I’ve gotten hooked on the powdered premium steels but every now and then, along comes another knife that catches my eye. The Condor Mini Bushlore is one of those knives.
Let’s start with the fact that the Mini Bushlore has a 2 7/8″ blade of 1075 steel. In simple terms, the 1075 has slightly less carbon then 1095. 1075 is a popular steel and is common on many of the Condor chopping tools and machetes. It’s relatively easy to harden resulting in a very tough blade. While it may not hold an edge quite as well as 1095, typically its incredibly easy to sharpen. I’ve not had a lot of experience with 1075 but have been told the average user will have a hard time distinguishing it from 1095.
So what’s the point of using a 1075 blade other then ease of sharpening? Cost. The Mini Bushlore comes in at pennies over the $50 mark. PLUS, as noted above, it is a tough steel. It will stand up to normal abuse much better then some of the comparably priced poorer quality steels. Just a great combination of price and quality.
What really caught my eye when I first pulled the Mini out of the box is the size. At roughly 6 3/8″ OAL it is definitely a compact package. In fact, it reminds me of an ultra compact Kimber 45 I shoot. The grip on the Kimber is short enough that I wrap my little finger under the pistol grip for better stability. The Mini Bushlore is the same configuration. There’s enough room to wrap my first three fingers around the grip and tuck the pinkie finger firmly under the butt. The result is a really solid hand hold.
To round things out, the handle is built with a ‘palm swell’ that measures roughly 13/16″ at the mid point. In my old arthritic hands that feels really comfortable in a knife this compact. Another thought that crossed my mind was going at the handle with some sand paper, a file or Dremel Tool to cut in some finger grooves. They did a nice job shaping the handle, but…. well, you know….
The scandi ground drop point blade is the perfect setup for 99% of my camp tasks. I’m a huge fan of the drop point design and the scandi grind with a micro bevel is about as simple to maintain as you can ask for. That blade measures roughly .11″ at the back which is a nice stiff blade for a knife this size. Definitely heavy enough to dress out a deer.
It didn’t come out of the box razor sharp but it took no time at all to fix that. I used a leather strop with green compound and had things in shaving condition in short order. About a dozen strokes on each side took off the factory burrs.
I’ve only used it for mail duty and cutting down a few cardboard boxes to date. The edge is in fine condition but I wouldn’t want to call my limited use any sort of real test. It’s a fun knife to use due to its compact size.
My initial reaction is if you’re looking for an inexpensive, well built .good quality knife to take afield be it camping, hunting, hiking or fishing consider the Condor Mini Bushlore. If you’ve got a younger son or daughter ready for their first fixed blade… this is a winner. I would strongly recommend it. Not only is the size excellent for smaller hands, the ability to teach them how to sharpen their knife is much easier on 1075 steel as opposed to S30V. And if you/they lose it, $50 is a lot easier to swallow then $150. It’s a knife they can easily carry into adulthood.