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Old 04-08-2009, 06:39 PM
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Default Victorinox vs Wenger SAKs



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Been carrying a SAK for 20-some-odd years, but broke down yesterday and bought a Victorinox. OK, I bought two. An alox-handled (aluminum) Soldier and a Tinker. I have probably a dozen Wengers, with the Highlander pattern being my favorite. Don't know how many of them I've lost through the years. My little Wenger Esquire is probably my most used knife, primarily because of the scissors no cheesy spring to lose and serrated teeth. Lately, though, I've just been feeling the urge to see how well a similar Victorinox stacked up to my favorite. I know I hate the scissors on the Vics, so I knew I couldn't live with a Classic that matched my Esquire, so went to match the Highlander pattern instead. The closest I could find and buy locally was a Tinker. Really, the only difference is a nail file on the Wenger as opposed to a second blade on the Vic. The Soldier I just picked up because they're cool. You know how it is.

For this post, I'll just compare my first impressions between the Highlander and the Tinker.

Vic Tinker: 3 1/2 closed 6 1/4 main blade open
Wenger Highlander: 3 1/4 closed 5 7/8 main blade open

The Wenger has a shorter handle and blade, but the blade has much more belly and larger profile than the Vic. The Vic blade is thicker, though they both have about the same amount of flex. Considering I've never seriously damaged a Wenger blade, the extra thickness is not a plus. Thinner blades slice through things easier, but the difference is not enough to really matter in normal use. Nail nick on Vic is deeper, though the Wenger's is more than enough. Polish is a little higher on the Wenger and the blade stamps are equally clear and level. They both have slightly off-center bevels, but nothing objectionable. The Vic's backspring is stronger and the blade snaps open and closed with more authority. They both open smoothly. The Vic does not seem to be as sharp out of the box as my Wengers have been. Still plenty sharp. (The Soldier is sharper and has a blade design closer to the Wenger.)

Can openers are very different designs. Length and thickness near identical. Some can testing shows that I either really need to get familiar with the Vic or that its design is much poorer; the Wenger opens a can twice as fast with a lot less effort. The difference lies in the fact that with the Wenger, you're pushing the tip of the blade in and opening more of the can with each stroke. The Vic's entry point is in the middle of the blade, with less opening per stroke and a strange-for-me forward motion. The Vic's hook pops off the lip of the can much easier. It's more like mutilating the can until it succumbs as opposed to opening it. The Vic has a small screwdriver tip, but the edges are so rounded I wonder how well it would ride in the slot. A little bit of file work will fix that. Can't tell any discernible difference in thickness. The backspring on the Vic is noticeably stronger.

The bottle opener/screwdriver blades look very similar, but have quite a few differences. The Vic has a notch to stop it at the halfway open position. I've had to use the screwdriver in that position on the Wenger and have not had an issue, but it's a nice feature. The Vic has a bit more overall length and the blade is wider at the tip, though also has a bit more rounded edges. The Wenger has more of a hook on the opener section, though the gap is about identical. The wire stripper has the same uselessness on both. One thing I can see that will make a big difference here is the keyring. The Wenger has a chain and that has gotten in my way before when using the driver. The Vic has no chain, so nothing to get in the way, but I have always liked the chain on the Wengers. Of course, this blade also sports one of the major things I have always liked about the Wengers - the locking feature. When you put pressure on the end of the blade, such as when you are trying to torque a screw, the blade pushes back into the body and locks open, becoming very, very hard to close while you're applying pressure. I'm sure the Vics will get this when the patent changes. Once again, the Vic backspring is stronger.

The fourth blades can't be directly compared. The Wenger has a nail file/cleaner and the Vic has a small blade. Both have their uses, but the file has been very handy on several occasions and I have never thought I needed another blade on a Wenger. I'll keep the Vic blade in reserve so I'll have a sharp edge when I need it. Backspring is very much stronger on the Vic. Curiously, on all my Wengers, the nail file has the weakest backspring maybe something to do with it being by the phillips screwdriver?

The awls/reamers have quite a bit of difference. The Vic's awl creates a bump on the bottom of the knife, whereas the Wenger's sits flush with the frame and the scale is cut out to expose the nail nick. The Vic has a semi sharpened edge and a sewing eye. The Wenger is a bit longer and comes to a much, much finer point. The Vic, with its eye, would seem to have more function, but I have never had a need that the eye would help with. I use the blade to poke holes and the Wenger seems to be better designed for that purpose. The Wenger's backspring is noticeably stronger.

