420 surgical stainless steel blade

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by OMEGA DOOM, Jul 22, 2004.



    Jul 18, 2004
  2. Gossman Knives

    Gossman Knives Edged Toolmaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 9, 2004
    A steel is only as good as it's heat treat will allow. Buy a knife from a reputable company, such as the ones mentioned here on the forums and you won't have any problems. These companies stand behind their products and have good warranties.
  3. Hawaiian

    Hawaiian Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2000
    420 "surgical" is el cheapo made in china.

    Standard 420 is low on the steel chart. Won't rust easy, but won't hold an edge very long. I would not go for anything lower than 440 with a good heat treatment.
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    420 and 420HC are two entirely different animals. Buck uses 420HC with Paul Bos' heat treatment, and it's served quite a few million non-knife nerds perfectly well. Check Buck's web page for specs. It isn't the best or the latest fad, but it'll cut what you need cutting. Plain 420 works well in tableware but otherwise is crap, surgical or not.
  5. DeadManWalking


    Apr 3, 2004
    It all depends on who is making the steel and what the heat treat is. I have several Bucks in 420 and they have served me well throughout the years. You just have to sharpen it a little more often.


    Jul 18, 2004
    the 49 is 420HC :) hmmmmmm

    do any of you know a knife just like it but 440 a/b or c?

    i want a 15' bowie knife 440 with the same bowie look like the 49
  7. Hawaiian

    Hawaiian Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2000


    Dec 8, 2003
    Whenever I see the word "surgical steel" I back off - its nothing more than advertising "lingo". It can mean anything from tweezers to the bowls you puke in. Its the same as "high carbon" which can mean anything from .5 - I have struck many customers who were amazed to find that a "high carbon" steel would not be more than 1%.
  9. selfinflicted


    Oct 1, 2003
    Even though a good heat treat improves 420, there are so many better blade steels out there... if edge retention is important to you, pass on it.
  10. Jason Cutter

    Jason Cutter

    Oct 9, 2002
    Like any other animal, 420 stainless does have its uses. It is especially stainless due to the low carbon, high-chrome content. That also makes it more tough due to the lower level of hardness it can attain in the first place. The "surgical" moniker is largely marketting, but there is probably some truth that this type steel was useful for surgical instruments because of the instruments could be sterilised and over and over. BUT It was probably never meant to apply to CUTTING instruments. I could be wrong about this...

    As mentioned already any steel is only as good as its HT, and with a relatively "inferior" steel like 420, whether it is the 420HC version or not, there is even less room for error. It really does take a superior HT to get the best from 420. However, it appears that many of the big-selling manufacturers have come across such a method. Many 420 knives (and AUS6, etc. etc. ) made in China (don't know about Taiwan), have a far inferior HT than the 420 blades and other blades made, say, in Japan.

    Its true, these days, for the same money, its likely you can get a better performing knife for the same money. Just have to look.

    Its not to say 420 or 420HC knives are totally useless, but as a knife user and having choices, I reserve the right to say that 420 is not good enough in virtually ALL respects for my purposes or my standards.

    My 2 cents. Jason.
  11. Jeff Clark

    Jeff Clark

    Apr 27, 1999
    420 surgical is probably 420-j2 which can be down as low as .20% carbon. 420HC is up closer to .50%.

    You don't want any stainless if you are going to hack around in the woods with a knife. That includes the 440 series. What you want is a basic carbon steel like 1095, 1084, or 5160. For a basic bowie to use in the woods take a look at the Ontario Marine raider or survival bowies. Stay away from "fantasy designs" if you want a using knife. Here's a link to the Ontario website. You can find the knives on the net for well below suggested retail prices.

  12. sting7777

    sting7777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2004
    now thats a knife! i feel bad for the 10 cows who have to die to make the sheath.
  13. sunnyd

    sunnyd Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    Hellllllllllllllloo McFly,
    Come on OD, the price should have been your 1st clue. .01? When was the last time you bought ANYTHING worthwhile [especially a hunting knife]for a penny?.. or 2 or 3 or 93 even? .. I remember when bazooka bubble gum went from .01 to .02 a piece back in 1969 or 1970 I think, and even back then I recall asking the store owner when they were going to phaze out the worthless coin.

    In all seriously considered future cutting tools you may be contemplating, and as all of your many comrads have stated here in this thread, any of the high carbon steels will work well[52~100 BB, 5160, 1095, 01~HC Badger Tool Steel] in every aspect... I have never liked stainless of any kind bar none!.. NO, Not even on kitchen steak knives. I astonished my wife by chucking about 6 to 7 lbs. of every make and model she had aquired in her short life prior to our union. Very soon after that incident she was able to retain a fond apprieciation for the cutting, sliceing, pareing, and general useages of the high carbon, differential tempured finer kitchen cutting utenciles that have ever since occupied our kitchen drawers.... My old Grandpappy said it best many moons ago: U GET WHAT U PAY 4!
  14. Wunderbar


    May 2, 2003
    Just because a blade is made of 420 SS , doesn't mean that it is all that stain resistant either. Stain resistance also depends on other factors such as grain structure and bead blasting. For more than 25 years I've failed to see a worthy 420 SS. Especially any blade marked "Surgical Stainless".
  15. sunnyd

    sunnyd Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    That is absolutely correct! Most people do not know that "Stainless Steel" means just that: that is, it will "stain less" than other steel products, and still requires a bit of prevenative maintenance and proper upkeep. Although not to the degree that the carbon steel products will require. And to me the extra maintenance is a very puny price to pay for all the benefits that good high carbon steel provides. To me, there is just know comparisons in the two!.. Besides, wiping my knives down after each use, appyling a light coat of oil to the balde, guard, and pomel, cleaning them all at least once a month and so on, gives me just one more reason to pick up, and handle my knives... like I actually needed another excuse!

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