Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

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cpentak4
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Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by cpentak4 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:23 pm

Hi all,

I'm searching for a 210mm laser(or laser-ish) gyuto. I've had my eye on the Takamura for ages and want to give it a try, but have reservations about the steel. R2 seems awesome, but after using a few carbon knives I think I'd prefer something carbon that performs like the Takamura. I don't really give a shit about edge retention, definitely prefer ease of sharpening. I just found the Harukaze AS and it looks like a good contender. Does anyone know how these two knives compare? I'm also kind of eyeing the Ikeda AS, even though it doesn't appear to be a true laser (though it is light, and looks like it has a sweet distal taper.)

1)Pro or home cook? --Home

2)What kind of knife do you want? (Gyuto, Santuko, Petty, Paring, Sujihiki, etc.) -- Gyuto

3) What size knife do you want? -- 210mm

4)How much do you want to spend? ~$175, maybe a bit more if it's worth it.

5) Do you prefer all stainless, stainless clad over reactive carbon, or all reactive carbon construction? -- Stainless clad carbon or full carbon.

6)Do you prefer Western or Japanese handle? -- Doesn't matter

7)What are your main knife/knives now? -- Zwilling Kramer 10in 52100, Tojiro Hairline W2 Santoku

8)Are your knife skills excellent, good, fair? -- fair to good

9)What cutting techniques do you prefer? Are you a rocker, chopper or push/pull cutter? -- Push/pull cuts

10)Do you know how to sharpen? -- Yes

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:14 pm

I'd call the Ikeda a true laser. It might not be narrow but it is light and has a thin grind, good taper and glides through everything with ease. Thing is, when you get knives like the Takamura they take the word laser to the next level, thin, but really thin. Those two knives are quite different in profile too.

Which Harukaze AS? The Yo is very, very different from the Wa. The latter being a laser and the former not. Maybe the Harukaze B#2 western would be a better comparison. But again, it thin at the spine but not overly laser like as it keeps a fair amount of that spine thickness into the grind. It is not chunky, though. It is very curvaceous.

Maybe consider the Kohetsu offerings such as the Kohetsu AS? It is right in your price range and though I don't have one I have used one and would say it is laser like. Not 100% laser but close and I mean that in a good way.

The Takamura is a hell of a buy to start with and even better considering its price. R2 is not near as hard to sharpen as some people make it out to be. Not loads of clad "true" lasers out there and none that I can think of in your price range, not stainless clad carbon anyway. For mono steel you have Kono, Tadatsuna, Ginga, Yusuke etc, loads of options but all outside of your price range when new.

cpentak4
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by cpentak4 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:17 pm

Thanks for the response. I definitely should have specified that I am looking at the wa-handle Harukaze. I did notice the yo handle version is way different.

I have also been considering the Ashi ginga 210mm white #2, which is only $180 from Blue Way Japan. But since I already have a white #2 knife (I really want to try a new steel), and since the ginga's run a bit short, I have been leaning towards other options.

Also, am I missing something regarding the ikeda and takamura profiles? They both look pretty flat to me, which is what I am looking for. Would you say the ikeda is worth the extra money?

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:32 pm

cpentak4 wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:17 pm
Thanks for the response. I definitely should have specified that I am looking at the wa-handle Harukaze. I did notice the yo handle version is way different.

I have also been considering the Ashi ginga 210mm white #2, which is only $180 from Blue Way Japan. But since I already have a white #2 knife (I really want to try a new steel), and since the ginga's run a bit short, I have been leaning towards other options.

Also, am I missing something regarding the ikeda and takamura profiles? They both look pretty flat to me, which is what I am looking for. Would you say the ikeda is worth the extra money?
I should have said overall shape as opposed to the edge profile. The Takamura is more pointy with a quick up swept tip and is 45mm tall. The Ikeda has a lower tip and is 49mm tall, mine is 48.7. Is the Ikeda worth more than the Takamura? That is a hard call as they are both keepers for me. If anything I think the Takamura is under priced. However, both of these knives have more flex than some people like. It comes with the territory but more so with these two than other lasers that I have tried. Also, I have a 180mm Takamura and 210mm Ikeda and one is oversized and the other undersized so it is a very unfair comparison.

The Ginga, direct from Japan, will not have the F&F that one would from Jon. I don't think it comes with a saya either. I suppose that is where the savings comes from. Kono is much the same way in being udersized as you mention. However, if you go with a sakai based laser the Yo handle version will be true to size or closer. Something to consider.

All of the laser lines have anomalies. I have two Tada's, one Yo and one Wa. The Wa has F&F comparable to a Kono, the Yo is not even close. Flat spine and choil, not sharp but not eased by much.

