Zdp-189 myths and truths

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
User avatar
Albatross
Member
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:13 pm

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Albatross » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:04 pm

All the input so far has been very valuable, and I hope some others are encouraged to try Zdp or any other "super" steel. I see too often, how difficult certain steels are to sharpen. Generally, this means the sharpening takes longer than most, but can also refer to things like a stubborn burr or a steel that requires a diamond or cbn abrasive to get and stay sharp. Saying a steel is difficult to sharpen is fine, and everyone has a different skillset, but often these comments scare people away from "super" steels, so we should really be mindful. There are plenty of amazing steels out there that make knives into the perfect cutting tools for the very people scared off by the comments of a few who found certain steel(s) beyond their preference. That's unfortunate really.

Zdp-189 is excellent. So is S90V, the M390 family, K390, Rex 45, Hap40, S110V(replaced for me, by tool steels), and it seems that everyone swears by M4(I don't have enough use to comment). I've seen the complaints about how difficult these steels are to sharpen. It may be true for one person, but someone with diamond stones may find the steel isn't difficult to sharpen.
Last edited by Albatross on Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
sal wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:01 pm

...But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of "deigning in the dark"...

sal

User avatar
Wartstein
Member
Posts: 2713
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:06 am
Location: Salzburg, Austria, Europe

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Wartstein » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:49 pm

Cambertree wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:30 am
Hey Wartstein, my friend:

I always like reading your posts, and let me just say that with your earnest and open minded approach to knowledge seeking, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be sittin’ whittlin’ hair with a REX121 blade with the grizzled forumite edge junkies. :D ;)

But seriously, we’re all students here, mate.

I’d say don’t get too hung up on technical nomenclature - there’s many ways to get a stubborn steel razor sharp.

In terms of the Sharpmaker, it’s a superb, versatile tool for maintaining edges, but you’re going to need some patience if you want to do serious thinning out or reprofiling on the higher carbide, higher Rockwell hardness steels.

If you have the time and patience it can certainly be done, but investing in a good coarse benchstone will just make the process a whole lot easier.

I personally use the Japanese Atoma series of stones for removing material on my initial resharpening of new knives. Then I refine with the Venev bonded diamond stones from Gritomatic, and finish on a variety of different stones I’ve accumulated over the years.

If you’re set on just using the Sharpmaker, you should start with either the the diamond or CBN rods and use a constant up and down motion, as opposed to doing distinct singular passes.

Be careful you don’t run the tip off the rods.

A good loupe is your best friend. I think I recall you already have one?

If not, I use and recommend the bombproof 10x Belomo with Zeiss glass.

A few of the forum old hands have detailed the technique, but I’ll just reference Surfingringo’s excellent how-to:

https://youtu.be/DI8lTj-F8gA

Apart from that, my only other advice is to maybe pass up one or two knife purchases and buy stones instead. Then it’s just practice, practice, practice and you’ll be there in no time. ;) :)

This obviously applies to ZDP-189 just as it does to any steel which may be giving difficulties in sharpening.

Cambertree, my friend,

thanks a lot for your kind words, the detailled advice and taking the time to write it up! It will help me a lot when reprofiling a blade and is really appreciated.

But I have to say: I think, I did not really make my point in my post you replied to ;), let me try once more.

I was basically not asking for adivce in THAT particular post (though, as said, I am really glad I GOT one), but meant it more like this:

You guys, who know even in the context of this forum a lot about sharpening, steels, grit progression, burr detection and knocking it off, which-steel-responds-in-what-way-to-which-technique and so on, are most likely in the top 1 permille of regular knife guys, knife users, whatever when it comes to sharpening.
At least I can say with 100% certainty, that in this thread most people who posted know A TON more about the sharpening topic than I do for example. That is just a plain fact, and does not bother me.
Still, compared to the average (non-forum.member) guy who carries a folder even I CAN sharpen knives, even free hand to some degree, and even know a little bit about sharpening.

But reading all of your (sharpening experts) posts and about your skills and knowlegde (which I really respect and even admire, don´t get me wrong!) makes it sound sometimes, as if a guy who DOES NOT know all this stuff should NOT be able to get ANY knife in a somewhat harder steel sharp AT ALL. But that is just not the case... and if, it would really contradict the concept of for example the sharpmaker, which is designed to enable almost anyone to get almost any knife sharp to a usable or even shaving sharp degree, without having a lot of experience and skills (jut watch the instructional dvd...)

So I am just a bit confused how this two different impressions I got can fit together...

