My wife and son joined me for a quick "Father's Day" hike on the river yesterday morning. I decided to take the Pack Golok out for a quick test drive. My initial impression is as follows….
I began with some light plants. This one had a stalk that was about 1” in diameter and a consistency slightly softer than celery. As expected no problems there….
Next, I had a go at some briars (brambles, prickers, thorns, what have you). These were still green but very firm. The Golok cut right through them with no issues….
Now on to a wild grape vine. They are a ravenous species which are as invasive as kudzu. This one was approximately 3” in diameter. It was hanging from a tree and the lower end was protruding from the ground. There was very little tension on the vine other than its own weight. It hung similar to a heavy loose rope. I was very impressed with the Goloks’s performance.
Finally, I decided to chop on some “hardwood”. Although not the hardest of the like, I settled for a beech tree that was growing at a horizontal angle. It had several branches that were approximately 5” to 6” in diameter and growing vertically towards the canopy. It took five swings to fell the branch. Each swing made good contact at about a 50 degree angle, but herein lies the rub. The blade would chop through until approximately .25” and then it would bite, thus causing the energy to transfer the blade to a downward, almost 90 degree angle. You can see this in the second photo.
One to two strokes would not have been notable, but every stroke had the same result. There was no knot in this branch so I have to conclude that it is a result of the blade. My deduction, albeit amateur, is that this was caused by the “hammer forged” décor on the top half of the blade. It feels like the blade chops in at a consistent angle for the length of the polished grind, but then drags do to the friction between the material and the rough surface area of the “hammered” portion of the blade. I would be interested to see how a completely polished version of the same blade would perform.
I must emphasis that this was a very simple and brief performance review and it is not conclusive by any means. Yesterday was more about family time, than a knife review. I need to get this thing out in to the woods for a “real” work out as soon as possible. I will also add that the edge retention was excellent and I experienced no rolls, chips, or otherwise damage. Feather sticks would not have been difficult after chopping through the beech tree branch. On a side note, I put a 5" piece of bicycle inter-tube on the handle when I returned home. This was a vast improvement in the “grip” of the handle. If I keep this knife, I plan on texturing the wood or replacing it with G10.
As for now, I can say that the Condor Pack Golok is a great “machete” which of course is what it is. I hope to achieve better chopping results in the future. For the extra weight of the blade, it didn’t produce any results that my Eco-Survivor could not have delivered. If the chopping doesn’t improve, I may try to polish out the “hammer forged” look, but that’s a lot of elbow grease for an unknown result and it would probably void the warranty. In addition, I also need to get my Warlok out for some woods time. As always, thanks for looking.