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Way back in November of 2009 I was excited to receive three Wenger Sport Knives- the Snowboarder (also known as the Shredder), the In Line Skater and the Soccer knife. Now, thanks to a member in Australia (same one who sent me the Aussie SwissTool) I have a Wenger Skier to add!
There’s not much info on this knife at SAKWiki.com which is unfortunate, but it does list this as a “...hard to find, discontinued Wenger model made for the Skier sports enthusiast.” While I’m not an avid skier (plus it’s summer here!) and therefore can’t comment on the usefulness of this knife in a real, user situation. I can however go into the details of the knife, as it seems to me many more of these are likely to be considered collectibles rather than users these days.
With that said, it appears that the scales on the knife I have are quite well worn, so I must conclude that this one was at least carried for a while and used sparingly- possibly spent its life in a bag full of ski equipment? I’ll never know, but the internal components are clean and only show minor scratches and other signs of use- a significant difference from the scales with the skier relief almost worn off.
As with many specific interest tools this knife starts off with the usual Wenger fare- a main blade, nail file, can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew and awl which are all good tools to have regardless of the activity. There is also a metal file, although I’m not certain I see the benefit of that for skiing, but then, as I said, I am not an avid skier.
The middle layer is the most interesting though, and what differentiates the Skier from other models. There’s an in-line Phillips driver and a plastic blade tucked inside. While the Phillips is a general use tool that has lots of function in day to day life, the plastic blade is fascinating, and I believe it’s for scraping excess wax off skis- it is extremely robust and at a comfortable angle for scraping, but of course if any skiers out there have any better info, I invite them to send it along to me and I’ll be happy to publish the details.
For me however this one is going into the collection to be looked at and played with from time to time, but likely never to be used for much. If the scales are anything to go by, this knife has earned it’s retirement!
I’ve wanted to write this one for a while now- ever since I won this model on EDCSource from the great Hive Of SAKtivity. If ever there was a Rolls Royce of Swiss Army knives, the Wenger Cigar cutter would be it- it’s elegant, robust and yet refined and designed for the great pleasures of life.
If anyone is offended by smoking, now is a good time to stop reading- unless of course you didn’t think I was going to properly review a SAK without testing it properly, you probably shouldn’t have started reading this article! Now I am not usually a smoker, and I don’t recommend you take it up if you don’t smoke, but I do enjoy the odd cigar from time to time- fairly rarely actually, which is why it’s taken me several months to properly write about this one.
On the surface it’s a beautiful knife in its own right, with polished stainless steel scales that contribute to the robust feel and general heft of this knife- it’s built as solid as a knife can be built, and has the weight to prove it. At a whopping 3.3oz (94g) this is perhaps the heaviest three layer, 85mm SAK in my collection.
Tucked away inside this beauty is the usual can opener, bottle opener, large blade and nail file typical of Wenger 85mm models, but the main difference is the oversized scissor type tool in the center. Instead of straight blades as on scissors though, this tool features a large circular set of blades, ideal for precisely cutting a nice cigar- although I have only so far managed to test it on a Cuban, I am certain it will work just as well on others.
On the back side is the standard awl and corkscrew- the corkscrew is ideal for this model as few things go as well with a fine cigar as a good Merlot or Cabernet blend or single malt scotch. While the scotch is pretty easy to get into, you’ll want a good corkscrew when it’s time to open a good full bodied red wine. As if to encourage this idea, my example has a Seagrams crest etched on the main blade- Seagrams of course being a Montreal, Canada based distillery, which means this Swiss knife, purchased from a seller in the United Kingdom while sporting the logo of a Canadian Company has finally come home again after some extensive travel!
While this knife is missing a few typical Swiss Army features like a lanyard ring, toothpick or tweezers, I think this knife is not meant for, or suitable to an Every Day Carry type lifestyle, unless of course fine wines and finer cigars are major parts of your day to day activities! Maybe someday I’ll get there, but for now I will just reserve this knife for special occasions, just like my cigar habit is!
