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Serbian cleaver/chef's knife?


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As mentioned elsewhere I have several people wanting these from me, but I have some technical difficulties starting with the fact these blades don't really do it for me.

I secretly believe they are a fad fed by some youtube videos, can anybody change my mind?

 

Firstly, and I correct that they are more knife than cleaver?

 

Except for perhaps combining a knife and platter in one, is there a reason for the design?  I have a Serbian friend, he can cast a fly like few people I've seen, but he couldn't help me on this topic.

 

Assuming there is some practical reason for this design, can anybody help with links or information on size and dimensions, historic origin etc?
So far goooogle has taken me to gems like this:

Quote

Serbian Knife also known as Almazan Kitchen Knife is the best in the world for professional chefs, they are strong, sharp, and extremely durable. The sharpness lasts really long, thanks to its material. These knives are mostly made of Carbon material and that keeps the edge thread of the knife sharp and extremely strong.

Not only that, but it can also withstand a lot of sharpening without edge breaking or getting misshaped.

However, if you want to ensure great chopping and cutting experiences then getting your hands on the best Serbian chef knife is a must. There isn’t much difference between Serbian and other chef knives, looks the same and that can make anyone confused.

 I'll post some photos of my aborted first attempt

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I had to look them up to see what they are, so no help here.  They do look kind of like a Chinese cleaver with the end rounded off, and those are used more like a knife with a built-in spatula than a cleaver.  I suspect you are right, they're just the latest fad.  Unless you're a traditionalist Serbian chef, that is. :lol:  I love that you can get them made in Japan in a canvas scabbard covered in kanji...  :rolleyes:

 

I also was trying to see if maybe they are a version of the chopping knives used to make steak tartare, the Russian version.  But since they don't seem to come in pairs, I doubt it.  I know nothing about them, in other words. 

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pretty sure its a internet fad if it wernt for the net i don't believe most of us would ever hear about them

 

had a buddy wanted me to make one i was going to cut it out of a band saw blade i have here and he was all no i want you to forge it long story short no way doors to small on the forge :rolleyes:

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Didn't get around to posting that pic, but going by the feedback I believe you can do without seeing something that feels completely clumsy in hand.

 

Thank you for your opinions, I'll use the excuse I couldn't nail the heat treat of the Vanadis and inform them 60mm wide 1070 is the only option.

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Ok, having used a lot of knives cooking over the years, I can say its not a fad knife. It actually has features from several knives rolled into a single utilitarian blade. First off, yes it has the weight and general blade shape of a cleaver. But that shape is most useful in picking up a lot of chopped food and transferring it, not whacking through bone lol. Second, while it is cleaver shaped, it also has a decent working point on it, useful for general cutting and light skinning. Another thing is how there isn't a guard. Most chefs don't hold onto the handle with they are chopping. Usually, part of the palm, the thumb and first two fingers are gripping up on the blade for a lot of downward force, while the pinkie and ring finger ride the handle to give some precision.

 

Sorry, its not a fad blade, it is actually a decent kitchen knife that is designed to do a lot of things fairly well. Its the exact opposite of Japanese knives, where each one is designed for a specific task.

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Thanks,Brian,that's good to know.

I happened to've talked with a good friend,who's originally from Ukraine,but traveled much in other parts of Eastern/Southern Europe,and speaks a couple-three languages of the area.He was not aware of the name,nor of any wide-spread cultural phenomenon connected with this knife,but it just means that it must be just a bit more local-color-ish and obscure than the internet would have us believe.

Serbia has some of the oldest sites of iron ore locations discovered and exploited originally by the Celts and so on into the modern times and it'd make sense for them to have some metalworking traditions unique and characteristic of their specific area.

 

On 10/23/2020 at 9:16 AM, Alan Longmire said:

I also was trying to see if maybe they are a version of the chopping knives used to make steak tartare, the Russian version. 

 

It crossed my mind as well,at first.Maybe a slight correction to the term "russian":Only in a sense of that whole area being for a few decades a part of USSR,(though unfortunately with lasting influence and consequences).

 

Those paired knives that i think Alan means,"giymiakesh",are technically a trad. Azerbaijani implements,also sometimes called "Gabalinsky" knives for the city of Gabala in Azerbaijan,in the Southern Caucasus region.

