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The Woodsman now going 420 SS

Discussion in 'Ontario Knife Company' started by Roguer, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Roguer

    Roguer

    644
    Jan 5, 2015
    Yep it seems its true, the Woodsman is going 420 SS.

    If I'm wrong please happily lock this thread. :D
     
  2. PocketKnifeJimmy

    PocketKnifeJimmy

    Aug 4, 2013
    As in "420hc" stainless steel?

    If so, I know that Condor has had pretty good success using it in their machetes. So, it does seem that 420hc can be used for longer blades that face some pretty harsh use. Of course there is always the heat treatment thing, and if it's being done to the correct level and consistency for the task the blades are expected to face. But, with that said, it does seem that 420hc is one of the stainless steels that has had good results for hard use blades. Condor still uses the 420hc for some of their line, and I don't believe that their using more and more carbon steel for their products, is because the 420hc has not performed for them. It's more likely that Condor is simply complying to the demand for more carbon blade use. Although 420hc has proven itself in Condor products, the words "stainless steel" simply scares a lot of folks (and in some cases of certain stainless steels and heat treatments, it should).

    Buck uses 420hc, and they get a good result, but in a different way. Most Buck blades tend to be more for cutting than for chopping or hacking. So, they likely heat treat the blades to be a bit harder. That helps in their 420hc blades having decent edge retention. I believe that the same steel will benefit from a slightly softer heat treat for hard use chopping/hacking blades. I think if Condor would have heat treated their 420hc machetes as hard, as lets say a Buck 110 folder, their machetes would have likely broken oftenly. I do believe that 420hc can be a decent (not great) multi purpose stainless steel. And, that it's heat treatment is where it can make it good or bad for the task at hand :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  3. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator Pirate

    Apr 23, 2005
    It might be true unfortunately.

    I just looked at @KnifeCenter website and it says the 5160 Woodsman has been discontinued but a 420 Stainless Woodsman is available :rolleyes:

    I hope this doesn't become a trend with OKC.
     
    19-3ben, JJ_Colt45 and buckfynn like this.
  4. PocketKnifeJimmy

    PocketKnifeJimmy

    Aug 4, 2013
    I too hope that Ontario stays mostly with the carbon steels (5160, 1095 and 1075). That said, I don't mind them offering some alternative steels too (keeping things interesting). I know they have used 440A in the past on some of their blades, but it was more the rare alternative, not their norm :)
    One does wonder if Ontario is doing well with sales on this product, because if it has been a good seller, why would they mess with that by changing the steel? Makes me think they are not doing so well in it's sales, and are looking to possibly get some new interest from those that prefer the stain resistance of stainless steel. Just speculation on my part, but it does seem odd to change the steel if it was doing well selling as a 5160 carbon. I mean, sure, offer it in stainless AND carbon, but to drop it in carbon steel form, it makes me wonder if it was simply not doing well and they are trying to keep it alive in some way.

    There is a gentleman that owns BarryOnyx Knife Company that has a very good handle on what seems to work out in the field, and what seems to commonly fail. He is actually a member here on Bladeforums and has had quite a bit of insight shared on his experiences with 420hc (most specifically with that done by Condor). Anyhow, the following is some info I am quoting him on...

    In a lot of ways I consider 420HC as "stainless steel for carbon steel lovers" in that it delivers fairly similar performance to low alloy carbon steels, but with a stainless aspect added. It gets looked down on a lot by folks who sing the praises of their 1095 blades when 1095 isn't a particularly amazing steel, either, but it has the hype built around it because of the kind of heat treatment usually run on it in outdoor hard use blades being geared towards toughness rather than edge retention, and it's easy to touch up. 420HC isn't much more trouble than 1095 or similar to touch up (takes just a tiny bit longer, but not by a lot) and can be heat treated tough enough to be used for long-bladed heavy wood-chopping machetes without failure. It holds a good enough edge for most work, touches up easily, and is commonly found in budget-friendly designs. The ease of resharpening can be of advantage in hard use environments because there are plenty of things that will dull even the most high-tech blades, and with steel that's easy to fix you're back in the action faster. It's not bad by any stretch--it's just fairly pedestrian. A good, honest, blue-collar steel choice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
    Boggs likes this.
  5. Roguer

    Roguer

    644
    Jan 5, 2015
    I spotted its going 420 SS on several sites, but even OKC's own site says 420 SS.
     
  6. PocketKnifeJimmy

    PocketKnifeJimmy

    Aug 4, 2013
    Yes, Sir, I think you are correct.

    Now, it would be strange for them to not specify the grade of 420 stainless that it is. I mean, just like with 440 stainless, where there is a difference between 440A, 440B, and 440C, there are differences in 420 stainless steels. That's not to say that 440A & 440B are necessarily terrible steels when heat treated correctly for their intended uses, but the 440C is usually the higher sought after grade.
    In 420 stainless, there is the Chinese steel 420j2, and there is the more respected American 420hc... I can't imagine that Ontario is using the Chinese 420j2?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  7. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator Pirate

    Apr 23, 2005
    Initially I thought that might be a typo... was hoping so.

