Clay loves to tout the Morakniv Bushcraft Black as a product that makes every other knife look like a ripoff, but for a while it was fetching north of $50, despite being introduced around the $35 mark. For that kind of green, I think we can do better. My favorite “50-Dollar Knife” and budget-friendly recommendation is the Joe Flowers designed Condor Bushlore. Although it is not a direct copy of the pattern, the name Bushlore is clearly meant to evoke the classic Woodlore Knife, a bushcraft icon if ever there was one, and this is why I think it beats the Morakniv…
Against the Bushcraft Black, I think the Condor offers you more for your money.
Rather than a rubber handle and injection molded sheath, the Bushlore gives you an actual set of micarta scales and thick leather to hold it. The 1075 steel gives up a little edge retention over the Mora’s C100 (1095-equivalent) in exchange for more toughness, and as my testing has shown, that extra toughness on a thin blade is a good thing.
The fit and finish on my Bushlore is much improved over the Nessmuk that I reviewed a couple of years ago. In fact I have no complaints about the construction whatsoever, although similarly priced Mora’s are arguably “nicer.”
You can also get the Bushlore for roughly $35 if you opt for hardwood handles rather than micarta. Now that the arrival of the full-tang Morakniv Garberg (review coming soon) has suppressed the price of the Bushcraft Black to a more reasonable $40-ish, the wood-handled version is probably a more apt comparison. While I prefer the texture of the micarta over rubber (even in moisture rich environments it will provide plenty of traction)28 I can see why one would choose the rubber handled Mora over the wood that Condor uses, which tends to be quite smooth from the factory. Good for comfort, but not necessarily wet weather friendly.
It still goes to show, $50 can get you a lot of good steel these days. What is your favorite “$50 Knife?”