Tip Troubles

Jan 24, 2001
I just lost about a half inch off the tip on my X-42! I was cutting apart a snowboard boot (don't ask) and had stabbed it into the base of a towel rack. The rack was only a old pice of pine, not really that difficult. When I grabbed the knife I heard a unmistakeable "Snap". I've heard some really good thing's on this forum about the BG-42 steel used in this blade. I'm at a loss. Has anyone had a similar problem? I was told by SOG that they "don't recomend stabbing one's knife into wood, as it constitutes misuse". Am I wrong in expecting my knife to be able to take a good stag every now and again?
Please enlighten me as to how a knife manufacturer can possibly say that "stabbing a knife into wood" is abuse? Stabbing and then driving it laterally maybe if its a small knife, but a medium to large blade should never be breakable this way by the force of the arm alone. Maybe if you hammered the point into the wood, but not otherwise...

I'm trying to scrape together enough cash to send it back. I'll keep everyone informed (if anyone cares).
Hi Matthew,

Please understand that without evaluating Tag's knife, it's defective vs. misuse status is uncertain. Breaking in this fashion on a knife like this is certainly unusual and I strongly encouraged the knife to be send back for evaluation.

There are some guidelines, though, to caring for one's knife. Steel, regardless of how strong people think it may be, can break. So precautions, such as not stabbing a knife deeply into wood, would be encouraged (regardless of how attractive or appealing such an action might be). Should a good knife be able to do this? Yes. Could a knife break while doing this? Possibly (depends on a number of variables). As a precaution against breakage, this is a good action to avoid.

Regarding knife safety, there are better places and positions for the knife to be rather than upright and blade bare. Am I being over-cautious? Yes...but, that's my job!

Tag...you have mail...

Ron Andersen
Consumer Services Manager
SOG Specialty Knives, Inc.

Website: www.sogknives.com
Email: ron@sogknives.com

[This message has been edited by Ron@SOG (edited 01-31-2001).]
Hi Ron... I understand that it is possible to break a knife, especially the tip (unless its one of those "sharpened prybars") if too much lateral force is applied (like trying to pry open a window or free a stuck door).

On the other hand, a knife designed for field use must be able to take some lateral stress because applications sometimes call for it. In either case, the tip should bend at least a bit before it breaks, and the process of simply stabbing the knife into wood and withdrawing it without applying much lateral force should never cause that kind of breakage - IMHO of course...
I would not want to purchase a knife that the factory which made the knife wouldn't warranty for stabbing into wood.

It seems to me that the real issue is whether the knife was removed straight backwards or snapped out sideways. Stabbing a knife into wood and snapping it out sideways is a common (the most common?) test for tip strength. I tested my Gerber Bowie by stabbing it into a Hemlock and snapping the blade out sideways. There was no damage.

Hi Bug,

You are exactly right about real issue is the circumstances is in which the knife entered and exited the wood. How hard was it thrusted and how deep? Was it thrown into the wood? Was it twisted or bent while in or exiting the wood? Was the it a hard or soft wood? Wet or dry? Since each user would define acceptable differently, a knife manufacturing company will generally advise against this activity.

I have yet to see this knife. It should be back shortly. SOG applies a very liberal application of its warranty policy (I should know...I administer it).

Ron Andersen
Consumer Services Manager
SOG Specialty Knives, Inc.

Website: www.sogknives.com
Email: ron@sogknives.com
Is this one of the BG-42 models with the 64RC temper?

In regards to bending before the snap, if lateral force is applied even every brittle steels like ATS-34 at 60-61 RC will bend before they break. I have never yet seen a steel so brittle that it breaks before bending to a visible degree.

However in this case it was a straight stab which didn't impose a lot of lateral force but simply a high impact. In that kind of situation there will be no bending before fracture you will just see a violent snap if the blade is not tough enough to handle the strain.

The only exception to this is very thin blades like a fillet knife. If you do a hard stab with one of these you can induce a bend in the main body of the blade and snap them grossly in half. It takes a lot of doing though. A simple stab to put away the knife is not going to do it.

Is there a a shot from above of this knife. I would like to see the cross section of the blade. How thick is the steel where is snapped off? What kind of penetration did you get into the wood?

Pine by the way, even when seasoned is still very soft wood.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 02-02-2001).]
Hi Cliff and everyone,

We're advertising the Rockwell hardness range of our BG-42 knives at Rc62-64, but shooting to stay really close to Rc62.

The X-42 Recondo is quite thick 1/2" back from the tip...actually, that is the thickest part of the tip area. This knife should not break at that point in the conditions outlined by Tag. That does not negate, though, the manufacturer using prudency in outlining guidlines of usage.

