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'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review 20646

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« on: January 22, 2013, 06:49:50 PM »
You know the one. This is the knife listed as anything between 11 and 15 functions. It's got 5 tool layers. The only thing differentiating it from a zillion versions are the scales. A picture of 2 versions are posted below for those of you who somehow managed never to pick one up out of sick, morbid curiosity.

Overview
This tool has a blade, saw, fish scaler/hook remover, scissors, flathead driver/caplifter, and can opener on the front side. It has a Phillips driver, awl, file, heavy sewing needle, and corkscrew on the back side. Some models may have tweezer and toothpick in the scales, but neither of the 2 examples I have do.

Cost as of this writing (in the U.S.) on these range from about $2.50 to $14.

Weight is 3.6oz (102g) on my stainless scaled version. Different scales are likely to change with weight slightly.

Tool review

The blade came dull out of package on both models I own, but both were sharpened to paper-cutting sharp with little effort. I have no idea how good edge retention is on these blades, and never intend to use one enough to find out. While this is a guess, I'm going with 'bad'.

I tested the Saw on one of these here...
http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,37422.0.html
It failed to finish cutting through a 3/4" (19mm) oak branch. It dulled to the point of no longer cutting about 2/3 of the way through. I realize oak is a hard wood, but ANY saw should manage this task. So, this tool might as well not be here. It gives an unwarranted sense of security for a task for which it is woefully inadequate.

The fish scaler is... there. I didn't test it, and never intend to. The hook remover may find some use for someone... sometime... maybe...  If you're not fishing, it's more or less worthless, and if you ARE out fishing, I suspect it's more or less worthless.

The scissors on these were tested here...
http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,36798.0.html
In short, if you hope to cut anything more difficult than paper or plastic of the thickness of a PETE plastic bottle, you are going to be sorely disappointed. These are the worst scissors I have tested so far on any multitool. Having said that, they ARE perfectly acceptable for the very common tasks of cutting paper, trimming loose threads, and that sort of thing.

The flathead driver/caplifter worked as a cap lifter better than the Victorinox Rambler, or keychain size tools like the Micra, Crosscut, etc . The flathead driver is smaller than 91mm or 84mm Victorinox knives. It thins more in it's thinnest portion than those knives as well. Coupled with the fact that the layers are also thinner than 91, 85, and 84mm swiss army knives, this makes the tool much less sturdy. On the up side, the smaller flathead will slot into phillips #2 heads and has good grip in them. As both flat and phillips driver, it is reasonable for very light duty. As a comparison, the cross section at its thinnest is only about 2/3 as much as the flathead driver on a Leatherman Micra.

The can opener is a pretty average example. the relatively dull piercing tip meant a bit more force was required on the initial puncture, but I didn't feel like I was fighting to make it. The slight thickness of the layers on the tool seems to help keep it from binding during cutting, and the fairly short blade just means you have to make more cuts to get around a can. I opened a 15oz can of chili (now my lunch) in 26 seconds. Pretty standard. I will NOT be trying this tool on a #10 can. :D

The phillips driver is certainly not the worst I've seen on budget multitools. it will slot onto a #2 phillips head, and turn the screw without camming. That's the GOOD news. The bad news is... I tore the tool apart trying to turn a phillips screw, and it didn't take that much effort. I have two tests for phillips; a door hinge screw, and a wood strew in a bench I made. It handled the door hinge screw fine. It popped its center pin trying to turn a wood screw. Along with the limitations of ANY backside t-handle phillips, of reach, this tool will not handle heavy tasks. If that's understood, the tool is actually pretty good.

The awl is more or less useless, unless you just need a general pokey bit of metal. It will not drive through anything you might need an awl for, for instance, putting a new hole in a belt.

The file is, in fact, one of the best I've encountered on budget multitools. If all you're doing is filing your nails. But it WILL do that pretty well.

The heavy sewing needle... bad. I can't imagine punching that fat, dull thing repeatedly through 2 to 4 layers of heavy canvass, or anything that would hold together after being sewn with a needle that large. Like the awl, pretty worthless.

The corkscrew is a bit thin and flimsy looking. If you intended to actually use it to pull a cork, I'd have serious reservations. As a fine point for untying knots, I think it'd work fine.

The split rings that came on both of these were terrible, like someone took the wire they make paperclips out of, and made split rings. The attachment point to the knife seems solid, so replacing the split ring should fix the problem.

