Pros: Sheath/Scabbard, Materials, Overall Quality, Handle Material, Finish, Blade Material, Blade Sharpness
IT'S A BEAST!
I tried hunting some patches of CT state forest this year that I had not hunted for some time, only to discover that access had been made extraordinarily difficult by clear cutting of land between the access point and the forest. Access through what used to be forest was replaced by slash piles,and 5 foot tall briars, grasses, brush and scrub trees. My long time hunting buddy has back and hip problems that make it difficult for him to walk and he described our 1/4 mile trek to get to the forest as the Bataan Death March. So, I set out to make a 3 foot wide path for him through 150 yards of the worst part of the recovering clear cut. I tried various tools, including a well know woodsman's tool used in the Pacific theater during WW2, and a 16" machete from a well known US knife making company that weighed 20 oz., had a textured synthetic handle that was very comfortable and was well balanced. But neither of these tools really did the job. Neither was great on dead slash piles where the wood was seasoned and still sound. And neither worked well on the briars which were so tough and flexible that no matter how hard I swung my tool, the briars would just stop the momentum of the tool after a few inches, much like the arresting gear for fighter jets landing on aircraft carriers, with few of the briars being actually cut. I also used a forest axe, which worked well on wood but was useless for other purposes. Finally, I discovered the Condor Makara Machete. It was as if it transformed me from a wimp to Conan the Destroyer. If something was in my way, it went down, usually with one mighty swipe with this machete. The briars, which were the worst part of clearing a trail, were now so easy to take down. As to the wood, 3 inch limbs were a snap. I even cut a seasoned 4 inch limp, but if I were doing a lot of limbs this size or larger, I would back along a large collapsible bow saw. After receiving my new Makara Machete, it only took me an hour to finish the last 25 yards of my trail and clear up the really nasty stuff I had previously just gone around on the rest of the trail. Had I started with the Makara, I could have completed my trail in a third of the time it took me doing most of it without the Makara. Before the first use of my Makara, I used my Ken Onion Edition Worksharp Knife and Tool Sharpener to put a perfect 25 degree rolled edge on it because I knew I was going to do a lot of chopping with it (which the two handed grip greatly facilitated!). It looked as if the tool came with about a 20 degree edge, which was very sharp, but I was afraid of damaging too fine an edge by chopping. I would note that while this tool works great two-handed on tough tasks, it also works great one-handed, even when it is gripped at the end of the long handle. In fact using it one-handed this way effectively extended the length of the machete and enabled me to cut very close to the ground without having too stoop or squat, which had been taking a toll on my legs. Functionally, this tool is superb. After its first outing of an hour of chopping, including some wood, I examined the edge and it was still so sharp that the edge reflected no light anywhere when held under a bright light. It could still slice paper easily! The tool as received was functionally excellent, but I am a fan of tools as art, as well. So, I used a foam sanding block to sand off the remaining marks on the handle (which appeared to have been hand carved) and to remove the very murky finish that had been slathered on it. I believe this was an oil finish, because after sanding the handle I applied a coat of Birchwood Case TruOil that the handle absorbed well and produced a nice hand rubbed satin oil finish that is now up to the standard of the beautiful bead blasted blade and very well made and heavy leather sheath supplied with the machete. I found it awkward to carry on my belt, as it hung well below my knees which was a nuisance in the brush. So, I went to Tractor Supply and found a long one-piece belt of real leather that was nearly identical in color to the sheath and turned it into a shoulder harness that I attached to the supplied D ring on the sheath. This worked very well and provides an effortless means of carry, particularly since I often carry a pack in the wood and I can just drape the harness over my shoulder and chest after putting on the pack so that the machete doesn't get in the way of the pack harness. I cannot imagine that a machete could be made any more effective than this one for the purpose for which I am using it. While I am 6' 3" tall and with 250 pounds, I am 73 years old and have three artificial joints, including both shoulder joints. Unfortunately, I am no longer the man I once was. Yet, as I said, I felt as if this tool turned me into Conan the Destroyer. I can only imagine what I might have done with this tool when I was 25. As a final note, I bought my Makara from another Intenet retailer before discovering the KnifeCenter.com, and on sale I still paid $15 more than KnifeCenter's price.