter weighs in at 2.585 kilos . the gieseser beef splitter weighs in at 2.650 these are offcorse beyond kitchen use more for home kill butchers. Now dexter russel does some nice fair priced butcher cleavers that would be surplus to any light to mid butcher (other then splitting a beast) could surly split lambs and pigs with a bit of work but ahh any other task I imagine it would do with ease. I myself am a butcher been for 7yrs I think ild get the f dick 23cm 1.7 kilo fella although I am looking for the 9.5inch 4.2pound(1.9kg) version which seems harder to find locally. A splitter cost about 500nzd and a good butcher cleaver 200-250 a av butcher clever aka ideal chef / home cleaver should cost between 80-120 and I really would say in all honesty look into dexter Russell because I've used there knife's went well in fast paced processing good affordable knife's I say. Put a gun to my head and the only critisim i could give is maybe the steels a little too hard...in Dexter's but that's a prefrence?. Lol these are good renowned butcher knife brands. Which are about function not looks. And that's what makes a cleaver look best anyway. Don't make me laugh at your light weight overpriced designer fancy name brand knife's lol peace.


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    Jay, could you do us a gigantic favour? Please edit this a bit to make it readable. Consider line breaks (2x "enter") and a spell checker your friend. I tried, but failed. I think you have a few very helpful hints hidden in there and we appreciate your experience as butcher. That said, welcome to the site! Remember to take the tour and visit our help center to learn more about the site! – Stephie Dec 15 '15 at 16:17

This is old but pretty much if your looking for the real tang n knives any store would do but a hand forged one yeah the greatest ever I have this one knife/clever because it does both also it's better than all the commented knives/clever because it's heavy but light chops beef bones but slices vegetables

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  • full tang design, if that is what you are referring to, does not make or break a bone cleaver... – rackandboneman Jun 15 '17 at 15:14

https://www.amazon.com/Sato-Heavy-Duty-Cleaver-Chopping-Butcher/dp/B016E3RGMQ this can chop bones as it say so in amazon as some already showed you but the link is for amazon if u still wanted to buy one. here are more links to other one https://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckbonechopper.html


this one for sure will cop the bone as it did show it doing just that with pigs feet https://www.amazon.com/Cutting-Cleaver-Stainless-Chopping-Multipurpose/dp/B07QD7CPGT

this last one does not say if it can shop bone. but it look so cool that why i have add a link to it as well. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L8M41ZG

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