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Shi Ba Zi Zuo Chinese Cleaver Review – All Purpose Cleaver P01 – 十八子作 (Shibazi)

The Chinese cleaver from is made from complete stainless steel construction. They are using a 40Cr13 core material that has decent edge retention and can be used as a workhorse, you don’t have to worry about chipping or rusting.

Shi Ba Zi Zuo - P01 My recommendation is P03 or P04 for home use
My recommendation is P03 or P04 for home use

Knife Rockwell Hardness

The Rockwell hardness is around 57 or slightly lower. It is a Chinese all-purpose cleaver, which means that the heel area has been reinforced during the heating process and, therefore, is sturdier and can be used to go through small bones or through food.

Rockwell 57
Rockwell 57

Blade aesthetic and food release

The different finish above the edge helps to prevent food from resisting your cut. The logo is debossed which is a nice touch in the aesthetic, The handle and the endcap of the handle, all have a debossed logo.

Shi Ba Zi Zuo
Shi Ba Zi Zuo

Shi Ba Zi Zuo P01 Blade profile

The blade profile has a slight belly in the middle. We use the front part for slicing and the heel part for tougher food or to go through smaller bones.

Blade Profile
Blade Profile

Weight and Spine tapering 

The knife weight is quite heavy for the P01 version. With a weight of around 432 grams and a big handle, the knife will strain your arm a lot. Therefore I recommend the P03 or the P04 version over the P01 which has a smaller blade and handle. The Shi Ba Zi Zuo, P01 has no distal taper
which is also not necessary for a cleaver-style knife. The spine thickness is 2.1mm from the heel to the front.

Shi Ba Zi Zuo 432 grams for the P01 Version
Shi Ba Zi Zuo 432 grams for the P01 Version

Knife balance point

The knife balance point is at the logo area and the pinch grip at the blade will make this knife front-heavy which is what you would expect from a cleaver-style knife. The only recommended gripping style is the
pinch grip at the curved front part of the handle.

Shi Ba Zi Zuo - Balance point
Shi Ba Zi Zuo – Balance point

Shi Ba Zi Zuo P01 – Knife handle

The handle is very interesting since the blade is seamlessly welded to the handle. The debossed logo on the handle is noticeable every time you grab the knife after a minute you forget the debossed feeling but I wish that they went for a different handle structure and design to make it more comfortable instead of the debossed letters. What you will immediately notice is how big the oval-shaped handle is for the P01 version and therefore suitable for large hands. If you have medium to small hands then this handle might not be comfortable for you to hold. The P03 and P04 both have smaller handles.

Shi Ba Zi Zuo - debossed letters
Shi Ba Zi Zuo – debossed letters

Final Conclusion and my Recommendation

The 40Cr13 core material is a good stainless steel core that can take a beating but with the knife weight and the cheaper stainless
steel. The edge retention is less and the knife will get dull faster, but the knife is easy to maintain and worry-free. The P01 is too big and heavy for everyday use and is probably suitable for restaurant use on a specific task. Therefore I advise the P03 or P04 over the P01 or P02 version. Both the P03 and P04 have smaller handles and blades making the knife ideal for everyday use.

Debossed Logo - Shi Ba Zi Zuo P01
Debossed Logo – Shi Ba Zi Zuo P01

Specifications of the Shi Ba Zi Zuo Chinese Cleaver P01:

Weight: 432g

Handle: Welded to the blade

Handle length: 115mm

Blade length: 215mm

Blade width: 100mm

Thickness: 2.1mm

Core Material: 40Cr13

Rockwell Hardness: 57/56

🛒 S H O P

My Recommendation is the Shi Ba Zi or .
(*Make sure you select the correct one since P01 and P02 are very heavy and big):

Note: The above version is a ”Dual Purpose” also known as an ”All-Purpose” Chinese cleaver. It means that you can use the heel to go through smaller bones like a chicken bone or duck carcass.

For a vegetable version, I recommend
(they have 2 sizes I recommend the for home use that is the shorter version)

Official Shi Ba Zi Zuo Amazon store

Amazon selection is Version F208-1 (9 inches)

8inch version F208-2 (my Recommendation)

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Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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  1. Hi For home use you recommend PO2 lighter weight and slightly shorter blade length. I want a versatile cleaver for dual use is the PO1 better than 02.

    1. Yeah, I prefer shorter lengths and lighter weights for home use.
      P01 is the biggest version, and P03 or P04 is the smaller version and the ones I recommend for home use.

      So it depends on your preference want something big, long and heavy P01, P02.
      Want something small lighter weight P03 or P04.

  2. Hello Chef,
    thanks to your videos, I have eventually decided to buy a dual purpose cleaver and Shi ba zi zuo got ky attention, especially for their affordable price.

    I would like to ask you if, in your opinion, the handle type and general design would still negatively affect the use-comfort of P03 and P04 as well, even though they are lighter, and if you have ever tried the TP01-2, which appears to be heavier (more or less similar to the P01) but also with an overall better design and material.

    Thank you

    1. The handle on the smaller versions will be smaller.
      The letters are also smaller it will not add anything in terms of comfort/grip.
      And the feeling of the letters will fade away once you start using them

      The TP01 handed seems more strategically placed where it may add some purpose.
      I don’t have the TP01-2 so can’t say for certain, that it looks better. Make sure that it is suitable for small bones. Shibazi, categorization is somewhat confusing, especially with their naming and version number. For example, TP01-2 may be different in terms of function from TP03-2.

      Where TP01 can be used on small poultry bones but the TP03-2 while looking similar is not suitable for bones.

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