M390 VS ZDP-189 Rope Cutting - Informal testing

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Ankerson, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    The Knives used were Spyderco Endura 4 FFG and Benchmade 710-1.

    Material was 1/2" Manila rope.

    ZDP was tested 1st and I cut until it would not cut paper without tearing it.


    ZDP-189 = 550
    M390 = 600+ (I stopped after 600)


    ZDP did extremely well until around 450 cuts then it noticeably harder to make the cuts as in it got to be a lot of work. After 550 cuts it started to tear paper.

    M390 even after 550 cuts it was still not getting noticeably harder to cut the rope, after 600 cuts it was still pretty easy and it would still slice paper clean.

    Nothing is conclusive or the final word etc on this as this is just my informal findings between these 2 steels. Both are excellent and hold an edge for a very long time, both are at the top of the heap IMO of the Super Steels.

    Endura 4 FFG Photos after 450 cuts




    BM 710-1 Photos after 600 cuts



  2. Noctis3880


    Jul 22, 2009
    Very intriguing. I guess I can be confident of my new 755 MPR tomorrow with the corn(though that type of cutting might require a different aspect than just wear resistance). My 755 seems painfully short when I held it. I never quite realized just how short a less than 3 inch blade really was.

    Still, I wonder if you have something in CPM-M4 to compare it to? Or even CPM S90V?

    It'll be nice to have a good comparison, though I still feel CPM-M4 will be king.
  3. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002

    Yeah less than 3" is very short. :D

    I guess S90V would be close, not sure though.

    M4, from what I saw with it before I don't think it will match these two.

    M390 still had a lot of life in it when I stopped cutting.

    I need to get more rope though before I do any more steels.
  4. KennyB


    Jan 19, 2010
    I wish there were more models of BM available in M390 than the 710 and 755. I don't really like the recurve on the 710. Might wind up getting an MPR though.

    Is there anyone else doing M390? I think I saw a Kershaw composite in it, but I think the cutting edge was in something else.

    I'd be interested in seeing them being compared in the resistance of the metal to deform under impact. I've heard some interesting stories about ZDP in that regard, and I'd probably go for edge-holding in this aspect over wear resistance.
  5. xtestifyx

    xtestifyx Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 4, 2010
    Hi Ankerson,

    Thank you for your enormous efforts, you're a big part of what contributes to the knife community!

    Now the question is, are the bevels on both knives at 9 degrees per side or was it just the ZDP?
  6. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Not sure of anyone else using it right now, but from what I have seen so far it's one to watch definitely, M390 and it's sister steel 20CV.

    Carpenter also has it's version, CTS-204P.
  7. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Oh, I changed the Endura to a 15 Degree per side Micro-bevel after my last video to get all the small chips out.

    The BM was at 15 Degrees per side also.
  8. xtestifyx

    xtestifyx Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 4, 2010
    Awesome :thumbup:

    Just wanted to confirm, I know you're not comparing two steels sharpened at different angles
  9. Noctis3880


    Jul 22, 2009
    I hope it was CPM M4, because powder metal technology is just awesome:thumbup:.

    I've never had S90V, but I do have ZDP-189, and that thing loves to chip on corn. Of all my knives, my Gayle Bradley in CPM-M4 held up the best on corn. The corn made me extremely disappointed in S30V, Elmax, and CTS-XHP.

    It would also ask precisely what properties of the steel that rope cutting would test(toughness, hardness, wear resistance) and what type of edge degradation would occur most with this type of testing(edge rolling from lack of hardness, micro chipping from lack of toughness, abrasion from lack of wear resistance). With corn cutting, I feel it tests hardness the most. Cutting through such a rigid and thick medium, the edge tends to roll rather than chip, and that happens to knives at Rc 60 or below. And while my ZDP-189 chips on corn, I feel it's because of the remarkable lack of toughness in the steel rather than because the corn is abrasive or hard.
  10. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002

    Manila rope is very abrasive and hard on edges, and it's not easy to cut once the edges start to dull.
  11. CarlBagget


    Oct 16, 2009
    Mr. Ankerson, do you feel the slight recurve of the 710 aided in it's cutting ability?
    Do you think the M390 and ZDP189 would be closer if the blades were the same shape?

    Thank you for your continued testing of knives.
  12. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    Another wonderful contribution to the knife/steel body of knowledge. Thanks for your efforts.:thumbup:
  13. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002

    Doesn't make a difference in a test like this as I wasn't using the recurve anyway.
  14. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    What part of the corn do you cut? Stalk? Husk? Kernels?
  15. Buffalohump


    Sep 7, 2006
    Damn Jim, your hand must have been sore! :D :thumbup:
  16. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Still is this morning too. :eek:
  17. wongKI


    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks Ankerson. Great test.
  18. dalefuller

    dalefuller Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    I just saw a BM Grip with M390 blade listed as an LE pre-order at one of the online sites. GPK, I think. It's a sprint run of 200 units, so I'd get there PDQ if you want one.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  19. JNewell


    Nov 18, 2005
    I have to say I'm surprised and impressed. When I first read the manufacturer's data/tech sheet, it didn't seem like M390 would perform the way it has been. Thanks, Jim.
  20. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    I wouldn't say it's conclusive or anything or the last word etc.

    It's just the way it worked out for me. :)

    I took the top 2 performers from my cardboard series and tested them directly against each other.

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