Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The love affair continues

How awesome is ZDP-189? Super awesome.

Isn't that an informative description?

I posted a while ago about how good it was and I mentioned it again in my review of the DFII ZDP-189, but let me explain why I came to this conclusion.

Cardboard is one of the most difficult things for knives to cut AND remain sharp. Knives, of course, can separate cardboard all day long, but the microstructures in the cardboard make staying sharp after cutting VERY difficult. Cardboard is a made of paper pulp and on a microscopic level it is a lot of paper with plant fibers and other hard material mixed in. This hard material, compounded in layers, just kills an edge. This is why cardboard cutting makes a very good test of a knife's cutting abilities.

In my case I cut up a massive grill box. We got a new grill and my son, a 13 month old bundle of energy, loved it, so I cut some doors into the box and a few windows. I did this with my DFII. The cardboard was massively thick, probably more than a half inch. Here is a picture of the cardboard and the DFII:


The bottom line is that this stuff was brutal on knife steel and yet I could still shave with the DFII after the renovations. I could even push paper. And eventually, when it did dull, I was able to get a SUPER keen edge on the knife. The increased hardness allowed me to make the cutting edge even steeper than the normal 30-40 degree edge. This finer angle makes the knife even sharper. It is this change that makes ZDP-189 an amazing material. You get the edge retention of a softer steel profiled into a shallower angle but still have lightsaber like cutting performance.

This is it, folks. ZDP-189 is clearly the best steel I have ever used, appreciably better than the standard bearer S30V. Now I have to compare it to some of the next gen steels, like S35VN and the Elmax/Vanamax steels.


  1. I'm definitely looking forward to the comparisons with Elmax and S35VN. I've heard some people have trouble sharpening ZDP-189 because of its hardness. What did you use to touch up your Dragonfly?

    1. Cardboard is one of the most difficult things for knives to cut AND remain sharp. Knives, of course, can separate cardboard all day long, but the microstructures in the cardboard make staying sharp after cutting VERY difficult.
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  2. I used my sharpmaker. It wasn't easy but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

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