The meat cleaver has an exceptionally tough edge that enables it to withstand repeated blows directly into thick slabs of meat, cartilage, and even bone. They are usually made with softer steel and a thicker blade that makes the cleaver less susceptible to fracturing. You use it by swinging it like a hammer.
The edge of the meat cleaver is not particularly sharp; instead, the cleaver is designed to be heavy and blunter than your normal knives because its effectiveness really depends in the momentum derived from how hard you swing it. However, keep in mind that while meat cleavers are tough, they're really meant for cutting through soft bone, not hard bone, for which you would use a bone saw instead.
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