Some of you will remenber this old claim, used in advertising.
And rightfully so, as SAK´s (swiss army knife) have a long history of coming packed with ingenious and usefull tools.
In this thread http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,53333.0.html
I presented you my first „Delemont-Edition“-Victorinox.
A few of the changes Victorinox made to the Wenger-Editions are decribed in there, so maybe having a look there first wouldnt hurt (please ignore the shameless self-promotion ;-) )
So my next aquisition was the Victorinox EvoGrip S54, which is now going to be discussed.
By the way, when I´m talking about „Wenger“ and „Victorinox“ I mean the origin of the specific tool, because as you know:
Wenger, thats history...
The S54-model by itself is not really that new, but what comes now is the facelifted and retrofitted version, made by Victorinox.
With its 10 tool-layers its not the slimmest of the bunch, but i have wider ones in my collection as well.
I measured its width at 45mm, thats 1.77 inches
Seen with its skinny cousin, the Compact.
The Compact is a member of the 91mm-class, the S54 belongs to the 84mm-range.
So its a little shorter, but not really that much.
So, what makes the S54 so special?
Where the Boatsman has a clearly stated marine area of operations, the S54 is an Jack of all trades.
Surely the Boatsman would be a capable companion for landbound applications, but the tool-selection hints to the sea.
Both Boatsman and S54 come with the two-component-scales, the S54 just smaller in size.
Toothpick and Tweezers are also on board, coming in the Vic-version!
Seamlessly molded, thats how its done. Good job here.
The EvoGrip S54 comes loaded with all the usual tools: awl, corkscrew, bottle- and canopener (Vic-variety!), large mainblade, small bla...
Wait a minute!
Theres no small penblade. At its place you´ll find an other useful gadget, a nailfile :-)
Maybe you know the Cadet or the Sportsman, same thing there.
Actually, I like it a lot.
In past times, the penbalde was used to sharped pens and erease/scratch misspelled ink on paper, hence the name „penblade“.
Do you know anybody who does that today?
Na, me neither...
Maybe the filecutting could be extended another milimeter or two, but otherwise its perfectly fine.
(you could use the tip for small philips-screws as well)
So, and now its getting really interesting...!
The S54 comes with the Wenger-based pliers, which are build like a pipe wrench. Just a little smaller, of course.
This build leads to wider opening pliers, which can handle larger bolts and nuts than its Victorinox counterpart
You´ll find a small round hole, intended for wirecutting, but dont overdo it. Insert the (copper)wire, close the pliers, done.
The plier is precisely crafted, easy to handle, no movement in the joint whatsoever and spring loaded. Where Victorinox uses an actual spring, we find a lever-based solution on the S54.
The lever is powered by the same backspring as the plier itself.
And it works perfectly.
Just take care, that you close the pliers correctly before folding them into the handle, otherwise it looks like this:
The pliers dont close completely, and the jaw can catch on clothing.
The next layer holds the wrench, capable of handling bolts and nuts up to 8mm.
The stamping shows the right direction for use, if done wrong, the wrench will simply fold.
Did I say nuts and bolts?
Well, not necessarily, other „closing-devices“ work perfectly fine as well:
No problem here...
Yeah, well, two out of three, not bad... Couldnt get a grip on the triangle-bolt :-)
Beside the wrench the philips-driver is stored, a little on the short side, but if the screw doesnt sit too deep, it can handle a variety of philips-sizes.
A little unfair comparison, the philips used in the Victorinox Spirit shown with its S54-pendant:
The Spirit clearly has more reach, but the tool itself is larger too.
Theres no half-stop build into the philips-driver, but because the tool is a little on the wide side, you can apply enough torque anyway.
Something I nearly missed is the locking mechanism implemented in the philips.
What locking you ask?
Well, Victorinox uses the same technique which is build into the bottleopener. The philips-driver has a nose, which locks into a notch in the backspring, when under pressure. Just when the downward pressure is released, the philips unlocks and can be folded away.
Never seen that one before....
Now lets have a look at the scissors.
There have been some heated disputes, discussions and discurses about them. The Wenger-based scissors use the same lever-technique as is used for the pliers. And they come with micro-serrations.
Doing ones manicure with it might be difficult, as the fine teeth leave a corresponding mark on your fingernails.
We know that serrated blades tend to stay sharp longer than their plain-bladed brothers. The same is true here. Additionally the fine serrations grip the cutting medium better, and the chances of loosing it or slipping during cutting is like zero.
Granted, for a nice straight cut the Victorinox-version is better suited.
The lever, holding the scissors open:
If you someday have had to replace a broken scissor-spring, that doesnt look to bad of a choice, doesnt it?
Next in line the fishscaler.
Actually, I use it just to remove staples and as an impromptu spanner wrench.
I´m sure it would work as intended, but I´m not sooo fond of fish...
We now come to the magnifying glass, made of clear polymer:
Works fine and comes with an additional flathead-screwdriver on the tip as well. The magnifying glass is a little on the small side, even smaller than the one used in the Victorinox Explorer but gets the job done.
Side by side the woodsaw and the metalfile. There´s no nailnick, so opening them can get a little tricky.
Those of you with large hands will need some patience. Or you just open both at the same time and close the one you dont need.
I cant remember having ever heard any negatives about the saws, they are simply spoken perfect for their size.
Tapered to the back, so the saw will not stick in the cutting media.
A prime example how to do a file. All three sides are usable, and the cutting goes all the way.
If you have to get into tight spaces, you will love this feature, often the competition leaves the tip of the metalfile uncut, what a waste of space...
I really like this specimen!
The next tool is new ground for me.
I learned how to read a compass and a map when I was in the boyscouts, but I´ve never seen one on a SAK. And yes, I can find my way without the help of a (not so) Smartphone.
Sizewise its comparable to the usual button-compass variety, but will it stay true?
As a boy I got an Eschenbach Marschkompass, truely hightech at that time. He brought me home eyerytime. Both show in the same direction, so it should be fine. In any case, better than nothing, right?
The rose can be turned, so you should be able to navigate rather precise. Additionally there´s an Inch and Centimeter-Scale, for calculating distances with a map. The S54 comes with a rather nicely done explanation of how to use a compass, good thinking, as some folks tend to get lost in their own locker theese days...
On the bigger variants from Victorinox you´ll find a wide array of backtools, not so much on the S54. The awl and corkscrew, thats it. Room for improvement in the future?
By the way, the small flathead, usually stored in the corkscrew fits as well, so if you like to add one, go ahead!
The „S“ in S54 stands for „Safety“, so we´re looking at a locking blade here.
Technically I would describe it as an modified backlock, the lockingrelease realised by a lever, marked with „Lock“. Piece of cake.
A 95°-halfstop ensures that you dont get cut, doing a onehanded closing excercise.
With a little practice its quite easy.
The mainblade comes with more belly than the Victorinox-counterparts:
If your a lot out-of-doors, or travel a lot, you will be happy to have a companion just like the S54.
Can it replace a real toolchest?
Surely not, and it doesnt intend to.
I´m not doing the Nutnfancy on you, but if you have limited space, and weight counts, you could do far worse than with an S54 for sure.
For me personally, I like the tool selection very much, the fit and finish is outstanding. Honestly I didnt expect otherwise :-) Its swissmade, nuff said.
Some impressions from the shoot:
„No rope was harmed doing this shot...“, actually I found it this way. Really. I swear!
Thanks for your time!
I´ll do my best to answer them.