Condor 12" Bolo Initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by kgd, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Well, after some help from you folks I decided on ordering the 12" Bolo Machete from our good friend 42Blades. This thing came in the mail lickety split, passing through Canada customs without an eyebrow and no taxes/duties charged (Awesome).

    My initial impressions are that the good folks did not let me down on this blade recommendation. Quite hefty it exactly fulfills the niche in blade that I wanted. Below is a shot of the Condor bolo along with my ESEE-lite machete and my 10" Koyote leukuchete.



    You can see the clear size and mass difference between the big leuku and the bolo. The bolo is also quite a bit thicker and heavier in weight then the 18" light machete.

    Handle is as others have warned on the wide side. Not too bad with the big beak at the back the keeps it secure in your hands, but the plastic handle is a tad slick and wide. I might rough this up a bit and am wondering if I can easily sand down an 1/8" per side or so without running into a hollow part of the handle (does anybody know it the handle is solid?). I tend to prefer the thickness of my ESEE machete handle more for comfort.


    Still, given the price point of this blade, I have no real complaints on the plastic handle. It is clearly well formed and sealed and looks almost bulletproof.

    Just a little bit of play with some downed maple in my yard before I lost the light. This 2.5" diameter piece is about the size that I actually bought the bolo for. Notice the good size bite with a single chop. No complaints on this performance. The mass of this thing compensates for its short length. This is exactly what I wanted it to do.


    Chop #2 from the other side and it was in two pieces.


    Batoning works great, but would you expect any differently? The swedge could get in the way I suppose, but at 12" there is plenty of length where you don't feel like you are running out of spine to hit your baton onto.

    Then I got a little more ambitious. This is bigger then wrist size and about 4" diameter.


    Again solid first bite....


    Took about 5 chops to get through this piece, but not at all bad. The balance of the bolo feels nice and there was no real learning curve to swinging it.




    I also need to comment about how excellent the sheath is that came with it. It far exceeded my expectations in quality down to the details such as the swinging belt loop.

    So far I am very pleased with this blade and I think it will work well on my Florida survival class I have with George Hedgepeth next month. I can see that swedge and rounded tip also being useful for digging applications. I'm off camping tomorrow night and will be sure to pack this blade to test it out a bit more and will return with more impressions on Sunday. So far....Very pleased :D :D :D
  2. 6shooter


    Sep 12, 2009
    Awesome, thanks for the pics. I've been eyeing these for a while to fill my large knife/machete category, seems like a good shape and size for Canadian forests.
  3. Tony Nguyen

    Tony Nguyen Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    The handles on condor machetes are solid. I have sanded down quite a few (8 I believe) and all have been solid throughout without exception. Mod with confidence!

    The reason condors are so fun is that you can really make each one your own.

  4. bladerique


    Aug 31, 2010
    Good review. I love Condor, but not that swedge. I don't want anything sharp facing me on a machete.
  5. tyr_shadowblade


    Jan 3, 2006
    Thanks for the input. That handle is too wide for me as is. I'd like to see some pics of modded Condors. What is the tang like under that plastic? Would wood slabs or a cord wrap be feasible?
    Beastchopper likes this.
  6. cramsey3006

    cramsey3006 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Those handles are about as indestructible as it gets. May not be worth the time and effort to take it off.
  7. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Glad it made it to you safe and sound, kgd! The handle is solid, as others have mentioned, though I suggest leaving it as-is for the moment at least. I can't comment on whatever technique you're using, so if this is stuff you already know feel free to ignore me. :p Try grasping it mostly with the base of the forefinger and thumb, allowing it to pivot there. I have no problem holding the handle on the bolos in spite of my incredibly tiny hands, and actually find the width to be comfortable for extended use, as it reduces muscle fatigue. If using the pinch grip still doesn't make it feel right, THEN sand the handle.

    Just my thoughts at least. At any rate, I'm glad that it's as suitable as I thought it would be for the tasks you wanted it for! :):thumbup:

    The swedge isn't sharp--it's just beveled. Chews up a baton a little extra, but batons are disposable anyhow, and it helps when used as an improvised digging tool. :)

    Tell me about it! I know Joezilla removed the handle from one of his to have it customized and it took a hacksaw, cold chisels, and a few hours to remove the handle! :eek: I know a lot of folks like wooden handles, but I'll take polypropylene any day. :D
  8. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    The swedge isn't sharp, just narrowed down a bit. I think it will allow some good digging bite into soil without interferring with the blade side at all. I'll try playing around this weekend in the muck to see how it works digging up some sasifras root for my tea.
  9. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    I have your bolo's big brother. Sweet heavier machete. The swedge is good for digging, and I've also used it for chopping roots or other stuff where I might nick the main edge on a rock or some such. It's a good feature, IMO.
  10. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Good point on the root-chopping aspect! I hadn't thought of that one. :thumbup:
  11. TheGame


    Sep 24, 2008

    Exactly what I use the swedge on mine for. When chopping into roots and such.
  12. bkduckworth


    Mar 6, 2008
    Thats a sweet looking chopper for sure! I'm really digging these Condors.
  13. tknife


    Mar 18, 1999
    That sheath is definitely one of the best machete sheaths I have seen, big kudos for that :thumbup: I am seriously eyeing the Condor 14" golok, I hope it comes with a sheath like that one.
  14. raindog101


    Jan 22, 2007
    Buy the golok, you won't regret it. The only reason I haven't sprung for the 12" bolo is that I'm well-satisfied with the Golok for those kind of jobs.
  15. TheGame


    Sep 24, 2008
    Get the golok, bro. It is one awesome blade. :thumbup:
  16. bladerique


    Aug 31, 2010
    The Condor Golok sheath has no annoying snaps:



    Check this out, I found it just now on google images:


    That's how the Golok should have been designed from the get-go, but longer. Don't get me wrong; I love my Condor Golok, but there's room for improvement.
  17. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    For reference, the snaps aren't too bad once you get used to them--they hold the machete tightly in the sheath when you're moving fast, and if you're taking it in and out of the sheath frequently you can rotate the second (and third, depending on model) strap out of the way and just use the topmost strap. One of my favorite machetes is the Viking, and though it has three snaps it's no problem to deal with if you do it like that. :)
  18. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    I posted up my video of the overnighter in W&SS but thought I'd include a link here with the first few minutes of the video demo'ing the condor in use. I'm starting to get a feel for it. Didn't get a chance to dig with it, but I was whacking away at seasoned ash, oak and elm. Not as efficient bucking wood as it would be with a saw, but it did a great job and I was getting better at hitting the sweet spot nearer the tip as the night went on. Its a good tool and does what I want it to do.


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