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I just bought the petty knife drop because I absolutely love my bunka. I know SharpEdge is very responsive here so I'll ask; what are the main differences in steel performance and shape?
Should I buy this one and gift the Petty to someone this Christmas?
Hi Charles, Grega here from SharpEdge, thank you for your purchases and your question.
The two steels are quite different. ZDP-189 steel is member of the powder steel family, SUJ-2 is member of the high-carbon steel family. Both have their pros and cons, some prefer one to the other - there are personal preferences.
ZDP-189 steel is one of the hardest steels available for kitchen knife production (HRC levels of 65-67 HRC), which means a very, VERY long edge retention. For its hardness it is not as difficult to resharpen as one would expect, but this also depends on who heat treated the knives. Yoshida Hamono, the blacksmith who makes ZDP-189 Bunka Black and Petty Black, does this job very well. ZDP-189 steel also contains high amounts (aprox 20%) of chromium (Cr), which means it is pretty much stainless.
SUJ-2 steel is a high-carbon steel - these steels are preferred choice of Japanese sushi chefs (and nowadays many other chefs) for their very smooth/fine sharpness (which helps keeping the raw food fresh longer), ease of sharpening and very high hardness level (61-64 HRC). This particular Kuro-uchi Utility was heat treated to around 63-64 HRC. They do need more maintenance since they are not stainless - they will develop patina and if not maintained well (washed and wiped dry after every use and oiled regularly), start corroding. Some users prefer to have patina on their knife as every blade gets a unique pattern, and they dont mind the extra work maintaining the knife for all the benefits high-carbon knives deliver.
It really depends on your personal preferences. You are welcome to experiment with this knife and see if you like the steel. Since you like the Bunka you will probably also like the Petty. This one is different, but we like it very much. An inexpensive knife for its performance, and the length and the shape is very useful to use in the kitchen. I hope this helps a bit, and if you have any further questions, Im happy to help!