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Need Info - BG-42 vs. ATS-34

The addition of vanadium adds significant edge holding, something most of us who have BG-42 knives can confirm.

There's also been claims of enhanced toughness of BG-42 over ATS-34, but I haven't been able to confirm this with anyone who has actually done some tests. Darrel, have you actually tested the two, toughness-wise?

Guys: No actual tests, but, another advantage of the Vanadium is in grain size refinement. This contributes to toughness. Also, the total lack of impurities in BG42 also enhances toughness. Definitely a superior steel-just look at the applications in the aviation industry. High temperature ball bearings are always critical to the component they are used in. Failures simply cannot be tolerated. BG42 is used to make these bearings.

RJ Martin
Actually there was a test between ats-34, bg-42 and 440v in one of the recent magazines were a custom maker made 3 exact knives of the three different materials, and bg-42 easily bested ats-34 in edge holding and was right in the middle of the pack in between 440v and ats-34. A very good steel.

I recently bought a Carson small Model 16 with 440V. The knife is sooo coool.

Are you saying the 440V has better edge retention that BG42? Guess the downfall is that it will rust easier?


CPM 440V should not rust easier as it has about 17 percent cromium. Of the three it probably will stay sharp the longest but be the most brittle. Shouldn't be a problem in a small knife. Did you buy a knife or a prybar?
Syderco has a great page for knife metal compositions.


Yes, it is a fact that 440V has way more edge retention and corrosion resistance that BG-42 or ATS. It stands to reason that it should be more brittle because of this, but I have yet to hear of a 440V blade snapping and truth is that in impact resistance tests, 440V also outshines ATS. Now I have not heard of lateral bend tests comparison but that would be interesting. The obvious detractor to 440V is it is hard to sharpen, but it lasts longer before you need to sharpen it.
Thanks for the help guys. Just one other question - is BG-42 difficult to sharpen?
mb; your questions are most easily answered by reading some information on websites.

First, to provide you with the vital information about what constitutes a 'super steel', one with 2% carbon (or more), go to the CPM site:

Be sure and read 'Heat Treating and Fabrication of Tool Steels,' and 'Selecting High Performance Tool Steels.' You will find charts which list abrasion resistance and toughness.

Check out Joe Talmadge's FAQs, located in the knowledge base section of this forum.

Have fun, and if you have questions, just ask. Walt
Thanks for the info guys.

I will look into the Spyderco page when I have time.

Funny that the 440V is suppost to be hard to sharpen. I ran the blade on the fine stone on my Norton tri-stone and that puppy got sharp. It was easy too. After a few swipes on my steel it was sharper than anything I have.

Also, glad to hear that it won't rust easy. When it comes to cutting, I'm a whimp. No worries about bending it. If I did have a big cutting task I'd use a less costly knife.

Thanks again,

The edge on CPM4X0V blades strops up just fine when it is still fairly sharp. It is when you really get them dull that it takes some elbow grease to put the edge back on. Diamond sharpening medium is a must for major re-edging.

The custom maker you are referring to is Lonnie Hansen out of Tacoma, WA. Anyone wishing to contact him can call at (253) 847-4632.

*Norse Knife Nut*

"Military" Fans Unite!!

"The only limitation is lack of imagination."

Thanks william, it looks like he makes some very fine knives.
I'm kind of a freak when it comes to sharpening (OK I'm just a freak).

I have a med and fine sharpening steel.
I use them more that I should.

I was wondering if the med one takes any metal off of the blade, even if it's only a little?