On the one hand, there are tools like the SM, which are designed to enable most people to sharpen most knives to a satisfying degree, even if it might take longer or be less perfect than it could

On the other hand, reading the "expert posts" it really sounds like if one would almost have no chance to sharpen a "super steel" properly WIITHOUT the deep skills you experts have (which is not true, not entirely at least, since for example an average guy like me can get for example HAP 40 pretty sharp on a regular SM. And probably I could also have gotten ZDP sharp, but just was not willing to take the time or to purchase more abrasive rods, but rather sold my ZDP Endura some time ago)...
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

Bill1170
Member
Posts: 1752
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:34 pm
Location: San Diego North County

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Bill1170 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:15 am

ZDP is the only steel I always take to a high polish. Other steels do fine with an edge off the brown SM rods, but ZDP just begs to be refined. It also rewards that effort by holding high sharpness longer than any other steel I’ve tried.

User avatar
Cambertree
Member
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:48 am
Location: Victoria, Australia

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Cambertree » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:24 am

Wartstein wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:49 pm
Cambertree, my friend,

thanks a lot for your kind words, the detailled advice and taking the time to write it up! It will help me a lot when reprofiling a blade and is really appreciated.

But I have to say: I think, I did not really make my point in my post you replied to ;), let me try once more.

I was basically not asking for adivce in THAT particular post (though, as said, I am really glad I GOT one), but meant it more like this:

You guys, who know even in the context of this forum a lot about sharpening, steels, grit progression, burr detection and knocking it off, which-steel-responds-in-what-way-to-which-technique and so on, are most likely in the top 1 permille of regular knife guys, knife users, whatever when it comes to sharpening.
At least I can say with 100% certainty, that in this thread most people who posted know A TON more about the sharpening topic than I do for example. That is just a plain fact, and does not bother me.
Still, compared to the average (non-forum.member) guy who carries a folder even I CAN sharpen knives, even free hand to some degree, and even know a little bit about sharpening.

But reading all of your (sharpening experts) posts and about your skills and knowlegde (which I really respect and even admire, don´t get me wrong!) makes it sound sometimes, as if a guy who DOES NOT know all this stuff should NOT be able to get ANY knife in a somewhat harder steel sharp AT ALL. But that is just not the case... and if, it would really contradict the concept of for example the sharpmaker, which is designed to enable almost anyone to get almost any knife sharp to a usable or even shaving sharp degree, without having a lot of experience and skills (jut watch the instructional dvd...)

So I am just a bit confused how this two different impressions I got can fit together...

On the one hand, there are tools like the SM, which are designed to enable most people to sharpen most knives to a satisfying degree, even if it might take longer or be less perfect than it could

On the other hand, reading the "expert posts" it really sounds like if one would almost have no chance to sharpen a "super steel" properly WIITHOUT the deep skills you experts have (which is not true, not entirely at least, since for example an average guy like me can get for example HAP 40 pretty sharp on a regular SM. And probably I could also have gotten ZDP sharp, but just was not willing to take the time or to purchase more abrasive rods, but rather sold my ZDP Endura some time ago)...
Ah, thanks for the clarification, Wartstein and sorry for my misunderstanding the gist of your comments.

I appreciate the kind words too - although I'm far from being an expert sharpener, my friend - I'm just a knife nerd who has accumulated a bunch of different stones and steels, and likes to tinker around with them ;) :o :D

I should just say here as well, that I was thinking to quote and carry over this conversation to Pelagic's Community Sharpening Journal instead of here, but for the sake of continuity, I'll continue in this thread. So apologies to Albatross and others if I'm getting off topic, but I'll try to come back to ZDP189.

Thinking about your last points, Wartstein, I guess there's a few things to consider.

You're absolutely right - there's certainly no 'elite' level of expertise or specialist knowledge required to get a knife extremely sharp. After all, sharpening is a fairly basic mechanical operation, at its heart.

I can't speak for others, but If any of my posts give that impression, it's certainly not intended. It can be quite difficult on forums to know who you're chatting with, and what the level of knowledge and experience of all the participants in a thread is.

I think if I was to compare my experience with sharpening from the early days of applying myself to learning the skill, to now, the main difference is not actually in sharpness achieved. Sure I can get a knife consistently sharper along its whole cutting edge now than I could a few years ago.

But more importantly, I can attain a high usable sharpness much more quickly, and configure an edge so it's very swift and easy to resharpen, and achieve this result fairly consistently on any steel.

So I guess, when I go into excruciating detail about sharpening :rolleyes: :D , partly it's in the hope that it might be useful to those people who've expressed difficulty in sharpening the steel, and partly it's just comparing notes with other sharpening nerds. :p :) In a way it's just conveying the information I know now, that I would have found helpful back then, if that makes sense. :)

As Sal has said before, the knife hobby is like being in a big room with a whole bunch of doors leading out into other rooms.

Some of those doors go off into metallurgy, some of them go into collectors history, some of them go into anthropology and archaeology, some go into aesthetics and design philosophy, some go into practical skills development and application.

And some go into the curious questions of sharpening. How do different abrasives act in combination with different binders on different alloy steels? Why does a steel like ZDP189 with mainly chromium carbides sharpen well on alumina based stones? What kind of chromium carbides are mainly formed in ZDP189? Is the purpose of the small tungsten component in the steel just for 'grain pinning' and how does it affect edge quality? How does the steel perform with a coarse edge, compared to a highly refined edge? How does ZDP189 with mainly chromium carbides at high hardness compare with a softer steel with high vanadium content?

