In 1964, Imacasa opened its first machete factory in El Salvador, using imported German equipment and technology. Over the next few decades, the company became one of the largest producers of machetes, shovels, axes and other agricultural tools in Central and South America. I’ve used the maker’s machetes since at least the early ’80s, but for whatever reason, it was always hard to find them at U.S. outlets. That has changed in the last few years with the introduction of the Condor Tool & Knife line. What makes these blades even more interesting is that Imacasa typically designs them from the ground up for the North American market. Machete expert Joe Flowers has played a big part in this, creating a host of new models based on jungle tools from around the world.
Condor recently sent Tactical Knives four of its more recent models for evaluation: the 15-inch-bladed Engineer Bolo, the 10-inch-bladed Heavy Duty Kukri, the 12-inch-bladed Village Parang, and the 10-inch-bladed Lochnessmuk. Each features a brown tropical hardwood handle and comes in a heavy-duty leather scabbard. All are made of 1075 carbon steel, and suggested retail prices run from $74.95 for the Parang to $89.98 for the Kukri.
Original versions of the U.S. military-issue Engineer Bolo are something that show up at collector events fairly frequently without many knowing what they actually are. Usually they are given a Spanish–American War pedigree. It is true that the American occupation of the Philippines during those hostilities led to a long period of Asian-influenced jungle choppers in the U.S. military.