Budget friendly bushcraft knife (elbow grease required)


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squarepants33889
April 29, 2014, 02:34 PM
So, in preparation for a northern Saskatchewan fly in canoe trip, Ive been on the search for a budget friendly, rugged work knife.
I didnt want to take sentimental favourites, as I have been warned that its easy to lose and damage tools on this sort of excursion.
I stumbled across a Condor Bushlore.
The knife was horribly finished (or unfinished as it were), but contained a solid backbone with which to work.
The knife sold, taxes included, for under $50.
It required about 8 hours of filing and sanding, shaping and sharpening, oiling and buffing.
There was a painted coating covering the flats of the blade that I removed by sanding.
I am tickled pink with how it turned out.
There are a few details I could have spent a little more effort on, but I think the finish is useable without being worried about regular use causing any damage.
http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/squarepants33889/DSC03344_zpsa1cc1898.jpg
http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/squarepants33889/DSC03374_zps5a12b798.jpg
If anyone has any field use with this blade, I would be happy to hear from you.

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Sam Cade
April 29, 2014, 04:52 PM
The knife was horribly finished (or unfinished as it were), but contained a solid backbone with which to work.

That is about par for the course for CTK.

What was the edge like?

One of the problems that Condor seems to constantly battle are overly obtuse (to the point of the knife being non functional) edges. It is frustrating that the Imacasa/Condor manufactured Marbles branded machetes ship just stupid sharp, so they could properly sharpen their knives if they chose to.


The knife sold, taxes included, for under $50

Buying a Condor is a bit like buying a sheath and getting a knife free sometimes. ;)

Piraticalbob
April 29, 2014, 04:55 PM
Should have bought a Mora. Ready to go right out of the box.

Sam Cade
April 29, 2014, 05:02 PM
Not much entertainment value in that though. ;)

GLOOB
April 29, 2014, 05:16 PM
8 hours? Sounds like someone needs a $6.00 coarse stone for Xmas. :)

Enjoy the trip. A $50.00 Condor would be my expensive knife.

hso
April 29, 2014, 05:17 PM
Nice job on dressing up the Condor!

The question is whether Condor's heat treat is good enough to have made paying more for the knife than a perfect Mora worthwhile.;)

Sam Cade
April 29, 2014, 05:19 PM
8 hours?

I can totally believe it. Let me dig around my knife box to find a representative example.

Sailct41
April 29, 2014, 05:21 PM
I really like simple knives. My favorite is the Schrade Pro Hunter 1 PH1 the only problem is you need to use a brass cleaner and make sure it is an old USA version not the Chinese one for obvious reasons. I paid 35 for my first one but now they are starting to get a little more expensive.

Sam Cade
April 29, 2014, 05:37 PM
...and a typical Condor edge.


Looks like the bow of a Soviet icebreaker and is about as sharp.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=197878&stc=1&d=1398807277


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-CA40EIAOqiY/TjXOg-0mVcI/AAAAAAAADys/Q9Pc76Lxo7Q/s1600/Soviet+icebreaker.jpg

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=197879&stc=1&d=1398807277

On this.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=197880&d=1398807278

Perfect for mixing cakebatter. Useless as a cutting implement.

squarepants33889
April 29, 2014, 07:31 PM
The edge was reasonably straight, but too obtuse (I think that's the right word). The edge was also "sharp", but very convex and made it hard to shave nice ribbons from a green stick. The bulk of the actual shaping work was on the handle and tang(wasn't perfectly flush). Most of the time was spent on the sanding and polishing. 100,150, 240, 320, 400, 600, 12micron, 3 micron grit made the blade really come to life. The epoxy paint was covering some pretty coursely finished flats.
Then 6 coats of BLO and buffing in between.
I didt it while the wife zoned out on reality tv, so I was hardly "wasting" my time by comparison!
I do also like mora's. Probably the best knife in its class for the price, but this full exposed tang heavy bladed condor steps it up a notch. If the blade proves to hold an edge, I think it stacks up well against some semi custom jobs worth nearly 4 times the price.
I'm not sure about exact hardness. Advertised at 56-58, it was quite a job finishing the Scandi grind off with a 200,300, 400, 600diamond stone, so I think it might be on the higher end of the hardness scale. Almost too hard.
I finished off the Scandi grind with a 20 degree secondary bevel.
Now, countdown to the canoe trip to test this bugger out!

