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No Spydercos with BG42?

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by Carl64, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Carl64


    Apr 3, 2005
    BG42 has been around a while and "looks" good, but I can't find hardly any info from people who have actually used it, good or bad.

    Was it ever tested by Spyderco? How did it compare to other things? Edge retention, durability, etc.
  2. Danbo

    Danbo Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 28, 1999
    Let's start a list of folks who REALLY wanna see a Spyderco with a BG42 blade.

    I'll be first. :)

  3. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I've always meant to ask Sal about that myself. BG42 is my favorite steel. Gets a great edge for me and keeps it. I like it better than any other stainless including S30V and VG10 which are not bad steels either.

    It seems like very few companies use it though which is kind of puzzling considering what it brings to the table. (Vanadium) I'm surprised it is not more commonly seen than 154CM for example because when I compare it side by side I'd take BG42 over it or ATS34 any day of the week. The only other steel I get that nice biting edge on that really satifies me is VG10. I recently got the opportunity to work on a Buck knife with a BG42 blade and what a nice blade that was, and what an edge!

    I'd like to see more than just Buck and Chris Reeves and a few isolated others using this steel myself. It is one of the things about some of the Jones Bros. knives I really like also.

    Any comments Sal?
  4. Carl64


    Apr 3, 2005
    I am pretty sure it's a US made steel, and going on history that means only Spydercos from Golden would have it. But Spyderco doesn't make as many models here, although it seems like they have a lot more now than they used to. Maybe now there is hope.

    Buck says they can harden BG42 to 61-62, which is really promising for a steel with only a little more Carbon than most premium steels and about the same Chromium. That could combine to mean longer edge holding but also easy sharpening, but of course I won't know until I try one.

    I am probably going to get a custom Buck 110 with BG42 because I want a custom 110 and I "need" to try it. Then I will be able to tell if I really like BG42, but it also depends on how hard Spyderco makes it.

    Unless of course SPyderco is going to make a low cost BG42 model for us to try out. The 110 will be well over $100 after I add fancy stuff to it, so some kind of FRN Spyderco would be a preferable way of trying it out.
  5. Senate


    Aug 20, 2004
    there's been one spyderco prototype in BG42, the C74 Trakk'r. Aproximate value these days, 300 to 500$ :)
    note that this model will be available soon in VG10.
  6. Carl64


    Apr 3, 2005
    Interesting they would use that for a prototype. I guess the Buck is the cheapest option for now. :)
  7. Ken Cox

    Ken Cox Moderator Moderator

    Dec 11, 1998
    Timken-LaTrobe of LaTrobe Pennsylvania invented/formulated Bg-42 in 1946 as a stainless steel ball bearing steel for jet engines.
    They wanted a stainless or corrosion resistant steel that could take a beating.
    No one made a knife out of it until 1957 and it performed better than anyone could imagine.

    BG-42 has two things working against it that make it very expensive, and perhaps too expensive for knives in the Spyderco price range.

    First, BG-42 requires a double vacuum melt during the manufacturing process.
    In the first melt, the makers assemble all the ingredients in a vacuum and then they melt them together using an electric arc.
    They allow it to harden, all the while in vacuum, and then they melt it again with an electric arc and pour it into ingots, still in a vacuum.
    Did I mention the vacuum? :)

    Secondly, BG-42 has a long, complex heat treatment, with various steps in temperature for prescribed times.
    It will not tolerate the presence of oxygen and so requires either another vacuum, an inert gas environment, or molten salt.

    I know of only two people who will heat treat BG-42: Paul Bos of Buck Knife reknown; and Thomas Haslinger, an international chef and knife-maker possessing remarkable talent and skill.


    Thomas has heat-treated two BG-42 knives for me.
    I chose Thomas because he has a vertical molten salt bath and because of his knives.
    Gene Osborn of Centercross Metal Works has heat-treated one BG-42 knife for me in his argon atmosphere oven.

    BG-42 resembles 154-CM and ATS-34 in composition, with the addition of vanadium.
    Hitachi, the maker of ATS-34, smelts their steel in a vacuum at least once.
    I don't know anything about the manufacture of 154-CM.

    BG-42 resembles S30V in that it combines Chrome, Molybdenum and Vanadium in large percentages.
    I think the manufacture of S30V also involves a vacuum and I think S30V has a very complex heat treatment.
    That said, if Spyderco can produce a cost-effective S30V knife then a BG-42 knife seems reasonable.

    I must say that my S30V Chinook II lives in a very sweaty environment, receiving one or two salty sweat baths a day in the waist band of my bike riding clothes.
    I ride a lot and hard, and my Chinook gets totally wet with sweat.
    As a result, I have three little spots of rust that periodically emerge on the Chinook's blade in the same place, which makes me wonder about the manufacturing process.
    In contrast, I have never seen rust or corrosion on my BG-42 blades; but then, I don't carry them next to my skin while riding, as I do my Chinook.

