CONDOR’S KING KUKRI IS A KING-SIZED BLADE FOR KING-SIZED WORK
For good reasons, Condor Tool and Knife has secured a prominent place in the bushcraft and survival communities. The company’s various patterns include machetes, knives, axes, fighting blades, and more. Let’s not forget that the company’s products sell for a more-than-fair price point, too. Condor’s new King Kukri upholds that reputation. It’s a big, high-quality blade that’s ready for all of your camp chores.
CONDOR KING KUKRI: TIMELESS APPEAL
Embodying centuries of history and culture, the iconic kukri knife symbolizes power and strength. It is an adventure-worthy tool for everyday tasks. Dating back to the 16th-century Nepalese war tactics, these curved blades became renowned throughout South Asia as formidable weapons in conflicts. Once used for close combat by Gurkha soldiers, it now serves more for ceremonial purposes. Still, the kukri has a timeless appeal. Kukris are revered today for their attractive designs and robust construction that make them popular collectibles.
While military personnel and self-defense enthusiasts can still use them as weapons, these days the kukri is more popular as a farming tool and an everyday knife in Nepal, India, and other South Asian nations. But that’s not all. Outdoor survival and bushcraft enthusiasts have been using the kukri as a hatchet alternative and sometimes as a one-tool option.
Kukris are curved, some more angled than others depending on the region and use. They have three parts: a pointed tip for piercing, a wide midsection for chopping, and a narrow handle for grip. The blade is usually made of spring steel, while the handle is often made of wood with brass or copper decorations.
The Condor King Kukri is a full-tang, menacing-looking model that measures a colossal 18.8 inches long overall. It was designed from examples of larger kukris from Nepal. It features a 12.6-inch blade with an extra-long fuller (chirra) running through the middle of its 6 mm thickness.
It’s made of 1075 high-carbon steel with a blasted satin finish. It offers a good balance despite its size. The 6-inch-long handle has been skeletonized and tapered to provide an excellent grip that anyone can use, even the most novice blade wielder. The handle is fitted with walnut scales, and the edge has a convex grind for strength and cutting power.
This beast of a blade comes with a full-grain, stellar-quality leather sheath so you always have it on you when you need it.
TREAT IT LIKE A HATCHET
In regards to keeping a parallel plane when chopping with an axe, hawk, and hatchet—the same applies to a kukri. When tackling a downed log/pole, I like to get down low on one knee or both for safety, leaving no possible way to get a blade stuck in any part of my leg. When chopping with a kukri, the technique is much like a hatchet, where the wrist remains somewhat straight and natural at the maximum point of impact. Straight-bladed chopping tools require more wrist bending and torquing upon impact. The forward bend of a kukri ensures the blade’s sweet spot makes impact before your hand—like a hatchet.
The kukri was made for chopping vegetation, ice, wood, bones, and whatever gets in the user’s way. In my case, I waged war against wild water vines that strangle live trees in my part of the woods. They are terrible, nasty things. This type of work really is machete work and bolo/parang territory. However, the thicker ones asked to be chopped with a King-sized kukri. Some are very thick and dense, while others are dried and more on the woody side. Neither gave the King Kukri any problems.
Oak, maple, and beech—all hardwoods—dominate the woods in my area in the Northeast. The winds, heavy rains, and time have caused many trees to blow over in recent years. Many are seasoned and perfect for firewood. I usually don’t fuss with chopping wood much greater in diameter than my wrist. For a camp situation or making bushcraft implements, finger-to-wrist thick is all that’s needed. However, it’s best to push the limits a little for testing purposes.
“Outdoor survival and bushcraft enthusiasts have been using the kukri as a hatchet alternative and sometimes as a one-tool option.”
I went right for an oak log approximately 4 inches wide and as hard as a woodpecker’s lips. This was definitely axe work or, better yet, bucksaw territory, but anything in the name of field testing. The weight was noticeable after a few good whacks, and soon after, it was appreciated. A lighter chopping tool would have struggled, making me swing harder.
The convex edge was perfect for a heavy chopping tool like the King Kukri. It took a mean bite out of the hard oak and never got stuck like a flat ground blade or thin machete would have. Being winter at the time, I was wearing fleece gloves, which would never be the ideal choice when swinging a chopping tool. So, naturally, it turned a little in my hand on a few swings. However, with my bare hands and leather gloves, it stayed perfectly situated in my hand.
Next, I went for a 5-inch-thick maple log that nearly fell on my camp about one year ago. At this point, I was well accustomed to the weight of the King Kukri and was fully aware of where the sweet spot was on the blade and where I wanted to position my hand on the handle. Although they’re both hardwoods, there is no real comparison when it comes to chopping oak and maple. Believe me, I’ve sawed and chopped my share of oak with axes, tomahawks, and everything under the sun. Oak is harder. However, the maple log was no easy feat to chop through. It took about 6 to 8 minutes, changing hands as I chop fairly ambidextrous so I don’t need to take many breaks.
The King Kukri stayed comfortable in my hand, and I never felt the need to grip it very hard since the design of the handle flare kept it in my hand. There is a lanyard hole in the handle, but that would be a safety issue if the handle did manage to leave your hand. Traditional kukri knives didn’t need them due to the handle swell. I wouldn’t want a tool called the King Kukri coming back for me like a pendulum with inertia force.
