Few of today’s large sporting knife companies focus only on fixed blades, but at Condor Tool and Knife that’s the main product. Based in Santa Ana, El Salvador, Condor Tool and Knife designs axes, shovels and machetes as well as fixed blade knives. If work or vacation takes you trekking through the jungle, here’s where you can get supplies. Many of Condor’s designs look simple, but there’s high tech material involved, with some new approaches to old problems.
Gebr. Weyersberg Company, the parent firm of Condor Tool and Knife, started operations in Solingen, Germany, in 1787 and helped make that town one of the world’s major cutlery centers. Expanding to the Americas in 1964, the company hired local craftsmen for the new plant but trained them at the old facilities in Solingen. Some members of that first team still work at the Condor plant, contributing nearly 50 years of experience and knowledge to the work force. Weyersberg sold the American branch in the 1980’s, and under the name Imacasa the new corporation became the largest machete manufacturer in the world. Imacasa developed a line of knives and tools for the European and North American markets in 2004, the true beginning of Condor Tool and Knife.
Many of Condor’s products stick to the basics of good steel and simple construction, using riveted wooden handles or molded polypropylene grips. Bush knives, machetes and axes from Condor were designed for work rather than display, built to take punishment and emphasizing utility. Condor does some unexpected things with this simplistic approach. Condor’s best axes are cast stainless steel, with two unusual features. The steel wedge that fixes the wooden handle in position is part of the axehead, so owners can be sure it will never shake loose and fly out. Condor also created a Damascus-style etching for these axes, producing a polished but rippled surface that decreases cutting friction. One of Condor’s best machetes uses the same Damascus etching on its stainless steel blade. The company also produces high carbon steel versions of many products. Condor’s sporting knives may draw the most interest, but professionals will find tactical knives and throwing knives here, as well as compact entrenching shovels.