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14C28N vs VG10 vs ZDP-189

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by TedOfNod, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. TedOfNod


    Jul 14, 2012
    Hi, I'm new here and I'm wondering if you guys could help me out.

    I can't decide on whether to get a:
    a) Skyline, 14c28n
    b) Delica, vg10
    c) Delica, zdp-189

    I will pull the trigger based on STEEL CHOICE, and steel choice alone, so no discussion about price, ergos or lock strength please. :D
    I'm looking to compare the qualities of each steel: how it takes an edge, how it holds the edge, and how it fares in humidity. Any pros or cons not listed are also very welcome.

    Facts you might need for recommendation:
    1) I plan on using the knife for light edc. (Not hacking down trees or hunting dinosaurs)
    2) I live in a tropical country (you may have seen it on the latest "Bourne _____" movie) but I don't live near the sea, so no fear of saltwater getting on my steel.
    3) I sharpen my blades freehand with a stone, then on various grits of sandpaper. I do not own any of the sharpening systems available on the market.

    Thanks in advance! Really excited to be part of this community.:)
  2. Ruudr


    Jul 1, 2010
    Go for the Delica VG10. ZDP-189 is to hard to sharpen with the tools you have. 14c28n is to soft. It will not hold an edge that well.
    VG10 is reasonably easy to sharpen and you can get a killer edge on it.
  3. TriviaMonster


    Jan 2, 2012
    I have a ZDP-189 Delica. It's okay, but for the money I prefer the VG-10 version. Plus, at a pretty reasonable 28* inclusive, the edge chipped out like crazy while stripping some solid copper wire. No big deal I guess, but it's gonna take awhile to get those chips out and I am not looking forward to it.

    VG-10 is a good fit for the Delica, a good value knife with an excellent value steel.
  4. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    ZDP-189 for a light use blade. VG-10 if you want to sharpen more quickly.


    Aug 26, 2006
    Vg10 Delica, easy to sharpen, wicked edge! Zdp189 prefers diamond sharpeners.
  6. Ruudr


    Jul 1, 2010
    You've got your answer! :D
  7. 1234

    1234 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    Full flat ground VG-10 Delica !

  8. mkjellgren


    Nov 1, 2005
    Zdp is technically the "best" of those you listed, especially in terms of edge retention, and by quite a large margin. It is however quite the pain to sharpen, and its rust resistance leaves something to be desired, is is just barely considered stainless. Zdp can also be a little bit "chippy" due to its high hardness but is a very aggressive cutter.

    Vg10 is a good all around edc steel. Takes a fine edge, holds it reasonably well, easy to sharpen, very rust resistant, rolls rather than chips.

    14c28n is also a pretty good edc steel. I've heard it compared to s30v, but that hasnt been my experience. It takes an EXTREMELY fine edge very very quickly and takes a very nice mirror polish. Edge holding isn't the greatest but is adequate given the ease if sharpening.

    Overall I like zdp the best, but vg10 is excellent as well for different reasons. I consider both to be a substantial upgrade to 14c28n. It all depends on if you want edge holding or ease of sharpening.
  9. res1cue


    Feb 2, 2010
    I'd go with VG10. ZDP is more of a specialty steel, and VG10 is a good all-rounder.

    Also, I really advise you NOT to base your decision solely on steel. In fact, IMO, it is one of the worst features to base your decision on.
  10. LeonWilderness


    Jun 23, 2010
    I have a waved Delica in VG-10 and a FFG in ZDP-189. If you are basing the decision on steel alone, there is no comparison in my mind. The FFG ZDP Delica is far superior for a light use folder. Grab one and a diamond stone from DMT and you'll never regret it. Still finds pocket time even though most of my EDC's cost twice as much. Hardly ever needs resharpening, and you can put a much thinner edge on it due to the high hardness. Mine is a little under 30 degrees inclusive and cuts through just about anything like butter. A thin edge is more prone to chipping, so you have to be a little careful, but I've accidentally hit both metal and rock with my blade and sustained no serious damage. I think ZDP is tougher than people give it credit for.
  11. nccole


    Jun 2, 2011
    Be sure to check out this, http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...based-on-Edge-Retention-cutting-5-8-quot-rope An earlier post stated that 14C28N does not hold an edge as well, but not so according to Jim.

    From my experiences VG10 and 14C28N are relatively similar. They both sharpen relatively easily, and take a keen edge. I have not noticed much difference day-to-day in edge holding ability. ZDP-189 can be hard to sharpen until you figure it out, but holds its edge longer. My guess is that even though you asked for nothing other than steel to be the deciding factor, you are really getting opinions based on Delica vs. Skyline. Both are very well liked and highly regarded knives. I am not sure of corrosion resistance between VG10 and 14C28N, although the "N" stands for Nitrogen and from what I have read having Nitrogen helps in corrosion resistance. 14C28N is a Swedish steel, and VG10 is a Japanese steel if that matters to you at all.
  12. kestrel57


    Jun 4, 2012
    ZDP-189 is less water resistant than most imagine. Get VG-10. Save your money.
  13. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    i posted an almost exact question when i was buying my first spyderco (a delica.) over at the spydey forum, the overwhelming recommendation was zdp 189 because my main concern was hardness and edge retention. however, some odd guys strongly recommended vg-10 because i told them i like to sharpen my knives keenly on an oil stone. the vg-10 was just the ticket, they said. zdp does not take to an oil stone that well, and it doesn't require sharpening too often.

    i ended up getting the ffg vg-10 and it introduced me to the world of scary-sharp edges. people actually run out of the room when they see me splitting single strands of hair with the vg-10.
  14. TedOfNod


    Jul 14, 2012
    Ooookay then, majority says vg10. Thanks for the info & quick replies.
    Guess who's getting a new delica?

    . . . THIS guy.:D
  15. TedOfNod


    Jul 14, 2012
    On a related note: Which sharpening system would you recommend?
    I really feel like I'm missing out on those atom-splitting edges.
  16. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    learn to free-hand. look up the gorilla guy over at maintenance. he has several youtube videos showing how to free-hand different kinds of knives.
  17. Jjewell


    Jun 3, 2012
    I own a skyline I love it I just semi polished the edge in other words I just got the grind lines out and sharpened it up very nice... Love it
  18. SurfingSalmon


    Jan 11, 2011
    Edge-holding wise, I'd say ZDP-189 > VG-10 > 14C28N from personal experience. Do note that ZDP loses it's hair whittling edge pretty fast, but keeps a working edge for a reaaaaalllly long time. Needless to say, ZDP is going to be a pain to sharpen if you did some noticeable edge damage, say small chips (still doable, though). VG-10, my personal favorite, holds edge just fine, and is easy to keep sharp/touch up. I have similar experience with the Sandvik steel; try and stay away from bead blast finishes though.

    (Just read more of the thread and realized the original post has been answered....)

    I'd second learning free-hand. Definitely worth it in the long run.
    Also, Spyderco Sharpmaker can keep your blade sharp fairly easily. Get the ultra-fine stones if you go this route.
  19. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    just a recent experience. i regularly touch up the vg-10 delica on a glass slab (with some metal polish and oil). i also took to touching up the zdp 189 endura. i agree with people: zdp loses its hair-whittling ability after a week but stays really sharp (i haven't reprofiled it up to now.)

    anyway, i did the endura first on the glass slab. it took almost 30 minutes. i stopped when i was able to whittle hair in both directions. next i did the delica. big mistake. the black gunk on the glass; consisting of polish particles, glass, and particles of zdp 189; scratched up the vg-10 badly. the beautiful mirror finish on the edge which i've been maintaining for so long was ruined.

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