Sometimes dragging one’s feet is a good thing. In this case, it is a mixed blessing- because we are late this month (again!) it has allowed me to include some information that otherwise would have gone into the SOSAK BLOG or more likely waited until next month. So, the fact that I can include it here and now for everyone to read is the good side.
As I read through the latest issue of The Victorinox Blade, the quarterly newsletter issued by the Official Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Collector’s Society, I was very disappointed to learn that Dan Jacquart, the president and founder of VSAKCS, is retiring. I could recap the blurb that he wrote, but I feel his words are perhaps the best, so, reprinted here (without his permission, but I hope he won’t mind) is his farewell.
I have had some contact with Dan over the past few years, but not as much as I would have liked, but the demands of work and home life coupled with the management of my various web enterprises and more recently the small apartment building I bought have all conspired to less and less opportunities to spend time simply chatting with people who hold common interests. Dan has always been a great source of inspiration and information to all of us here at SOSAKOnline, and I hope to see him continue with other projects in the future.
In addition to the quantitative benefits of knowing Dan, I have to say he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet too. While I’ve never met him face to face, I have talked to him a number of times on the phone and through many emails, and I have always come away with the feeling that the man is not only passionate and well read about Swiss Army Knives, but he always shows a genuine interest in those around him, whether it’s SAK related or not.
I’m sure that many folks out there will miss Dan and the quarterly newsletter as much as I will, and I wish him the best of luck in whatever he pursues next- if the results of VSAKCS are anything to go by then I’m sure he’ll excel at whatever he turns his attention to now.
In honor of Dan, I’d like to sign off on this article with his signature line. For all you’ve done for the world of SAK collectors Dan, and on behalf of all SOSAK (Now Swiss Army Knights!) Members the world over:
Ever since 9/11 there has been a lot of fear mongering and it’s become a buzzword for various publications to take advantage of. I hate this. But, since it’s such a common topic on the forums, I felt it was necessary to say something- bear in mind, I have no worthwhile political views, and this is coming from a completely political neutral place.
Folks often ask what knifeless options or bladeless SAKs are available that are legal to take on a plane. My response is as it has always been, even before the tragic event- take nothing even remotely offensive with you. It doesn’t matter of the manufacturer claims it is TSA friendly, it’s your dignity, freedom and well being, not to mention your property at risk when you fly. While something may or may not meet the official regulations for air travel, the individual TSA agents have great latitude in interpreting those regulations, and as with many other positions of authority, there are some bullies that like to go not so much above and beyond as around and behind common sense. This is not to say that all TSA agents are this way- I am certain the vast majority of them are well trained, intelligent individuals, but things can and will go horribly wrong if you get one of the not so great ones.
I have also read accounts of people asking to speak to the agent’s supervisor and having their property returned to them, but this is something else I would not want to count on. Escalating a situation is just as likely to cause you to miss your flight or end up in custody- neither of which should be considered acceptable outcomes, and certainly not worth the ability to trim one’s nails while soaring over Utah. While I tend to agree that it feels awkward without a knife or tool on my person, I would imagine a body cavity search and being added to the No Fly list would be much more so.
In short, be safe and err on the side of caution when going into secure places like court rooms, airports and so on. Chances are your pocket knife isn’t going to help you much in the air, and while we can complain all we want about the indignity of modern flying (and trust me, I’m with you on that one!) the current climate is such that the cards are stacked against you, and even if you win you are probably going to lose. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is the way it is.
To finish off with an interesting story on how things have changed, in the late 60’s my grandfather was visiting Canada from Scotland, and he purchased a chainsaw here- apparently they are much more affordable in Canada than in Scotland, insert lumberjack joke here! Of course, he didn’t want it damaged so he didn’t check it, but instead brought it with him as carryon luggage, and the only issue he had was the flight crew asking if there was any gas in it! There wasn’t, so he was directed to his seat with a smile!
