If you want a handy outdoor blade for camp chores, skinning or a compact tool with enhanced chopping power, check out today’s ever-growing cache of cleavers.
Designed by Leo Espinoza, the El Chappo cleaver from TOPS Knives (above) features a 6-inch blade of 1095 carbon steel in an acid-rain finish. Rockwell hardness: 56-58 HRC. Handle: black canvas Micarta. Weight: 16 ounces. Overall length: 10.9 inches. Sheath: black Kydex.
White River Knife & Tool is the latest cutlery company to join the party with its new Clever Camp Cleaver. Featuring a 5.5-inch blade of premium CPM S35VN stainless steel, the camp tool comes with a Micarta handle and a heavy-duty leather sheath. Weight: 9.2 ounces. Overall length: 10.25 inches. MSRP: $230.
The CL1-Cleaver is one of the latest models in ESEE’s Expat Knives line. The 1095 carbon steel blade is 3.25 inches at its widest and 3/16 inch at its thickest. Haft: black G-10. Finish: black oxide, tumbled. Weight: 25.5 ounces. Overall length: 11.5 inches. MSRP: $276.50 (includes a leather sheath).
The Reaver Cleaver from Zombie Tools is a full-tang chopping machine with an 18-inch blade of 5160 carbon steel in a Rockwell hardness of 55 HRC. Weight: 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Overall length: 31 inches. MSRP: $374.95.
The Quest Custom Knives Custom Kutzu 2.2 Flipper is a micro-cleaver flipper folder with a 2-inch blade of CPM 154 stainless steel and a sculpted titanium 6Al-4V frame and pocket clip. Closed length: 3 inches.
Michael Zieba’s cleaver sports the iconic brass-knuckle-guard handle taken from an original example one of the most famous blades of World War I—the Trench Knife. Zieba custom made the cleaver for Chris Wallace, aka “Flavor God,” a maker of seasonings who is big on the Internet. Zieba met Wallace on Instagram. Wallace supplied him with the original U.S. Mark 1 Trench Knife from his knife collection.
Zieba modified the knife’s iconic handle and integrated it into the cleaver blade, which is 52100 ball-bearing steel forged in a san-mai construction. He achieved the blue and gold patina with water and vinegar. “Sometimes you get blue or you may get another color. It depends,” he said. “You never know how it will come out. It’s just a reaction to the metal.”
The cleaver is one solid piece with a skull-crusher pommel. The square holes in the blade are for aesthetics. Zieba has done the blades with egg-shaped and round holes as well.