Finger- to thumb-thick green branches for tarp stakes, trap parts, and utensils were easy with one good 45-degree angled chop. I cranked out a few pieces and carved close to the handle where the blade stayed sharp and the blade was narrow.
The froe is tool that has withstood time, full of history and purpose, much like the kukri. This classic L-shaped tool has a handle and a straight steel blade sharpened along its outer edge. It’s ideal for splitting wood cleanly in two. Hold the device vertically to hammer it into place, and then lever down on the handle to achieve even cleaving results every time.
The work of a froe can be accomplished with a long blade and baton to achieve similar results. The King Kukri has a wide, thick spine that is perfect for pounding on and transferring energy into the wood. Split wood burns better than wood in its solid form. Plus, it’s downright fun!
The drawknife is another ideal woodworking tool. This single-edged blade typically spans around one foot in length and has two handles at either end that are gripped while it’s being drawn toward you. It works wonders for shaving off slivers of wood with ease. You can use a kukri as a drawknife to remove bark or knots by gripping the kukri’s handle in one hand and wrapping the other over its spine, always exercising caution when near its edge. With caution, draw the blade towards you and control how much wood you want to shave off.
Downed logs or supported poles at an angle are ideal for this sort of work. The King Kukri has such a broad blade at the belly that it is safe to grip without getting too close to the edge. I used this technique while making long, curly feathers for kindling and some extra thin ones for tinder.
The convex edge excelled at making feathers, and the recurved section of the blade made the feathers extra curly by the naturally inherited blade shape. This was about as much fine detailed work as I did with the near 19-inch King Kukri. I won’t go carving any spoon, although Alan Kay did.
The spine of the King Kukri has 90-degree edges suitable for striking a ferro rod and scraping tinder into thin ignitable slivers. I have no doubt the spine of the King Kukri will scrape fatwood and magnesium with authority. But being as old school as I am, I used only natural tinder in the form of maple wood shavings.
“The Condor King Kukri is a full-tang, menacing-looking model that measures a colossal 18.8 inches long overall.”
I dug the blade into a small round of wood and placed the tinder shavings under the spine where I’d be striking the ferro rod. I drew the rod back against the sharp 90-degree to produce a hot shower of sparks onto the wood shavings. Within no time, I had ignition, and a campfire soon ensued!
IS IT THE KING?
Suppose you like chopping tools on the long-bladed side of the spectrum over traditional axes and hatchets. In that case, you’ll appreciate the King Kukri for cold weather or heavy wood processing days. And if you just want to look cool and have the meanest-looking chopper in the woods—look no further than the Condor King Kukri!
Two kukris from Condor Tool and Knife for all occasions. The King Kukri (L) has a 12.6-inch blade, and the Heavy Duty Kukri (R) sports a 10-inch blade.
Condor Tool and Knife is renowned for its heritage, which began in 1787 when Gebrüder Weyersberg Company was founded in the cutlery capital of Solingen, Germany. As a manufacturer of swords and knives, as well as other tools like agricultural implements, the company quickly gained an international reputation for its craftsmanship that’s kept it at the top ever since.
To serve customers worldwide, Gebrüder Weyersberg established IMACASA, an operation based out of Santa Ana, El Salvador, in 1964, utilizing German-grade production technology and expertise from Solingen employees. Although ownership eventually transferred to local investors nearly 20 years later, 58 accumulated years of experience make it clear why Condor is one of the world’s most renowned knifemakers today.
To his credit, Joe Flowers, an avid naturalist, hunter, fisherman, and videographer with a degree in zoology and entomology, is renowned for designing some of the most exciting blades in Condor’s product line. Alongside writing for multiple magazines, he has also acted as a consultant in outdoor equipment, all while teaching various wilderness classes across America. Not only that, but this outdoorsman hosts survival camps/trips, too; having traveled extensively internationally in search of knife knowledge, this beekeeper is sure to have some stories up his sleeve!
Adventurer and “Alone” Season 1 winner Alan Kay certainly hit the jackpot with his kukri knife. For 56 days out in nature alone, Alan chopped branches for shelter with his heavy-duty Condor Tool and Knife kukri during his extended stay on Vancouver Island, Canada.
He used this time-tested tool to achieve remarkable feats like splitting kindling for firewood, chopping branches for shelter building, making fishing traps, making feather sticks, and even carving spoons from wood. Alongside these tasks was one of his most significant symbols: notching the calendar stick. All 56 notches were made by none other than Alan’s trusty kukri. By taking it along during his journey in British Columbia, filled with thrills and moments worth savoring forever, Alan declared that owning such an incredible tool as a kukri is winning the lottery of life.
Model: Condor King Kukri
Overall Length: 18.8 inches
Blade Length: 12.6 inches
Blade Material: 1075 high carbon steel
Blade Thickness: 0.2 inch
Blade Grind: Convex
Blade Finish: Bead blast
Handle Material: Walnut
Weight: 34.1 ounces
Designer: Joe Flowers
Origin: El Salvador
Condor Tool & Knife
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