Back to the Harukaze, I think it is a hell of a deal, on paper. I do not own the Wa so I can not speak from experience but rather only regurgitate what I have heard from others so I will let someone else chime in. But, Steve does a very good overview and I find what he says to be spot on for my needs.

cpentak4
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by cpentak4 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:48 pm

Hmm, interesting. So would you say you prefer your ikeda over the tak, or visa versa? Or is it a "both great for different things" situation?

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:05 pm

cpentak4 wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:48 pm
Hmm, interesting. So would you say you prefer your ikeda over the tak, or visa versa? Or is it a "both great for different things" situation?
The latter. I like the Takamura as an oversized petty, but again I have a 180. If I am busting a case of mushrooms or chopping in general, I prefer the Ikeda. Slicing tasks, the Takamura or cleaning up a pork loin or what have you. For me, that is personal preference. Dicing onions, for example, I find the Ikeda nicer because I can finish an entire onion without clearing the blade. With the short height on the Takamura the onion dice will ride over the blade and fall over the back of my hand.

cpentak4
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by cpentak4 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:07 pm

Cool, thanks for all the quick replies. You've got me leaning towards the ikeda!

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:20 pm

cpentak4 wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:07 pm
Cool, thanks for all the quick replies. You've got me leaning towards the ikeda!
I've had mine for a short period of time but I like it a fair bit. I like my Takamura too, though. That is a tough one. :)

Maybe some other fellas will chime in as well. I am at the bottom end of the forum when it comes to knife experience!

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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Lepus » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:15 pm

The 250mm Ikeda I tried was a little thicker than other knives I would call a laser, in a very good way. Has anyone tried both to compare? Either way it's a knife with a lot more character.

If you get a Ginga, Yusuke, or Konosuke, which are closely related knives, consider going for the 240mm version. The 210mm versions are all quite small and because of the low weight and short edge the 240mm feels more like a large 210mm than a small 240mm. I was actually really impressed with my Ashi Ginga's fit and finish; it was excellent, only a hair off a Gesshin Ginga or Konosuke.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:49 pm

Lepus wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:15 pm
The 250mm Ikeda I tried was a little thicker than other knives I would call a laser, in a very good way. Has anyone tried both to compare? Either way it's a knife with a lot more character.

If you get a Ginga, Yusuke, or Konosuke, which are closely related knives, consider going for the 240mm version. The 210mm versions are all quite small and because of the low weight and short edge the 240mm feels more like a large 210mm than a small 240mm. I was actually really impressed with my Ashi Ginga's fit and finish; it was excellent, only a hair off a Gesshin Ginga or Konosuke.
Absolutely, by no means is the F&F bad. I just meant that the spine was not as round as the Gesshin but still comfortable.

salemj
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by salemj » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:13 am

I agree with Lepus (sorry Kit!); my larger Ikeda is not what I'd classify as a true laser, although it is close—BUT, unlike Kit's I have the 250mm monster which is undoubtedly quite different. It is thinner and lighter and has a thin edge, but it does not have the "feel" of a true laser in the cut, and the actual geometry is a bit too robust toward the spine, especially near the handle, for it to aim and slice like a laser should. Also, the damascus cladding and the fact that it is a bit thicker behind the edge add just enough drag and robustness that it doesn't glide like a laser. The key, though, is that it has a very tall grind and thin geometry, so it is much more like a laser than some of the lower-grind hammered knives like the Anryu.

My Ikeda is a terrific knife, though. I find it to be surprisingly stiff for how thin it is (as a clad knife), and the extra thickness at the neck means that it doesn't have the flimsy feel that the Takamura often has in that region. The 210 may be very different, though.

I've never used a Harukaze AS, but it has caught my eye. Looks like it has massive potential as long as it doesn't have too much stiction.

As for R2 versus AS, it is very, very difficult to compare these...because they are at opposite sides of the spectrum in almost every way. I think they are as close to opposite as one gets on a number of fronts, from how they chip and wear, to how they easily they sharpen, to the degree of feedback on and off the stones, to how well they take higher heat treatments, to they type of edges they like to take, etc., etc (in sum, R2 is one of the most refined of PM steels, while AS is one of the most gritty/alloyed/toothy of the pure carbons). These differences should make it an easier decision: if you are honest about what you want from the steel, the rest should be clear. HOWEVER, what it sounds like to me is that the steel is actually not your top criterion...in which case the decision gets a lot harder because adding in the rest of the factors means adding in a lot of different preferences.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:31 am

salemj wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:13 am
I agree with Lepus (sorry Kit!); my larger Ikeda is not what I'd classify as a true laser, although it is close—BUT, unlike Kit's I have the 250mm monster which is undoubtedly quite different. It is thinner and lighter and has a thin edge, but it does not have the "feel" of a true laser in the cut, and the actual geometry is a bit too robust toward the spine, especially near the handle, for it to aim and slice like a laser should. Also, the damascus cladding and the fact that it is a bit thicker behind the edge add just enough drag and robustness that it doesn't glide like a laser. The key, though, is that it has a very tall grind and thin geometry, so it is much more like a laser than some of the lower-grind hammered knives like the Anryu.

