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Author Topic: Sharpening 420HC  (Read 190 times)

Offline valforgettaboutit

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Sharpening 420HC
« on: February 25, 2019, 10:18:57 AM »
Hey guys,

I'm fan of Buck knives (I carry a Bantam or a 110 depending on mood) however I'm having difficulty getting the 420HC blades to what I would consider sharp. Using my Smith's pocket sharpener I can get the Bantam "working sharp", like sharp enough for small cutting jobs like cutting down boxes, loose strings, etc but even for letting opening it'll tear more than cut and pass the "paper test". The Smith's has done wonders getting kitchen knives pretty done sharp but isn't quite doing it on the 420 HCs. Any advice from you knife guys? I've looking into hand sharpening using stones, but I have no idea what grit to use. I know the low numbers are for setting edges (which I might do as practice on some beater pot metal knives) but I don't want to mar up the otherwise nice edges on the Bucks.

Let me know what you all think!

Offline Len

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Re: Sharpening 420HC
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 12:00:06 PM »
the composition of the 420HC:
Carbon              .45%
Chromium       13.00%
Manganese      0.80%
Silicon              0.80%
Nickel               0.50% or less
What bothers me is the Cr and Ni. In these low concentrations it kind of starts getting towards stainless. I think this is a surgical steel. You can't (in my experience) re-sharpen a scalpel blade.
They can have a high hardness (HRC around 55), but hardness in it self doesn't mean it sharpens well (I think the factory sharpening is done electrolytically or laserwise or otherwise). We need a balance between the ferrite (the glue) and the carbides (the hard particles). The honing/stoning after the rough sharpening is meant to remove the ferrite "glue" and expose the harder stuff. Stainless is hopeless in this respect.
Try finding some good old pure carbon steel with C% around .50 to .60.
Just my two-pence thoughts.

Offline valforgettaboutit

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Re: Sharpening 420HC
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 02:04:31 PM »
Thanks Len! The 420HC is the standard steel for Buck produced knives, and they do advertise it as a stainless. They offer them in higher carbon steels but itís at a premium.

Offline Hawg

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Re: Sharpening 420HC
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 07:34:11 PM »
I've never had any luck getting a stainless or near stainless blade anywhere near as sharp as I can a high carbon blade. The upside is when you do get it as sharp as is possible it stays sharp longer but I still prefer high carbon. Who cares if the blade turns dark?
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and tasteth good with ketchup.