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Thread: ZDP-189 Sharpening is difficult

  1. #1
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    deanb's Avatar
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    ZDP-189 Sharpening is difficult

    A few months ago I bought a 7" Twin Cermax Santoku fom Amazon at a ridiculously low price. I'm not all that wild about santokus but the price was right and I was curious about the steel. I'm assuming that M66 translates into ZDP-189. The OOTB edge wasn't too bad so I just polished a little on a 12K Shapton Pro and stropped it with a CrO2 loaded strop. Yesterday I decided it was time for a little touchup. I ended up thinning the blade and going all the way from a 320 grit stone to a 12K stone. This is without a doubt the most difficult sharpening job that I've ever had. I don't think I'll be getting another ZDP-189 knife. Too darned hard to sharpen
    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  2. #2

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    I agree zdp is more trouble that its worth - for kitchen knives.

    I'd thinned a few mono-steel zdp pocket knives, unpleasant experiences even with diamond benchstones. I found the cermax mc66 gyuto (zdp core cladded with stainless) a bit chippy when bevel angle lower than 20* incl.

  3. #3

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    Just a tip when Shaptons run out of bite.

    Get some slurry worked up on them with a diamond plate, soft steel (mild steel will do) or a scotchbrite pad, make sure the stone is damp and have at it. You should get a lot more bite out them and they'll work (kind of) with the really tough steel alloys.

    Because you're pushing the stone waaaay past it's normal operating envelope, expect some random weirdness like clogging, a 'wet' stone that'll need proper drying and a few other things that you'll know when you see it. Not show stoppers, but 'odd'. The balance of wet/dry will be different with a slurried up Shapton, with more of a lean to 'wet'.

    This also works on Choseras, as they too can run out of bite when the steel has a large proportion of chromium, vanadium, tungsten, etc. in it. It's not the hardness of the steel, it's the abrasive resistant components that cause the difficulty and as these hard/tough parts 'blunt' the abrasive, you need to keep fresh stuff coming into play, which is why having some loose particles running around will tend to keep the stone cutting where as a 'normal' stone won't refresh itself fast enough to work properly.

    The mechanics behind why the Chosera runs out of bite is different to the Shapton, but the cure is similar. Again, you'll be pushing the stone beyond it's happy place, but it'll work and it's not like it something you need to do often, because if you need to sharpen these tough alloys often, you need something more capable of sharpening them.

    (It's really odd when you run some steel on a 1K Shapton, and the stone feels like it's greased. Shapton 1K stones don't do that...)

    Good luck,

    Stu.

  4. #4
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    I don't think it is fair to say all zdp-189 is difficult to sharpen. I will say I own a twin cermax zdp knife that is a pain to sharpen. But my other zdp knife isnt that bad.

    -Chuck

  5. #5
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    I found the Cermax more trouble than its worth. It needed thinning. Was a pain to thin. Had soft cladding that scratched easily. Was very chippy. May have had good retention, but lost it's initial edge almost immediately.

    You can get SG2 which is easier to sharpen, gets sharper, has good retention, and is about as chippy.

    Or, R2, which is less chippy...

    Absolute retention is not that important to me...
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
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  6. #6
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    If I didn't own an Edge Pro, I would probaby cuss every time I had to sharpen ZDP-189. It would be more trouble than its worth if I had to hand-sharpen it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
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    I have a Spyderco ZDP Endura that seemed fairly easy to sharpen with my regular stone progression: Shapton Pro 220 -- Chosera 600 -- Bester 1200 -- 5K SS (I've also used this for M390 and CPM M4)

    But then again, I'm not sure what hardness it is HT'd to or if that even matters at all.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkdc View Post
    If I didn't own an Edge Pro, I would probaby cuss every time I had to sharpen ZDP-189. It would be more trouble than its worth if I had to hand-sharpen it.
    ±1
    I for most sharpening the EP is fun, but freehand is more fun. Thats not the case with glass-like pm blades. Even just using the EP to set the inital bevel is a huge help..im also amazed by how well the stock stones cut the really hard / tough stuff.

  9. #9
    i dont know... i dont really have trouble with harder/more wear resistant steels on stones either

  10. #10
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    I own some ZDP knives and use both Choseras and jnats on them, and I have minimal issues. I really like the ZDP, not as much as R2, but I cant say it is hard to sharpen IMHO.

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