When I was offered the chance to review the Condor Engineer Bolo, I jumped on it without even thinking twice. For one thing, it’s designed by one of my favorite knife engineers, Joe Flowers, and for another, it’s a Condor product and I’ve never had a single issue with any of their gear.
For those who may not know much about Condor, they are a company whose roots can be traced all the way back to the late 1700’s in Solingen, Germany. Way back then, the company was named Gerb Weyesberg Company and they became famous for making high quality military knives, swords, agricultural tools and household cutlery. In 1964, the company formed Imacasa within Santa Ana, El Salvador and continued to use the high quality, state of the art German equipment. In 2004, Imacasa created its first quality line of knives and other tools that they marketed to North America and European outdoor business. With this new line, Condor was born and has shown no signs of ever slowing down.
When the Engineer Bolo first arrived, I was surprised at the weight I felt when I lifted it up for the first time. My other first impression was that this was a serious chopper that was meant for heavy outdoor clearing tasks. The bolo felt great in my hand and despite its “heft”, it felt like it would make a great one handed chopper with little effort. Out of the box, the bolo had a decent edge on it that would make it functional, but I always like to add my own touch to the blades I work with and within a few minutes, this bolo was ready to bring a jungle to its knees.
The handle itself is made out of beautiful walnut (at least the one I received is) and is sanded down to a smooth finish that is very easy to grip and maintain control over the bolo itself. Three brass rivets hold the handle to the one piece, full tang blade. Each rivet is sanded down so that it is flush with the handle, so all you feel is the walnut handle. Condor was nice enough to include a lanyard hole towards the base of the handle for those of you who would like to use lanyards. Another nice feature is the swell at the base of the handle which will allow the user to chock down on the handle itself and give you added control and power to each swing.
The quality of the blade and steel really stands out when you examine and start using this bolo. Coming in right at fifteen inches, you have a lot of “sharp edge” that you can put to work on heavy tasks. The steel used is Condor’s typical 1075 High Carbon which is not only easy to sharpen, but also holds an edge well. Blade thickness is a meaty 3/16 inch, which adds to the overall chopping power behind each swing. The Engineer Bolo comes with Condor’s own Classic Finish, which gives you a hammered texture on the top half of the blade, with a smooth polished finish all the way to the cutting edge. The only drawback I found with 1075 High Carbon is that if you’re not careful and get some moisture on the metal, it will rust in no time flat. I learned early on that you want to clean and keep your 1075 blades clean and dry when you’re done with your chopping chores.
As with every edged Condor product, you get a very high quality, hand crafted leather sheath and the same holds true for the Engineer Bolo. The sheath looks great and will cause some heads to turn when folks see this beast hanging from your belt. Speaking of hanging from your belt, this sheath some with a swiveling belt loop and works great! I took the Engineer bolo out for a hike a little while back and the swivel belt loop helped keep the handle always facing up and ready for deployment. Two solid button snaps keep the sheath closed when the bolo is not in use and holds the blade in place easily. You won’t have to worry about anything falling out when you’re working your way to the job site.
I used the Engineer Bolo on a couple of trips I made this fall. I had the chance to try it out on downed locusts and even destroyed an Ent grove. I found that the balance was especially good and that the bolo was easy to swing and bit deep into the wood. While heavy for use as a general machete it excelled on thicker vines and on green and dried wood. I found that its suitable for many light axe chores and has the added bonus of working as a kindling processor and a draw knife as well.
All-in-all, I have to give the Condor Engineer Bolo very high marks on every level. The thing to remember is that this is a major workhorse is the Condor lineup and should really be considered an axe and machete combo. If you keep this guy dry after working with it and sharp when it becomes dull, you should have this great tool for a very long time. You can find the Condor Engineer Bolo for around $43 and change. If you have a big brush clearing chore ahead of you and want something that will last a long time, check out the Condor Engineer Bolo today.
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