GLOOB
April 30, 2014, 03:10 AM
I think it stacks up well against some semi custom jobs worth nearly 4 times the price.
Anytime you spend hours customizing a knife, you rightly ought to like it much more than something off the shelf. That obtuse edge is a feature. It's a custom edge still in the wrapper.

Sam, the point of that knife looks to me around 35-40 degrees.

The Svord website relates a story about Bryan Baker's first customer taking his knife out of the store and immediately dropping it point first into the sidewalk. Upon examining the knife, he grunted his approval. I wasn't too impressed with this anecdote after unboxing and examining my first Svord, a Peasant. I estimated the edge angle of the tip to be around 55-60 degrees, at the time. And that's on a 3" pocket knife. I never measured the thickness of the secondary bevel, but my eyeball put it in the 50 mic range with maybe a 40 degree inclusive angle thru most of the blade. The edge didn't meet anywhere near the middle, but at least it was straight - and extraordinarily sharp, considering the edge angle.

Kit knives are fun, aren't they? :)

Fred Fuller
April 30, 2014, 10:57 AM
Hey, you made it your own. And it looks good, too. Hope it performs well for you, so it justifies all the attention you lavished on it!

How about an AAR when the shakedown is over? Plus an 'after' pic?

Mikee Loxxer
May 9, 2014, 02:45 PM
Interesting thread. Currently I'm trying to improve the edge on my Condor 5" Basic Bushcraft knife. For me it's become more of lesson in freehand sharpening than anything else.

tiamat
May 9, 2014, 03:08 PM
How about an AAR when the shakedown is over? Plus an 'after' pic?

Fred, I think that 2nd pic IS the after pic.

hso
May 11, 2014, 06:39 AM
Fred meant after the trip.

krupparms
May 14, 2014, 02:00 PM
About 15 years ago I bought 4 knives from Condor. 2 were 7"Bowie's. The other 2 were matching folders. They all had Seki -City blades on them. I don't know what steel they used, but it is high grade steel. About 5 years ago I picked up a Condor 'Combat Machete ' . It was made in El Salvador. It is a short sword with a 12" blade. It is made of 420HC S.S.& has a nice rubber 1 hand grip . It came with a well made lather sheath. The edge on it was Straight & the correct shape for brush. & lite wood . It has a gray finish & looks fine for a brush knife . The knives are real works of art & I have kept them that way for my grandsons . The machete gets used & works great it's blade is scratched, but still looks fine! I recommend this company as they do make some fine blades! I wish all knife companys made as good knife sheaths as Condor provides w/ its blades!

Sam Cade
May 14, 2014, 02:28 PM
About 15 years ago I bought 4 knives from Condor.

That is a different Condor, Condor Sport Knives
http://blackjack.0catch.com/pages/condor.htm


Condor Tool and Knife is a house brand (targeted at rich americans) for IMACASA in El Salvador and has only been around for 8-9 years I think.
http://www.imacasa.com/

hso
May 16, 2014, 08:49 AM
Yep, the Condor line from Blackjack is entirely different from Condor knives from El Slavador.

FinnComm
May 16, 2014, 09:29 AM
Should have bought a Mora. Ready to go right out of the box.

I wouldn't go as far to suggest that the OP "should" have bought a Mora. But certainly the cheapo Moras are excellent knives for bushcraft, and you don't have to cry if you lose it.

Stainz
May 23, 2014, 08:54 AM
12/12 found me taking my own medicine - I ordered another Condor Bushlore and a Mora Companion - then total $43.34 with 'free' 2 day s/h. I intended on carrying the Mora in the Condor's sheath - a perfect fit - while I sharpened the Bushlore. oops! They are still in their own sheaths. After some strop time, the Bushlore became my gardening/yard knife for over a year. No longer 'cutting' printer paper, it is time now for the LN, and still razor sharp, Mora to ride in the Condor's sheath - while I re-edge the Bushlore - when I get to it, of course.

The Condor Bushlore is a great value.

Stainz

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