Knives Illustrated



I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a basic steel kind of guy. I don’t mind good old 1095 high carbon, Bucks 420HC, or Sandvik 12c27. As long as it has a good heat treat, I can work with it. I don’t even mind taking care of carbon steel or dealing with some patina from use if I don’t get to it quick enough with some oil. And I try to keep my blades stropped so I don’t have to resharpen them as often. With that said, I get the allure of a blade that doesn’t need as much maintenanc­e and doesn’t need sharpened nearly as often, and I know a lot of consumers demand it.

Carpenter Technology has been around for over 130 years and the company knows a thing or two about steel. Its powder metal CTS XHP stainless steel that’s used in the Pentagon XR has excellent corrosion resistance properties and well as edge retention. It can be hardened to a 64 Rockwell and has been described as either a high hardness 440C or a corrosion resistant D2 tool steel.

That combinatio­n of features makes it perfect for a hard use blade. I don’t have months of carry in with my Pentagon XR yet, but I did do a lot of cardboard cutting and stabbing, and some work on sisal rope, which usually takes its toll on a blades edge. So far, I can’t tell of any edge degradatio­n, and there is definitely no chipping, or deformatio­n present. This is my first run in with CTS XHP, but so far I’m impressed and I’m looking forward to seeing how it holds up in the months and years to come.

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