The phillips screwdriver is a necessity for me on a SAK. Corkscrews are useless to me. The drivers are near identical in length. The Vic has a larger diameter and the tip is slightly bigger. Using them on a screw of the kind holding my computer together, the functional difference is non-existent they both work just fine. The backspring strength is a draw.

The Vic has a definite edge with the toothpick and tweezers as the way they interface with the handle is much better. The toothpicks are sharpened plastic and neither shows any advantage to me. The tweezers are longer on the Vic, but seem to come to a finer conclusion on the Wenger. Both are slightly off at the end from the factory. I always redo the ends on my Wengers so don't mind I have to do it on the Vic.

The overall level of polish is higher on the Wenger, including the scales. All the nail nicks are deeper on the Vic. The backsprings are stronger overall on the Vic. The Wenger's scales cover the frame edges, which looks more finished to me. The quality of the exposed frames are equal and seem to be of the same metal thickness, except on the end near the keyrings, where the Wenger has a section of exposed frame that is much thicker. This makes up for the fact that the nail file blade on the Wenger is noticeably thinner than the Vic's small blade. The bottom seems much more finished on the Wenger, with it near flush, with the backsprings meeting flush to the frame. The Vic has a gap and also the hump from the awl/reamer. The springs themselves are taller on the Wenger and the end of the main blade the part surrounding the pivot is larger.

I guess if I really wanted to get particular, I should have bought a new Wenger Highlander also, but the one I'm using for comparison is quite new anyway and I've owned enough of them to be very familiar with them. Besides, I wanted the alox-handled Soldier and couldn't afford a third knife for the day. I'm going to use the Vics as EDC for awhile and see what kind of overall impression I come away with.

Going to have to leave the Soldier at home or I'll wind up using it instead of the Tinker. Don't know yet if the Tinker will compare well with the Highlander, but the Soldier is a wonderful piece of kit. I can already tell it's a keeper. They've got a new Soldier model out, larger, more tools, way less cool. This is the model to have.
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for doing the review, I'm sorry it's not had the interest it deserves from people. Why that is I don't know but I suspect that a large proportion of people don't appreciate these kinds of knife, perhaps they've had bad experiences with cheap Chinese copies or maybe they think of them as gimmicks? To be honest I think they're missing out because I really like SAKs.

This is my EDC, it's a SAK Spartan

and is forever with me, at work and while fishing


I use it for lots of little jobs, the small blade is surprisingly stout, just last night I used it to pry a limpet off a rock (I ate it raw). And yes I do use the corkscrew on mine, probably more than I should!

I also have a SAK Rucksack, which has a large locking blade and a decent wood saw.

Having never owned a Wenger I'll have to buy one to see what I've been missing!



YB
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:33 PM
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I bought my son a small one. A Cadet I think. After using his for small projects I have been tempted to pick up a few larger ones and giving them a try. I admit I don't know enough about them, but they seem to be of decent quality. The truth be told, I would probably be better served with a Leatherman type tool....but the SAK would be easier to carry.
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:51 PM
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I use, carry and sell both brands. There are pros to cons to each. No matter which brand I have in my pocket I am content. I do prefer models with saws.

Favorite Victorinox:
Farmer
Rucksak
Outrider

Favorite Wenger:
Ranger Series
Evo S17 I rarely leave home without this one. I think it has the perfect assortment of tools and the blade locks.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:00 PM
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i have always liked swiss army knives. first knife i ever had. i remember when i was younger i wanted a rambo knife. my parents wouldn't get me one. told me i'd hurt myself or do something stupid.

so i got a swiss army knife i was told it was a spy knife something that james bond would use. and i was the envy of all the kids. they have their rambo junk knifes and i have my swiss army spy knife. that knife seemed like it had everything.
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scosmo451 View Post
Been carrying a SAK for 20-some-odd years, but broke down yesterday and bought a Victorinox. OK, I bought two. An alox-handled (aluminum) Soldier and a Tinker. I have probably a dozen Wengers, with the Highlander pattern being my favorite. Don't know how many of them I've lost through the years. My little Wenger Esquire is probably my most used knife, primarily because of the scissors no cheesy spring to lose and serrated teeth. Lately, though, I've just been feeling the urge to see how well a similar Victorinox stacked up to my favorite. I know I hate the scissors on the Vics, so I knew I couldn't live with a Classic that matched my Esquire, so went to match the Highlander pattern instead. The closest I could find and buy locally was a Tinker. Really, the only difference is a nail file on the Wenger as opposed to a second blade on the Vic. The Soldier I just picked up because they're cool. You know how it is.

