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'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review

ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #30 on: February 11, 2013, 01:00:13 AM
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 20

Nothing important to report. Coghlan is still holding up. No new tool failures. The scales have certainly looked better, though:


Independent lab tests have so far been unable to determine if these scales are made of frozen yogurt or gossamer fairy dreams.


no Offline Grathr

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #31 on: February 11, 2013, 05:50:50 AM
 :popcorn:

Its holding up a lot better than I thought it would.
-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #32 on: February 11, 2013, 09:02:35 AM
Its holding up a lot better than I thought it would.
I know! I'm pretty seriously shocked. I'll admit, though, that I'm really looking forward to retiring this thing and switching back to something with better fit and finish (not to mention a working saw, which it turns out I reach for even more often than I thought).

Also, Day 20 Update:
I didn't get any pictures, but I used the Phillips and slot drivers, as well as the main blade and the scissors, to clean and overhaul a 1980s-era CCM exercise bike. Still no screwdriver issues, despite the exercycle's advanced state of Disgusting Screw-Binding Grime Buildup. Cool.


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #33 on: February 11, 2013, 09:15:39 PM
Independent lab tests have so far been unable to determine if these scales are made of frozen yogurt or gossamer fairy dreams.

As a member of the Fey, my knowledgeable consultants assure me that it is NOT made of Gossamer Fairy Dreams. It is of neither Seelie nor Unseelie origin. We believe it may be to coagulated blood of some form of orc or goblin, though.

Loving the tests. Keep 'em coming!  :tu:


hr Offline enki_ck

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #34 on: February 11, 2013, 09:16:56 PM
Welcome back Lynn. ;)


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #35 on: February 12, 2013, 05:43:35 PM
Been busy with a writing project for the past two weeks. So, I haven't had time to check in much. I'll have more news on that if anything becomes of it.


hr Offline enki_ck

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #36 on: February 12, 2013, 07:04:34 PM
Been busy with a writing project for the past two weeks. So, I haven't had time to check in much. I'll have more news on that if anything becomes of it.

I wish you luck. :tu: If it gives you more monies to buy more tools to review, even better. :D


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #37 on: February 16, 2013, 08:18:50 PM
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 24

Banff! Fixed my ski bindings.

I tested the bindings and tested the boots, but I guess I should have tested the bindings with the boots.

Also, I love how much Banff! looks like an onomatopoeia. But it isn't.


gb Offline Cupboard

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #38 on: February 17, 2013, 09:58:25 PM
This is brilliant!

Going back few posts, I find that Leatherman make some really good door stops. Open out the pliers and shove them under the door and they'll hold most open.


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #39 on: February 22, 2013, 03:08:07 AM
Going back few posts, I find that Leatherman make some really good door stops. Open out the pliers and shove them under the door and they'll hold most open.
True fact!

Anyway...
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 29
Bad news regarding the scissors: despite using them almost exclusively on my fingernails (also toes. Ewww!), they are now dull enough that they don't cut nails well anymore. Resharpening is probably an option, but I have never had to sharpen a pair of SAK scissors.

I'm not going to flunk the scissors, but they certainly aren't winning any prizes in the 30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge!


no Offline Grathr

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #40 on: February 22, 2013, 01:06:50 PM
 :popcorn:

Will the cochlan make it throug day 30? :think:
-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #41 on: February 23, 2013, 02:40:46 AM
Will the cochlan make it throug day 30?
With only six hours to go, all I know is my gut says maybe.

30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: Day 30
Coghlan decided not to start slacking now, just because it's near the end! No, sir!

It faced the Almighty Broken Female Extension Cord Plug...of Terror!

"Grrr! Rarr!"

Seriously, though, I was operating a chipping hammer when I noticed the casing of the cord end was falling apart. When I unplugged everything and went to take a look, I found the negative cable loose, and the whole mess unusable. We found another female end, and went through the motions of putting it onto the cord.

Here is the list of steps, including whether or not Coghlan could deal with it.
  • Remove old screws to release positive, negative, and ground wires.
    • Slot screwdriver! Coghlan wins!
  • Cut and strip plastic wire housing.
    • Knife blade! Another Cogh"win"!
  • Trim ugly frayed parts of the wire, especially near the leading end.
    • Fail! The scissors have seen their day. I had to dig out my Wenger.
  • Screw the clamps from the new end onto the newly freed wires.
    • More slot screwdriver action for Coghlan!
  • Tighten housing screws to keep everything nice and sealed.
    • Backside Phillips! Coghlan gets this one, too!
  • Scale a fish.
    • Ha ha! Just kidding. Why does this thing even come with a fish scaler? I've never been fishing and said "oh wow what I totally need is like a fish scaler for like scaling these fish or whatever."
Four out of five? OK—good job, young Grasshopper.

