Rockstead KON: A $3,000 Production Knife that Cuts and Cuts and Cuts


Rockstead KON: A $3,000 Production Knife that Cuts and Cuts and Cuts

The other day I had the temerity to reveal that a $4,000 1911 is just not an item that exists anywhere on my personal gear wish list. I didn’t say that people who buy such a gun are crazy (though I did say that anyone who carries such a gun for self-defense is nuts–please read the original post before responding to this point in the comments). All I said was that kilobuck 1911’s aren’t my flavor of man-bling. Of course, some people went ballistic, which is to be expected when one questions JMB’s creation, but that’s okay. I have thick skin from many years spent writing things on the Internet.

In the spirit of fairness, I wanted to offer up something that’s every bit as ridiculous–perhaps more so–than a pricey 1911, and that is on my wish list: a $3,000 Rockstead Knife in ZDP-189 that can be pressed right through a phone book, and then another and another until the whole block runs out of phone books.

Specs for the KON-ZDP:

  • Blade Length: 5.24″ (133 mm)
  • Overall Length:10″ (254 mm)
  • Blade: Honzukuri
  • Material: ZDP189 (VG10 Clad)
  • Thickness: 0.2″ (5.2 mm)
  • Weight: 8.32 oz. (236 g)
  • Hardness: About HRC 67
  • Handle Material: Wood Micarta
  • Made in Japan

This knife also comes in a cheaper model with a different steel, YXR7. The YXR7 model is a mere $2,660–a bargain! The blade has a 3-micron coating that’s intended to mitigate┬áthe fact that YXR7 is a carbon steel that will rust pretty fast if exposed to moisture. Of course, the YXR7 model is tougher than its more expensive stainless brother and can be used as a chopper without worrying about chipping. (Some folks claim that you can chop with ZDP-189, but generally it’s not recommended, especially with a blade that has been hardened to an insane HRC 67.)

Specs for the KON-DLC:

  • Blade Length: 5.25″
  • Overall Length: 10″
  • Blade Material: YXR7 Carbon Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 65 ARC (approximate)
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Grind: Convex
  • Blade Finish: DLC (Diamond Like Coating), Black Polished
  • Handle Material: Wood Micarta
  • Sheath: Wood Micarta
  • Weight: 8.32 oz.
  • Made in Japan

So if you’re choosing between the two models and money isn’t a factor, you can pick low maintenance but no chopping, or high maintenance but chop and hack away. For a knife this size I normally prefer the chopper, but I like the looks of the ZDP-189 model better.

Rockstead is a weird company. Technically these are “production” knives, but there’s a lot of hand finishing that goes into them. And of course the prices are custom-level. They also don’t make that many models and are not widely available in the US. Reviews of Rocksteads are hard to come by, but a Google search will lead you to a number of YouTube videos of people unboxing Rockstead folding knives and/or cutting things with them.

My advice to you is not to go down the exotic Japanese knife rabbit hole. The Japanese are producing some of the world’s best cutlery right now, and their custom smiths and high-end production shops have a thing for traditional American hunting and fighting knife designs–drop point hunters, Bowies, skinners, and basically everything else that I really really like and have no business buying. I’m not going to link any of the websites I like to look at because I’m concerned about your financial well-being, and I also don’t want you guys to go buy up all the knives I’ve got my eye on. So stay away!

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Jon Stokes is Deputy Editor at

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