Even as a close partner of Tanaka, we rarely receive any western R2 blades from him. The last batch of R2s that I got was probbly 3 years ago.
Well we have finally received a small delivery of the R2 western line, this time with a stabilized spalted maple handle. This wood is highly thought after because of its unique black figure, which happens during the initial stage of decay.
As of the grind, if you have ever used a Tanaka you will know it won't disappoint. Thin but not laser, Tanaka knives are well known for its cutting ability. The R2 version is a more refined version of the famous blue line.
For the saya, while the wood is not spalted maple due to the high cost, I selected teak timber with part heart wood and part sap wood, resulting in a very nice contrast figure.
Tanaka R2 western has long been considered as the the unicorn of kitchen knives for many. Back in the days when master Kazuyuki Tanaka first came up with the R2 ironwood line, it was a truly eye catching piece of art. I first learnt the R2 (Takefu SG2) powdered steel through this line, and the edge retention was insane comapred to what I could otherwise access at that time; the acid etched damascus was very unique and beautiful even by today's standard.
When talk about Tanaka western, arguably the most distinctive feature is its Coke bottle shaped handle inspired by hunter knife master Bob Loveless. The handle is extremely comfortalbe to hold in both hammer grip and pinch grip.
IMO, if you ever want to try a Japanese kitchen knife with a western handle, then Tanaka western IS the choice.
Tip to Heel Length
Blade Height at Heel
Width of Spine Above Heel
Width of Spine at Middle of Blade
Width of Spine at about 1cm From the Tip
|R2 powdered steel
|stabilized spalted maple handle