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Manbug: Which Steel?

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by HawkenCougar, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. HawkenCougar


    Nov 18, 2013
    I've been using a Spyderco Honeybee as a keychain knife for about a year now. Although it's a nifty little knife it's really too small to be practically usable (in my opinion). It's hard to really get a good grip on it and the blade is a glorified toothpick. It'll do for most everyday tasks if nothing else is available but I think it's time for an upgrade.

    That in mind I've been looking at the Manbug but I don't know what steel will suit me. My intended use would be everyday stuff like opening boxes, cutting string, cutting bits of vegetation in the summer when my garden's going. It'd probably see fairly little use on a day to day basis. I have no experience sharpening knives so I'd probably take it to someone when/if that needs to occur.

    I know they make a standard black VG10, a dark green ZGD-189 (both without liner) and a gray/steel bolster G10 with steel liner. Price isn't really an issue as they top out at $80, I just want to get the best one for my purposes.
  2. Screwdriver


    Feb 27, 2010
    I love my ZDP Manbug.....In fact, ZDP-189 is turning into my favorite stainless steels.
  3. FCM415

    FCM415 Banned BANNED

    Jul 9, 2012
    I'm a big ZDP fan. With the utility tasks of a such a small blade, you'll be plenty satisfied with the VG10 though. I spent the extra 10 bucks for the ZDP to round out my ZDP collection but you can save that money in this case. Both will serve you well of course.
  4. mwhich50

    mwhich50 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    I think I would go with the ZDP if you live in a dry climate and the VG10 if you live in a humid climate. My VG10 knives are very rust resistant so far. I bought a manbug and a dragonfly in ZDP. They were shockingly sharp, but I traded them due to the high humidity on the Gulf Coast.
    I would be suprised if you could find: 1. a decent knife sharpener. 2. A decent knife sharpener who has experiance with a hard metal like zdp 189. There are none in my area that i am aware of. Those cheapo Smith's pull through sharpeners with the ceramic option will give your knives a decent working edge if you don't let it get too dull.
  5. wire edge

    wire edge Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2001
    I prefer the Manbug in plain ol' VG-10 with the fully serrated option.
  6. phillipsted


    Oct 4, 2010
    Another big fan of ZDP-189. It stays sharp for a long time.

  7. dishcore


    Aug 25, 2012
    Anybody have any experience with the G10 / Steel liner version? Thinking about getting one for my father in law. He uses it for a keychain knife so I can imagine the steel liners would add some weight over the FRN version. Thoughts anyone?
  8. emzimmerman


    Jun 6, 2008
    get the bolstered one. i bought one expecting not to like it. absolutely love it.
  9. Eightleggedfreak


    Nov 11, 2013
    Zee dee pee man!
  10. Syncharmony


    Oct 22, 2013

    I handled one in a store and it was surprisingly substantial. The G-10 and bolster look great and feel great. That being said, it is a little heavier than you expect due to those liners and bolster, so that should probably be a consideration if you want to keep your keychain weight down. The other thing is that I have the hunch that living on a keychain would scratch those pretty little bolsters up, which would be a shame.
  11. Wyldey


    Jun 30, 2008
    I'd agree with that assessment, I'm a big fan of ZDP. The bugs are a great way to sample this steel in a very surprisingly capable package for it's size. To make the most of a ZDP blade you do need decent sharpening gear, a Spyderco sharp maker works well for that.

    Easier to sharpen, more rust resistant, "tougher" steel = more forgiving.
    ZDP :
    Edge retention is really nice, requires a bit more care, ie Don't let it get too dull, and get a decent sharpener. it is quite rust/stain resistant, - with something like Tuf-glide applied, I've taken my ZDP Dragonfly on holiday to South East Asia for 3 weeks where the humidity a really high and it lived in my Sweaty pants pocket daily, no corrosion issues.
    I EDC an BRG FRN VG10 Manbug on my keychain setup and I have a frankened ZDP G10 SS bolstered Manbug which I use when I'm home or for dressier occasions. I didn't want to ding up the SS G10 on my keys and keychain tools.

    Both great pieces :)
  12. Cereal_killer


    Apr 4, 2013
    I tell you what, I recently got a ZDP manbug and put it on my keys (I also just got a ZDP dfly but literally yesterday so I have no opinion on it yet) and day 2 of having the manbug I decided to cut some of those large HVAC zip ties (the ones you sometimes see in cop shows as zip cuffs) and the edge was damaged from just a few of them, pretty dissapointing if you ask me, I'm actually considering sending it in to Spyderco before I sharpen it hoping its got a bad head treat or something.
  13. Wyldey


    Jun 30, 2008
    I'm no steel expert but I'm not surprised you've experienced some edge damage.
    Please consider:
    The material you are cutting is very dense, the bugs come factory ground with pretty thin edges, where thin edges are nice and sharp and slice like crazy through less dense material however they will be more damage prone going through harder materials. ZDP being hard and brittle is more prone to chipping vs a tougher steels that might roll instead. Further more, the thinner the edge, the more susceptible to torquing damage.
    A lot of experienced users will reprofile default factory edges to suit their intended usage and enjoy using their blades within their understanding of the characteristics of the steel, both strengths and limitations.
  14. Ernie1980

    Ernie1980 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2012
    I have a bug in VG 10 that has lived and gotten abused on my keys for two years now. Good all around steel, much easier to sharpen. I would save the money and get the vg10. You can use the rest to go towards a sharpmaker:thumbup:
  15. FTR-14c


    Jul 24, 2011
    A Man Bug in VG-10 on the key chain has worked out very well for me. I forget I have it until the rare occasion I'm without a knife and need to cut something. It is my last resort back up knife and has saved me a few times. Its definitely a handy little bugger.
  16. mrynecy


    Jun 3, 2012
    ZDP. have a manbug on my keychain for about 6 months now and use it all the time. have only stropped it a couple of times. still wicked sharp!
  17. Cereal_killer


    Apr 4, 2013
    The damage is rolling, not chipping... Thanks for callin me inexperienced tho, appreciate the vote of confidence from a random guy on the internet who doesn't know me in the least.

    The knife in question is on route back to spyderco for a HRC test and general eval. Just to see what happened I cut the same zip-ties with my new ZDP dfly with zero issue. For now my old AUS-6 ladybug has found its way back to my keychain.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  18. landromus


    Jun 26, 2013
    VG10 and a Sharpmaker. Steel liners on a itsey bitsey bug!? I see no point in it.
  19. Wyldey


    Jun 30, 2008
    Not my intent, my apologies you've interpreted my reply to your post that way. The damage you described seemed like good context to discuss in general limitations about the steel and edge profile that these bugs come in from the factory not about you.

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