My Ikeda is a terrific knife, though. I find it to be surprisingly stiff for how thin it is (as a clad knife), and the extra thickness at the neck means that it doesn't have the flimsy feel that the Takamura often has in that region. The 210 may be very different, though.

I've never used a Harukaze AS, but it has caught my eye. Looks like it has massive potential as long as it doesn't have too much stiction.

As for R2 versus AS, it is very, very difficult to compare these...because they are at opposite sides of the spectrum in almost every way. I think they are as close to opposite as one gets on a number of fronts, from how they chip and wear, to how they easily they sharpen, to the degree of feedback on and off the stones, to how well they take higher heat treatments, to they type of edges they like to take, etc., etc (in sum, R2 is one of the most refined of PM steels, while AS is one of the most gritty/alloyed/toothy of the pure carbons). These differences should make it an easier decision: if you are honest about what you want from the steel, the rest should be clear. HOWEVER, what it sounds like to me is that the steel is actually not your top criterion...in which case the decision gets a lot harder because adding in the rest of the factors means adding in a lot of different preferences.
My 210 has flex, a fair bit. It might be a pseudo laser but if so it is very, very close to being a true laser. I have never used the 250, which no longer exists anyway. However, the OP is looking for a 210. :P

If food release is your thing I am not sure you will like the Harukaze offerings. Mine are nothing remarkable in that sense. Not horrible but not remarkable.

salemj
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by salemj » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:21 am

Haha. Yeah, it seems like half of my collection is no longer sold/available, certainly from Mark. It makes writing reviews and updates about performance feel kinda...pointless.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:29 am

salemj wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:21 am
Haha. Yeah, it seems like half of my collection is no longer sold/available, certainly from Mark. It makes writing reviews and updates about performance feel kinda...pointless.
Understood. Though I enjoy it, I kind of feel the same about natural stones. While I believe that there is a level of consistency from mine, strata and type each stone is still at least slightly different. So I look at it this way, at least it gives people an idea of what that mine/strata is capable of producing. I figure a review of the 250 Ikeda would be much the same. You give them an idea of how the knife will be ground, how well the steel was treated as it pertains to ease of sharpening, edge retention and stability as well as other things such as fit and finish. They can then apply that to the model that they want by the same maker. Sure, it will act differently on a 210 vs a 250 but it is at least an modicum of insight that the reader did not have before. And it opens discussion which allows others to add their point of view as well. Win-win, I think.

salemj
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by salemj » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:07 am

^^^Yes, definitely true. I do still try to write reviews when I have extra time. I guess the difference is that people don't read them so much, but perhaps that is because of the way I write them! Haha. Anyways, things like heat treatment and geometry do tend to transfer, and those are often the most important issues in terms of performance, even if they are less significant for a host of other categories of preference and comparison.

In some ways, reviews of natural stones (and knives) is less about the specific product and more about building vocabulary and perceptiveness (which you hint at). I do think this is very important, and it is one reason I hope to write new reviews of some things I've written about in the past just to share some new-found sensitivities.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Takamura R2 vs Harukaze AS 210mm gyutos

Post by Kit Craft » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:16 am

salemj wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:07 am
^^^Yes, definitely true. I do still try to write reviews when I have extra time. I guess the difference is that people don't read them so much, but perhaps that is because of the way I write them! Haha. Anyways, things like heat treatment and geometry do tend to transfer, and those are often the most important issues in terms of performance, even if they are less significant for a host of other categories of preference and comparison.

In some ways, reviews of natural stones (and knives) is less about the specific product and more about building vocabulary and perceptiveness (which you hint at). I do think this is very important, and it is one reason I hope to write new reviews of some things I've written about in the past just to share some new-found sensitivities.
I think it is also important for the reader to have a clear and concise idea of what they are looking for going in. Before I had any idea what I wanted in a knife or a stone I would read a review and think to myself "wow, that was well written but I have no idea if any of that is good". :lol: Maybe that only applies to those of us who try so many knives and stones. I get it, some others may simply want a half way decent knife that gets the job done and does not suck while doing it. I think many of those people don't read these forums, though. :lol:

Looking forward to seeing some new reviews from you.

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