For this post, I'll just compare my first impressions between the Highlander and the Tinker.

Vic Tinker: 3 1/2 closed 6 1/4 main blade open
Wenger Highlander: 3 1/4 closed 5 7/8 main blade open

The Wenger has a shorter handle and blade, but the blade has much more belly and larger profile than the Vic. The Vic blade is thicker, though they both have about the same amount of flex. Considering I've never seriously damaged a Wenger blade, the extra thickness is not a plus. Thinner blades slice through things easier, but the difference is not enough to really matter in normal use. Nail nick on Vic is deeper, though the Wenger's is more than enough. Polish is a little higher on the Wenger and the blade stamps are equally clear and level. They both have slightly off-center bevels, but nothing objectionable. The Vic's backspring is stronger and the blade snaps open and closed with more authority. They both open smoothly. The Vic does not seem to be as sharp out of the box as my Wengers have been. Still plenty sharp. (The Soldier is sharper and has a blade design closer to the Wenger.)

Can openers are very different designs. Length and thickness near identical. Some can testing shows that I either really need to get familiar with the Vic or that its design is much poorer; the Wenger opens a can twice as fast with a lot less effort. The difference lies in the fact that with the Wenger, you're pushing the tip of the blade in and opening more of the can with each stroke. The Vic's entry point is in the middle of the blade, with less opening per stroke and a strange-for-me forward motion. The Vic's hook pops off the lip of the can much easier. It's more like mutilating the can until it succumbs as opposed to opening it. The Vic has a small screwdriver tip, but the edges are so rounded I wonder how well it would ride in the slot. A little bit of file work will fix that. Can't tell any discernible difference in thickness. The backspring on the Vic is noticeably stronger.

The bottle opener/screwdriver blades look very similar, but have quite a few differences. The Vic has a notch to stop it at the halfway open position. I've had to use the screwdriver in that position on the Wenger and have not had an issue, but it's a nice feature. The Vic has a bit more overall length and the blade is wider at the tip, though also has a bit more rounded edges. The Wenger has more of a hook on the opener section, though the gap is about identical. The wire stripper has the same uselessness on both. One thing I can see that will make a big difference here is the keyring. The Wenger has a chain and that has gotten in my way before when using the driver. The Vic has no chain, so nothing to get in the way, but I have always liked the chain on the Wengers. Of course, this blade also sports one of the major things I have always liked about the Wengers - the locking feature. When you put pressure on the end of the blade, such as when you are trying to torque a screw, the blade pushes back into the body and locks open, becoming very, very hard to close while you're applying pressure. I'm sure the Vics will get this when the patent changes. Once again, the Vic backspring is stronger.

The fourth blades can't be directly compared. The Wenger has a nail file/cleaner and the Vic has a small blade. Both have their uses, but the file has been very handy on several occasions and I have never thought I needed another blade on a Wenger. I'll keep the Vic blade in reserve so I'll have a sharp edge when I need it. Backspring is very much stronger on the Vic. Curiously, on all my Wengers, the nail file has the weakest backspring maybe something to do with it being by the phillips screwdriver?

The awls/reamers have quite a bit of difference. The Vic's awl creates a bump on the bottom of the knife, whereas the Wenger's sits flush with the frame and the scale is cut out to expose the nail nick. The Vic has a semi sharpened edge and a sewing eye. The Wenger is a bit longer and comes to a much, much finer point. The Vic, with its eye, would seem to have more function, but I have never had a need that the eye would help with. I use the blade to poke holes and the Wenger seems to be better designed for that purpose. The Wenger's backspring is noticeably stronger.

The phillips screwdriver is a necessity for me on a SAK. Corkscrews are useless to me. The drivers are near identical in length. The Vic has a larger diameter and the tip is slightly bigger. Using them on a screw of the kind holding my computer together, the functional difference is non-existent they both work just fine. The backspring strength is a draw.

