Honesuke 165 SG2 Damascus Ironwood


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There are so many different knives in the Japanese chef’s arsenal. In fact, there are probably twice as many knife types in the Japanese kitchen as there are in any western kitchen. The Japanese have created knives specifically for cutting noodles (Soba-giri bocho), for removing the skin of an eel (Meuchi) and for slicing sashimi and sushi (Yanagiba and Sushikiri). The Honesuki is a traditional Japanese boning knife designed specifically for breaking down chickens. With a sharp and pointed tip for navigating the small bones and a broad heel for passing through cartilage The Honesuki can be found hard at work in Yakitori restaurants across Japan. The Tanaka Ironwood Honesuki is a pleasure to use with perfect balance and fit and finish.

When you receive your Tanaka Ironwood Honesuki, it arrives in a wooden gift box, lined with red fabric and secured with a cardboard sheath and bubble wrap. The packaging is hardly of interest though. The real prize awaits within.

When you open the box the beautiful acid etched Damascus cladding is the first thing you notice, shimmering with an almost 3D effect. Tanka really is a master craftsman and it shows in the fit and finish of his knives. The cladding line is 6mm away from the blade edge and consistently distributed from the hilt to the tip.The spine is rounded off nicely and you really won’t find any rough or uncomfortable edges on this blade. The balance point is perfectly position just in front of the bolster, making the knife feel light weight, nimble and comfortable.

The handle is near perfection in aesthetic and function. The ironwood has been shaped beautifully and has a smooth ergonomic feel that lends itself well to most hand sizes and works well in a pinch grip. The handle is fastened with ornate inlaid mosaic rivets and mirror finish stainless-steel bolster. The full tang is also polished to a mirror shine. All junctions are flushed extremely well, and you won’t find any unsightly gaps.

This range of premium Tanaka knives are forged in SG2 steel (Rockwell 62-63) which is clad in a 32-layer acid-etched Damascus finish. The profile exhibited on the edge of this Tanaka Ironwood Honesuki is fairly traditional for this type of knife and is completely flat from heel to tip. The spine has virtually no distal taper throughout and the grind is 50/50 convex, which is perfect for this kind of knife and makes it very simple to maintain.

After a short amount of use you will notice that the thin blade, perfect balance and overall light weight inspires confidence and reduces fatigue. The edge profile and overall design of the Honesuki lends itself well to the fine detail work required for breaking down chicken and preparing them for Yakitori or other meals.

The beautiful Damascus cladding is extra hard and extremely scratch resistant. It takes abuse very well and the SG2 steel is both hard enough to hold a super sharp edge and soft enough to resist chipping on bones.

If you are looking at the ironwood series then you are serious about knives and having used Tanaka Knives in the Modern Cooking kitchen for several years we can assure you that you will not be disappointed. The ironwood series are beautifully forged and very comfortable to use. However, if you are partial to a Japanese handle we highly recommend that you take a look at the R2 series, which are constructed out of the same steel.

If you would like to learn more about kitchen knives check out our cook smart series on kitchen knives, which discusses everything from the different knife types, how they are made and the various different materials they are made from. We also have articles and videos on lots of other cooking related topics including ingredients, product reviews, cookery courses and smart cooking guides. Check out all the great reading and viewing material in our Magazine.

Product Specification

Blade Type: Honesuki

Edge Length: 165mm

Spine Heel:

Spine Mid:

Spine Tip (20mm before):

Blade Height:


Cutting Edge Steel: R2 / SG2

Stainless: Yes

HRC: 62+

Blade Construction: 3 Layer (San Mai)

Blade Finish: Acid Etched (Forced Patina)

Grind: Convex

Handle Construction: Full Tang

Handle Materials: American Desert Ironwood

Handedness: Ambidextrous

Saya Included: No

Product Care:

Cleaning: Clean by hand with warm water. Avoid wetting the handle when possible. 

Sharpening: We advise using whetstones to sharpen your knives and a honing rod or steel to maintain the burr between sharpening sessions. 

Tips on sharpening you knives

Reactive Steels: Reactive steels like Aogami Super, Apex Ultra or one of the many premium reactive German and Swedish steels are susceptible to rust if not properly cared for. In this case we advise that you keep the knife dry between uses and when storing the knife for longer periods wiping the knife blade with Tsubaki oil or another food safe oil is a wise choice. This will not stop a patina forming on the blade, but it will stop rust. A patina can be a beautiful personal feature on your knife and helps to stop rust forming. So, dry your knife regularly between uses, store in a dry place and apply some Tsubaki oil from time to time when storing for long periods. 

A reference guide to steel types

Handle Care: If you have a knife with a non-stabilised wooden handle, you can apply Tsubaki oil or another food safe oil to your handle from time to time. Food safe wax can be applied to both stabilised and no-stabilised wooden handles. Never apply hot wax or oil as you risk warping or damaging the handle.