I never thought a tool we traditionally use in the kitchen would be something that would excite me so damn much. Getting a grip on the ESEE Cleaver sends waves of excitement through me. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s the aggressive hand filling grip. Maybe it’s the massive cleaver blade that makes it heavy and aggressive looking. You just feel like it has some serious power behind it. When you start cutting you realize the real power this thing has. From cutting chicken for fajita night to chopping the heads off sea bass and trout this blade and it’s weight feel unstoppable.
This is the first piece of gear I’ve reviewed that I’ve used in the kitchen as much as I’ve used it in the field. With a quick wash between uses I’ve cut through pounds of chicken, tons of potatoes and used it to help process a friend’s hog. Usually, prep is the part I hate the most but feeling like a cross between Thor and Jason (from Friday the 13th) makes it a bit more fun.
The ESEE Cleaver CL-1
Designed as the first in a series of knives in the new Expat line the ESEE Cleaver or CL-1 is designed for both the exciting and mundane tasks. It’s not designed to replace your survival knife but to work side by side with it. The cleaver works as both a cleaver and a mini machete. If you need to clear some brush for a campsite you’ll have no issues using the ESEE Cleaver. It cuts through limbs with extreme prejudice and is better suited for the type who prefers brute force over subtlety.
The Cleaver is designed for cutting through bone, so some small branches and limbs are nothing. The ESEE Cleaver CL-1 is tough as nails too. We cleaned over two acres of property and it rode shotgun in my Skid loader for two days. It was used for cutting vines from trees we weren’t taking down. It was also excellent to have on hand if you need to do a bit of prying.
Get a Grip
A good solid grip is critical with a chopping implement. If you miss you aren’t just risking a little nick. A tool like this is gonna dig deep and leave you with a nasty and brutal gash. The G10 grip provided with the ESEE Cleaver CL-1 fills the hand and is textured to help give you a nice grip. The width or girth of the handle gives you the ability to squeeze the cleaver nice and tight and keep it comfortable. The full grip gives you superior control and greater accuracy when hacking and slashing.
Overall the ESEE Cleaver is a big boy It’s certainly hefty and its 25.5 ounces can be a curse if you’re after the whole ounces equals pain philosophy. That weight is critical in its performance though. The blade has an attractive and functional tumble-wash black oxide coating. The blade is a high carbon steel so its get insanely sharp, but is also more susceptible to rust. It’s a bit of a trade-off, but with a cleaver it’s worth making.
The Outdoor Cleaver
Cleavers aren’t traditionally outdoor tools, but ESEE has changed that. The ESEE Cleaver CL-1 is an amazing little tool. With the general gun season right around the corner, I expect I’ll be getting plenty of use out it. (Or at least I hope I do.)