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Wenger S54

Woooboy it's been awhile since I've written anything up here.  After getting an S-557 a while back I found it gave me a craving for an S-54 that just wouldn't go away.

Wenger's S-54 is the EvoGrip version of the Tool Chest Plus (TCP) and also their counterpart to Vic's SwissChamp.

Now I know there's an article on the TCP backin the archives, and little has changed, so I'm going to go more in depth on some of the implements here.

Scales

EvoGrip scales complete with T&T. On one hand some may prefer the Wenger for the ergonomics. Some may prefer the 'plus' scales on the SwissChamp for the straight pin, pen & eyeglass screwdriver. I'd consider this one a tie myself.

Locking main blade

On smaller (less layered) Wengers, the packlock can be a grabby little thing in the pockets. It likes to hook on to keys and sometimes resists being pulled smoothly out of your pockets. The S54 is a beast that you'll likely be keeping in a tool/glove box or in a pack or sheath by itself (speaking of which I have to check with Tim for one) so I doubt it'll interfere with much.

Compass/Ruler

3 layers for this??? Being plastic, it is the most fragile tool. The ruler can be hard to read unless on a bright surface. Now the ruler on the SwissChamp's fish scaler I've found to be the most readable. Too bad it doesn't have mm on it.

Pliers

One thing I have to add about the Wenger's pliers is the front teeth, near the tip are not nearly as aggressive as the Vic's. I like the backsping and slip joint for adjusting, but the teeth could be a bit grippier.

End mounted Phillips

I thought it was just bad luck with my S-557, but the phillips is tough to extract. The shorter length then the Champ/Huntsman Lite make it a tighter tool to pull out. But in it's defense, does lock when in use.

Magnifying glass

Yes it's tough to see when it's smaller than the Vic's. I must say it's build quality (metal not plastic housing) make it much tougher. The problem with the smaller size of the lens, is you need the steady hands of a surgeon to use it without the image warping as your hand moves. I'm not yet sure how well it can start fires. The 'precision' screwdriver, is a sturdy enough driver, but not the smaller eyeglass size I was expecting based on the description.

Metal saw/Metal file

On the positive side, this tool is thicker and more agressive than the Vic's. Being thicker, it doesn't tend to warp like the Vic's when filing chair welds aggressively. Accessing the metal file/saw can be a problem. There's no nail nick for it. The compass layer is on one side and the wood saw is on the other, so if you pry at the overhang you tend to get both the wood saw AND the matal saw together. You can also just lift out the compass layer and then pick at the metal file from the side, but ya, it's a bit of a pain.

Fish scaler

I'd have trouble telling the difference between a guppy and a trout, but I can tell ya it makes a good back scratcher. The inclusion of a line guide might sway some people from the Vics but it does lack the ruler.

Overall size is 13 layers, quite a bit to get your hand around. People with short fingers may want to avoid this one.

If I had to pick one I'd also go with the Champ, but the S-54 still has a lot going for it. It's a shame that the price is significantly higher than the SwissChamp, and they seem to be tougher to find.

Still these full featured Saks are great starting points when you can't decide between models and want to experience everything (or close to) that there is.