ZT 0180 Hard Use

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by bodog, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    Well guys, since ZT claims they make knives for professionals and first responders and that their knives are built like tanks, I decided to give the 0180 a good test to see if what they say holds true. I decided on a fixed blade because their folding knives have had a lot of controversy surrounding their lock interfaces. A lot are great and some not so much.

    I didn't get pictures of the first round because it was a test primarily for myself at first, then I decided to go ahead and give it a full run and document it so others could see too.

    The first round consisted of me giving the knife a sharpening job up to 14,000 grit where I had a clean mirror polish and the knife could whittle hairs, cut clean S curves into paper with a push cut and cleanly draw cut toilet paper. I took the knife out into the woods and found some suitable branches. I started by simple whittling for a while to get a true sense of the ergos and if the blade/steel could withstand even simple use without losing an edge. It did easily. Shaved hair with ease at that point.

    I then found a small tree about 10 inches in diameter. I know this knife isn't really a chopper but I really needed to see how well it did hacking on wood for awhile. After spending about 30 minutes hacking on this small tree, I felled it. My hand was a little sore but not terrible and not unexpected given that this knife obviously wasn't designed for such work. The knife still easily shaved arm hair.

    I then took it to my garage where I have a lot of boxes from a move I made about a year ago. I made somewhere between 100 to 200 (edited, way overshot that estimate) cuts on primarily double walled cardboard and some single walled cardboard. After that the knife still shaved arm hair with relative ease. I decided that the knife was tough enough and went back out into the woods for what I thought would really dull the knife. I found a good size branch that hadn't rotted yet and started making exaggerated and pretty stupid twisting hacks/cuts into the branch for about 5 minutes. My hand at this point felt kind of mangled so I called it quits for the day. I tested the knife a last time and it still kind of easily shaved arm hair. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world but the right angle had the hairs still falling off. At this point there was no real discernable edge rolling or chipping, just the minor dulling. The knife passed my tests but now I was curious how far I could take it.

    I rested the rest of the day and the next and then went to an old garage I knew has been abandoned for a couple of years. There's plenty of stuff to cut up and smash, so that's what I did. The pictures should tell the story from here on.


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    Old thick rubber boots, this was a little difficult
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    Old leather boot. Cut in half easily.
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    I stabbed the glass and it shattered with ease. Hitting it with the butt did nothing
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    PVC pipe was stupid easy to cut/break
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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  2. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    This was the edge at this point. Not bad. Has a lot of crap on it but still pretty sharp. Not chipped or rolled yet. Could not feel any burrs or anything, just the crud on it from cutting stuff.

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    Now I said screw it, the edge has held up very well. Let's give it a real test.
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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  3. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    I placed the tip against the block and hammered it in. My main goal isn't to break the knife, but to see what it can do. The tip did not break.
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    Now I took the blade and hammered it into the block. I could have continued to break the block but I saw what I needed to see and moved on.

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    I found one of the old metal tubed brooms and hacked at it thinking I could cut it up. I could not. This was the first real damage the edge took. The cinder block screwed the DLC up but the blade remained pretty well intact. This old shitty metal broom did the job though.

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  4. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    I stabbed easily through a grease can. Almost too easily. It took a little bit to clean the grease off the blade before I continued on. Seems like everything wants to stick to this particular coating, don't know why. It holds up well though.

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    I decided to go for it and cut this nail in half. I don't know what kind of steel it was but about halfway through it the hammer broke. I moved on seeing as how I saw what needed to be seen.

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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  5. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    This old pot was the next victim. As you can see it stabbed through it easily. I could have continued but again, I saw that it could do it easily without any real damage so I moved on.

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    I wanted to see if it could still cut through more rubber. It obviously did.

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  6. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    Two good strikes against this old license plate. I saw I could cut it in half if I wanted to so I moved on.

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    And then I wanted to see if I could make simple cuts on fan belts. Took about 4 good draws and it split cleanly.
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    At this point my hands were getting sore so I went and cut out a good sized hole in an exterior door before wrapping up for the day. The picture didn't take so I can't show it, but here's my hand showing the hot spots. Stabbing the door a lot didn't make my hand feel any better!
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    And now to look at the edge after being abused.
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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  7. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
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    If you look closely they only real damage was from cutting the nail and hacking at that stupid broom. Even the concrete block didn't do much to cause any significant edge damage
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  8. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    All in all this knife is what it was claimed to be. The initial grinds were really pretty jacked up, going from 21 and 22 degrees on the belly to an insane 50 degrees on one side of the tip and about 30 degrees on the other side. The ergos could be better. My hand is pretty sore after all this and it's because the handles are more square than round.

    It's a really heavy knife for it being as short as what it is. I find myself not really wanting to carry it because of its weight but I have been because I've been wanting to find the time to test it.

    This knife seems conflicted with what it's supposed to do. It's balanced right at the first finger groove which would be good for a lighter knife this size. I'd think it would serve better if they made it a little blade heavy for easier chopping work or thinned the blade a little for better cutting work. This blade seems to want to be the best at everything and only succeeds at being good at a couple.

