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Differences between Tanaka Ironwood R2 and Tanaka Wa R2?

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Silky

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Hello KKF, I have another question I'd like to ask. Are the Tanaka ironwood R2 with western handle and Tanaka Wa R2 the same knife with different handles? Or are they slightly different models?

I noticed on K&S that the ironwood seems to have a deeper etching and the pattern appears a little more busy, but I'm not sure if that's due to different cladding or just due to the picture/etching used on each knife. I'd love to try out a really good powdered stainless knife at 210mm as a good fully stainless knife and the ironwood seems to be checking all of my boxes (if I can find one).
 

Badgertooth

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I'd be interested in hearing about this too especially in light of the eyewatering ironwood version prices we are seeing in Japan
 

Brady686

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I believe they are different all together, one is made by the father kazayuki and the other is shigeki.
 

YG420

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Always wondered about this as well
 

wind88

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I just got a 240 wa handle from James recently and I think the darker damascus finish of the ironwood on K&S is simply due to the pictures.

In person, the look varies drastically depending on the ambient lighting.

I'm interested in hearing about the differences, if any, between the wa and ironwood version.

The price disparity between the two nowadays is massive.
 

ThEoRy

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I've had both for many years. Here are my thoughts.

At first I purchased the Kazayuki Tanaka Ironwood 240mm R2 Gyuto. A few years later Kazayuki San passed away and Shigeki took over this line and well the whole shebang. Years later I received the 210mm R2 Wa Gyuto. More like 215mm. They are totally different knives. The ironwood has a convex grind, thin behind the edge but not a laser and the etch has a lot of texture. The wa however is the definition of a laser. Extremely thin, light fast etc. And has a smooth feeling on the etch with no texture. They both cut extremely well, sharpen up easily and retain their edge for quite a while.

I believe the Ironwoods cost more because they are not made anymore. Tanaka has basically run out of the Ironwood stock that they had and I believe the handle maker for this line has retired as well. Feel free to ask any followup questions.
 

wind88

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That is strange. I can definitely feel the pronounced texture on my wa gyuto unlike other damascus I have.

I read many times that the wa gyuto is supposedly a laser but much to my surprise, my 240 is actually thicker than my 240 hiromoto honyaki.
 

johnstoc

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That's interesting, i scooped up a 210mm wa R2 from BST that originally came from Chubo knives (walnut handle) and sounds much more like the ironwood version you describe. Definitely not a laser (middleweight), and the etch has a lot of texture.

I was also curious how this compares to the version James sells.

This ones also going to be a catch and release for me in case anyone's looking [emoji3]
 

Brady686

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Definitely want to buy an ironwood 240 gyuto if i could ever find one.. :(
 

pkjames

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Ironwood version are still being made, slowly, and I personally saw the ironwood stock at Tanaka's workshop, still very health. I previously explained in a bst thread, that they are understaffed and can't even meet the demand of knife stores like Tsubaya. Of my current WA r2, they don't differ much (if any) from the western.

James
 

4rgedCarbon

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I can tell you with some certainty that the R2 Wa handle and the Ironwood version are the same blade. In fact according to Mr Shigeki Tanaka it is only the finishing process that is different. With the Ironwood series receiving a high polish and the R2 Wa receiving a more rustic matte finish. This is certainly obvious in his more recent ironwood pieces, which in some cases you can see that the blade has originally been processed to become an R2 Wa series blade. I think he makes the R2 Wa on mass and converts one of them whenever he gets a request for Ironwood series knives.
 
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