 

Here's a link to an(of course:))commercial russian bootlegs,in decent-ish quality:

 

https://cekatop.ru/nozh-giimyakesh-orekhovyi-kap-air-zlatoust-russia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Brian Myers said:

it is actually a decent kitchen knife that is designed to do a lot of things fairly well

 

Exactly like the Chinese "cleaver," in other words. B)  Except with a point, which is a good thing to have in many cases.  Do you have any history on these, as in, when do they appear?  I've seen some Roman kitchen knives that have a similar shape.

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 I want to say it was first brought to market by the company Almazan Kitchen. The owners are Serbian cooks and supposedly made the design and although they actually live and make the knives in Spain the name Serbian Chef's knife stuck.  I honesty want to think that this was some knife that someone cut out of an old circular saw mill blade or maybe a heavy leaf spring and found out their design worked. So they made some for their friends and so on with it gaining popularity. There doesn't appear to be any real pedigree for them, at least that I can find. All I can say is, as a former cook, its a swiss army-type kitchen knife that does a lot of things well, so the design became popular.

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Chinese "cleavers" are very thin, like less than 1/8".  They are not used as cleavers, thus the quotes.  They're more of a big wide square-tipped chef's knife, used for slicing, chopping, and transferring food from the cutting board to the wok.

 

Here's a few Roman kitchen knives (hanging) and belt knives at the Museum of London:

 

MOL Roman knives.jpg

 

MOL Roman knives 2.jpg

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A channel called Taste Life has been cropping up in my Facebook feed lately, it often showcases an Azerbaijan farm family cooking, much of it outdoors. The woman uses a similar type knife (and uses it with wonderful proficiency). Whats interesting is from it's appearance it could very well have been made from a saw blade. Look around 40 seconds in on this video : https://www.facebook.com/252891408454022/videos/366055621181443

 

I get so hungry every time I watch them cooking, lol

Edited by Guy Thomas
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  • 1 month later...

I thought I'd share this email I got regarding this topic:

 

Hi,

Thanks for responding. In short, I bumped on "Serbian cleaver/chef's knife?" https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/41130-serbian-cleaverchefs-knife/ and since I’m not a member of the forum I decided to contact you directly.

I'm from Croatia (ex Yugoslavia same as Serbia) and recently I seen a lot about Serbian cleaver. In beginning I was shocked and thought some local jerk was selling snake oil, but then I realized from other YouTube videos they sell them on AliExpress, so I guess its Chinese jerks  :-)

A “Serbian cleaver” or chef knife doesn't exist. I’m sending you photo of my grandmother’s cleaver that we use here:

 

20201130_000237.jpg

 

Same shape only different size you can find in butcher shops or people homes. All kitchen knives from these parts you can put in 2 categories: Solingen made in Germany, or in the villages made by blacksmiths but same shapes. Today there are also other imported knifes from different countries.

100% that cleaver is not From Serbia and to me looks like an Asian knife style.

 

...forgot to add we also have some local companies that make knives but also in the same style. Here is 1 example:

https://www.limasbeograd.com/nozevi-za-domacinstvo.php

 

Watch this video at 3:34 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnnnbuwFIqo

 

Not trying to stir the pot, but it does appear the style is a recent innovation (if you disregard those 2,000 year old versions I posted above ;)).  At any rate, it remains controversial! :lol:

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Thanks for posting that Alan.

Well I caved and made something similar, ground more like a knife than a cleaver, so we'll see.

 

From the same piece of O1 I made two copies of my grandfather's cleaver that was used for processing sheep carcasses as much a cutting corrugated iron sheets.

Age-old cleaver design, complete with hole, and I'm willing to bet those sell first.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’m actually making one for a good friend of mine. It’s a clumsy looking blade to me but that’s what he wants. I’ve been scouring the internet and shops near for an ammo canister I can use to quench this in.  I’ve got everything done but the quench and HT. I went 1084. He basically wants an axe that can cut meat. Who knows. I’ll post a few photos.

3828551F-9251-46C0-8822-16AA73E06321.jpeg

78352792-D741-4CCF-A0E8-9DF5D621CC24.jpeg

Edited by Oberu
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  • 1 month later...

sadly I quenched the entire blade.. lesson learned.  I didn't think it had hardened so I put the spine in the vice and went inside for the night.  I came back in the morning and it skated a file but was SEVERELY cracked.  I'm about to go forward on take 2 and only quench the edge

 

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