Pondering on these and other questions might or might not make someone a better sharpener, but discussing them is certainly not intended in any way to belittle the results or experiences of anyone who's not so into heading off down that sharpening hallway - or rabbithole.

The Sharpmaker can certainly get excellent results on ZDP189 (and other high alloy steels), no doubt about it. Given time and patience, and a modicum of skill, a cinderblock brick and some newpaper could also probably get a pretty decent edge.

But there's other tools and techniques that can make the whole exercise a bit quicker and easier. They're definitely not necessary.

But they do give us sharpening nerds something else to talk about. ;) :p :D
Last edited by Cambertree on Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Bloke
Member
Posts: 3718
Joined: Fri May 13, 2016 12:43 am
Location: Sydney, Australia.

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Bloke » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:25 pm

Cambertree wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:24 am

Ah, thanks for the clarification, Wartstein and sorry for my misunderstanding the gist of your comments. ...
Great post Camber! :cool:
A day without laughter is a day wasted. ~ Charlie Chaplin

User avatar
The Deacon
Member
Posts: 24879
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:33 am
Location: Upstate SC, USA
Contact:

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby The Deacon » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:34 am

I've carried and used a ZDP-189 Stretch on and off since the CF version first came out. In my opinion, while ZDP-189 definitely holds an edge longer than VG-10, it also takes longer for me to sharpen, negating any time savings the edge holding provides. ZDP-189 also has shown more of both patina-like discoloration and acutal rusting than VG-10. Given the choice, I will take VG-10 over ZDP-189 any day. Can't comment on ZDP-189's brittleness, as I've yet to chip or crack it.
Paul
My Personal Website ---- Beginners Guide to Spyderco Collecting ---- Spydiewiki
Deplorable :p
WTC # 1458 - 1504 - 1508 - Never Forget, Never Forgive!

User avatar
Cambertree
Member
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:48 am
Location: Victoria, Australia

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Cambertree » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:57 am

Bloke wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:25 pm
Great post Camber! :cool:
Cheers Bloke, appreciate it, mate!

Wdr65
Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:53 am
Location: NC

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Wdr65 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:33 am

I initially had a hard time sharpening ZDP-189 with my sharpmaker. I can't remember who posted it but I found a thread on this forum about sharpening ZDP-189. One poster suggested using a light touch on the medium stones. I started doing that and was able to get a hair popping edge within a few minutes. While it does take a little patience I can get ZDP-189 screaming sharp.

Its become one of my favorite steels. My favorite knife is an Endura in ZDP and I lost mine about two years ago. I finally ordered a replacement last week. I'm eager to put it through its paces and also eager to try my new CBN rods on it to see if they speed up my sharpening any.

As for corrosion resistance I carried mine in the summer often, sweaty and with the humidity here in ENC running 75-80%. I never noticed anything aside from some light speckling close to choil that was easily wiped away.

User avatar
spoonrobot
Member
Posts: 598
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:37 am

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby spoonrobot » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:54 am

ZDP-189 is my favorite steel after H1. I had no issues sharpening it with regular 11" Norton stones and saw little rust or corrosion during my use. I haven't used every steel but it's also one of the sharpest steels I've used even in relatively thick edges and was remarkably durable considering.

I made a big thread a while ago specifically about the ZDP stretch with a lot of messing about with corrosion and patina: viewtopic.php?t=40101

Mini2white
Member
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:26 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby Mini2white » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:34 pm

I carry a Delica, Dragonfly and Ladybug in this great steel. No problems sharpening for me at all. I love it.

User avatar
jpm2
Member
Posts: 632
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:40 pm
Location: TX

Re: Zdp-189 myths and truths

Postby jpm2 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:14 am

Matt Deaner wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:45 pm
Another desirable trait (for certain applications at least) is it seems to hold a razor sharp edge for a long time, instead of degrading to a working edge relatively quickly like high vanadium steels.
awa54 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:06 pm
I agree that it holds a fine/polished edge longer than other "Super" steels, though, not all that much better than the M390-ish steels.
Bill1170 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:15 am
ZDP is the only steel I always take to a high polish. Other steels do fine with an edge off the brown SM rods, but ZDP just begs to be refined. It also rewards that effort by holding high sharpness longer than any other steel I’ve tried.
Cambertree wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:51 pm
Keeps a fine razor edge better than the high vanadium PM stainlesses, in my experience.
I'm always curious about comments like these, trying to figure out what the difference is with my experience.
I notice a lot of folks mention finishing some high vanadium carbide steels with fine ceramics, and wonder if that could be it.


Return to “Spyderco General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: attila, Bing [Bot], Dazen, Doc Dan, Elshauno, mjcarp, Monty, Mushroom and 30 guests