When you receive your R2 series or Ironwood series knife it comes in a wooden gift box, which is lined with red fabric and secured with a cardboard sheath and bubble wrap. The packaging is made with care and fitting for a blade as beautifully constructed as the Tanaka R2 Gyuto.
Japanese kitchen knives have a reputation for being super sharp and beautiful to behold. Shigeki Tanaka embodies this reputation as a master blacksmith and his R2 series knives are not only beautiful to look at, super comfortable to use, but also quite good value. The Tanaka R2 Gyuto is the perfect knife for anyone looking to upgrade to a premium, hand forged kitchen knife.
Although Mr Tanaka has given this series a more rustic look, the fit and finish is pretty hard to fault. You really won’t find any rough or uncomfortable edges on this knife. The balance point is directly over the choil or heal of the blade, making it feel light weight, nimble and comfortable.
At Modern Cooking we have been working with Tanka Knives for several years now and one thing that we have come to respect about Shigeki Tanaka’s product is the consistency of his work. His knives are always perfectly balanced and finished. The shinogi (cladding line) is always consistently distributed 6mm away from the blade edge. This 240mm Tanaka R2 Gyuto is certainly no exception and the perfect Damascus cladding is a true testament to a master blacksmiths skill.
The smooth ergonomic shape of the octagonal ambidextrous handle lends itself well to most hand shapes and sizes and works well in a pinch grip. The rustic look matches beautifully with the dark finish on the Damascus blade and the buffalo ferrule is a nice finishing touch.
The knife is constructed with R2 steel (Rockwell 62-63) which is clad in a 32-layer acid-etched suminagashi, Damascus cladding. The profile exhibited on the edge of this Tanaka R2 Gyuto starts out at the choil or heel with a slight flat section, but then it tapers gradually towards the tip or kissaki. It’s a pretty traditional Gyuto shape and lends itself well to almost every cutting style.
The spine has a slight distal taper. From the bolster (2.5mm thick) the spine gradually thins down to about 1.5mm at the tip. The grind is 50/50 convex, which is perfect for this kind of knife and very simple to maintain.
After a few hours of use, it is apparent just how beautiful this knife is. The thin blade, perfect balance and overall light weight inspires confidence and reduces fatigue. The edge profile lends well to push cutting as well as fine detail work.
The beautiful Damascus cladding on this Tanaka R2 Gyuto resists scratching and helps to stop produce sticking the side of the blade.
The R2 series knives are great value, hand forged blades. We have been using the R2 series in our own test kitchen and find them to be razor sharp, light weight and nimble blades. The Japanese Wa handles are really very comfortable and robust. If you are looking for a premium quality, hand forged kitchen knife that will stand up to the trials of everyday use then the R2 series will not let you down.
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 Cooking School and Magazine.