Review of the D-11 Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver – Part 2

In this continuation of the Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver review,  Ken has put the knife through its paces to the point of failure. This is not failure in the sense that the knife didn’t hold up its end of the bargain, but in the sense that it was a very thin edge (16 degrees total) and intentionally mistreated and used in ways the knife was not necessarily designed to be used (i.e. used as a cleaver instead of a slicer), and the tip chipped after parking the knife tip first in the cutting board one too many times. In other words, if my mother-in-law had a go at it… 🙂 Overall, the knife received a very favorable review, and was deemed superior over the equivalent CCK cleaver.

Once again, this is text taken directly from the forum on the knife forums. The entire thread is located here.

So I put the ‘Wu’ through it’s paces for this review. Actually, I gave it hell I mean you didn’t want a wimpy review, right?

I prepared a kabocha squash dish, cooked in a tagine, a Morocaan clay vessel (I used a modern version made by Emile Henry). It was a ‘fusion’ recipe, with Indian spices and fresh ingredients.
I was purposely rough on the knife.

For those not familiar with kabocha squash, it is considerably harder than a pumpkin, with a woody stem and large seeds. Normally I use a heavy cleaver to cut it up, not a slicing cleaver so this was purposely designed to be a ‘torture test’. I also cut up the kabocha first as I wanted to see how the edge held up by doing the delicate cuts last.

I did the cutting on a Chinese chopping block. During the ‘procedure’, I purposely ‘stuck’ the cleaver into the board – often and tip first.

After splitting the squash in half, I scooped the seeds out with a spoon and then diced the squash into ~1 inch cubes. Note that this edge was sharp enough to slice paper push cutting 2 inches out from where I gripped the paper (straight down, not slicing), so it was not the factory edge, which would be less delicate. MOST of the cuts through this OLD kabocha squash required force to cut it, enough so that it stuck into the board on most every cut.

After doing this I cut some red chili peppers, filleted a large red pepper ‘a la Martin Yan’ and sliced a handful of garlic cloves and three mild onions and a few mushrooms.

I started out with sauteing the onions and mushrooms, adding some coarse Arabian sea salt, and a masala made of freshly roasted coriander seeds, a Goan Masala mix and some dried Morocaan chili powder (used in making Harissa), all ground in a ceramic mortar and pestle). In the center of the onion mix I added an Indian whole tumeric pickle (not powdered tumeric). After the onions and spice mix ‘broke down’ a bit, I added the squash, then some artichoke hearts (from a jar) and some chicken stock, mixed it up a bit and let it slow cook for a couple hours in the tagine. The long cook ‘mutes’ the heat of the dish a bit, but still leaves it fairly spicy. It can stand on it’s own as a main course for a vegetarian meal or as a side dish for another meat course.

Pics to follow ….

Look at the last pic closely and you’ll see that the edge seems to have survived the squash cutting in good shape. On to cutting up the rest of the ingredients!

Onions were effortless to slice with no appreciable edge loss in performance. Chilies and garlic cut cleanly without requiring the knife to be slid into the board. The red pepper (not shown) after the initial ‘coring’ of the center, done by holding the knife parallel to the board and rotatong the pepper, easily and cleanly was cut into small ~ 1inch strips. In all instances the cuts were clean, which requires a good sharp edge.

So, after undergoing the torture test, how did the edge hold up? Well, quite well, better thsn I had expected. If I had done this to my CCK1101, I know I would have chipped the edge out, but this held up through all of this. But then, in a moment of irrational exuberance, I just HAD to stick the knife into the chopping block one more time.

Well, I chipped the edge on this move – at the end of the cleaver. I probably twisted the knife entering the board. I just don’t know, but I did chip it. I rounded off the tip a bit, redoing the cleaver tip and was back up in short order. Lesson learned. Don’t keep sticking the tip of a slicer into the board even if it feels like fun, ESPECIALLY if you thinned the factory edge to a razorsharp profile. If you put a thin edge on a knife to slice food, don’t expect it to chop wood.

My overall impression – I like it! I’m going to use it a lot and leave it out as my everyday knife. I’ll feel free to smash garlic with it and do all the tasks a slicer should perform, but I won’t ‘park it’ tip first into the board. It’s a comfortable knife to use and if the task called for a slicer cleaver or nakiri type task, it’s an excellent knife for this. The steel is easily superior to a CCK and, especially with a factory edge, should hold up well in a commercial kitchen where space is at a premium. I didn’t see any evidence of rust or discoloration cutting onions and chilies and didn’t wash it down until I had gotten all the ingredients cut and into the tagine.

Hope you enjoyed the ‘foodie’ part of the review as well as the knife review.


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