TOPS Teases New for 2018 Cleaver

TOPS is teasing its 2018 product line with a sneak peek at El Chappo. The incoming cleaver design takes the TOPS style and build method into the kitchen.

El Chappo is just under a foot long from tip to tail. Its 1095 cleaver blade is 5.75 inches and swells into an exaggerated snub nose at the business end. As with many releases, TOPS started with a 3/16-inch stock. But unlike overbuilt monsters such as El Chete or the Missile Strike, the company took care to thin out the grind for the culinary tasks El Chappo is likely to encounter. “It’s a really high grind since it’s a wide blade, which leaves a thin edge that is ideal for food processing,” Powell explains. “It makes for a great meat processor.”

TOPS El Chappo

Some cleaver designs flex into roles away from the cutting board. In recent years the idea of an outdoors-oriented cleaver has become popular. TOPS is aiming specifically for food prep with El Chappo, but its general robust build lets users move it into other roles if necessary. “The edge will be pretty thin but will have some weight behind it,” Powell tells us. “If people wanted, it would probably do ok with some tasks around the campsite.” Its rugged Micarta handle scales and Acid Rain blade finish make El Chappo well-suited to campsite kitchens and travel in the outdoors.

TOPS El Chappo

Leo Espinoza, TOPS President, is the man behind the El Chappo design. “Leo has had a cleaver in the works for a long time,” says Powell. “He also enjoys cooking, so a cleaver makes sense for processing animals and other tasks.” TOPS has been getting more comfortable in the kitchen with recent releases. The Frog Market Special XL took inspiration from a Vietnamese food prep knife, and Powell says El Chappo plays with a similar approach. “We love knives and we love food. So why not make knives that are supposed to be for food?”

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We won’t see El Chappo on the shelves until 2018, which will be TOPS 20th anniversary in the business. “We definitely have some cool stuff planned for [it],” Powell shares. He also gave a little more food for thought on El Chappo in particular. Far from a one-off experiment, the unusual offering might be the start of bigger plans for kitchen-ready designs. “Maybe just consider El Chappo a precursor of some things we have planned.”

Knife featured in image: TOPS El Chappo