    On the other hand, the steel is top notch and however ZT heat treated it seems to work well. The actual grind of the knife put enough steel where it needed to be to function as a hard use knife.

    There are some pictures that didn't come up, like stabbing an fist sized hole through an exterior wooden door (which is what put all the white streaks on the blade) big enough to stick my hand through and unlock it if I wanted and trying to stab through an old crock pot (that damaged the tip more than the concert block), but I think the point is made regardless. It's rugged.

    With no locks to worry about, ZT absolutely made a strong knife capable of giving and taking abuse. The ergos could be improved and a little better sense of what exactly the knife is supposed to do would be great, but all in all, this knife is worth carrying around. The 4.2 inch blade is long enough for most tasks, the handle is at the very least usable for decent amounts of time, the steel is excellent, and for what I bought it for, the price is right. I got it for about what an Esee 5 costs. I wouldn't buy it for the normal street price.

    Oh, and the sheath is good on its own, but with this knife is ridiculous. The knife doesn't sit in it well at all making the sheath pretty useless. I'm currently using a leather pouch sheath made for another knife that actually fits this one really well and I'm happy with the setup, except for the weight of the knife itself. If they could drop the weight just a little, thin the blade just a little, round the handles a little more, and set it up with a sheath made more for this knife, it would make a great carry for most activities in most environments.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  9. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    Well, took all those chips and everything out of the blade. The only permanent damage was the DLC and it's really pretty light. It took 2 hours and 40 minutes to clean it up and resharpen it to a hair whittling, mirror edge with my cheap chinese ADAEE stones and diapaste strop compound. Not bad considering how much steel I had to remove. I bought the knife for $120 bucks. I'd say it's worth it, more if the sheath was better for the knife. Couple this knife with a thin slicey folder and you've got a pair that'll do the vast majority of work that most people will see on a daily or an emergency basis.

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    Receipt paper, crappy photo
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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  10. jstrange

    jstrange

    Mar 31, 2012
    Nice review of what this knife can take.
     
  11. shinyedges

    shinyedges Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Very cool, regular carbon steel would take more damage from these tasks, 3v held up great. Thanks for the post.

    Whoops I guess its vandis 4
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  12. SBaker34

    SBaker34

    788
    Jun 16, 2010
    This is 4 vanadis extra if I remember correctly, very little info on it, but some people have said it should be the toughest steel available.
     
  13. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    While I've never abused my 180, I really like it, and think it would be a great outdoor/camp knife. But the first thing I did when I got it was make a leather sheath for it. Personally I think it's got great balance and fits my hand perfectly. However, I also think it could use a tiny bit more weight to the blade. The blade shape is pretty simple and traditional, but it just seems to work with this knife.

    Thank you for the hard use test. I'm even more excited about mine now. I don't think I would ever do that to mine unless I was really stuck in the wild somewhere. Your final pictures appear to still have a great usable edge, just partially serrated in random spots. ;)

    Here's my sheath. I like it MUCH better than the one that came with it. Sorry for the awful pic.

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  14. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    That's a great looking sheath that looks much more effective. The finger grooves were perfectly placed for good retention in the hand and my fingers were never at risk of going onto the edge. It really felt good in hand until I started using it then the hot spots became noticeable quick. They aren't so bad that I'll get blisters or anything but it's not a knife I'd willingly whittle with for hours. If they kept the same proportions and texture but rounded all of the corners it'd be much more comfortable while still retaining a good grip.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  15. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    Yea, Vanadis 4 Extra. It's not the toughest steel available, but it's pretty high. Supposed to be a little less tough than 3V with almost the edge retention of CPM M4. That's a wicked combination. The last two blade sports championships have been won with a vanadis 4 Extra knife.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  16. Inazone

    Inazone Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 27, 2012
    I keep meaning to get one of these, but every time I have the money set aside, something else comes along that I just have to get instead. This review might have finally convinced me to stop messing around and pull the trigger. It's a pity about the sheath, but I have a co-worker who has made me sheaths for other knives and could probably come up with something better than the factory one at least.
     
  17. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    Updated to include the amount of time to repair the edge and clean the knife up.
     
  18. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff

    Apr 21, 2006
    Great thread Bodog! The pictures showing the edge came out well and that can be difficult. That's a tough workout for man or knife.

    I don't have any Vandis 4 knives yet but I do have the fairly similar 4V in a couple knives. It's about time someone came out with a production knife in Vandis 4 Extra. ZT made it a hoss.

    Thanks!

    Joe
     
  19. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    Great review, Bodog, thanks for all the hard work!
     
  20. bodog

    bodog Banned BANNED

    Dec 15, 2013
    Yeah man. I hope to see it and its crucible counterpart more. I think it's a very versatile steel capable of tackling the most severe tasks and environments given the right geometry and care, save for letting it sit in saltwater for days.

    How's your experience been with 4V?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015

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