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Known to many as 'factory customs', Rockstead knives are among the highest quality factory knives on the market. The knives are made by a highly skilled team of eight who operate their own machines.

At The Old Man Knives & Tools in Amsterdam we have one of the largest collections of Rockstead knives in Europe. What makes these knives so unique?

1. The Edge Geometry
2. The finish.
3. The steel.

1. Edge geometry


Rockstead applies a so-called "Honzukuri" blade shape to some of their models. This means that the blade is convex ground on both sides, without micro bevel. This makes for a very strong edge as this is the most stable geometry available. Their main inspiration for this form was the Japanese sword.


Shinogizukuri is another form Rockstead uses. It is the result of Rockstead's constant journey towards optimum cutting performance. Shinogi' is a Japanese word that describes a line where two surfaces meet. This blade shape has two surfaces. The amazing thing is that the angle of the cutting edge starts at 30 degrees from the handle and gradually transitions to 24 degrees at the tip. This happens in one continuous stream.

2. The Edge Finish

The finish of a Rockstead knife is real

astonishing. The blades have a mirror finish that is completely smooth and reflective. This takes a lot of work and dedication. It is not only beautiful, it also ensures that the knife stays sharp for longer

stays. Rockstead believes that the smoother the surface, the longer the blade will stay sharp. The reason for this is that they believe that nicks in the steel are usually caused by micro-serration and/or imperfections in the surface of the blade.

3. Steel

Rockstead uses two high quality exotic super steels in their knives: ZDP-189 and YXR7. Both are currently produced by Hitachi Metals Ltd. in Japan.

ZDP-189 is an ultra-fine powder metallurgical stainless steel with an astonishingly high percentage of 3% carbon and 20% chromium. Rockstead is able to take their ZDP-189 to an incredible hardness of around 67HRC. The properties of ZDP-189, including an ultra-fine microstructure that provides amazing edge sharpness, make for a great knife steel. Rockstead, however, turns their ZDP-189 into a work of art, using their craftsmanship and proprietary machinery to produce an edge finish unlike anything else in the knife world.

YXR7 is an ingot high-speed tool steel which makes for very tough blades. Rockstead gets these knives up to no less than 65HRC and manages to maintain sharpness. Like ZDP-189, this steel contains a very high percentage of carbon and due to a different balance in the composition, this steel is tougher, but it has a lower tolerance to rust. Rockstead takes on this challenge by applying an ultra-hard DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating to the YXR7 blades. Since the top of the cutting surface is not coated, it is recommended to keep the cutting surface dry and clean.


The durability of the knife is influenced by, among other things, the hardness of the steel of the knife. This hardness is tested with a special device that presses a real diamond point into the test material. This is how the resistance to plastic deformation is tested. The result of this test is a number in Rockwell hardness. Unlike other knife manufacturers, Rockstead Knives individually tests their knives for hardness to one-tenth of a Rockwell. The result of each individual knife test is shown on the certificate that comes with the knife.

DLC Coating

The DLC Coating is specially applied to the YXR7 blades to protect the steel against rust. This is done by bonding carbon to the blade in a vacuum oven at a heat of 500˚C. The result is a 3 micron thick layer with an approximate hardness of diamond (Hv1800 on the Vickers scale). It also gives the blade a nice dark shine.

DLC Prism series

The Prism coating is applied to the Titanium handles of some Rockstead models. Just like the process of a "regular" DLC coating, the material is placed in an oven and heated to 400˚C. A Vickers hardness of about Hv3000 is achieved. During this process, Rockstead specialists add a special coating, which gives the Titanium a strong and beautiful multi-colored coating.

The Old Man Knives and Tools - Amsterdam
Here at The Old Man Amsterdam we have been working with Rockstead for many years and we can proudly say that we have one of the largest physical collections of Rockstead knives in Europe. The professional attitude, integrity and total dedication to the world of knives has brought us together to bring Rockstead quality all the way from Osaka, Japan to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Visit our store to see our unique store and the unique Rockstead collection for yourself. Or click here to visit the collection