Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Condor Bushlore Knife Review

Earlier I reviewed the Condor Bushcraft Basic Knife, and while the quality control turned out to be very low, I was happy with the overall design. I decided to give the company another shot, to maybe see if the quality issues with the Bushcraft knife were an isolated incident. As such, I picked up a Condor Bushlore Knife.

Knife Length: 9 3/8 inches (238 mm)
Blade Length: 4 5/16 inches (110 mm); cutting edge 3 5/16 inches (85 mm)
Blade Thickness: 5/32 inches (4 mm)
Blade Width: 1 3/16 inch (30 mm)
Blade Material: 1075 carbon steel
Blade Hardness: HRC 57-59 on the Rockwell Scale (the information is unconfirmed)
Type of Tang: Full
Blade Grind: Single bevel with a convex edge
Handle Material: Wood inlays
Sheath Material: Leather
Cost: $30.00

In terms of price, this is also a mid range knife. It comes in at $30 just like the Bushcraft knife, which makes it reasonably priced, but not cheap.

The knife is even more robust than the Condor Bushcraft Basic Knife. It is made from a very thick piece of metal, and feels like it would be indestructible. The knife appears to have a Scandinavian grind, but in reality, the edge itself has been convexed. The blade is a bit longer than that of the Mora 1, but the actual cutting surface is smaller. The handle is very long. For my hand, it was too much, but I know that many people like a longer handle.

In my opinion, this is a very inefficient knife design. For a knife that is over nine (9) inches long, it has a cutting surface of just over three (3) inches. I just can not explain why there is nearly an inch of unsharpened blade in front of the handle. I understand the concept of choking up on a blade, but why not just make the unsharpened part of the blade part of the handle? It’s not like I can use that part of the blade any way. If I choke up on the blade as it is now, I just get an extra inch of very uncomfortable handle. Also, how much choking up do you need to do on a three inch blade?

On top of that, we have a blade that is almost a quarter of an inch thick. In my opinion, unless the knife is designed to split concrete, there is no reason why a three inch blade needs to be 5/32 of an inch thick.

When it came to quality control, this was another miss for Condor. This knife had the exact same problem as the Bushcraft Basic Knife. The edge was not evenly ground. More metal was removed in some places than others. This is an unacceptable defect, as it requires massive amounts of work to fix. The knife will still cut, but it will always be a damaged blade. I don’t know how Condor does their grinding, but it is a big fail.

To be fair, after my last review, I was contacted by a representative of Condor, telling me that they can get me a replacement. Certain parts of the organization clearly care about their products. It is my hope that eventually the quality control picks up.

The knife has a fairly good sheath. It is made out of leather and fits the knife very well. It does ride high on the belt though, so it would be hard to use with a backpack that has a hip belt.

I did not bother to document any of the testing of this knife. It just seemed pointless. It goes without saying that any blade that is three inches long and a quarter of an inch thick, will have no problem batoning through any log that is less that three inches in diameter. The knife is nearly impossible to damage. You can judge the carving ability of the knife for yourselves. I’m sure some people will be able to do it. For me, having a cutting edge that is separated from the handle by an inch of unsharpened blade, makes the knife very hard to use.

One thing that I thought I would do with the knife is see if I can do something about the unsharpened part of the blade. I have seen a number of people ask about whether you can sharpen that part of the blade with a file. I figured I would give it a try.

This took me about half an hour to do with just a file. If you take your time and are careful, you should be able to do a decent job.

Overall, I can not recommend this knife. The quality control issues continue to exist, and they can not be ignored when it comes to a $30 knife. With the Bushlore, you also have what I consider to be one of the worse knife designs I have ever owned. The three inch cutting edge on a nine inch knife just kills me. It feels more like a small hatchet than a knife, especially combined with the unnecessary thickness of the blade. If you are a fan of Condor, and want to get one of their knifes, I would suggest going with the Bushcraft Basic Knife.