Takeaway

I'm going to be honest about something. If there's a tool on an MT that fails at its task, I sour rapidly on the entire tool. That is certainly the case with these. The saw, fish scaler, and awl are about worthless. The phillips, blade, and scissors are very marginal. But they work. I'm still seeing 7 functions that actually do their job, if you understand the limits of the tool. The blade is probably more useful than that on a 58mm Classic, and the file is just as good. The drivers are a good deal better than on the 58mm line. It only becomes abysmal when compared to similar size swiss army knives.

So, the only question for any tool is 'is it worth it'. It's certainly better than a fist full of nothing, but how much? I spent $3 on the stainless one, and $4 on the blue scaled version. I don't feel ripped off. Much beyond that, I don't think it's worth it. I can get a used Climber from Felinevet's EDCSource shop for $12. This knife isn't worth as much as a used Climber. Maybe half that.

As of the time of this writing, Emergency Essentials sells these things for $4 (but small orders add $6 shipping, so it's only a good price if you're getting a bunch of other stuff).
http://beprepared.com/product.asp?pn=CU%20K413

With shipping on an order of other stuff factored in, this is right at the top of the range for what I'd ever pay for such a thing. But, since I have 2 already, I think I'll pass. :D

Ambidangerous Mistress of Mod Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 15,038 I'm not all bad, I'm just drawn that way.
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 10:05:56 PM »
Maybe the fish scaler would make a better saw? :D

Good write up though, even if it's rather under par as a tool :tu:

A dyslexic man walks in to a bra...

All my music for free: http://soundcloud.com/chrissyvandyke
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 12:30:58 AM »
Maybe the fish scaler would make a better saw? :D

Well, it's almost impossible that it'd be a WORSE saw.  :rofl:
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 08:12:28 AM »
A substantial part of my post disappeared on me. I'm sure it was tablet related. So here we go again:

I just started the 30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge, in which one unlucky $6 knife tries to survive a month of my usual EDC hell. I sometimes work construction, and expect way too much from my pocket knives. My Victorinox and Wenger products are up to the task, but how can a cheapie fare?

http://www.coghlans.com/products/army-knife-%2811-function%29-9511

Note the multiple mislabelled tools. Classy.

I have little hope of success, but if Coghlan the Army Knife makes it thirty days, its name will live in infamy (as it sits in a spot between the Spartan and the Ranger on the SAK shelf).

To give the knife a fair shake, the first thing I had to do was re-peen its pins, since it wasn't done properly at the factory, and I dislike tools that are physically incapable of not exploding into tiny pieces.

I also lengthened the toothpick and tweezer slots so they could take the small ones from a Victorinox Classic, since that way they'll be easy to replace if need be (not to mention their much higher quality).

It's still not a quality knife, but it survived a Monday of abuse in a commercial construction setting. Surprisingly, I haven't had to sharpen the blade at all, and it's still push-cut sharp. The screwdrivers have survived several wood screws and even more outlet cover screws. The scissors made short work of a bunch of cable ties, and worked passably (barely) on a damaged fingernail when coupled with the backspring file.

Tuesday all it did was cut paper and goat cheese, so that was a lucky break for Coghlan the Army Knife.

I admit I don't expect the tool to last the month, but if it does it can retire with honours. I'll keep you guys posted as I test and possibly (read: probably) destroy more of the knife's functions.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 08:31:25 AM »
I'm very interested to hear how it holds up to day to day use in real world conditions. As I said in the first paragraph of the takeaway section, I have aan unfair bais against this tool off the bat that won't allow me to test it long term. But I Would like to know how it works for you. Particularly the blade. Keep us posted, please.
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 09:35:27 AM »
It's been two days and I already miss my Wenger. But onward shall I stagger!
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,449 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 12:07:18 PM »
Oh yeah, we definitely need to hear how this progresses!

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Full Member Posts: 100
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 01:25:47 AM »

http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a634/daikaijujothra/IMG157_zpsdca91d15.jpg


I have one very similar to this that kind of just dangles on a lanyard by my key hook in the kitchen. its been there for years, waiting for that "just in case" moment that I need it. Though, I have used it a few times before. one of the most uncomfortable tools Ive used. The scales were loose and pinched me if I gripped it a certain way. Hope you have some better experiences with it than I have.
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 08:45:49 AM »
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 3

Back to construction! Today's special: prying shards of tile from under rubber baseboard!

Coghlan the Army Knife after 6' of prying leftover pieces of tile from under baseboard (top), the OH Forester after stupid amounts of prying and scraping over several months (left), and the Ranger after absolutely unholy amounts of abuse over the course of more than a year.

