"Condor Tool and knife traces its proud history back to 1787, the year Gebr Weyesberg Company was founded in Solingen Germany. Over the generations, the world largest manufacturer of swords and knives found it necessary to expand operations to other countries to better serve its customers. In 1964 the company formed Imacasa with a new plant in Santa Anna, El Salvador, filling it with state of the art German equipment and sending some of their local employees to Solingen for extensive training. Today the factory is turning out the finest quality machetes, knives, axes, shovels and other hand tools. Imacasa's Central American operations were sold in the 1980's to local investors. In 2004 Imacasa developed a first quality line of tools and knives for the North American and European outdoor markets. Condor Tool and Knife was born."
This short introduction of the relatively young company (since 2004) is quoted from their own website.
Steel: German 1075 high carbon steel @ HRC 52-54
Blade length: 330mm
Blade width: 64mm (at the widest)
Blade thickness: 4mm
Weight: 600g (an additional 135g for the sheath)
This is a relatively simple, oil hardening carbon steel. It can produce pretty decent results when heat treated properly. Applications include springs and cutting tools. Several knife manufacturers use it in their budget knives. I believe this steel is an excellent choice for this kind of tool.
The general fit and finish of this full tang construction parang was a little rough around the edges, here and there. Nothing major, but here is an example.
The blade was not sharp enough to cut newsprint out of the box and the edge was somewhat obtuse. (I thinned it out a little bit halfway through my test regime.) This fairly thick (for a parang machete) blade has distal taper and a convex edge with "natural" finish. The spine of the blade is nice and square along its entire length and provides a good scraping edge. Despite of the thicker and heavier blade the weight distribution and balance make it easy to swing the blade around. The balance of the parang is (of course) blade heavy, which is very good for this type of tool.
I found the molded polypropylene handle to be a little oversized and too thick for my liking (your mileage may vary...). There is a lanyard hole at the back of the handle and also a light surface texture all around to improve grip. Also, the shape of the handle provides a very secure and firm hold.
Here are a few "in hand" shots.
The ballistic nylon sheath (or scabbard) is a bit too tight and makes removal and insertion of the parang into a slightly difficult, two hand affair. This might improves with time and usage. This sheath comes with an accessory pouch with a snap closure and a length of para cord in the bottom eyelets. The parang is secured with Velcro straps around the handle and the edge of the sheath is reinforced with rivets.
This is the area where I have used the Bushcraft Parang the most during my testing procedures.
Used it for trail clearing, chopping, splitting, scraping, as a draw knife and even tried a bit of whittling.
Since this blade very much qualifies as a "chopper" , let's start with that.
In these pictures a fairly thick and very hard, seasoned log got chopped through.
Here the parang is getting through some sizable limbs.
Just have a look at that first bite, how deep it is...
...and a few swings later in the same deadfall...
A couple more photos of chopping some thicker wood.
Truncating with the "one chop, one piece" method. Clean and smooth surface on the cut...
Trail clearing and delimbing with ease.
Another important task is splitting wood for fire, shelter or trap-making, etc...
This is also very easy to achieve with the long blade of the parang.
Note all those knots in the wood... No problem splitting them, whatsoever.
A small pile of wood ready for the fire...
...and a resin rich piece of pitch-wood split in half.
I like to make feather-sticks for fire-making and also just for fun and practise. So, I used my Condor parang to make a few of them from different kind of woods...
...and from a green stick.
I tried some other, finer tasks, as well.
Here the blade is used to make a small notch.
This point was roughed out with a few well aimed chops...
...and these other ones were whittled.
I mentioned earlier that the spine of this blade is square and sharp enough to use it for removing bark or to make some fine scrapings, like these made from fatwood.
Of course the spine also works well with a ferro-cerium rod.
The length and shape of this blade lends itself to be used as a draw-knife, which makes this tool even more versatile in the field.
The parang performed well in most of these tasks. Obviously it is not ideal for finer whittling, but even that is manageable.
In my opinion a longer work session in the choked up grip (on the unsharpened, rear portion of the blade) is not comfortable and started to cause hot spots in the web of my palm. Perhaps a pair of gloves could remedy that (or at least to some degree).
For this battery of tests I used different kind of materials to get a better idea about the cutting, slicing capabilities of this large blade. First off fibrous materials in the form of some ropes.
...and braided type.
Rubbery stuff, such as reinforced air-hose used for pneumatic tools...
...and bicycle inner tube.
For plastic I used some thick walled and very tough plumbing pipe. Since it was resisting normal slicing or cutting, in order to section this one I had to resort to chop pieces off of it...
Then some newspaper slicing, where the blade did produce a bit of tearing here and there instead of cleanly slicing thorough. But considering the size of the tool, that is not bad.
To demonstrate the slashing ability of the Condor Bushcraft parang I used a 4litre milk jug filled up with water from a nearby creek. One well aimed, quick swing and the blade cleanly sliced the freestanding milk jug all the way through. I hardly felt the impact...
Of course the kitchen is not the main area this tool is normally used, but I gave it a try nevertheless. It is a little awkward, but it will get the job done in a pinch. Let us see a few pictures from this turf as well.
Carrots and celery stalk...
...and red onions.
Not the nicest and most even slices of some Lyoner sausage...
These dried and smoked sausage slices are better looking.
I even managed to slice and eat some apple with the help of the parang.
For the price point this tool is a good value. It is tough and it will stand up to hard use no problem. It has fairly good edge retention and it is easy to sharpen. In my opinion the factory edge needs to be thinned, especially the second half (closer to the handle) and there could be some improvements made to the sheath, as well. Such as a larger belt loop and a Molle compatible back. Also, I would prefer to have a folding flap closure over the mouth of the accessory pouch to keep small or narrow things in and dirt out of there. The handle would be better in a touch smaller diameter, especially around the ricasso area and perhaps a less pronounced finger-guard is more desirable. All in all, this parang is a useful tool in the woods and worth the consideration if you are looking for a larger, machete type blade. Paired up with a smaller knife it could serve anybody very well in the woods.
Thanks for reading!