Sunday, August 31, 2014

SAK Deconstructed: Victorinox Explorer (Pre-2004)

I'll start documenting each layer of SAK that I dismantle for modding or repair. This will serve as my reference for future mods and repairs. I hope you'll find them useful as well.

This is the Victorinox Explorer with the old 8x Mag glass.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Classic Germany National Flag

I got two more from Wayne (

Here's the Victorinox Classic with German National Flag

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Huntsman (1960's)

I've already written about the Victorinox Huntsman history here before.  This is another addition to the Huntsman/Woodsman timeline and will be third SAK with bail.  It will be a good together with the Champion and Spartan of the 1960's.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

REVIEW: Victorinox Fieldmaster vs Wenger Handyman

At first, I was thinking of comparing the Handymans but quickly found out that it will be an uneven match between a lightweight and a flyweight.  The Wenger Handyman is just over matched the Victorinox Handyman.  So I looked for a better comparison for the Wenger Handyman and found the Victorinox Fieldmaster to be a worthy adversary.

The Victorinox Fieldmaster is similar to the Huntsman except the former has a philips screwdriver in the back layer compare to the Huntsman's corkscrew.  The Fieldmaster is an old model, first similar tool set appeared in the 1960's catalog as the Craftsman.  It was later renamed to the Fieldmaster (I first saw this in a 1990's catalog, but I might have just missed it in some 1980's catalog).  By the way, there is a similar 84mm Fieldmaster-type tool set called the Artisan, more about that in a future post.

The Wenger Handyman, in this case an Evo 18, due to the updated grip-type scale.  This is an 85mm SAK with all the basic tools plus the Wood Saw.  The Wenger Handyman is one of the older models and was part of the early 1970s line up of 6 models which included the Monarch (pre-cursor of the Wenger Champ), Hobbyist, Traveller, Scout and the Master Fisherman.

Below is a quick tabulated comparison between the two models.

More photos:

Victorinox Catalogs
Wenger Catalogs

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Ambassador Hoffritz 74mm (1970s)

My second 74mm Ambassador which is also from the early 1970s.  This time it is the co-branded, Hoffritz version.  

Hoffritz brand is the shortened version of its proper company name Hoffritz for Cutlery which was a specialty cutlery retail chain stores business in the metropolitan area of New York which started in the 1930s.  According to the CEO of one of its suppliers who started supplying them with Swiss Army Knives since the 1940's, "In the minds of many New Yorkers, Hoffritz was the first place people thought of when they wanted to buy a pocket knife".  Sadly, due to financial difficulties the company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1994.  The Hoffritz brand was then acquired by its current owners the Lifetime Hoan Corporation.

Hoffritz for Cutlery wikipedia, accessed 6 August 2014.
NY Times: Trying a Jump-Start at Hoffritz, accessed 6 August 2014.
NY Times: Company News; Lifetime Hoan Buys Hoffritz Cutlery Brand Name, accessed 6 August 2014.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

REVIEW: Victorinox SwissChamp vs Wenger Champ - Battle of the Biggies

I acquired a 1980's Wenger Champ in good condition a while back and since I also have the original Victorinox SwissChamp from the 80's as well, I thought it's a good idea to compare them side by side.  

The Wenger Champ is an 85mm-8 layer model also marketed as the Classic 28.  It preceded the Pocket Tool Chest and was one of the biggest models of Wenger during the time of its release together with the Matterhorn.

The Victorinox SwissChamp is a 91mm-7 layer model that was introduced in 1985 and contained all the available tools produced during that time.  It replaced the Champion upon its introduction but the Champion was still produced and sold in parallel with it.

Here is a summary of the tool set compared side by side in table format.  The SwissChamp has more tools owing to the good use of the back layer.

Size: The SwissChamp is longer and feels bulkier than the Champ.  

Main Blade: Almost the same size, the SwissChamp main blade is slightly longer but the Champ main blade is slightly wider.

Metal File w/ saw: Almost the same length and width.  

Wood Saw: SwissChamp saw is longer but thinner.  Also the saw tooth pattern are different.

Fish Scaler: The Victorinox has the longer scaler with a ruler engraved to it as well.

Philips Screwdriver:  Both have inline Philips screwdrivers which is great for actual use.  The SwissChamp one is significantly longer and bulkier than the Champ one.

Can Opener: Completely different designs.

Caplifter: Same design.  The Victorinox has the larger one of the two.

Scissors: Completely different design.  The Wenger has the "serrated" scissors and has a different implementation of the spring compared to the Victorinox.  The Victorinox scissors is bigger as well.

Magnifying Glass:  The Wenger design is better looking than the Victorinox one, specially since the frame is metal and is longer.  Although the magnifying glass itself is smaller in diameter compared to the Victorinox one.

Corkscrew: Same length, the SwissChamp has the old design with groove.

Awl: The Champ has a thinner and a bit longer awl.  It also doesn't have the sewing eye that the SwissChamp has.

Layer Tool differences:

The Wenger Champ has the pointed nail file and universal wrench, which I think is a pretty cool tool.  I hope that Victorinox will adopt this tool in their knives in the future.

Meanwhile, the SwissChamp has the slim plier (first version) and small spear point blade in the main layer; small flat screwdriver and chisel in the back layer.

The SwissChamp has the ball point pen in the scales as well.