420J2 Stainless Steel for Knife Blades
AISI 420J2 Stainless Steel
420J2 is a low carbon stainless steel and also the lowest grade of cutlery class stainless steel that is available. It is quite tough and resistant to corrosion, however, it has low wear resistance and edge holding ability making it a poor choice for a blade steel.
Due to the soft nature of 420J2 and its easy machinability, it is commonly used in fantasy knives such as those designed by Kit Rae and Gil Hibben made by United Cutlery. It is also used in very entry level utility knives made by companies such as CRKT.
It is also used as a outer layer on laminated steels such as San Mai III and the ZDP-189/420J2 knives from Spyderco as well as material for liners in folding knives. It is easily brought to a high polish, which makes it cost effective in production, however its softness also makes it easy to scratch.