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BG42 Stainless Steel for Knife Blades

Latrobe BG-42 Stainless Steel

Manufacturer: Latrobe Specialty Steel

BG-42 is a former super steel manufactured by Latrobe, originally designed as a Ball Bearing steel using VIM/VAR technology. What made BG-42 unique to 154CM was the addition of Vanadium, increasing the wear resistance and edge retention, but also making the steel more difficult to sharpen.

It enjoyed it's brief reign as the super steel of choice while Chris Reeve Knives used it in their Sebenza, but has since been suceeded by CPM S30V as the current stainless steel of choice. Some collectors still prefer the older BG-42 Sebenzas to the newer S30V ones.

BG-42 was not commonly seen on production knives, and was used by mostly higher end companies like CRK and Mercwerx. Some limited productions exist from Buck with the Strider limited edition run and some Spyderco Sprint runs of knives with BG-42 as well such as the Military. Overall, the steel was not used as extensively as 154CM or S30V.

My personaly experience with BG-42 is that it is a very tought steel, and does not chip quite as easily as S30V. It also does not hold an edge as long as S30V but is slightly easier to sharpen. My only experience with BG-42 is with a Sebenza, using Chris Reeve's proprietary heat treat. According to a test done by Spyderco, CRK's BG-42 is more corrosion resistance than ATS-34 as well.

Latrobe BG-42 Data Sheet PDF

Composition

C Co Cr Mn Mo Ni P Si S W V
1.15 - 14.5 0.5 4 - - 0.3 - - 1.2
Values are shown in percentages.