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Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model 5946

No Life Club Posts: 1,637 Desk Jockey
Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« on: April 09, 2012, 10:31:20 PM »
I saw a similar model on one of Ashley's YouTube videos, I think she has the S18, which adds the saw.

When I read up on it and saw that it has a locking main blade and inherent locking large flat screwdriver, I had to have one. I was also curious about the "springless scissors" and EvoGrip features.

Size: The S16 is about 3-1/4", just like the smaller Victorinox SAKs, such as the Compact and Small Tinker. I think this is a great length for pocket carry. 3-1/2" feels a little too long to me sometimes, as someone who has to wear dressier pants to work.

Build Quality and scales: Very good. The tools don't snap open and closed quite as hard as on a Victorinox, but there's nothing specific to complain about either. At first glance, I could see that the scales are thicker than on a Victorinox. They probably need that extra bit of thickness to allow room for the nice contour and rubber inserts. They also don't have that slightly hollow sound that Vics do when tapped upon with a fingernail. The scales seem like they're made of a more resilient plastic than the cellidor on the Victorinox. I dropped my Super Tinker once, and it took a chunk out of the end of one scale when it hit the ground. I don't think this would happen with the Wenger's scales, as they are slightly softer to the touch and probably more flexible. The rubber "EvoGrip" panels seem to be molded into the scales; they're not stuck on or anything. I don't think they'll go anywhere.

Compared to Victorinox Super Tinker: My favorite SAK prior to this one was the Victorinox Super Tinker, and they have about the same tool set, so I'm going to do a blow-by-blow comparison for you.

1) Large blade: The Super Tinker's is made from a bit thicker stock. The Wenger's blade was therefore just a bit easier to sharpen, although they are both very easy, compared to today's tactical folders with their super-hard steel. The Wenger's has more belly, and seems to come out a bit sharper when I'm done sharpening. The Wenger's blade also locks, which is a big plus to some of us. There's a folded steel "button" toward the hinge of the blade. Press in on that, and it pushes out the backspring, allowing it to release the catch on the pivot of the blade. Pretty brilliant, I think. It has always been a weakness in the Victorinox line, that one has to buy a huge knife to get the locking blade. Here on the Wenger, we get it in a 3-1/4" knife. The only drawback to it is that the unlock button sticks up a bit and makes it a bit harder to get to the nail nick of the scissors. If you're one of those people who chews his/her nails down past the skin, you will NOT like this knife.

2) Small blade (Vic) vs. nail file/flat phillips (Wenger): This is a hard one to grade. On one hand, the Super Tinker has a smaller blade that can either be held as a back-up, be used for more precision purposes, or even serve as the main blade, with the larger blade being reserved as a "clean blade" for food prep. On the other hand, how many times have you wished you had a thin blade you didn't have to worry about chipping the edge or breaking it to do some light prying with? The Wenger has this, so if you choose the Wenger, you'll just have to be a bit more diligent with cleaning and sharpening the main blade than you would with the Super Tinker. It is also worth noting that the nail file on the Wenger has a sharp enough tip that it can double as a flat phillips screwdriver head. It is a little pointy for #2, but is perfect for #1. The Super Tinker has nothing to compete here. It is also worth pointing out that even if you don't file your nails, that file can be used on similar soft materials, such as plastic, aluminum, hard rubber, etc. I think I prefer having another tool, rather than duplicating one of them, so I give the advantage to the S16 here.

3) Can Openers: This is always a point of contention when Victorinox is compared to Wenger. Some prefer Victorinox's, others prefer Wenger's. The Victorinox can opener seems to open cans more smoothly, and it has the neat small flat screwdriver tip, which can double as a #2 phillips, if one is careful not to let it close on one's fingers. On the other hand, the Wenger can opener does work well too, it just requires a bit more effort, and it has a flat, sharp edge and a nice sharp point. This can be pressed into service as a scraper or general picking tool. Nevertheless, I have to give a tie here, because while the Vic's can be used as a make-shift #2 phillips for screws that aren't too tight, the Wenger has that neat nail file that can do the same thing have the same use. As for the scraping and picking ability, we'll touch more on that later when we discuss the awls.

4) Bottle opener/large screwdriver/wire stripper: The Vic tool has a stop at 90 degrees as well as full-out. That 90 degree stop is nice, for breaking loose tight screws. The Vic's tool also has the wire stripper further away from the pivot, so it is more easily accessible. Wenger's is right next to the scales, so it will be tight to use it. On the other hand, what the Victorinox gains by having the stop at 90 degrees, the Wenger gains points by having an automatic lock on theirs. When I push in on the screwdriver of the Wenger, it pushes in a bit and engages a notch near the joint so that it won't fold up on me and let me bust my knuckles on something. I would also like to point out that the scales on the S16 are a bit wider and a lot more grippy, so more torque can be applied in the full-out position on the Wenger, compared to the Victorinox. I have to declare a tie here.

5) Scissors: There is a big difference in the scissors of these two knives. The Victorinox has the spring external, and as such, it can be bent if I catch it on something. The Wenger has a lever, which somehow actuates a spring inside the knife. This seems like the more durable set-up. The Wenger also has small serrations on the scissor blades, where the Victorinox's blades are smooth. These serrations make the Wenger scissors more suited to heavier cutting than those of the Vic. For example, it is a tricky business to cut a cable tie with the scissors of the Victorinox, and it is quite easy with the Wenger scissors. They just don't slip back when I'm trying to cut something a little harder.

