Sorry, RangerGrip Boatsman, credit where credit is due...
Once upon a time in Switzerland, there where two companys, making the finest in multitool cutlery...
One is the famous Victorinox, made popular by a TV-hero named MacGuyver. The other was, and in our hearts still is Wenger.
It is my understanding, that Wenger was lesser known in the US, than it was in Europe.
After Wenger was bought by Victorinox in 2005, not much changed for us ELU (EndLineUsers).
Then in 2013 Victorinox took Wenger under its wing, merging both companys and from then on, Wenger was history.
No, not really.
Fast forward to today.
Rumor had it, that Victorinox was going to release a new label named „Delémont Collection“.
Which turned out to be true :-)
On of the newest offsprings under the name „Delémont Collection“ is the RangerGrip Boatsman, which found its way to my loving hands and which I´m preseting you now.
The boatsman represents the largest variety in swiss mutlitools with is the 130mm length (5.12inches)
Delivered in an high quality nylon sheath, the Boatsman comes with two long shank-bits, a 4.5 flathead and a PH3:
The bits are stored in the sheath and are inserted in the grippanel, for a full 1.5cm (0.59inches). This depth ensures that a useful amout of force, i.e. torque can be applied:
Nothing worse than a bad tool, isnt it?
The bits are hold firmly in place, you need a good pull to get them free, which is far better than search for them on the floor, because they fall out by gravity alone...
Whats hidden in the scales? Could it be? Is that really?
Damn yes, that are T&T!
For the uninitiated, thats inside toolhead-speak for toothpick and tweezers :-)
So, it can be done...!
Yeah, I´m looking at you DualPro...
In my oppinion, the Victorinox-made T&T are far superior to the ones Wenger used. YMMV
A little size-comparison is in order I think. As you see, 130mm is quite a handfull
Its not like we arent used to big bad mofos of a knife, right?
Nicely done, the new lettering:
I took a real liking in the new two-component scales, very grippy, without beeing too aggressive on the hands. Where the „old“ Wenger-made ones where wide, relatively speaking, with a thickness of 7,5mm, we have now just 5mm.
Thats a whole 5mm in width-savings. Not too shabby...
Proportionaly speaking, its a win.
I like it.
The locking mechanism of the mainblade is untouched. The only change is the Victorinox-shield you have to press, where the Wenger-emblem would have been:
The mainblade has serrations, about threequarters of the lengh (which is 9.5cm in total, or 3.7 inches).
The serrations remind me ot the kind Spyderco is doing, well proven, reliable and perfectly fitted for maritime use. There has to be a reason Spyderco does what they do, right?
Same thing with Victorinox. They have 130 years experience in knifemaking...
The Wenger-awl was never realy to my liking, the Victorinox was and still is far better (sharpend edge, better point, you get the picture...).
Glad to see, she is used in this new incarnation:
What a case of „lucky/educated guess“: The awl is on the other side, but the nailnick fits...
Who dares wins, right?
So, this is a brainpicker...
How to describe the locking-prevention-mechanism used for the large screwdriver...?
Victorinox started to use a little notch and nose to hinder unintentionally closing of the screwdriver when in use.
Quite good, if you ask me.
But Wenger made a different approach. They used a similar nose, but this one locks into the backsping, when under pressure. This technique is really inventive and it workd well. The screwdriver cant unlock, unless the pressure is released.
So guess what Voctorinox did?
Damn right, they kept the Wenger screwdriver as is.
A smart move, as this variant is in my humble oppinion the better way of doing things.
The only thing new is the absence of the „Patent“-marking.
Ok folks, till now, it was quite familiar for me, but nor for something different for me:
Real foldig pliers on a SAK. I mean, pliers. Real pliers. Most of you who havent stopped reading allready, which is something I compliment you for, will know the little mini-pliers used in the 91mm and 111mm-models.
They are not bad, far from it, but they were small. Precision-made for sure, but small. More for surgical implementation, than for field use.
Now look at this:
They are real compfortable in hand, due to the wide handle and can apply real force.
The pliers open with authority, no wiggle at all. The word „Rolex“ comes to mind...
Now for the best part. They are spring-loaded. I fall in love with those a lopng time ago, think of Leatherman Squirt, or the Victorinox Mechanic. But this is the real deal. Spring-loaded pliers in man-size :-)
They wont compete with the pliers of a SwissTool, for sure, but thats a big step ahead.
The Boatsman´s pliers lack the hardwire-cutting notch of a SwissTool, but hey. Its a SAK, not a pliers-based tool.
For testing I cut some thin wire, some speakercables and meshwire, no problem. I wouldnt use it harder than that, but its more than enough for me.
The canopener is now of the Victorinox-variety, also a step forward, as the old Wenger-opener lacked the small flatheaddriver on top.
Years ago I dumped my keyrings in the sewer, dont ask how, s*** happens. A shoelace and a Spartan made my day, imrpovising a fishing rod, getting my keys in a breeze.
So I made it a habit to buy only SAK´s with a keyring.
If your name is Boatsman, there has to someting maritine on you. In this case its the shackleopener:
What do we have: a shackleopener, hence the name, a ruler (metric and inch) and a sewingeye.
Made from 2mm stock, thats 0.078 inches, which should be sufficient for any reasonable use:
...if youre stationed on board of a supertanker, its either this:
I have real fun with the Boatsman, the unusual tool selection, the crafting quality and the intrinsic value make it possible.
To call it a pocket tool depends on you and your pockets, in my case its backpack or beltcarry.
Surely its no featherweight, with its 270 grams (9.5 ounces) but my Seiko BFK weights 200 grams (7.05 ounces) and I wear her on my arm all day...
The Boatsman in his usual environment:
Thanks for your time!