Author Topic: Condor Kephart Knife  (Read 9365 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Condor Kephart Knife
« on: August 21, 2014, 06:33:57 PM »

  I am very partial to Kephart styled knives,  I was first introduced to it when I obtained a couple of BHK bushcrafters, the standard 4" Bushcrafter and the smaller Baby Bush,  a matched pair with Natural Micarta scales and full flat grind,  since then I have modified an old (60's era) Case 7-1/2" carbon steel butcher knife by cutting the blade down to 5-3/4" and re profiling it to a Kephart blade,  I kept the original scales on it as they were in great shape,  they just needed to be contoured a little,  the blade thickness is 1/8" and about perfect for this style knife, and has been a favorite, especially for food prep in camp.
 So when Condor came out with their Kephart clone it grabbed my interest, that was over a year ago but I didn't pull the trigger on one until now,  mostly because of the mixed reviews on Condor products in general,  also because they were hard to get (always out of stock),  and they held their prices quite high (about $56.00 on average) for quite a while.
 While the Condor Kephart kept my interest I was reluctant to order one because of the negative comments that I had read in the forums about the fit, finish, and poor edge grinds that a lot of buyers were experiencing,  I was hoping to run across someone who had one that I could handle and inspect, that didn't happen.
 I've heard good things about Condor of late about their improving their quality control, and their products and my interest peaked again,  I happened to see them advertised on Amazon last week for about $36.00 with free shipping,  so I ordered one.
 The knife came in yesterday,  I haven't had a chance to put it through it's paces yet (this weekend),  but this is a preliminary review of my first impressions of the knife and sheath.
 As expected the sheath is excellent quality and fit,  well worth $30.00 of anyone's money,  the knife came through well packaged and in fine shape,  again, as expected, the knife is not custom quality, but contrary to some negative comments that I've heard and read it was far from being rough in finish, the scales are fit perfectly to the body of the knife,  the brass pins were flush with the scales, and the scales are smooth with no dings, scratches, chips or rough edges,  they are also epoxied before being pinned which was a surprise and eliminates the worry of rusting under the scales.
 The Blade had a black offensive coating that nobody seems to like,  I say had because it doesn't any more,  I thought it odd that only the blade was coated,  there's none on the spine or grip portion of the knife which is nicely polished bare steel.
 The knife came through with a good 90* spine and throws good sparks off a ferro rod,  it also came through with a fairly sharp edge and the grind was not bad at all,  a few swipes on my strop had it cutting paper like a champ.
 About the only thing about the knife that I received that I would have Condor change is the way they flat grind their kephart blades,  the tang starts out a full 1/8" thick,  but it tapers from the grip to the point,  apparently loosing thickness at the spine when grinding the flats on the blade,  the blade is thin enough that it can be flexed by hand.
 The bad news is it cuts down on the size of the wood pieces that you would want to process with a baton,  I've seen a few reviews in which the users were batoning some good sized limbs with no damage to the blade,  but I'd still be a little leary of batoning anything over a couple of inches thick.
 The good news is that the blade does take a nice edge,  and is a great slicer,  it goes through cordage, veggies, and meats like a $200.00 kitchen knife,  feather sticks, notches, and other carving is a breeze with this knife,  as far as weight goes I'd say it's on a par with my Mora #2 Classic carbon at about a shade over four ounces,  mine has a blade length just shy of 4-1/2" which I like very much.

 So,  is the Condor Kephart worth the the money I paid for it ?
 
 Well, I don't know yet,  I haven't used it in the woods doing the usually camp chores that I ask my knives to do,  but the sheath is worth a $30.00 all day long,  so right now before trying the knife out in actual service I'm figuring that I paid about $6.00 for the knife.
 If the knife ends up working as well as I think it should,  I'll rethink my opinion to I got a hell of a deal on a decent knife and got a great leather sheath for free.   

  I'll finish this review at the beginning of next week after I see what it can do.   

  Pay attention KK.    :taunt: :lol:
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Offline Draco

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2014, 08:27:28 PM »
Thanks for the review.  I saw that price drop as well and was considering it myself.  I can't say I am unhappy with the Condor I own.  It just not a knife you drool over. 

Looking forward to your follow up on performance. 

Online wolfy

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2014, 08:32:28 PM »
Thanks for the review.  I saw that price drop as well and was considering it myself.  I can't say I am unhappy with the Condor I own.  It just not a knife you drool over. 

Looking forward to your follow up on performance. 
It's just as well.....it would only rust. :drool:
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Offline Spyder1958

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2014, 08:48:01 PM »
Never held a condor, look forward to your review Moe
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2014, 07:46:22 AM »
I am sitting here pondering over the "add to cart" button on the Amazon prime page.
 ???