Let me digress just a moment away from Tag's situation. Often (way more often than you might think), a customer will call and outline the scenario in that his knife broke. Usually in terms like, "it's brand new and I barely did anything." When the knife gets returned for evaluation, the real story unfolds. They might have claimed a straight stab when in fact, there is a noticable bend at the breakage area showing it was pryed on till it broke. Clear signs of misuse and/or abuse show what really happened. In cases where abuse is often the cause (broken knife tips are often abuse, resulting from throwing one's knife or prying), the warranty department must have a "wait and see" position. The knife needs to be evaluated. Knives, by their nature, can be abused. In administrating warranty relative to cases of like these, I can assure you that we often do much more than we are obligated!

Back to Tag. He has one of SOG's toughest knives. He has not had it very long. It sounds like it should not have broken and that there is a defect in the steel, but a physical evaluation of the knife will tell us this. I've been in communication with Tag to get it back here to look over. Referring back to what I said in my last post: "SOG applies a very liberal application of its warranty policy (I should know...I administer it)." Regardless of the condition of the knife, I'm sure he will be well taken care of.

I walk a very fine line here in the forums, because I cannot administer warranty in a post. What I can do is assure forumites in our very liberal warranty policy and encourage them to return their product to us for evaluation and administration of warranty. Also part of the fine line I walk is that when I don't say (as in this case of a broken knife tip) "That should never happen," it could be taken by forumites that we don't support our products. We can only support our products once we see them. I hope you can understand.

I am one of SOG's biggest fans and believe that we make some of the best products on the market (there are many knife manufacturers making outstanding product) and know that we equally stand behind them.

Ron Andersen
Consumer Services Manager
SOG Specialty Knives, Inc.

Website: www.sogknives.com
Email: ron@sogknives.com

[This message has been edited by Ron@SOG (edited 02-02-2001).]
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tag_McLaren:
Am I wrong in expecting my knife to be able to take a good stag every now and again? </font>

I prefer to believe that it was a defect in the blade than anything else. I got my X42 coupoe weeks ago, haven't used it yet, but overall that knife looks more of a stabber than anything else. BTW that was the common
opinion from the begining - X42 is optimized for stabbing. I understand that doesn't mean infinite lateral strength, but still, I assume it should take more than a "conventional" blade.

Have Fun,

[This message has been edited by Gator97 (edited 02-02-2001).]
I would just like to clearlify what actually happened when the tip broke. I was sitting on the floor at the time, consequently I'm sure I was not pulling the blade straight out of the wood. This dosen't mean I was ripping it out sideways however. Also, I had been trying to take apart that boot for about a half hour... I probably stabbed that towel rack a good fifteen times. I wasn't giving it my all when inserting it into the wood, which was a very old (probably 1940's) piece of pine. But then again I wasn't exactly babying it either. The bottom line is that I expected and still expect this knife to be able to do what I asked it to. The X-42 has a very admirable blade design, with a very strong/thick tip. I would imagine there is some kind of defect in this perticular case, however that is for Ron to decide, not any of us.
Is this the knife :


How thick is the steel? I assume its 3/16 or more?

Ron :

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">We can only support our products once we see them.</font>

Obviously, but this is not the only issue. How do you answer questions when someone who does not own one of your knives asks about the performance? Do you tell them to go out and buy your knives, use them, describe the performance, then return them to you and then finally you can talk about it - obviously not.

While I can understand that you can't say for sure what the problem is with the specific knife in question, either with the blade or the description of how it broke - you should be able to give a definate statement about how in general that blade should behave *if* the description was accurate. A different matter, but a critical one.

And in regards to "don't stab you blades into wood", with the geometry of the blade in the above, you should be able to tear wood apart with it let alone just stab it into it. Why else do you have the point so thick if it is not give it a high strength and durability?


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 02-09-2001).]
Hi Cliff,

The Recondo's (yes, the one in the picture) thickness is .160.

Relative to future customers, our designs and materials are at the forefront of our marketing, but a strong selling point is our low return rate. Tip breakage, such as Tag's knife, does not often happen (yes it does periodically happen, but not often in relation with the volume we sell). In fact, this is the first X-42 related warranty todate. Tag's knife should be here in about a week.

As a representative of the manufacturer, I do need to stress knife safety and prudency. Can these knives do amazing things? Of course! But when we have customers stabbing their knife as far as they can into wood, then strongly prying, a breakage can happen. How do I tell a customer how much is too much? By being conservative.

Ron Andersen
Consumer Services Manager
SOG Specialty Knives, Inc.

Website: www.sogknives.com
Email: ron@sogknives.com
Ron, I don't even own an SOG, but I have to tell you that I really admire the way you have dealt with this issue on the forum and not let it get out of hand. I have watched similar issues turn into wildfires on the internet because the manufacturers did not step in and make their positions clear. I have no doubt from what you have posted that you will treat this person fairly.

Good job,