The Shi ba Zi Vegetable Cleaver SD-2 is made from stainless steel called 4Cr13. There is no cladding, and the knife has a hazy mirror look. The hazy mirror look is very smooth and does not have a proper food release. But more about how you can fix that later. The knife comes with an untreated wooden handle with a few grooves for added grip.
Knife Rockwell Hardness and Core Material
The knife Rockwell hardness is specified with a Rockwell of 57. If used at home, you can get away with 2 to 3 months before needing a whetstone touch-up if you regularly hone your knife with a honing rod. The core material is made from stainless steel called 4Cr13, and this steel type has excellent stain and rust-resistant properties. The knife is very stiff, and there is no noticeable flex during use. The 4Cr13 steel is very sturdy and can handle a lot of beating without cracking or breaking. Keep in mind that this is a vegetable cleaver while it is suitable for meat, you can’t use it on bones or frozen food.
The Profile of the Shi Ba Zi Cleaver has a gently curved belly in the middle. It is excellent for a forward, slicing motion.
Knife balance point
The balance point of this knife is at the front. If you pinch grip at the blade, or the curved cap, the knife will be front-heavy, which you want for a cleaver-style knife.
Knife handle + Spine and Choil Polish.
The knife handle has a good design, but the wood itself is not treated, and it is advisable to apply some mineral oil to the handle before use. The handle has a lovely curved cap where you can rest your thumb. The hidden wired full-tang adds extra durability to the knife handle preventing the knife from coming loose. The polish on the spine and the choil are also nicely finished and not sharp at all.
Food Release Problem and Fix
The knife hazy mirror finish is something you should remove; you can easily use 1000 or 3000 gritstone to create a new scratch spot. You have to lay the knife flat on the stone and start grinding one-third of the hazy layer away. The knife will not look as good, but you have a knife with an excellent food release property in return. (You can also use tape to create a 1/3th line and use sandpaper to get each spot this creates a better aesthetic while adding a food release).
Suitable for home and professional cooks?
The knife with a weight of 300 grams is also very light for a Chinese cleaver. The spine thickness is 2mm. The knife is suitable for both professional cooks and home cooks. The knife is very sturdy and can take a beating from all sides without any problems. You can quickly transfer food with the blade, and it also has an excellent knuckle guide and clearance.
Final Conclusion and my Recommendation
Shi Ba Zi also offers the F208 version, which I recommend over this knife. This knife is more used and intended as a beater knife. A knife you can be very rough with, but since the knife is almost priced the same as the F208, I can only recommend the F208 over the SD version. The F208 is superior on all fronts and feels more premium compared to the SD version.
🛒S H O P:
N O T E S:
This version is an excellent beater knife, you can create the scratch pattern as beautifully as you want since it is a beater I will throw this knife everywhere so it will be built a lot of scratches on the sides over time. Unfortunately, the SD-2 is priced pretty much the same as the more superior version F208-2, therefore, I recommend the F208-2 over the SD-2. If you already own an F208-2 then you can skip the SD-2 unless you want a beater knife.
I N F O:
Food release fix is optional, over time you will create natural scratch patterns on the blade surface. You can make the knife as pretty as you want but you will be thinning the knife too much the goal is to get enough scratch patterns for the food release. I intend to use this knife as a beater knife so I did not want to spend too much time making the knife look pretty on the sides. The complete process took 30 seconds excluding the stone soaking time. Many Chinese Chefs like to add sides as part of their sharpening session to maintain the food release.
T I P:
You can also tape a line and use sandpaper for the 1/3 part of the cleaver. This way you get a nicer side finish and it reaches all spots.
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