I am not sure that I like that it is 1075 steel, rather than 1095. I am not sure on the merits of 1075 ,but if I am not mistaken it will not throw as good of sparks when used like a striker where sparks are thrown from the back of the knife with a "flint" as compared to 1095 steel. :shrug:


  I will likely wait to see what your review says Moe, but I think that it is a decent deal & I like my Condor bushlore. So I am certainly considering the buy.


  I will probably wait to purchase right now, since I think the custom knife I got from Mario here is well suited to my needs. But, like a few others here, I enjoy having more than one knife & particularly ones at low cost that do what I ask a knife I own to do. Ones that if nothing else, can be given as a gift to someone who wants to get into our shared pastimes.
 ;D


  Please "hold forth" on your final review comments as soon as ya can though, Moe. Though I would not be surprised at myself if I do not wait until ya do. LOL


It seems as though it is a heckuva deal, considering the sheath & all.
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2014, 08:20:47 AM »
Thanks for the review.  I saw that price drop as well and was considering it myself.  I can't say I am unhappy with the Condor I own.  It just not a knife you drool over. 

Looking forward to your follow up on performance.

  Funny that you should say that it's not a knife one would drool over,  I agree with that statement 100%,  the only socially redeeming quality that is has is it's very close resemblance to Kepharts actual knife,  and that it's low cost and apparent ability to perform light to medium duty camp chores make it a handy little knife.
  I don't know yet if it will become a favorite belt knife or just a specialty knife that rides in my pack as a back up or food prep blade,  we'll just have to see how it performs.
  Getting back to your drool statement and why I chose to pick it out of your post to comment on,  is that last week just before ordering the Kephart I was talking to a friend on another forum about an incident that happened to another friend at a function we attended,  someone asked to borrow his knife to cut a piece of meat and my friend handed over his custom made belt knife.
  Well, the knife didn't get returned right away and stayed on a stump near the fire and was used by just about every one in the camp,  the knife wasn't damaged that I know of,  but the idea of having a custom or any knife that someone cares about being used in that way is something I find troubling.
  Being one of those types of people who is admittedly quite anal about my gear I'm not prone to lending it out to just anyone at any time,  and being that way I try to buy the best gear that I can afford, so I don't usually have gear that isn't special to me in some way,  and that is especially true about my knives and my hawk.
  One of the things that I do find appealing about this little Kephart by Condor besides it's obvious though limited ability and it's Kephart style is that I can carry it at a gathering and not be worried about lending it out or what it would be used for.     :) 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2014, 09:53:34 AM »
I am sitting here pondering over the "add to cart" button on the Amazon prime page.
 ???


I am not sure that I like that it is 1075 steel, rather than 1095. I am not sure on the merits of 1075 ,but if I am not mistaken it will not throw as good of sparks when used like a striker where sparks are thrown from the back of the knife with a "flint" as compared to 1095 steel. :shrug:


  I will likely wait to see what your review says Moe, but I think that it is a decent deal & I like my Condor bushlore. So I am certainly considering the buy.


  I will probably wait to purchase right now, since I think the custom knife I got from Mario here is well suited to my needs. But, like a few others here, I enjoy having more than one knife & particularly ones at low cost that do what I ask a knife I own to do. Ones that if nothing else, can be given as a gift to someone who wants to get into our shared pastimes.
 ;D


  Please "hold forth" on your final review comments as soon as ya can though, Moe. Though I would not be surprised at myself if I do not wait until ya do. LOL


It seems as though it is a heckuva deal, considering the sheath & all.

  Hey Jeb,  I don't mean to build this Condor Kephart up as a replacement for a custom or any high end bushcraft suited knife,  it's not,  not in looks or quality,  but it does have it's good points, namely it's Kephart style,  I like that it has a 4-1/2" blade,  the finish on mine is good and it did come sharp enough for general use.
  One of the things about it that I really like is the thin blade which in my mind is going to be great for food prep and for cleaning small game and fish,  three things that I do a lot of in the outdoors,  like you I have one of Mario's fine knives and I enjoy it very much,  the 01 tool steel holds a great edge and the 3/16" thick blade enables it to do the tough jobs around camp.
  But as an example of what I'm trying to say,  at home in my kitchen I have a bunch of good cutlery,  one of my favorites is a Wosthoff 10" Chef's knife,  it's got a long thick blade that's razor sharp and can handle most kitchen chores,  but for slicing a beef roast thin,  filleting a fish, or peeling an apple it sucks,  that's when I go to my thin bladed 5" utility knife or one of my smaller paring knives.
  For my needs I don't do very much that involves having to have a big heavy thick bladed knife,  my folding saw and hawk take care of that work,  my belt knife has to be a good at food prep, slicing, carving, and processing fish and small game,  something the Kepart is well suited to.
  As for the 1075 vs. 1095,  you're right,  1075 won't spark a flint as well as 1095,  also, 1075 (from what I'm told) will rust a bit quicker than 1095,  but personally I don't care to nick up the spine of my knives by striking them with a flint, I carry a good striker for that, but I do use the spines of my knives to spark my ferro rods and the 1075 on the Condor does a good job of that,  my blacksmith buddy told me that there isn't enough difference between 1095 and 1075 to be noticeable,  what's more important is the heat treat and tempering of the steel used to make the knife.
 From all the reports and reviews I've seen about Condor they seem to hold a decent edge, so I assume they have the heat treatment down pretty good.