    I think S30V and BG-42 have a lot of similarities.
    I have had my BG-42 knives hardened to 62.
    I don't know how hard one can safely make S30V in a knife blade, but I'd like to know.

    I suspect Sal knows much more about these two steels than do I, and I'd like to hear his take on them.

    A link to Admiral Steel for price comparisons:

  8. Redguy


    Nov 11, 2003
    I think the cheapest knife with BG-42 blade is the Sog X-42.
  9. Carl64


    Apr 3, 2005
    Thanks, I forgot about that one. I never got one because of the blade shape. SOG says theirs is 60rc. I would like it to be just a little higher. But it's still a good excuse to buy a new knife. :)
  10. Franco G

    Franco G

    Dec 29, 2000
    I started some time ago a thread about BG-42 and a possible sprint run:
    BG-42 Native with CF/FRN handle - summary http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=321209

    Unfortunately, although a lot of people reacted positively, it was not enough.
    It seems to me that people now like sprint runs with excellent steels. So there is a chance.

    One should think about BG-42 as the best ingot steel, similar to VG-10 and even better than VG-10. All excellent properties of VG-10 are there and even enhanced.

    I think one should consider a medium cutter (around 3") with a BG-42 blade hardened to HRC 61-62, in order to get a maximum from this steel. It would be optimized for cutting, not for prying.
    Which knife?
    Well, Native would probably appear in S125V, Delica in ZDP-189, Milie in S90V ..., personally, I dream about BG-42 in Wegner jr., or Goddard jr. Micarta, or Calypso jr. Micarta... All these fine knives are light, decent, very good quality.

    Concerning production knives in BG-42 - I have a SOG X-42 Mini AutoClip. Although I am not a 'tanto fun', the blade geometry is nice, and X-42 is an excellent cutter. The second knife in BG-42 I own is a fixed SOG Field Knife - again a very nice edge.

  11. Carl64


    Apr 3, 2005
    I am kind of over-loaded with Natives now (I think I have 5). A Rookie would be nice. I have been waiting for an official ressurection of the G10 Rookie for a while, although with the probable cost it would not help the people who currently don't want to spend $125 for a Rookie on ebay.

    Of course, for testing steel you can't go wrong with the Calypso Jr either.

    If it has to be and American model, I am really not sure which one. I might vote for a Native if they can do a full rounding of the forward choil and fix the lock bar vs. handle alignment. But it's been explained more than once that modifying an FRN mold is not going to happen just for a sprint/limited run.
  12. Sal Glesser

    Sal Glesser Moderator Moderator

    Dec 27, 1998
    We tested BG-42 a while back. A beautiful steel. As Ken mentioned, it's a VIM-VAR steel with some "finicky" requirements.

    We have some hee in Golden. Plans were to make a run of Lil Temperances with it. Vendor probs parked the Lil Temp for a while. I imagine we'll use it for some type of "fun" test.

  13. Carl64


    Apr 3, 2005
    Oooh, a Lil Temp would have been really nice. Good blade shape, a compression lock which I don't have yet, and a green handle (or blue would be cool too). I hope it makes its way out the door some day.
  14. Blue Man

    Blue Man

    Sep 19, 2001
    Paramilitary! It would be a great way to compare it to s30v.
  15. Franco G

    Franco G

    Dec 29, 2000
    This is much more then I expected. A new Lil'T in BG-42 with Titanium integrated compression lock would be a real hit. I believe the cognoscenti would appreciate the BG-42 steel, and, anyhow, the average guy would not buy such (probably) expensive knife, but opt for the FRN version.
    But a sprint run with the present Lil'T and BG-42 would be cool too.

    Blue Man,
    Very good idea. ParaM is very good place to introduce a BG-42 steel.

  16. fudo


    Aug 27, 1999
    I really like BG-42. I have 2 Buck 110's in BG-42. I would like a 3D Native in BG-42.
  17. VultureParade


    Apr 25, 2003
    A sprint of Paramilitaries with bg-42 blades would be very nice.

    How about a different handle material to distinguish it from the regular para?

    Orange G10 would look nice. Maybe silver G10?

    A run of 500 would sell out before the knives even hit dealers.

  18. lreed


    Dec 7, 2001
    Holy mother of Jesus!!! This is the most exciting news I have ever heard on spyderco's forums in recent years! YeeeHaaaa!!! Lil'T is my favourite knife and BG-42 is my favourite steel, now they are coming together in one single package! Sal you are my angel!
  19. Franco G

    Franco G

    Dec 29, 2000
    Absolutely agree.

  20. Carlos


    Jul 9, 2000
    Spyderco has been offering to do a BG-42 sprint for a couple of years now. There's never been a consensus to back ONE model - one US made model - to do the sprint with. I'd suggest trying to build it now. Pick one horse and back it ;)

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