6) #2 T-phillips: These are about the same. The diameter of the Victorinox is a bit bigger, but the head size is the same, and the size of the shaft near the joint is the same, so it doesn't matter. They both work well, as long as you have clearance for the T-handle.

7) Awls: The awl of the Victorinox has a sharpened edge, while the awl of the Wenger just comes to a point. It is more of a real awl, whereas the one on the Victorinox is a proper reamer. Victorinox has a slight edge here. I like that the Wenger's is down into the handle more. There's a cut-out to get it out, instead of having it stick up past flush like the Victorinox one.

8. Toothpick and Tweezers: They are equally functional on both knives. Victorinox puts them on the outside of the scales, and they're a bit easier to extract from this location, especially for those with chewed-down fingernails. Wenger puts them inside the ends of the scales, for a cleaner look, but you'll need just a bit of fingernail to get them into action.


Pros (S16):
  • Locking blade and screwdriver on a smaller SAK
  • Grippy, ergonomic grip
  • Heavy-duty scissors
Cons (S16):
  • Not as friendly to those with no fingernails
  • Edge of awl is unsharpened, which makes it a true awl and not a reamer.
  • More expensive than Victorinox Super Tinker
Conclusion:
The Super Tinker is better for those with chewed down fingernails, or those wanting a slightly longer knife. However, the EvoGrip S16 has the locking blade and screwdriver, as well as being slightly shorter in length. Victorinox makes nothing comparable, and the Wenger looks and feels more modern. Victorinox mixes up their tool offerings once in a while, but they have not yet made an ergonomic grip or locking blade available for their smaller knives. It is worth noting that there is an EvoGrip 16 (without the 'S' prefix) that is the same except the blade doesn't lock. It's a shame to lose that, but then the scissors are a bit more accessible. The Patagonia edition has the yellow scales, which is a nice touch to set the knife apart from the millions of red and black SAKs out there. At the time of this writing, an EvoGrip S16 Patagonia Edition costs about $60. The Super Tinker costs about $35, and an EvoGrip 16 costs about $40.

Photos: The first one just shows the knife with all the tools open. The second one shows a side view, compared to three other MTs. From top: Leatherman Juice S2, Victorinox Super Tinker, Victorinox Spartan Lite, Wenger EvoGrip S16 Patagonia edition.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:35:04 PM by Smaug »

-Jeremy
**********
"Well begun is half done."
-Aristotle
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 01:39:36 AM »
Great review!  :tu:

I agree with you about the main blade.  The locking mechanism is a total winner.  It's one of my favorite things about my S557



I like the Wenger scissors better as well.

I also agree about the flat driver.  The locking mechanism is very ingenious.

I prefer the Vic can opener, mostly because it works better on the large #10 cans (industrial/commercial cans).

However the one thing you didn't mention is, the 85 mm size of the Wenger makes it extremely pocketable--even moreso than the 91 mm Vics.

Fantastic review!  I think you're going to fit right in.  :D

(BTW, I like your other SAKS in those pictures, especially the old version Explorer.  Very nice!)

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,550
Re: Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 01:42:06 AM »
Unless you have short nails, then the lock tab is right in front of the scissors nail pick. :(
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 01:51:36 AM »
Unless you have short nails, then the lock tab is right in front of the scissors nail pick. :(

Pish posh!  Just good reason to have a secondary tool! :D

Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,459 Join us! Embrace the Flicky Faith!
Re: Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 02:06:43 AM »
Very nice review.  :salute:  My Evo 16, without the grip scales or lock, has become my SAK of choice lately.  I also have an EvoGrip S18 and an S557, but the 16 gets the most pocket time.  Like you my SAK of choice for a long time was the Super Tinker, but I've really taken a liking to the Wengers.  I plan to file down the nail file a bit as shown in some threads in the Swiss Forum, making it an extra light-duty small flat head driver.

There's no such thing as "Too pretty to carry".  There's only "Too pretty NOT to carry"...... >:D
No Life Club Posts: 1,637 Desk Jockey
Re: Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 04:57:41 AM »
However the one thing you didn't mention is, the 85 mm size of the Wenger makes it extremely pocketable--even moreso than the 91 mm Vics.

I did mention it: third paragraph. I didn't give specific sizes though.


Quote from: Mr. Whippy
(BTW, I like your other SAKS in those pictures, especially the old version Explorer.  Very nice!)
That's a Spartan Lite, but I do have an old Explorer. Were you referring to other pix on my Photobucket folder?

My grandpa had an old Vic SAK knife that was like the Explorer, but without the scissors layer, so the Spartan Lite is pretty close; it just has the LED light instead of a magnifier.

-Jeremy
**********
"Well begun is half done."
-Aristotle
No Life Club Posts: 1,637 Desk Jockey
Re: Wenger EvoGrip S16, Patagonia Expedition Race model
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 05:00:47 AM »
Unless you have short nails, then the lock tab is right in front of the scissors nail pick. :(

I think you meant IF you have short nails, not 'unless'. But I agree. I think short nails is doable, but no nails is not. ;)


  I plan to file down the nail file a bit as shown in some threads in the Swiss Forum, making it an extra light-duty small flat head driver.

I think if it is just filed down a bit, it would not only make a light duty small flat-head, but also an inline #2 flat phillips. Kind of like the screwdriver tip on the Classic.

Thanks for the kind words, guys!

-Jeremy
**********
"Well begun is half done."
-Aristotle
No Life Club Posts: 1,637 Desk Jockey
Here's a video to accompany the review
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2012, 12:44:55 AM »

-Jeremy
**********
"Well begun is half done."
-Aristotle

 

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