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 Post subject: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
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Location: Madison Wisconsin
When you get a chance I was hoping to get some clarification regaurding the specific knife that we have been emailing about (Sukenari ZDP189 Damascus Gyuto 240mm). we have emailed about the handle (which I am still interested in) however I am very interested in the ZDP 189 knife and if it is the knife that is right for me. I have been impressed with the SG-2 powder steel knife from Mr. Ito and hope that the ZDP 189 is the next step up. if so it would seem that the ZDP is even harder, sharper, and holds even a better edge. I am interested in a knife that represents the top of the food chain so to say. I currently have the aogami super, VG 10, sweetish steel, 52100, AEB-L represented in my knives. I understand that the type of steel is only a part of what is important. I hand sharpen all of my knives and understand how much harder it is to sharpen my SG-2 over the other knives. i am hoping that I have in fact found the highest level of knives in the ZDP 189 by Sukenari. what are your thoughts? Thank you for your time. Derrik.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:09 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
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FWIW, here is the link to zknives entry for

zdp-189: http://zknives.com/knives/steels/zdp-189.shtml
SG2: http://zknives.com/knives/steels/sg2.shtml
various cutlery steels: http://zknives.com/knives/kitchen/misc/ ... elp2.shtml


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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:40 am 
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"I have been impressed with the SG-2 powder steel knife from Mr. Ito and hope that the ZDP 189 is the next step up. if so it would seem that the ZDP is even harder, sharper, and holds even a better edge."
Yes, ZDP is slightly finer grained, typically a little higher HRC and slightly better edge retention as a result. This is all contingent on your sharpening skills, usage and even then the difference isn't that big.


"if it is the knife that is right for me"
Hard to say without knowing more about you... Let's start with what do you like/dislike about your current knives?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:00 pm 
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Location: Madison Wisconsin
They're excellent knives. I'm always reluctant to see "it's the best" etc because this is a moving target.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:28 pm 
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Everybody has a different "best", it's a subjective term in the knife world. But yes, it is what I would say on a high level.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:53 pm 
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A high level knife, for sure. But as others have said and I will too. Best is subjective to each user. The Steel is finer, a little harder, but I don't think it is a vast difference in performance.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:09 pm 
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I'll add that the difference between SG-2 and ZDP-189 is slight and perhaps non-existent is your senses are not keen enough to notice such a small difference. If SG-2 impressed you over say some odd crap stainless Wal-Mart knife, the jump from SG-2 to ZDP-189 (if there is one) will not be any where near that revolutionary.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Sukenari ZDP 189 the top of the food chain?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:55 pm
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Can't comment on the Sukenari, but I can comment on my experience with a Spyderco ZDP-189. I first saw ZDP at the Blade Show in Atlanta in 2000. Two guys from Japan had a small table and had a few high end folders in the $450+ range with < 3" blades. I can't remember, who these guys were, but they just stood there and cut cardboard over and over again and passed out the blades to let people try the knives. I never saw these blades even stropped and I was so jazzed by ZDP that when Spyderco came out with the Endura, I snagged one immediately. The chemistry of this steel content has Carbon = 3% and Chromium = 20%, this steel can be hardened up to the 67 Rc range. Not sure what the Spyderco Rc is.

I was very dissappointed by the OTB sharpness. This steel just laughed at anything, but diamond stones. I found the edge geometry to be way to thick behind the edge. I have several 8x3" diamond stones. I started with a 140 grit to try to thin out the area behind the edge for an area of about 1/8" approximately. This took a lot longer than I thought it would. I progressed up through 300, 600 and 1000 diamond grits. I took it to a Shapton Glass 1000, then up to a Chosera 2000 grit waterstone and a 4000 grit on a Shapton Glass Waterstone and finishing on .5 micron Green chromium oxide leather strop. I found the steel to have a very brittle texture and the burr was bitch to get rid of, but I finally got the blade where I wanted it.

The way I test a knife's sharpness is not to shave arm hair or slice through paper, but rather do what is called a, 'push cut". My push cut consists of laying the knife edge on a piece of paper, i.e.: copy paper, and using no sawing motion and not changing the part of the knife on the paper at any time, I just push the edge area that I've chosen to test straight down. The knife starts out in direct contact on the paper, no starting 1/4" above. Just lay the edge on the paper and push. If you really want to test you knife's edge, try this with a piece of receipt paper. This test, I think separates sharpness from what can be a sharp burr that will shave arm hair and cut paper.

Anyway, the ZDP-189 was able to pass the test with flying colors. However, after a fairly short period of time and not doing anything crazy or out of the ordinary the edge started getting microchips and the edge began to flunk the push test. I'm not sure what the problem is with this steel. I freehand sharpen other steels, like the Hitachi White #2 and the Aogami Blue #2 and Aogami Super. Aogami Super can be hardened up to 65 Rc. In my opinion ZDP can't compare to these other Hitachi, (as I'm sure everyone knows Hitachi makes ZDP-189). The only thing I can think of is that Spyderco blew the heat treatment or the one I got slipped through QC. Then the edge geometry was not right as well. I know Spyderco makes some great knives and has good quality control, so I just don't think this is one of Hitachi's better steels. I'm willing to take the extra care a carbon steel knife requires, just like I am willing to wipe down a good rifle, as needed. I still really like O1,W2,1084, 1095, 52100 and the Hitachi White and their Blue Aogami series. I just don't like this particular steel on this particular Spyderco knife.


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