Tomorrow: finally, the verdict! Will Coghlan live on in the annals of time? Or maybe as a doomed pariah, destined for the endless matching deserts of shame and irrelevance? Only time will tell!

Either way, though, I can absolutely promise you I'm back to higher quality carries. So it goes.


scotland Offline Gareth

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #42 on: February 24, 2013, 08:29:17 PM
I am truly in awe that you are persevering with this test, well done that man. :salute:
Be excellent to each other and always know where your towel is.


no Offline Grathr

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #43 on: February 24, 2013, 08:47:09 PM
Brilliant test!  :tu:
-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #44 on: February 24, 2013, 10:42:45 PM
30 Day Coghlan's Army Knife Challenge: The Dark Finale!

I'm going to approximate Lynn LeFey's OP format, only with pictures, because why not?

Overview

This was one looooooooooooooong month. The tools I ended up testing regularly were the blade, saw, scissors, slot screwdriver/caplifter, can opener, Phillips driver, awl, file, and corkscrew. Because many nearly identical products from other companies don't include them, I didn't feel it fair to judge the tweezer and toothpick (which I replaced with Victorinox ones anyway). I barely even looked at the fish scaler, because bwa ha ha ha ha. I`ll touch on the scales a little, because while similar cheapos might not have the same ones, I am looking at the Coghlan`s model, which does.

The tool cost $6 at Wholesale Sports, which, despite the name, does not sell things wholesale.

Tool review

Remember, before I delve too deeply here, that I had to peen every one of the tool's pins before I started the challenge. One side had been left completely unpeened at the factory, and Coghlan would have fallen apart in a matter of minutes given the kind of crap I put it through. I didn't have to peen it a second time, so that was nice.

The blade came surprisingly sharp right out of the package. This means little, really, since edge retention is where it's at. It turns out, though, that Coghlan held an edge far better than I had ever expected. I only had to sharpen it four times, two of which were in the middle of slicing up terrible, gritty, thickly-underlaid carpet on a construction site. My Wenger Evo s18 and Victorinox Forester both held their edge through the carpet, but Coghlan really impressed me. For the usual food prep and sundry chores, the Coghlan's blade was more than adequate. Success!


Lynn LeFey was shooting for the moon when she tried to cut through oak with the saw. Mine couldn't cut it's way through a single 3"-wide strip of 3/4" spruce plywood. It can handle minor drywall chores, but so can a reasonably sharpened burrito. This is a big deal for me, since I use the wood saw all the time (I really noticed it this month, since it was as good as not even there). Couglan's should replace the saw with a miniature dachshund, which would both cut better and make for an interesting conversation starter at parties. Abject Failure!


The fish scaler is hilarious. Hilarious!


The scissors started off OK, with successful forays into fingernail cutting and zip-tie clipping. Unfortunately, they developed just enough of a pivot wobble to make cutting paper or fine string difficult, and dulled from use almost exclusively on finger and toe nails to make them sub-par for cutting finger and toe nails. If you intend to sharpen and re-peen them once a month or so, they might work out. Otherwise narp. Bittersweet failure!


The slot screwdriver/caplifter is one of the champion tools on this bad boy. It turns screws (wow!) and opens bottles (gosh!) without serious trouble. It uglied up in a hurry when I used it as a scraping tool, and after a month of light-to-medium prying chores it doesn't sit in the knife 100% straight anymore, but it still opens and closes, and it still does its job. I have no illusions about the level of abuse I heap on my poor caplifters (that's why I bought a Forester for construction gigs), but this one went above and beyond. Sweet Juicy Victory!


The can opener is pretty average. It opens cans. It hasn't given me any trouble in that regard (I eat a lot of canned lunches). It would be nice if it was sharper, so it could do time as a clamshell opener, but that's really not a quality issue. Victorious, but that's kind of like climbing the tallest mountain in Holland.


The Phillips driver did very, very well. This is partly because it's not a particularly wimpy design for a backside driver, and partly because of the peening its pin got on Day 0. It kept up with hinge screw, deck screws, drywall screws, and any other tough, horrible duties I threw at it. It quite literally saved my skiing holiday. Surprising Success!