    I believe on OKC's site, it stated some time ago that the Chimera's pommel was made from D2. I questioned Toooj about that and he confirmed that was a typo and the pommel was actually L6.
     
    buckfynn likes this.
  8. PocketKnifeJimmy

    PocketKnifeJimmy

    Aug 4, 2013
    Something more to ponder... OKC has, (under contract), made M9 Bayonets for our armed forces. The specs call for it to be made of stainless steel, but on the OKC website, they simply call it a "420 modified stainless steel". Is that a true steel classification? (Maybe it is)... Or, is that their way of not sharing the steel's actual properties? For whatever the reason, maybe they don't want to expose the full material spec requirements. It's all just my wondering/guessing, because I don't know what Ontario's 420 is... But, I can't imagine OKC would bring in a new type of 420 stainless steel to work with, when they already have the 420 modified stainless that they use for their M9 Bayonet.
    So, I would almost bet money on the two stainless steels being one and the same (the Woodman's and the M9's) :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  9. Roguer

    Roguer

    644
    Jan 5, 2015
    I think OKC wouldn't use a cheap 420 SS, quality wise, on the Woodsman if they are switching it over.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
    PocketKnifeJimmy likes this.
  10. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    293
    Sep 13, 2017
    Well I love the 5160 version. I ordered another before they are discontinued in this offering. It's tough!

    I know this has been mentioned many times before, but I sure wish the scales were micarta. The wood takes damage pretty quickly.
     
    JJ_Colt45 likes this.
  11. Roguer

    Roguer

    644
    Jan 5, 2015
    Yeah, the only "fix" I thought the Woodsman needed was a better handle. But athletic tape to the rescue on that one!
     
  12. Beastchopper

    Beastchopper

    11
    Jun 23, 2018
    I finally ordered one of these blades in 5160, it was on backorder for a while, then came in as 420ss and of not so great quality. I am really disappointed. I see people speculating, oh it can't be cheap chibese steel, they wouldn't do that... well, it's pretty cheesey looking to me. Crooked bevel, edge isn't straight, bad fit-up. The steel looks like it was stamped out of a blank or something. Care was not taken to put this thing together. I still really want a 5160 version, but i haven't been able to find it anywhere. Such a shame what they did. How could this big heavy chopper survive the kind of beating it was designed for when made from ss?
     
  13. Roguer

    Roguer

    644
    Jan 5, 2015
    thanks Beastchopper confirming our worst fears... :eek:

    Dang I was going to get another one...
     
  14. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator Pirate

    Apr 23, 2005
    Send it back to the vendor for a refund or replacement. If that's not a option, send it to OKC and let them look at it.

    Do you know if this is still USA made, what are the markings on the blade ?
     
    MolokaiRider likes this.
  15. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    293
    Sep 13, 2017
    I’ve got one on order...I’ll report when it arrives...
     
  16. buckfynn

    buckfynn Gold Member Gold Member

    432
    May 1, 2011
    Sad to hear OKC is switching from 1560 to 420SS on the Woodsman. Also a while back Toooj mentioned OKC was switching from 1095 to 1075 on some models. :(
     
  17. Yonose

    Yonose

    Jul 10, 2017
    if Took and Dan Maragni went along with this, I have a question; does this mean that a recently banned member with several 4’s in his handle was actually right about one of his lesser annoying points? I don’t believe that 420hc makes a better heavy use knife than 5160. It doesn’t make sense, looked at either from the point of view of chemistry or people that have done controlled testing. It seems to me the chromium addition, and the slight reduction of carbon content, would suffer decreased edge holding and increased brittleness. My 5160’s don’t rust, though they do slowly develop a patina.
     
  18. PocketKnifeJimmy

    PocketKnifeJimmy

    Aug 4, 2013
    According to Toooj, the switch to 1075 for most of the SP series, (not the Gen 2 SP's), got phased in about 2-3 years ago. The edge retention may be a little less with the 1075 when compared to the 1095, but what they were aiming for was added tougness. So, the 1095 held a little bit better edge, but the little bit more toughness of the 1075, (less brittle), won out.
    I can see their reasons behind that one, especially on their longer blades that get pretty beat up with battoning and such. 1055, 1065, and 1075 are steels often used for hard use, high impact, and longer blades. Yes, the lower it goes, the less it will compare with edge retention of the 1095, (the heat treatment being comparable and all), but I think the choosing of 1075 was a good compromise... In my opinion.

    As for the Woodsman being switched from 5160 to a stainless steel, I am kind'a guessing it was a decision based on sales..although the Woodsman may be treasured by those that have them, maybe the overall sales was just not there. Maybe... again, just my guessing... the Woodsman did poorly in overall sales, and the stainless could be their way to appeal to the masses that may not realize the benefit of the tough 5160, but may like the idea of something being rust resistant.
    As much as we may want to believe that folks do their homework before buying such tools, the majority of people likely do not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  19. Yonose

    Yonose

    Jul 10, 2017

    It wasn’t announced (as far as I know) until recently. I don’t care enough about the difference between the steels to complain, but it seems like it was switched 2 years before anybody knew about it.
     
  20. Yonose

    Yonose

    Jul 10, 2017
    Is
    Is 420j2 Chinese? I thought the 4- - annotation indicated American, and that Chinese would use 3cr16 or some such. But I guess they can stamp whatever they want on a blade.
     

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