Condor Tool & Knife calls the Rodan is a survival knife. Our field reviewer, Mark Allen Prince, put it through the grinder to see. It survived hammer blows and hardwood pallet destruction—and more.
SPECS AND APPEARANCE
The Condor Rodan survival knife arrived at the castle on a cold December morn. It came in a crisp and sharp-looking white cardboard box titled Condor Tool & Knife from Orlando, Florida. When I opened it, I was pleased to find the simplistic survival knife that I’d been reading about. The Rodan is a 5.25-inch fixed drop point-style blade with an approximate 5.50-inch handle made of high-impact polypropylene. The blade is 1075 high-carbon steel with a black epoxy powder coating. Its sheath is made of handcrafted welted leather.
I worked with the knife for a couple of weeks both indoors and out. As it’s marketed as a survival knife, I took it to task inside our standard field evaluation.
First I went to the ol’ poplar stump for the steel hammer test. One hundred whacks on the spine and each side of the blade proved that the Condor was not brittle. And I must point out that the powder coating only left the spine from the strikes; the sides were left relatively unharmed.
I was a bit concerned at first about striking the pommel with the hammer, but then I determined that if it was in fact a survival knife, it should be able to withstand such an event. One hundred reps from the steel hammer proved that I was correct! So excited about this fact was I that I ran out and purchased a coconut from the Dominican Republic (by way of Kroger’s), took it out into the frozen Ohio winter’s night and shattered it with a pommel strike from the Condor.
Next I hacked, and then stabbed, the stump 100 times each. Although the knife did not arrive “razor sharp,” it was sharp enough to chop a lot of the stump away.
I coated the handle with canola oil for the stab test, but quickly terminated this part of the evaluation as the handle was too round and too smooth to prevent my hand from sliding dangerously close to the edge of the blade.
I took the Condor to the woods where I chopped through a maple tree that was about 4 inches in diameter. Although the Condor is not tiny, the blade style and length coupled with its light weight made this a bit of a chore. The blade worked very well at chopping branches and batoning wood for the fire.
At the wood pallet pile, I hammered the knife’s tip in between two boards. I then grasped the knife firmly, prying upward and pressing downward with my knee to pry the board loose. The blade began to bend. I continued to pry and the blade bent more. Eventually the board gave way and the knife came free.
Then I took the Condor to the steel truck bed for the penetration test. I grasped the Condor with both hands overhead and with a most convincing “keeyie,” I attempted to thrust the Condor through the bed. I failed, but did manage to penetrate the old ’77 Jeep bed about ¼ inch without breaking off the tip. As the knife is known to be high-carbon steel and “will rust if not properly maintained,” I did not feel the need to submerge the knife in the 24-hour sea salt bath test.
To gauge the Condor’s ability to demonstrate finesse, I grabbed a small piece of hard maple where I meticulously carved a gorge hook for fishing. Then I took the Condor to the kitchen where I carved steak, mushrooms and onions for dinner. For finer tasks, the Condor performs very well.
As for its ability to resolve malevolent human attacks successfully, the Condor is about as basic as a good, no-frills survival knife can be, and a basic knife that will do just fine in the hands of someone motivated and trained to protect themselves with it.
The sheath is a very basic piece of equipment as well. It’s designed to be worn on the right-hand side, and other than friction, has no retention devices to report. However, it’s important to note that while it was attached to my belt, at no time did I feel concerned about losing it.
Field evaluation results: muy bueno!
— Story and photo by Jim Weiss and Mickey Davis