  If it helps, here's what I've done to mine so far as they do need a bit of work when you receive one to turn it into a good user,  the black coating needs to come off as it does tend to impede the knife's cutting ability and I was concerned about food safety,  I tried a citrus paint remover on the blade and it wouldn't touch the stuff,  so I used some 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper with water and it took the paint off in just a few minutes.
  The knife came through sharp enough for general camp work,  it's advertised as having a convex edge but it doesn't,  it's a flat grind with a secondary edge,  after stripping the blade of the coating I stropped the edge on my leather strop that I impregnated with fine grade valve grinding paste and then on a dry leather strop,  the result was that it sliced easily through thin paper,  at some point I may thin the edge to a full convex.
  The grip scales are fairly comfortable and finished quite smooth but lack any finish,  today I'm going to apply several thin coats of gun stock oil to them and hand rub between coats,  take note, the  scales are epoxied on before being pinned,  this is not common to cheap knives,  it insures that the covered part of the tang will not rust and that bacteria won't grow under the scales, that a good thing.
  Lastly the sheath,  as a leather smith for a lot of years I can say that if you had a sheath maker make you this quality sheath it would likely cost you about the same price as you pay for the knife and sheath, it's that good,  and comparing the knife to the sheath it's a bit of overkill,  I have a custom woodlore with a four inch spear point blade that a friend made for me that didn't come with a sheath, I've been using a light weight utility sheath until i find the time to make a heavier duty one,  what I did was swap the sheaths,  the custom woodlore fits in the Condor sheath like a glove, and the lightweight Condor is right at home in the lighter weight sheath,  talk about a win win.   :)

  I hope this helps you in making up your mind JB,  but I'll let you know how the knife works out under actual camp use,  I'm planning to do some trout fishing at the same time so well see how it works on processing fish.

   :cheers:
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Online wolfy

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2014, 10:20:01 AM »
Is that sheath riveted together, Moe, if so, is there a welt in place to protect the edge from rivet damage?:shrug:
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Offline Lamewolf

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2014, 10:38:58 AM »
Is that sheath riveted together, Moe, if so, is there a welt in place to protect the edge from rivet damage?:shrug:

Rivet top and bottom and it does have a welt with stitching between the rivets top to bottom - sheaths are worth what they charge for the knife and sheath combined !
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Online wolfy

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2014, 12:15:13 PM »
Is that sheath riveted together, Moe, if so, is there a welt in place to protect the edge from rivet damage?:shrug:

Rivet top and bottom and it does have a welt with stitching between the rivets top to bottom - sheaths are worth what they charge for the knife and sheath combined !
That's great! :thumbsup:  The reason I asked, was that Cold Steel used to provide a nice leather sheath with their, now discontinued line of 'Frontier Knives,' but they were riveted instead of sewed and the knife-edge would get screwed up just from carrying it in the sheath.  Stooopid. :P
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2014, 01:14:33 PM »
Is that sheath riveted together, Moe, if so, is there a welt in place to protect the edge from rivet damage?:shrug:

Rivet top and bottom and it does have a welt with stitching between the rivets top to bottom - sheaths are worth what they charge for the knife and sheath combined !
That's great! :thumbsup:  The reason I asked, was that Cold Steel used to provide a nice leather sheath with their, now discontinued line of 'Frontier Knives,' but they were riveted instead of sewed and the knife-edge would get screwed up just from carrying it in the sheath.  Stooopid. :P

  I was actually surprised at the quality of the leather and the build of the sheath,  like Lamewolf said, it's easily worth the price of the combo,  I know a little about knife sheaths,  I'd have to charge someone $40.00 bucks to make one like it just to break even.
  Both the vegetable tanned leather and the welt are at least 9 ounce stock, and the welt is doubled,  the sheath is close to a half inch thick where it's sewn together.
  I have a buddy that has been after me to make him a new sheath for his woodlore,  i'm thinking of ordering another knife,  keeping the knife and selling him the sheath for cost,  it would save me the trouble of making one and give me a spare knife for free.     :thumbsup:
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Offline Lamewolf