It seems my announcement of this knife last month was a bit premature- it’s still ongoing, but the mechanics of making this a reality have been a bit slower than I anticipated. No one is at fault here, it just appears that resurrecting a deceased model and customizing it is a bit more difficult than we’d initially expected.
Fortunately we have managed to make some headway, and so I do have some news to offer. US sales will be handled directly from WengerNA.com, while international sales will be handled through our own Felinevet, and the price from both will be $95USD.
While that is somewhat more expensive than we usually expect for a KOTY, it is also an unprecedented release in that we are partnering directly with Wenger to produce this one, and it is, as I said a discontinued, hard to find model. Plus, the original list price on this tool was $120USD, so I think $95USD is a steal!
As many of you know from an email sent out last weekend, Felinevet is moving his shop to EDCSource.com. Since it’s part of the Defender Web & Tool family of websites (which also includes SOSAKOnline, SAKWiki and Multitool.org) this is an in house move, designed to streamline things for Tim and all SOSAK members. For those who weren’t aware, Tom will be moving Rotokid’s Shop to EDCSource as well. Put bluntly, SOSAKOnline’s software is painfully outdated, and a large part of the problem with updating it is the number of hacks to the original software to allow a shared user database between the main site, Rotokid’s Shop and Felinevet’s Shop.
Unfortunately the shop software used on SOSAKOnline never truly functioned adequately for Tim’s or Tom’s needs, and over the years many solutions were explored, none of which seemed to be an ideal solution, and the software we had in place worked “well enough” that we managed with it. This was a result of SOSAKOnline being my first web project, and me not really having any idea what the heck I was doing, and not being able to adequately describe the project to our programmer Esteban. He did an exceptional job, especially given that it’s lasted this long, but the time had come to make a change, not only for Tim & Tom’s sake, but also for the many people trying to buy items from them.
EDCSource is turning out to be a better platform than we’d initially anticipated, so it seemed like the ideal choice to replace the existing stores. Tim and Tom could have their own spaces and will still be connected to SOSAKOnline through the links in the left menu, and by the same URL’s- meaning you will still be able to access them by typing in www.felinevet.sosakonline.com or www.rotokid.sosakonline.com and that will never change as long as I’m in charge. I have never in all my life dealt with retailers as solid as these guys, and I have no desire to change or cut them off, ever. I’m sure most of you out there will agree.
The down side of all this is that all members will now have to re-register at a new site in order to make purchases from Tim and/or Tom. I apologize that this is necessary, but that’s the nature of the beast- sooner or later we’d have had to change to some new type of software which would have caused difficulties and some confusion, and we felt that this would perhaps be the best solution. The up side is, in addition to buying from Tim and Tom, EDCSource allows you the freedom to buy from many other retailers and private individuals, as well as sell your own items, similar to eBay, but without the huge fee structure or excessive rules. EDCSource has no listing fees, and if your item sells for less than $50 USD, you sell it free! Any items over $50 are subject to a 5% site commission. Compare that to the Big Guys’ fee structure!
So there you have it- The rumours of a large scale split between Tim, Tom and myself are not true, and in fact, are better than ever as we work out new ways of serving the members better! Check out EDCSource today if you haven’t already and let us know what you think- as with SOSAKOnline I guarantee it will continue to grow and serve its members faithfully for years to come.
From time to time I like to look at knockoffs, copies and similar “Swiss Army Style” knives, and this month I’d like to look at another, although this time with a bit of a twist. As someone with an odd name (Grant is more popular here as a last name than a first) I was always disappointed growing up seeing more common names (such as my brother Kenneth) on stickers, keychains, shirts and other mass produced items. In the late 70’s and early 80’s it seemed that everyone had their name on pretty well any product imaginable but it was pretty well impossible to find anything with my name on it. Needless to say, I was amazed on the few instances when I did find my name pre-printed on something, and I didn’t have to get it custom made.
With that in mind, my wife recently happened to be in a small tourist trap type store with her mother and she came across something that she thought was the perfect gift. She rarely, if ever buys Swiss Army (or indeed any kind) knives for me as my collection is quite vast and she has no idea what I want, what I need, what I have and so on, but when she saw this Swiss Army Style knife with my name on it, well, she couldn’t believe her eyes!