I'm not sure to what degree it reflects on the quality of the steel, but the screwdriver sure scratched up in a hurry, though it fared much better than I expected.

After three days, this thing looks pretty terrible.

Further bulletins as events warrant.
No Life Club Posts: 4,722 I'm an Adult?!?! When did that happen?
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 09:34:15 AM »

Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,606 Bored

dks cy

********* *
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 11:21:24 AM »
From my experience the ones with fewer layers are better. I have a 3 layer one I got with some energizer batteries and it is OK as a knife. The steel is soft but it cuts.
The rest of the tools (Scissors, screwdrivers etc.) are also soft so they will deform easily. You can screw something but not too tightly. I have had it for years and it is there when I need it.
With the soft blade you can cut anything, damage it and get it sharp quickly.

I have a much better looking bigger one that has a lot of tools but has fallen apart, with no use, and none of the tools can be closed now. Overambitious

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 02:54:45 PM »
(Image removed from quote.)

^ This.

You are doing us all a great service, Jothra.

I'm certain it's the problem with soft steel that made the saw on mine go dull so quick. Jothra, I know you're probably a busy guy, but if you get a chance to test the saw, and either replicate or refute my results, I'd appreciate it. No hurry, though.
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 08:56:26 AM »
DKS: the pins on the two-layered ones were peened better, as were the ones on the three-layer knives. I only went with the five-layer because it's the closest to my usual toolset (Huntsman, s18, etc).

Lynn: it's definitely only a matter of time before I end up using the saw on both 2x4s and drywall. SAK saws are amazing drywall saws. I suspect Coghlan's isn't.

Nothing but food prep, a can, and personal grooming on day 4. Oh, and origami dinosaurs.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 03:41:38 PM »
Nothing but food prep, a can, and personal grooming on day 4. Oh, and origami dinosaurs.

Did you really even have to say origami dinosaurs? Don't we all just accept that one as a given in day to day use? :D
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,673
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 06:37:29 PM »
Great test! Can't wait to see how the tool holds up.  :tu:

-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
Hero Member Posts: 694 Happiness depends upon ourselves. Aristotle
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2013, 11:11:56 PM »
Yes, me too.
I am curious to see what it will happen. :)

Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2013, 01:29:59 AM »
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Days 5-7

Hooray! I'm at a computer!

Day 5 involved some scraping...

but more notably involved tearing up some particularly ugly carpet!

The main blade could handle the carpet (which had a thick and surprisingly abrasive underlay), but dulled pretty quickly. I know that ideally I should be using some kind of breakaway knife, but the nearest one was probably 45 minutes away. After two sharpenings, I caved and grabbed the Forester from the truck. It handled the whole job without any sharpening at all. I also tested the Evo s18, which kept its edge nicely.

Photos in the dark with a cell phone? You bet!

Day 6 was an easy day. Food prep. Toenails. In that order, and not at the same time.

Day 7 gets its own post, because it was a game changer.
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2013, 02:18:47 AM »
Even though nobody knew it, Day 7 is the day some of us have been waiting for.

Today I needed the saw.

It had two jobs: cut out a small rectangle in some drywall, and cut a 3" strip of drywall in half.

The hole in the drywall was easy. Coghlan chewed through it like it was butter. Win!

The strip of plywood, on the other hand, was a gong show. The saw made it less than halfway through before it became too dull to go on.

Here is a side-by-side of a Wenger 85mm saw, left, and the Coghlan's Army Knife saw:

Note the compound angles on the Wenger, which are much more aggressive than the teeth on the Coghlan's. As a result, even before the edges dulled, the Coghlan's saw was not as effective a tool.

Even though the saw is no longer any good for wood, it still works okay on drywall. But seriously, it couldn't handle 3 inches of drywall? A serious SAK saw can handle whole 2x4s.

The saw is officially the first tool to completely fail at an EDC task, and the first part of the knife to fail the 30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge!
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2013, 02:50:56 AM »
I'm glad to hear your experience with the saw was the same as mine. It makes me feel a little more confident in my statement about it in the original post.

I also found your writing on blade work interesting. I think a blade going dull is somewhat less problematic than a saw, since you can resharpen a blade. Was resharpening very difficult?

Keep up the excellent real-world test!  :tu:
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2013, 06:46:30 AM »
It's a pity about the saw, since that's usually a dealbreaker for me.

Resharpening the knife was phenomenally easy. So far this is still the only time I've had to sharpen it anyway, so I still consider it a serviceable blade.

