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, 2020 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, 2020 at 22:22

7 Answers 7



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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    – user25991
    Sep 19, 2014 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, 2014 at 13:30
  • Just watch the fingers: These huge blades don't discriminate!
    – Grey Dog
    Sep 22, 2014 at 13:35
  • If you look at the angle that the blade is sharpened to, it is noticeably less steep than a typical cleaver. This gives the sharp edge more strength at the cost of slicing power. The blade itself is also reinforced for strength and are thicker than a normal cleaver.
    – Nelson
    Mar 11, 2021 at 5:24
  • I'm a hobbist knife sharpener and you can technically convert any cleaver into one that can handle bone, but it takes multiple hours and it involves grinding down the thin parts of the knife to make sure it doesn't chip off and slice someone. Bone cleavers are really thick, much thicker than a chef's knife. If you find a "cleaver" that's only as thick as a chef's knife, that is NOT for bone at all.
    – Nelson
    Mar 11, 2021 at 5:28

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


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.

  • 1
    Holy cow - I want one of THOSE! Dec 30, 2014 at 12:14
  • eep! That is one lovely blade!
    – Megha
    Oct 17, 2019 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.


Bone Cleaver

This one is a bone cleaver from Malaysia. Weigh approximately 1.6 Kilogram. Length of blade is 8 inches and height is 6 inches with the handle being 5 inches and a half. Most importantly blade thickness is approximately 1.3 centimeter. Made with soft steel with dull chopping edge. Essentially stated as a bone chopper.


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

  • full tang design, if that is what you are referring to, does not make or break a bone cleaver... Jun 15, 2017 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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