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M390 vs ZDP-189

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by lithoman, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. lithoman


    Apr 5, 2006
    I am thinking of ordering a Yuna knife and the ZDP-189 is 75.00 more
    then the M390 steel.

    This is a knife I would carry..(not a safe queen).

    Do you feel ZDP-189 is worth the 75 extra bucks?

    What can I expect from either as far as hair splitting sharpness?
  2. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    I'd take M390 over ZDP even if the price was higher on the M390.

    Takes a really fine edge(easily too), and keeps it for longer than ZDP for me. I also find M390 just that much tougher than ZDP which makes it less likely to chip. And M390 is also more corrosion resistant than ZDP.
  3. goosefacer


    Mar 18, 2010
    IMO - not worth it. M390 is one of the best steels out there.
  4. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    ZDP-189 is good stuff but, for cutlery, M390 just seems categorically better. Better edge retention, better toughness, better corrosion resistance. For S90V I'd pay a bit more, but not for ZDP-189.
  5. spydusse


    Dec 14, 2010
    I know what the scientific test says i just like zdp better. I wouldnt pay that much extra for it. When did yuna start using m390!?
  6. lithoman


    Apr 5, 2006
    Not sure when....but it is on their website now. And the email reply from Yuna states M390 or 75 extra for PURE 189..
  7. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
  8. Gunsnknives


    Mar 26, 2011
    I also saw that Yuna is now using M390. I think that is a good move on his part. Although I like ZDP and M390 both, I personally don't see ZDP taking a finer/keener edge than M390. Add in the wear resistance and corrosion resistance characteristics of M390, and I'd say there you have your answer.
  9. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    I like M390 better. So no, the ZDP is not worth the extra money. :D
  10. Reeek


    Aug 16, 2008
    ZDP has never done it for me for some reason. I just mean personal preference-wise. M390 is a fantastic steel
  11. gooeytek


    Jul 12, 2011
    At really high hardness like the levels Rockstead brings theirs up to, ZDP takes a really keen edge like no other. For practical everyday usage though, I find M390 to give the right amount of compromise for useability (?). I don't know how hard Yuna gets his ZDP, but it might warrant the premium if he does it right. There's a blade testing thread around here that specifically names Yuna's ZDP-189 as one of the top performers. Regardless, you can't go wrong w M390 either.
  12. lithoman


    Apr 5, 2006
    Seems like M390 is the consensus.
    Now i have to decide do i want to wait a year for my grail.

    As soon as i place an order one will pop up for sale..Murphy's Law.
  13. jimnolimit


    Oct 28, 2009
  14. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    the zdp 189 has one other advantage over the m390: it's available in knives costing less than $100. what does it matter if the m390 performs better when the knife's likely to stay put, never to be used?
  15. Tony8179


    Feb 20, 2008
    Personally, I dig ZDP-189 over M390. I especially love the ZDP-189 on my two Yunas. Yun does an excellent job with the edge when he uses ZDP-189. The edge is almost a convex and it stays sharp for so damn long, it is extremely impressive. ZDP-189 is one of my favorite steels when it comes to my pocket knives and Yun does an exceptional job with it. I've had no issues with chipping at all and the only upkeep I ever need to do on it is swipe the edge over a strop every so often.

    If I was going to order another knife from Yun I would pay the extra dough for the ZDP-189 because I know how well he works with it and I know that I would be pleased. In my mind, you're already paying quite a sum for the knife so what's an extra $75?
  16. Razorsharp-Travis

    Razorsharp-Travis Banned BANNED

    Aug 16, 2011
    Closest thing I have to Zdp is super blue and m390 definitely performs better
  17. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    Yep, I'd agree that Super Blue and ZDP are neck and neck in edge holding.
  18. Bill1170


    Dec 20, 2007
    It would be interesting to hear from somebody with Spyderco Mules in both alloys that has used each for a variety of tasks. Most knives sold in either steel are unavailable in the other one.

    This was my 1000th posting here! Woot!
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  19. Lev

    Lev Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2008
    I prefer M390 to ZDP, but as Tony8179 mentions, Yun does a fantasitc job with it. I have it on my EQ-2 and have nothing negative to say. The sharpest blade I've ever received. And it stays sharp. Though had Yun been using M390 when I ordered it, I would have gone with the M390. The extra $75 would be worth it for sure over ATS, which he was using in the past. But over M390, I wouldn't, In fact, I ordered a Mini-Hard 1 at the beginning of June in M390.
  20. lithoman


    Apr 5, 2006
    Congrats on your 1000th post!!!
    I placed my order with Yun last night:D
    Now the waiting begins...
    Oh yea, I went with Yun's new Q I 3' in M390 with carbon fiber and Maka wood combo scale.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012

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