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BG42 steel was originally produced by Latrobe, sold to Carpenter, and is currently produced as CTS-B75P.
It is a martensitic high-speed stainless steel produced through double vacuum melting technology.
This technology produces high-level steel used in the manufacture of critical components in the aerospace industry and high-performance bearings.
Originally BG42 martensitic stainless steel was not popularly used as knife steel unless by high-end brands because it was regarded as super steel and very costly.
As already mentioned, BG42 is currently produced as CTS-B75P by Carpenter following the Powder Metallurgy process.
BG42 Steel composition
- Carbon C 1.15%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 14.50%: Formation of Chromium carbide Increases hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance of the blade.
- Molybdenum Mo 4.00%: It improves machinability and hardness.
- Vanadium V 1.20%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance.
- Manganese Mn 0.50%: Increases Hardness and brittleness.
- Silicon Si 0.30%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
BG42 steel properties
BG42 steel hardness is 61 to 62HRC on the Rockwell scale making it hard steel. The high hardness of this steel is credited to the high carbon in its composition in addition to Molybdenum, Manganese, and Vanadium. The hardness level depends on the heat treatment technique used during production.
Despite being hard, BG 42 steel offers great toughness. With its level of toughness, you will not handle disappointments of chipping, breaking, or cracking.
If you are wondering how comes BG42 steel has great toughness, unlike other hard steels? It is because of the Vanadium, Manganese, and Molybdenum in its composition. These chemicals give BG42 blade steel a good balance between hardness and toughness.
BG42 Wear resistance
As with any other hard steel, BG42 steel offers great wear resistance. The mixture of chemicals in its composition gives it enough carbide volume to ensure that it does not wear out easily despite the applications.
Note that, this steel contains high amounts of Vanadium carbides which are harder than Chromium carbides, and this explains the source of great wear resistance.
BG42 Edge retention
Another benefit of working with hard steel types is that they are good in edge retention, and this is the case with BG42 steel. The high volume of hard carbides discussed above contributes to its ability to remain sharp for long.
If you are tired of your current knife blade that keeps becoming dull, consider the varieties of BG42 knives for long-lasting edges.
BG42 Corrosion resistance
BG42 steel is stainless steel and contains high chromium contents thus offering good corrosion resistance.
It does not have enhanced corrosion resistance capabilities as high-end steels, but its knives won’t rust as faster as non stainless steel blade brands.
Sharpening BG42 steel
Being hard steel, BG42 steel is not easy to sharpen. It will take a lot of time and effort to get a sharp edge on this steel. It will be more stressful if you do not have sharpening skills and the right sharpening tools.
The good this is, you will not have to sharpen it frequently because it remains sharp for a long time.
BG42 steel equivalents
BG42 vs 154CM
BG42 steel is a better knife steel than 154CM steel. Both BG42 and 154CM steel are regarded to be in the same class, however, BG42 is better in edge retention and more resistant to wear because it contains Vanadium carbide in its composition formation. On the other hand, 154CM Steel is easier to sharpen.
BG42 vs CPM S30V
BG42 steel beats S30V steel in toughness, ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistance. Both types of steel offer the same edge retention features. However, S30V offers better wear resistance than its counterpart.
BG42 vs ATS 34
These steel types are considered very similar but vary in the chemical alloy composition. BG42 stainless steel contains double the amount of manganese and Vanadium which is not available in ATS 34 steel. This gives BG-42 better toughness than ATS-34 steel. With such difference, BG42 is better in edge retention, more corrosion-resistant, and offers high toughness than ATS 34.
Is BG42 good knife steel?
From the properties above, we can conclude that BG42 steel is good knife steel because it offers high hardness, great toughness, excellent edge retention, good wear resistance, and fair corrosion resistance. Knife makers consider it a high-performance steel and use it to manufacture knives to be used in tough applications.
As a side note, this steel is no longer available in the market because it is now produced as CTS-B75P but you can try knives from old brands like Chris Reeve Sebenza or Buck’s Striders to witness its performance.