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Types of Steel Used in Xinzuo Knives ZDP-189 Steel

Types of Steel Used in Xinzuo Knives: ZDP-189 Steel

Differentiating between various types of steel that are used to make knife blades can be difficult if you’re not an expert. They all boast different compositions and, subsequently, varying lists of properties, making some types of steels great for certain tasks while others are preferable for another range of tasks. So, it’s unsurprising that non-experts may become overwhelmed by the prospect of selecting kitchen knives based on not only the type and style of knife, but the type of steel too.

Well, at the Bamboo Guy, our main goal is to ensure that our clients are purchasing products that suit your needs and that are able to function effectively. That’s why we only promote brands and sell products that we are sure of and trust, and it’s also why we think it’s so important to ensure that you are provided with all the information you need to make informed decisions about purchases. Today, we’re here to tell you all about a specific type of steel called ZDP-189 that is commonly used in high-quality kitchen knives, including those made by Xinzuo.

In this article, we’re going to start off by giving you a general explanation of what ZDP-189 is And why it is one of the Holy Grail Metals for kitchen knives. We’ll delve into the chemical composition of ZDP-189 steel, the properties of ZDP-189 steel knife blades, and how ZDP-189 steel is made. Finally, we’ll point out possible advantages and disadvantages of ZDP-189 steel and tell you why we think you should choose Xinzuo ZDP-189 knives.

What is ZDP-189 Steel?

Straight off the bat, ZDP-189 steel is a high-performance stainless steel that is made by means of a very specific process. Indeed, it’s not only its chemical composition that makes it unique – ZDP-189 steel is regarded as a Powdered Metallurgy (PM) steel which is a reference to the method of production that is required to achieve the final result.

As a result of both its chemical composition and the way in which it’s produced, ZDP-189 steel is known for being very hard, strong, and precise, and it also boasts excellent edge retention. However, a downside of these properties is that it’s also more difficult to sharpen and is a bit more vulnerable to corrosion than some other types of steel – neither of which are deal breakers, just things to bear in mind.

So, let’s get into the details of the chemical composition of ZDP-189 steel and its properties too.

ZDP-189 Steel Composition and Properties of ZDP-189 Steel

As with all types of steel, ZDP-189 is made of an array of different chemical components, each one adding something new to the mix. It’s important to bear in mind, however, that it's always only about the presence of a specific chemical – sometimes, it’s about a combination of chemicals and the way in which the steel is forged.

With that in mind, let’s explore the main chemical compounds found in ZDP-189 steel knives.

  • Chromium 20%: Making up a fifth of its overall composition, there is a substantial amount of Chromium in ZDP-189 steel. Chromium is known for contributing to the hardness of the blade as well as a bit of resistance to rust.
  • Carbon 3%: Carbon is known for adding hardness, strength, and durability to steel, and this is no exception. Also, 3% is quite a large percentage in this specific blend.
  • Molybdenum 1.4%: On the technical side of things, Molybdenum is a chemical element that not only adds strength to the steel, but it also ensures that it maintains its strength in high temperatures. 
  • Tungsten 0.6%: Lesser-known Tungsten gives ZDP-189 additional sharpness and edge retention.
  • Manganese 0.5%: Manganese also contributes to strength, but it’s essential that the amount added is precise (and relatively low), because if you add too much, it’ll become brittle.
  • Silicon 0.4%: The addition of silicon to the composition of ZDP-189 steel is done for the purpose of allowing the steel to be forged at a higher temperature without losing hardness.
  • Vanadium 0.1%: Vanadium works in conjunction with carbon, the two elements binding to contribute to the edge retention of your blade. 
  • Sulfur 0.02%: The addition of sulfur in ZDP-189 steel is all about making the steel easier to shape and work with, as well to make it sharper and easier to sharpen.