She of course teased me on the phone with “I have the perfect gift for you but I’m not telling you what it is until I get home” and I wondered what it might be. Usually my wife is horrid at keeping secrets, and indeed wants to give gifts as soon as possible, so I was somewhat surprised and knew she had to have found something interesting.
When she finally got home she handed me this knife, which, when I looked at it had my name on it! Since I’d never actually seen this before I’d assumed the store had some small cnc type router there where you pay a couple of bucks and they print your name on it, but it seemed that wasn’t the case- here was an actual item, offered for sale and kept in stock with my name on it- literally! On the opposite side is a relief of a lighthouse and the words “Halifax, Nova Scotia” which for those who may not know, is the city I live in.
The knife itself features a large blade, wood saw, fish scaler, scissors, can and bottle openers and on the flip side a corkscrew, nail file, awl, sewing punch and Phillips screwdriver, although as well outfitted as it seems to be, it’s not something I’d ever consider using! It will live on in my collection as the knockoff I am most proud of, although to be honest, it doesn’t have a lot of contenders in that category!
One of the many SwissTool variants that made my “white whale list” is the Australian Army Issue Black SwissTool. Well, it seems that particular white whale has been caught, not by shrewd searching or unyielding focus on my part, but because it saw fit to throw itself in my boat! Putting that crude metaphor aside, the real story is that a friend helped me buy another oddball SAK, but when it arrived on my doorstep, it had also brought this SwissTool with it!
Of course on first glance I wasn’t sure what it was since the sheath has no markings- no Vic logo or other markings anywhere on it. It’s still as solid as any other SwissTool sheath, but it’s a slightly different design, and uses Velcro instead of a snap to hold the tool safely inside.
Once opened it’s obvious that this is something to make any SAK fan drool- a black coated SwissTool is enough to set off most collectors, but the added engraving on the side sets one off even more. Engraved on the side is the familiar crow’s foot followed by 5110-25-147-5018, which has had collectors scratching their heads for some time. As our old pal Dunc put it:
I've being doing a little research and although I can't confirm I'm 100% correct here goes with my theory.
The Number on the side of the tool is part of a NSN ( Nato Stock Number ) and is a parts/store number. I'm a bit confused because Australia isn't part of NATO. But it is in the British Commonwealth and so shares the Military Broad Arrow just like Canada .
Onto the number itself . I've found out the the first part 5110 puts it into the Handtool category. Next is the two numbers 25 which is the NCB pair and is from the U.S designation meaning National Codification Bureau and is used to record which country was the first to code the item , which one first recognized it is an important item of supply.Britain is 99 the U.S numbers are 00 and 01.
Now heres the crunch Norway issued the BO std Swisstool 3 years before the Australians did so it stands to reason the the Number 25 is for Norway maybe Switzerland but my moneys on Norway as they would have triled several different tools and chosen the Swisstool .Norway is also a member of NATO so that would explain the full number 5110-25-147-5018 .But and this is where I need some help from the guys from Norway because as far as I know Norway doesnt use the broad Arrow ( crows foot ) like the Brits and commonwealth countries do .So while I'm 100% sure this tool is Std Australian issue I really would like to see whats stamped on the Norwegian models , maybe nothing is stamped on them but then why stamp a number that roots lie within NATO onto a tool for a country that isnt in NATO
Copied from a discussion on Multitool.org
As the story goes, the Australian Army had field tested the SwissTool, Leatherman Supertool 200 and SOG PowerLock, and eventually decided on the SwissTool. Following the test period 10,000 SwissTools were ordered and made official issue. I’m not certain of how large the Australian Army is, but this seems like a rather small number of tools for a rather large, if sparsely populated country, so I wonder if they are only being issued to specific types of troops, if the number I have is incorrect, or was just an initial order. Either way, it’s good to see another Vic model in service!