What about 420J2 stainless steel?

They seem to be saying that the vg-10 is on the inside only and that the 420 is wrapped around the ENTIRE edge of the knife. That hurts my brain to think about, because if the VG-10 is inside the 420 completely how could it enhance the cutting edge?
I guess you'd have to completely sharpen away the 420J2 'tortilla,' to get to the VG-10 'beef'.:D

In all seriousness, I think that 'Rep.' (term used very loosely) from SOG who wrote you has never actually seen the knife in question. I have, and it has very obvious lamination lines, meaning that the core steel is exposed. It's a taco, not a burrito, like they would have you believe.;)

Can you tell that I'm hungry?:p

Here are a couple photos of laminated VG-10 blades.

You can see the lamination lines quite clearly.

Kershaw Nakamura - Laminated VG-10

SOG ARCitech - Laminated VG-10

What are the characteristics of 420J2 stainless steel? Edge retention? Hardness? Any facts or comments would be appreciated.

For a non-knife knut it serves well
A no maintence, no rust, bendable steel

A regular joe does not know how to sharpen knives with stones or rigs
So that it is very easy to sharpen on a kitchen sharpener is great
It sharpens well.

It dulls easily.
But not so you cannot cut with it.
We here would say that it blunts.
The owner is not going to shave hair off his arm to see if it is 'sharp'!!!

The steel is flexible, which means a bent point can be straightened, and it will not break

As it very corrosion resistant, so it is very good for using and folding away

Junk for 'us' here on the forum, but it has a very high tolerance for what we would consider abuse.

I think it is a great steel for a one knife owner that know nothing about knives.
Sorry all to necro this thread but I've been lookin at the SOG Vulcan Tanto. It's a san mai steel that uses VG-10 for the core and 420J2 as a laminate, including on the cutting edge according to sog. What I can't figure out is why the hell you would use an inferior steel in terms of edge retention on a knife that's considered to be "tactical". Can you guys offer me any insight on that? Thanks.

Just like the high quality Fallkniven knives. The U2 uses for the core their SGPS super gold powder steel. The laminate on the outside of the core leaving about 1/8th to 3/16ths of the brittle but hard as heck powdered steel exposed. You can see the laminate edge. They use VG2 for the outer laminate. The reason for this is to add toughness to the overall blade so it does not break in I suppose the term may be latteral force or for me force placed to the flat side of the blade. Makes a great knife.

So I suppose it is the same for your VG-10 laminate with 420J2 on the outer portion of the blade. I forgot to mention that the VG2 laminated over the SPGS also makes it more corrision resitent.

That is all I know about these processes and why the laminations of softer steel over a more brittle steel that can take a keen edge and hold it for a very very very long time. Check out the U2 video of this guy sliceing paper then cigeratte paper "very thin paper" then taking the U2 and holding it on a very steep angle almost paralell to a human hair and slicing the hair leaving a curl of the slice still attached. This is straight out of the box. I now own one and I wait to see when I start using it how well it holds up. I hear it holds up very well indeed. Some are making claims that this SGPS is the best there is now for knife making but it takes a person with years of experience and technilogically advanced equipment to get it right. It seems Fallkniven hit the nail right on the head. I make a point "they claim" I am just quoting them and also the guy in the youtube clip of the U2 lockback.

Now for the VG-10 having a 420J2 laminate around it I really do not see the need. But many of the highest quality knives are made with VG-10 laminated steel. I am not sure in my reading if they mean just VG-10 laminated with itself or the 420J2 laminated over it.

The U2 from Fallkniven is the least expensive knife to my knowledge they market and it cost me 92 bucks shipped. And I always shop for the bottom dollar price and also from someone that seems trustable. As I wipe my brow. :yawn:

And after I feel this U2 needs sharpening I am very hesitant to give it a go myself. Now I can make any quality steel blade shaving sharp but the edge of this U2 and the one eighth to three sixteenths sticking out I think I will try to see if there is a factory service to bring it back to out of box sharpness it now has. I just do not want to take more steel than necissary to sharpen it and I just love that tiny bevel they have on the tip of that SGPS. I want to keep it that way. Beautiful knife. Very inexpensive material for scales and such but it has a very good mid lock-back. And it weighs if I am not mistaken from my reading only 1.5 ounces.