Besides, I think it's only fair for me to admit that I abuse my pocket knives far more than any other tools I own.
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2013, 08:45:58 AM »
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 8

Today the main blade scraped and pried blotches of long-hardened glue from a wall with no ill effects. I didn't even have to sharpen. The slot screwdriver also made some scraping appearances, but isn't as good as its Swiss cousins (distant, distant cousins...) It's still prying just fine.

More carpet, this time because a piece was preventing the dump trailer's doors from closing. Coghlan handled it.

And now, the hardest job Coghlan has ever performed:

I really didn't want to get locked outside. So problem solved, Coghlan's 11-Function Doorstop Knife.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,673
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2013, 04:26:33 PM »
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 8

And now, the hardest job Coghlan has ever performed:
(Image removed from quote.)
I really didn't want to get locked outside. So problem solved, Coghlan's 11-Function Doorstop Knife.
:rofl: :rofl:

-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
Full Member Posts: 100
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 06:53:03 PM »
omg, where do i get one of these? im sold! :gimme:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2013, 09:25:45 PM »
omg, where do i get one of these? im sold! :gimme:

I wouldn't be overly shocked if you could find one at your local Dollar Store. I got one of the two I own there. If you can't find one there, try the sporting good section of regular retail stores (which might have the Coghlan version). Or pawn shops, where I got my Sheffield version.

You may have been joking with that request. I can't tell. Partly because i have a SICK fascination with cheap MTs and simply assume everyone actually DOES want to see what's at the bottom of the barrel. :D
Full Member Posts: 100
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2013, 10:46:44 PM »
i was joking mostly. but the MTs i see at my local dollar store are nowhere near this quality that im seeing in this thread. im going to stop by and pick another one up next i am around just to tinker with.
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2013, 07:53:21 AM »
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Days 9-12

Not much new stuff to report, except for a thing on Day 10...

Grudge match!

Another piece of plywood! The same saw! Will Coghlan rise to the challenge?

Ha ha ha ha! No. That picture is of exactly how far that saw could (very slowly) go before it simply couldn't go anymore. I feel even more justified about my decision to flunk the saw. It is only marginally better at cutting wood than the knife's fish scaler, which in turn is only slightly better at cutting wood than the knife's corkscrew. I have seen sharper cheeses.

In more uplifting news, I used the corkscrew to pull out three 3" spikes. If that had killed the corkscrew, I wouldn't have held Coghlan responsible, because only an idiot would try pulling nails with a corkscrew. But it actually worked.

Seriously? The saw can't cut anything harder than a boiled egg, but the corkscrew can pull nails? What a world.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,673
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2013, 09:55:24 AM »
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Days 9-12

Not much new stuff to report, except for a thing on Day 10...

Grudge match!
(Image removed from quote.)
Another piece of plywood! The same saw! Will Coghlan rise to the challenge?

Ha ha ha ha! No. That picture is of exactly how far that saw could (very slowly) go before it simply couldn't go anymore. I feel even more justified about my decision to flunk the saw. It is only marginally better at cutting wood than the knife's fish scaler, which in turn is only slightly better at cutting wood than the knife's corkscrew. I have seen sharper cheeses.

In more uplifting news, I used the corkscrew to pull out three 3" spikes. If that had killed the corkscrew, I wouldn't have held Coghlan responsible, because only an idiot would try pulling nails with a corkscrew. But it actually worked.

Seriously? The saw can't cut anything harder than a boiled egg, but the corkscrew can pull nails? What a world.

Ofcourse they prioritate the corkscrew over the saw. Who writes the most angry e-mails to the manufacturers? People stuck in the woods needing a good saw, or someone desperately trying to open a bottle of wine with a broken corkscrew?   ::)

-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2013, 05:28:54 PM »
I have seen sharper cheeses.

 :rofl:

I'm not sure anyone will ever know how much I loved this.
Ambidangerous Mistress of Mod Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 15,038 I'm not all bad, I'm just drawn that way.
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2013, 06:05:43 PM »
I have seen sharper cheeses.

 :rofl:

I'm not sure anyone will ever know how much I loved this.

It is a bloody good one :rofl:

A dyslexic man walks in to a bra...

All my music for free: http://soundcloud.com/chrissyvandyke
Hero Member Posts: 721 Queen's Venturer
Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2013, 03:06:35 AM »
Speaking of sharp things, Day 13 is the day I've started to notice some wobble in the scissor pivot. That makes trimming nails a bit more difficult, but at least the scissors still cut.

The blade still does its thing. I'm still surprised its held up so well, actually.

 

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