The Vic has a definite edge with the toothpick and tweezers as the way they interface with the handle is much better. The toothpicks are sharpened plastic and neither shows any advantage to me. The tweezers are longer on the Vic, but seem to come to a finer conclusion on the Wenger. Both are slightly off at the end from the factory. I always redo the ends on my Wengers so don't mind I have to do it on the Vic.

The overall level of polish is higher on the Wenger, including the scales. All the nail nicks are deeper on the Vic. The backsprings are stronger overall on the Vic. The Wenger's scales cover the frame edges, which looks more finished to me. The quality of the exposed frames are equal and seem to be of the same metal thickness, except on the end near the keyrings, where the Wenger has a section of exposed frame that is much thicker. This makes up for the fact that the nail file blade on the Wenger is noticeably thinner than the Vic's small blade. The bottom seems much more finished on the Wenger, with it near flush, with the backsprings meeting flush to the frame. The Vic has a gap and also the hump from the awl/reamer. The springs themselves are taller on the Wenger and the end of the main blade the part surrounding the pivot is larger.

I guess if I really wanted to get particular, I should have bought a new Wenger Highlander also, but the one I'm using for comparison is quite new anyway and I've owned enough of them to be very familiar with them. Besides, I wanted the alox-handled Soldier and couldn't afford a third knife for the day. I'm going to use the Vics as EDC for awhile and see what kind of overall impression I come away with.

Going to have to leave the Soldier at home or I'll wind up using it instead of the Tinker. Don't know yet if the Tinker will compare well with the Highlander, but the Soldier is a wonderful piece of kit. I can already tell it's a keeper. They've got a new Soldier model out, larger, more tools, way less cool. This is the model to have.
Top review scosmo.

Ive owned a Swiss army knife years ago and to be honest I'm not over keen on them but that's not to say i don't think they are useful because they are,I'm a traditionalist and like my knife to be just a knife,less parts to break.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:29 AM
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Nice write up. Personally I collect Victorinox SAKs, I have over 100 now (dont ask me why, I dont know.... ). Love them thou. Dont have any Wegners at all. Might look at a couple at some point..
Old 07-11-2009, 04:16 PM
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Sorry no pictures.

I've used my SAK Spartan several times now to gut and scale sea fish (mackerel, pollack and bass). I rinse the knife in the sea and then wash it under the tap when I get home. The joints get a little stiff but some oil brings them back to new.

Amazingly there is no sign of any rust! In that regard its better than my CRKT Big Eddy fillet knife.

I've also found that it makes very good fuzz sticks, certainly as good if not better than some fixed blades I've had!

The tooth pick has also come in very handy for unpicking knots in braid fishing line (blummin' finicky baitcasting reels)

For the money SAK's are simply awesome.
Old 07-26-2009, 11:39 PM
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An excellent review ! I have a Vic. Swisschamp that I have carried , everyday on my person for 17 years. There is not a day goes by when I don't use it . I have never had the opportunity to handle a Wenger . After your review , I would like to get my hands on one . I also think SAK's should be more popular than they are . Thanks for the review. Best regards,JA
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:09 PM
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Great review thanks, very in depth.
I've just bought a second hand Wenger Hunter (locking blade, gut blade and saw), very impressed with it so far.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:41 PM
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If you are thinking about getting a lockblade SAK Wenger is definately winning out
Old 08-02-2010, 11:01 AM
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I'm never very far from a Victorinox Officer's Model.
Old 10-11-2010, 03:16 PM
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I have a couple of each. I use my smaller Wenger's for EDC and take my larger Victorinox when I go out in the woods. I like both brands and always have one on me.
Old 02-02-2011, 08:51 AM
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Greetings from Rhodes island, Greece.
Great review you wrote there.
Actually this review made me register in the forum after searching google for SAK's.
I own a Vic since twelve, now I have more than 20 of them and two Wengers.
I would like to add some personal experience with them and also ask you some questions.

Firstly how did you managed to brake your SAK???
I never broke one and would like to know not to brake mine to
was it a Wenger?

About the nail file missing from most of Vics I dont really mind.
I never fix my nails outdoors, at home I have an Ambassador Vic (0.6503) just for cutting nails and opening letters.
A second small sharp precision blade on Vics comes always handy.


