I was recently given the opportunity to do a full review on a knife that I have been checking out for some time now, the Condor Bushlore with Micarta handles. This got me excited because I have been a fan of Condor for a few years now and for a few good reasons.
First off, Condor sets the prices on all of their tools at a level so that the common man can purchase a quality item and not break the bank wide open. Second, Condor really listens to their customers and takes all of the comments and complaints to heart. I will go into some of the major differences between the some of the earlier versions of the Bushlore, and the latest 2011 model. For this review, we’re talking about the 2011 Bushlore with Micarta grips.
Shortly after I received the Condor Bushlore for review, I was able to take a planned week away from work for some family camping. I thought this would be a great place to work with the Bushlore and see if it can handle a few days of standard camping abuse.
The sheath that comes with the Bushlore is a fine piece of work. I believe that the sheath alone could sell for about half the cost of the knife itself. I have a few other Condor knives and they all arrived with a stitched leather sheath that is both rugged and easy on the eye. While the stock sheath was fine, I really wanted something with a firesteel loop for my ventures afield. Luckily, working for a magazine company owned by a leather company has its perks and I was able to shake down the bosses for a JRE Industries sheath with a firesteel loop.
The blade itself is made from 1075 carbon steel, which I feel is a good thing. From what I understand, 1075 steel has slightly less carbon in it which would mean it has less wear resistance, but is tougher as well. I did a lot of carving and some batoning with the knife and actually found that the Bushlore will keep its edge for a long time. When it was time for sharpening, a few good licks with a file and the blade was ready for more action. The length of the blade itself is 4 5/16 inches with the total knife length coming in right at 9 ¼ inches. As with all Condor blades, the blade is solid from top to bottom making it full tang. Another thing about 1075 carbon steel, don’t let water sit on it for very long, for it will rust and you will have some work to do when removing it. It rained a few times while I was out in the field and managed to get a few rust spots on the steel.
One of the major complaints of earlier Bushlore models was that the edge did not run the full length down to the handle. This is not the case with the 2011 model as quality control has been stepped up and corrected the issue. The blade consists of a single bevel with a convex edge.
When I pulled the knife out of the package, it was reasonably sharp and could have easily been deemed field ready. This holds true with the other Condor blades and hatchet that I have purchased over time. This is a bush knife you can take right out of the box, slide it in its leather sheath and you’re ready to head out to the bush. As sharp as the factory edge was, I still took a fine file to it and was easily able to get it razor sharp in no time
The Micarta handle was an unexpected pleasure for me. It seemed to fit very well in my hand and provided just enough grip to feel good and secure. I have a 2011 Condor Bushlore with wooden handle and you can tell the difference between the two easily. I also like how the Micarta is a little heavier than the wooden scales, which I felt gave me more control over the knife and helped out with some of the heaver tasks. I’m not a big fan of batoning with a fixed blade, but this knife seems to have been made for such a task. The handle is held in place by two set-pins and also comes with a lanyard hole. As you can see from my pictures, I am a big fan of using a lanyard on edged tools.
Another item that is worth mentioning about the Condor Bushlore, as well as all other Condor products, is that each item comes with a full lifetime warranty. You don’t see that very often on what can be called a “budget knife”. The Condor Bushlore with Micarta handles retails at $74.98, but you can find it for around $50.00 if you look around on the web for a bit. It’s certainly a good knife if you are looking for something that is inexpensive, but tough and versatile at the same time. With a little care, the Condor Bushlore could last for many years.
EDITORS NOTE: When I first saw Bill mention sharpening with a file I was a bit surprised. While I’ve certainly used files on machetes and axes I’d never done so on knives. Bill stated that he started doing so after seeing one of Dave Canterbury’s videos online and that he uses a fine Mill file for the work. A couple of quick licks and he gets a hair splitting edge. I have to admit I’d be hesitant to try that with one of my higher end custom knives but I can see the utility on a working knife. It would certainly be a much faster way to put a working edge back on a blade fast in the field. I’m going to be giving it a try in the near future! – Tim
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