There are two types of cleavers, one for vegetables and one for meat.
The Vegetable Cleaver, sometimes known as a Chinese cleaver is a large squared knife with a very wide blade. Every part of it can be put to use. The edge is used to chop vegetables, especially larger ones such as cabbage, which are frequently a part of Chinese cuisine. Yet some cooks find their cleaver nimble enough for almost every kind of chopping and slicing. The flat of the blade makes a great tool for smashing garlic cloves or ginger, too. The Shun Classic Vegetable Cleaver feels solid, but Shun’s thinner blade makes it easy to handle so food preparation is a pleasure. Please do NOT use the Vegetable Cleaver on joints, bones, or meat. The Meat Cleaver is made for that.
The Meat Cleaver features a big, thick blade suitable for processing larger cuts of bone-in meat or breaking down whole poultry. Use it to separate spare ribs or cut a chicken down to size. Chopping beef for stew is another great use for a cleaver. The back of the blade can be used to tenderize meat as well. A cleaver comes in especially handy for chopping up meat and bones for stock, and works its magic on whole lobster as well.