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Never tried to do any sort of a review before, here is my first attempt.
<EDITED to clarify an edge feature and to add additional information regarding the blade thickness and the wire wrap recess in the handle>
I just picked up a Condor Huron knife from TSA during their Black Friday sale. I arrived yesterday, and here is my completely unprofessional 'review'.
First off, this knife is made in El Salvador. 1095 steel for the blade. The spine measures .119 to .121" thick. Pretty consistent and almost an 1/8" thick.
Not a place that I typically think of when discussing good quality knives. I selected this knife largely based on the aesthetic appeal of the blade and handle. Rather a simplistic design, but there was something about it that I really like. Celtic flavor? Native American? Not sure; but regardless, I like the looks of it a lot.
Upon opening, I was rather surprised that the edge was not sharp. The grind lines were pretty crisp and even so that is nice. The rear section (about 1.38") of what should have been the edge was not even taken down to a cutting edge. I could still see the 'flat' edge of the profile along the rear edge of the blade. The remainder of the edge was sharpened, but not really sharp at all. On one side of the blade, it appears that whoever they had putting a final edge on the blade was new to the job, as the sharpening angle was a bit to shallow and I see signs of scuffing on the main bevel grind. This is only on one side, so I do believe that this does have an element of 'hand made' to it. Sharpness? I would rate this as about a 5 (of 10). I have touched up the edge myself and gotten it pretty decent now (probably about an 8.5).
The walnut scales are straight grained, but shaped to match the full tang well. I see no gaps between the handle scales and the tang.
The twisted wire wrap is acceptably done. The twist appears to be pretty even and the wrap itself is nice and tight. The groove that the wire wraps are in is very well sized, so that the wire wrap is flush with the surface of the handle, and there are not gaps between the wire and the handle.
The brass pins. Perhaps it is just me being... me. In my opinion, the backing on the wheel (or whatever they used to put a final sanding on the handle) was too soft. The wood was removed slightly below the level of the brass pins. Also the surface finish on the pins themselves was not as smooth as I was have liked. I could see scratches (rather small and fine) in the brass I have since redone the pins with a hard supported piece of fine sandpaper and gotten the pins to look much better. The tube for the thong hole is brass and nicely beveled to help prevent any excessive wear on the thong material. Not super polished though.
The sheath. Nice sturdy leather construction. I am estimating about 7 oz. leather. Even stitching, and the edges are evenly sanded. Not in any way burnished, but the edges of the sheath are smoothly shaped.
When the knife arrived, the knife was not in the sheath. No big surprise there, but the knife was very tight when I was trying to insert the knife into the sheath. Even after putting leather oil inside and outside of the sheath to help condition the leather, it has loosened up a little, but remains pretty tight. The leather stamping along one edge is not even. It honestly looks like whoever did the stamping was trying to just get through as many sheaths as possible with no attention paid to either vertical or horizontal spacing. I am not professing to be a leatherworking expert, but even I could have done a much better job with the stamping.
All in all, I am happy with the purchase, but I did get a very good price on the knife. For the quality that I saw on the knife and it's sheath, I am not sure I would have paid full price for it, but at my price, I am pretty happy. Especially since I was able to 'fix' most of the quality concerns that I saw.
For your self-proclaimed first attempt - Nice critical review... full of good details. I can see why this particular piece appeals to you...it has your "flavor" of knife written all over it. It is a hansome blade. And great photos too!
It also explains why you are keeping this one when so many would have shipped it back for a refund. With your restorative shop skills, the quality issues to most are only a nussance to you...easily tolerated if not overlooked.
I am looking forward to the "Condor Huron Part 2 - Performance" review. I suspect you'll have that 8.5 edge up to a 9.0 or 10 in no time. You've already discussed the aesthetics and craftsmanship and that you have 'fixed' the quality issues...let's hear how well it stands up to your performance scrutiny.
You know the drill...form, fit, and function. No doubt it will butter your bread with ease - but will it cut your steak, harvest your shrooms, cut your line, or sharpen your pegs? How does it feel...is it balanced? Dos it hold its edge? Data, data, data....informed bladeheads like me want to know! ;-)
Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to share both your knife and your review. I enjoyed seeing this knife through your eyes.
Na Zdrowie mój przyjaciel!
The performance review will have a to wait a couple of weeks. I have a few projects that are in the works at the moment.
Need to get those wrapped up first. Deadlines don't you know.
I agree with Lars -- this was a good review -- really good for a first review. Thanks for adding it! And by all means, Condor knives really should be reviewed more often, for all their good and bad and mediocre.
Like you, I also picked up a Condor from the TSA Black Friday sale -- the Native Hunter (440C, with a very different grind & profile overall) -- that one might be fun to review at some point in the future, but I digress.
The issues you were having with the Huron's grind is not unique to the Huron. Personally, I'm fine with knives you have to work, as long as they make it clear what you're getting into, and as long as the price reflects the lack of refinement. And, as it sounds may not be the case with the Huron, as long as the refinements are easy to make.
Condor's roots are deep in machetes. Machetes, classically speaking, are fairly thin stock, and can be sharpened a little or a lot, with convex or flat grinds on the edge. It seems that when Condor started making knives with stock thicker than machetes, a lot of them were really thick behind the edge -- and that takes a lot of time, equipment, and skill that some of us simply don't have -- including me.
The company is clearly aware of this, which was made abundantly clear when they reworked their flagship knife, the Bushlore. They made the grind higher & the stock thinner, and these improved the knife significantly. There are some knives they make that are solid & require no refinements (other than maybe a quick honing), but there are others that are just unusable without significant work, such as edge reprofiling.
My guess is that they do this for a number of reasons, some being more virtuous than others. And I will stop myself from discussing their prices... Clearly, I have some thoughts on Condor & maybe should save them for my own article, so I don't risk hijacking your article.
All that said, this Huron a really nice looking knife, especially since that wire wrap is said to really be smooth to the touch. And those TSA prices were right on -- it felt like shopping the Condor Tool & Knife of a bygone era, but with a broader selection of knives. (Thanks to Jan for letting us here know about the sale, too.) And it sounds like this knife is in your capable hands, so I'm looking forward to hearing what else you do to improve its performance!
Many Thanks guys! Lars sent me a link to some 'real' reviews and after checking those out, I realize how woeful my attempt at a review was. I have done a mild edit to improve this review a little bit, but I hope to be able to pretty much completely re-do this review in a few weeks.
If you guys see something glaring that I am overlooking, please let me know so that I can try to include that next time.
Of course if this little review helps you in any way, please let me know that too. I am always wanting to contribute worthwhile information where I can.
I checked out that Native Hunter, and that one looks pretty sweet too! Nice pick up!