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I guess you'd have to completely sharpen away the 420J2 'tortilla,' to get to the VG-10 'beef'.:D

In all seriousness, I think that 'Rep.' (term used very loosely) from SOG who wrote you has never actually seen the knife in question. I have, and it has very obvious lamination lines, meaning that the core steel is exposed. It's a taco, not a burrito, like they would have you believe.;)

Can you tell that I'm hungry?:p


I second 3Guardsmen on his analogy of the laminate. The softer steel stops at about one eigth to three sixteenth's on my U2 from fallkniven. In other words you would have to sharpen off at least three sixteenth's of my knife then you would have a mix of VG-2 and the Powered steel they use for the inner core. Which I think would be still fine because of the angle you sharpen it at will always leave the harder core exposed at the edge of the blade. They call it SGPS in its short hand form for Super Gold Powdered Steel. Or I have also seen 3G describing their blades which I do not know what the heck that means.
I have used this steel and have other knives with 440c, 154CM, ATS-34, D2, S30V, Seiki, Leaf Spring, etc. I like to manually verify the edge everytime I use it. I have sharpened steel for many years. I am certified by three governments for both AF and LE. But unless you personally work with someone or something I am sure have no way to make a judgment on qualifying characteristics. My experience with 420J2 has been surprisingly rewarding. It sharpens fast to a razor sharp edge and holds up well under typical field conditions. It is easier to work with and keep shaving sharp than 440c, 154CM or ATS-34. I cannot find 420J2 on a folder with a secure locking system or it would be one of my preferred steels foe edged tools. For those who like specs and stats, the only bad thing about this steel is its marketability. There was a positive review of this steel and I can verify those findings. Its actually the best low cost blade steel around.
I wonder why people seem to think hard, implicitly brittle ''rusty'' steels like D2 is a good choice for a self defense dagger.
Maybe the thought of rusty chips in concert with tetanus will make scary muggers think twice, I know if someone was waving a rusty knife with big chips on the edge, I would take a shower afterwards.
Seriously, I have used D2 chopping through jungle and I ended up getting tired of prepping the blade; its not a good steel for high humidity but I imagine D2 is good for that once in a lifetime chance to knife fight..
So a friend of mine asked me to look into making a knife for him out of 420J2 steel. Having not worked with it before, I'm doing my due diligence and warning him of the low edge retention and hardness. Two questions:

* Is there a more expensive steel that has a comparable corrosion resistance but better edge retention?

* In the event that there isn't, can anyone recommend somewhere to find 420J2? My usual go-tos have failed me. I found one place but only thinner than 3mm.
420J2 was never intended as a blade steel. Its used primarily because its very inexpensive.

* Edge retention is on the low end of mediocre, but there are worse steels. none of those worse steels are blade steels though, and 420J2 has the worst edge retention of all steels commonly seen in blades.

* I think its MAXIMUM achievable hardness is like 54 Rc. most 420J2 blades are 52 Rc or less; why would the company pay good money to harden a steel they only purchased because of its cheapness? The up side of this is that it is easy to sharpen....but unless the company actualy spent the cash to harden a "junk" steel, then you will likely only be able to get a toothy working edge.

* It is VERY VERY corrosion resistant. It almost impossible to make it rust unless you let it soak in harsh chemicals for a long period of time.

* It is very durable. Its low hardness makes it unlikely that a 420J2 blade will break, unless its design is structurally unsound.

In short, it is a poor overall blade steel, that has little business being used for knives, outside of a dive knife. MOST, but not all, knives made from it are of inferior quality.

You neglected to mention that as steel to laminate other alloys into such as Vg10 for example to have a much harder core then 420J2 is fine, if not a good choice. The Japanese for example (in some products out of SEKI city) have been laminating blades for ages ( I don't mean damascus type- that's another story) I've got these types of blades and try and break them, you simply can't, and are they deadly sharp ( from the core alloy) yes sir indeed. You get the benefits of the toughness and corrosion resistance from the 420J2.
420J2 used by Kiwi that is tempered and hardned to about a 50 HRC which is obviously soft. However, I have numerous Kiwi Kom Kom blades and with touch ups on a ceramic 2000 grit rod, they really perform. Paid an average cost of about $6.50 ea. and in my 4th. year of residential use. I have other high end kitchen blades usually around HRC 62-64 but still use my Kiwi.