Properties of ZDP-189 Stainless Steel

  • Hardness: Blades made from ZDP-189 stainless steel are renowned for being incredibly hard, making it ideal for situations in which wear-resistance and edge retention are important.
  • Great Edge Retention: ZDP-189 steel stays sharp for a long time so the life, as a whole, ends up having a longer lifespan too.
  • Fine Grain Structure: Due to the method by which it’s produced, ZDP-189 steel boasts a fine grain structure which is great for toughness, strength, and overall performance.
  • Moderate Corrosion Resistance: Compared to other types of stainless steel, ZDP-189 isn’t quite as resistant to corrosion – it’s considered moderate. So, it needs to be well looked after and taken care of. Read on for Xinzuo’s answer to needing more care.
  • Strong: ZDP-189 boasts high tensile strength, so it’s able to withstand heavy use.
  • Sharp: This steel is notoriously very sharp, making it ideal for precision tasks.
  • More Difficult to Sharpen: ZDP-189 steel Can be sharpened to a razor's edge and stays sharp for a long time, but it’s more difficult to sharpen – thus, it requires specific techniques and tools. Check out our knife sharpening products here.
  • Although ZDP-189 steel needs to be well looked after and may be a bit more complicated to sharpen than other types of steel, the advantages far outweigh the very slight disadvantages. That’s why Xinzuo chooses ZDP-189 steel for a select range of their high-quality, specialty knives. Being one of the hardest steels made well-being durable is what makes it one of the top Holy Grail Super Steels for high-quality knife production.

Hitachi ZDP-189 Hardness Is Not Always The Same For Each Knife Maker

The hardness of a steel comes from the heat and cooling processes used. While Hitachi says the hardness is between 65-67HRC, this is only achieved with high quality heat and cooling equipment. Xinzuo knew the process involved in creating there ZDP-189 line of kitchen knives. Xinzuo cooperated with Sanyo Riki Co., Ltd. of Japan to customize a three-layer ZDP-189 powder steel core composite steel. ZDP-189 powder steel, developed by Hitachi subsidiary Japan Nippon Shoryu Metals, has a carbon content of 3% and a chromium content of 20%. After heat treatment, it can reach 65-67HRC.

Why Xinzuo’s XDP-189 Knives Are More Corrosion Resistant - Less Maintenance

XINZUO cooperated with Sanyo Riki Co., Ltd. of Japan to customize a three-layer ZDP-189 powder steel core composite steel. ZDP-189 powder steel, developed by Hitachi subsidiary Japan Nippon Shoryu Metals, has a carbon content of 3% and a chromium content of 20%. After heat treatment, it can reach 65-67HRC. It is widely used by knife smiths for high-end hand-made custom knives.

How Is ZDP-189 Steel Made?

ZDP-189 steel is made by means of a process called Powdered Metallurgy (PM) as we briefly mentioned earlier. Very simply, this process involves blending a combination of powdered elements (those listed above). They are then compacted and sintered at high temperatures, which essentially means that they’re processed into a cohesive, solid material from a powdered substance.

Powdered Metallurgy as a method of manufacturing boasts advantages including:

  • Enhanced properties of steel
  • Neat shape manufacturing
  • Consistency and reproducibility
  • The integration of complex parts (and chemical compounds)
  • Controlled microstructure

Indeed, it’s a combination of the chemical compounds used to produce ZDP-189 steel as well as the process of Powdered Metallurgy that produce the strong and renowned material that is ZDP-189 steel.

Why You Should Choose Xinzuo ZDP-189 Steel Knives?

ZDP-189 steel isn’t necessarily the most commonly used material in everyday knives (it is more expensive), but its strength, hardness, and high quality of manufacturing still make it an excellent option if these are qualities you desire and prioritize.

The World-renowned Chef Panko asserts, “the hardness of this steel is no joke – in fact, “ZDP-189 steel is a hard material that can reach a high hardness on the Rockwell scale” – making it ideal for tasks requiring good edge retention and wear resistance.”

Shop the Bamboo Guy’s selection of Xinzuo ZDP-189 steel knives today.
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