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2014, 02:14:41 PM »
Is that sheath riveted together, Moe, if so, is there a welt in place to protect the edge from rivet damage?:shrug:

Rivet top and bottom and it does have a welt with stitching between the rivets top to bottom - sheaths are worth what they charge for the knife and sheath combined !
That's great! :thumbsup:  The reason I asked, was that Cold Steel used to provide a nice leather sheath with their, now discontinued line of 'Frontier Knives,' but they were riveted instead of sewed and the knife-edge would get screwed up just from carrying it in the sheath.  Stooopid. :P

  I was actually surprised at the quality of the leather and the build of the sheath,  like Lamewolf said, it's easily worth the price of the combo,  I know a little about knife sheaths,  I'd have to charge someone $40.00 bucks to make one like it just to break even.
  Both the vegetable tanned leather and the welt are at least 9 ounce stock, and the welt is doubled,  the sheath is close to a half inch thick where it's sewn together.
  I have a buddy that has been after me to make him a new sheath for his woodlore,  i'm thinking of ordering another knife,  keeping the knife and selling him the sheath for cost,  it would save me the trouble of making one and give me a spare knife for free.     :thumbsup:

I have several Condors, and wanted a firesteel loop on the sheath of my Condor Woodlaw, so I cut the stitching out and removed a 2 inch section of the welt then used a thinner leather to make the loop ans sewed it in place.  To make the color match the sheath, I dyed it with a brown magic marker, then stitched it back with artificial sinew.
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Offline Draco

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2014, 02:14:56 PM »

  One of the things that I do find appealing about this little Kephart by Condor besides it's obvious though limited ability and it's Kephart style is that I can carry it at a gathering and not be worried about lending it out or what it would be used for.     :)

That is a great point.  It sure is pretty easy to replace should it get lost or damaged. 

Offline Draco

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2014, 02:17:31 PM »

  I was actually surprised at the quality of the leather and the build of the sheath,  like Lamewolf said, it's easily worth the price of the combo,  I know a little about knife sheaths,  I'd have to charge someone $40.00 bucks to make one like it just to break even.
  Both the vegetable tanned leather and the welt are at least 9 ounce stock, and the welt is doubled,  the sheath is close to a half inch thick where it's sewn together.
  I have a buddy that has been after me to make him a new sheath for his woodlore,  i'm thinking of ordering another knife,  keeping the knife and selling him the sheath for cost,  it would save me the trouble of making one and give me a spare knife for free.     :thumbsup:

That is good because not all Condor sheaths are made equal.  The one for the knife I got was clearly made for a larger knife.  I'm guessing it is made to fit several sizes to lower production cost. 

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2014, 03:15:52 PM »

  I was actually surprised at the quality of the leather and the build of the sheath,  like Lamewolf said, it's easily worth the price of the combo,  I know a little about knife sheaths,  I'd have to charge someone $40.00 bucks to make one like it just to break even.
  Both the vegetable tanned leather and the welt are at least 9 ounce stock, and the welt is doubled,  the sheath is close to a half inch thick where it's sewn together.
  I have a buddy that has been after me to make him a new sheath for his woodlore,  i'm thinking of ordering another knife,  keeping the knife and selling him the sheath for cost,  it would save me the trouble of making one and give me a spare knife for free.     :thumbsup:

That is good because not all Condor sheaths are made equal.  The one for the knife I got was clearly made for a larger knife.  I'm guessing it is made to fit several sizes to lower production cost.

   Which knife did you get with an over sized sheath ?

   I wouldn't be surprised that Condor uses several sizes of sheaths for most of their smaller knives,  I used to sell some stuff at the vous' and buskskinner gatherings and bought knives for resale from a few knife makers,  they did the same thing,  they were too busy making great knives they didn't want to waste time making leather goods,  so they bought several sizes of plain pouch type sheaths and if customers wanted a sheath,  the makers would match one up as close a possible and that's what you got.
  I see that Dave Canterbury's store sells sheaths for some of their knife brands and for Old kicks,  and he buys them from Condor,  they come with the Condor logo and the Pathfinder logo.     
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Offline Draco

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Re: Condor Kephart Knife
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2014, 10:10:49 PM »
It is the Kumunga Camp Knife.  Okay it is nearly a machete.   :rofl:   It is so lose in the sheath that it constantly rattles when you walk and the sheath is probably 2 inches longer than the blade.  I don't know if I will use it for anything other than car camping with the wife.  Probably not a knife I will want to carry when I am backpacking.  I might try to make a better sheath if I get the time.