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Another Look at the S557

Here's what landed yesterday morning: a Wenger Evo S557, all the way from Athens and trailmaster (for SOSAK denizens), through our beloved EDCSource!

 

 

This is the first Wenger I ever bought and the only one I actually felt interested in from their lineup (I had another Wenger that I sold to Grant a while back but that one was a freebie memorabilia from a conference I attended a few years ago).

First impressions: this thing was big! I mean, if you thought an 84mm SAK would be on the small side, think twice. Well, it is 84mm in length but it is a full 5-layer SAK (plus some little extra width for the evo scales).  Speaking of which, the Wenger Giant much be quite "funny", having all those implements at an 84mm form factor.

That aside, the engineering that went in this SAK is just impressive. A few (mostly known but I'll mention them nevertheless) highlights:

  - The main blade is a locking one, and a lock-back at that. Having the corkscrew on the backspring means there is no space for a lock release button, so the button goes in the front just by the blade. Pressing on this button actually lifts the backspring only just enough to disengage the lock.

The blade also features a half stop so that you can remove your finger from its way.

The downside to having both the lock release button and a second implement (nail file... on the same layer on a 84mm SAK means the blade is noticeably narrower than the blades on Vic 91mm SAKs.


It features a phillips (x-type, like on Vic SAKs) and a flat driver, both of which "lock" with Wenger's patended system (the drivers recess a bit, engaging a lock, when pressed against a screw).

  •   - It has a mini plier (with wire cutters) which happens to be of the slip-joint type.

The wire cutter is actually a whole in the plier through which you put the wire. (see how it "disappears" in the following shot)

 

  • It also sports a serrated pair of scissors.

 

 

  - A feature of both the pliers and scissors I find impressive is the way their springs are made: the spring engages only when the tools are fully open, as it sits on the backspring. Lift the tool from its backspring and the spring goes all floppy, so it has no tension when in the closed position (plus it's quite beefy, compared to other spring-like contraptions). That also means that when operating the pliers or scissors, you put some pressure on the backspring on every push of the pliers/scissors handle, which could probably lead to the backspring weakening with use...

  - Another very interesting implement in this SAK is the nut wrench.

    Arguably it's a small one (around 8mm at its widest, around 5mm at its narrowest), but it's a joy to look at anyway.

* Things I didn't like:
  - The awl is not grounded or sharpened in any way.
  - The T&T are sort-of sad excuses of their Vic counterparts.

 

 

  - The wrench is on the middle layer. That means you can't use it on nuts that are flush with and not on the edge of the surface under them, which is what holds with all of the nuts of its supported sizes that I found around the house and office.
  - There's no "plus" option (that I know off) so no way to get the pressurized pen and security pin.
  - The can opener lacks the Vic screwdriver extension (allegedly good on phillips screws), but the s557 has the above mentioned full phillips driver so it's not much of a loss...
  - The corkscrew sits a bit proud of the scale. Could be a sign of use or a lemon to start with, but it doesn't matter that much to me.

 

Versus a Vic Explorer Plus (the closest I have in a Vic SAK):
* you gain:
  - pliers
  - wrench
  - nail file
  - locking main blade and screwdrivers
  - serrations on the scissors
* you loose:
  - mag glass
  - mini screwdriver on the end of the can opener.
  - small blade
  - hook
  - pressurized pen
  - safety pin
  - mini screwdriver (you can use the Vic one with the s557, but it was not part of the original package )
  - sharpened awl and sewing eye

Given that I always have a plier-based MT on my person (and a Spirit at that), and that I can get all of the remaining tools (plus a bit more) on my Explorer Plus which is only a tad longer (6mm) but also quite a bit narrower (~8mm), I don't think I'm likely to EDC this one. However, being an engineer myself, I can't but drool at its innovations.