The can openers are from two different worlds!
The Wenger really cuts much faster, but as a home tool I have a Vic and I do cut easy enough any can with no particular effort.
The little screwdriver at the front came to me handy in use many times.
because of the absents of Phillips screwdriver in most models I was using that one for Phillips screws, and more particular mounting electrical slots on walls, they have either Phillips or flat headed screws and they dont go deep in so the Vic can opener does the job with no question.
being not the same and by having a screwdriver I would not give any advantage to any of them.

Now to the cork screws:
I find them very useful, I use them to untie knots but also the little screwdriver that holds on it is totally handy when one needs to tight a screw from the sunglasses.
I have even took out a leaked battery from a torch that was stuck in.
I pierced it, gave a small turn and pulled it out!

The toothpick now, it is supposed to be easy to get lost accidentally compared to the one at Wenger but I have never lost one. The only use I have the toothpick for is to reset my router.
I am not germophobic but would not put a toothpick from a SAK in my mouth prefer the dental floss anyway.

The can opener on Wenger has that special locking feature when pushed. On Vic locks different but still stable enough.
I find a bit strange the feeling when pushing the screwdriver to move back as having a suspension.
Never having a problem with Vics lock I prefer it because it gives a more stable feel because there is no motion inwards while screwing.

The awls/reamers. I have also never used the eye on Vic, but who knows when can be needed so I dont find it useless.
The pin is sharper on Vic and has a sharp side too giving you the ability to drill small hole through a wood. I have used that to drill holes for putting screws afterward on cupboards.
The Wenger is just push through hole creator, having not a sharp side I would use it without caring if the sharp side goes dull but either way it could be resharpened if it does, so I give advantage for Vic.

Now the most crucial tool on comparing them both.
The SCISSORS!!!

It is said that the spring on Vic can get lost.
Again I have never lost one, has any of you did?
The spring on Wengers is great idea! being supported on the backspring.
But have you noticed that move up and down when cutting?
It really annoys me! I can not cut something with great care and precision when that thing is moving on every slight press.
Now the beloved serrated teeth of Wenger.
Another great idea, no sharpening ever needed!
But on cutting what it gives you an advantage?
Personally I tried it on nails and dont like the feeling of it, it just feels like squeezing the nail and not cutting it sharp.
On paper or even textile with Vic you can just cut a bit in the front and then push it through and is cut all the way. That is something can not be done with Wengers scissors.
also the Vic scissor gives a clear cut on paper while Wengs is a bit rough.
Sharpening the scissors blade on a Vic once a year is not a great deal.
So again I prefer the Vic on that.

The pliers on the other hand I prefer the one on Wenger because they have a two position adjustable size!

Taking in account the price difference and the warranty, Vics cheaper with more tools, lifetime warranty, Wenger more expensive with just 5year, I would prefer to buy another Vic again.
Old 02-09-2011, 12:04 AM
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I've haven't found a Wegner which had the features I've wanted. I love my vic Huntsman.
Old 02-09-2011, 07:47 AM
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nice writeup on the SAK. I've had 200+ swiss army knives because I must have some mental trigger that has caused me to buy one just about everywhere I go. It's a sick love affair I tell you.
i've got a fair assortment of both Wenger and Victorinox, and I used to be a die hard Vic fan (even with the crappy springs on the scissors, wenger is better there) but to tell you the truth these days, I love them both. Just buy one of those chinese look alikes and you'll see what I mean. No-one else makes a multiplex knife lise the Swiss. Though, China, Taiwan, and many others have tried.
The biggest change in my affection for the SAK is the Locking blade models. Both Companies (I believe Victorinox has bought Wenger though) produce marvelous lockblade models which I prefer overall now. Although havinga selection or collection of knives has always just been one of my little odd quirks.-Mike
Old 05-09-2011, 10:28 AM
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Just got my Irish princess a shamrock handled keychain Victornox. Got me laid... Better than diamonds! I prefer Victornox over Wenger, backpacking mostly. Cold Steel is daily carry. Blades on both are adequate, I grew up on them, but they dull easy and hard to sharpen Keep 'em sharp, clean, oiled, and they will do anything Just watch that non-locking blade!!! =)
Old 05-23-2013, 07:55 PM
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Vics are the best IMHO.
Old 05-24-2013, 02:57 PM
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Great review, personally I don't leave home without my Vic Tinker.
Old 12-04-2013, 01:50 PM
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Some folk had to make youtube vids to show people how to use SAK can openers.

I have one Wenger and 20 Vics.
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