The awl poked holes, and reamed them a little if they were in soft enough material. Victorinox awls ream like bats out of hell, and Wenger ones have the can opener blade for reaming out the hole afterwards, but Coghlan was limited to punching, punching, punching, like Multitool Chuck Norris. Limited Success.

The file does the fingernailin' trick. If you pretty much only use if for grooming (I do), it's acceptable. Fingernail Win!

The heavy sewing needle never saw the light of day. Not one single time. I used the sewing eye on a Victorinox awl once, I think. Anyway, as a separate tool, I'm afraid the heavy sewing needle is a heavy sewing failure. Useless Fail!

The corkscrew had me worried, but then I did something breathtakingly stupid; I attempted to pull several nails out of a 2x6-framed stud wall. With a corkscrew. I don't remember falling on my head that morning, but obviously something was wrong with my brain. To my eternal amazement, however, after threading the corkscrew sideways onto the nails, the leverage the tool gave me was enough to slowly wiggle the nails out. It also opened one bottle of wine. It wasn't good wine. It still seems flimsy to me, but I think I have to call this a win. Call This a Win!

The scales are all kinds of chipped and ugly. I'll bet this knife longs for the days when it was just homely, instead of looking like five miles of bad road. I accidentally destroyed the split ring while I was replacing it with a brass-coloured one (to match my lighter and space pen...hey, stop laughing!) When closed, the can opener, slot screwdriver, and scissors have always been a bit off-centre. Sometimes they hang up on other tools instead of closing. This has become increasingly noticeable as the tool has been more abused. Therefore, Fit and Finish gets a big fat F. F! (Big and Fat Type!)


Takeaway
I'm going to admit to two things.

The first is that if a single tool on a multitool doesn't work or has no conceivable use, I usually pick another multitool. A fish scaler? Please. More importantly, the scissors are a minor dealbreaker, and the saw is a huge dealbreaker. The fact that neither of these tools will work well in the long run gives me pause.

The second is that I beat the stuffing out of my multitools. Every pocket knife I carry is a user, and I treat them accordingly. My Victorinox Outrider went through a year of abuse (including, in one emergency, a quick stint as a hammer) with nothing but scratched blades (and an interestingly scratched set of backsprings and liners). My Victorinox Huntsman made it through two years of this garbage, without ill effect (apart from nicely scratched tools) until I lost it. My Victorinox Ranger toughed it through two years with similar lack of damage until I started teaching more and wanted a slimmer carry. My Wenger Evo s18 went through about three months, and the only damage it has is a worn-off Scouts Canada logo. I imagine that Wenger will last me a long time. But Coghlan, sweet Coghlan, is limping after a month.

So what does all this mean?

A Coghlan 11-Function Army Knife is not a serious, permanent replacement for a higher-quality multitool. In the short-term, however, you can depend on its most basic functions (knife, can opener, screwdrivers, punch) to get you out of a surprising array of scrapes. The most basic Coghlan's model, which comes without the saw or scissors, could be made to last a good long while in a pinch.

The fact is that I expected to trash this knife in a day. Maybe, at the absolute most, I gave it a week. Here I am, however, a month later, with a functional basic tool in my hands. With a little preventative maintenance, even a $6 cheap tool like this can meet the most basic of EDC needs for a month. Coghlan has earned its place on the Shelf of Honour. Cue the heroic ballads, for we are leaving the hallowed Age of Coghlan!


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #45 on: February 24, 2013, 10:45:33 PM
I am truly in awe that you are persevering with this test, well done that man. :salute:
Thanks! I'm incredibly relieved to have my Wenger back in my pocket. That saw and scissors thing was killing me.


scotland Offline Gareth

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #46 on: February 24, 2013, 11:19:11 PM
Quote
Mine couldn't cut it's way through a single 3"-wide strip of 3/4" spruce plywood. It can handle minor drywall chores, but so can a reasonably sharpened burrito.

 :rofl:

Hats off to you, I know I couldn't have done a month with it. :hatsoff:  I am also surprised that it still (mostly) functions after the month you gave it.  Welcome home Wenger though. ;)
Be excellent to each other and always know where your towel is.


gb Offline nuphoria

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #47 on: February 24, 2013, 11:35:20 PM
That's one of the most entertaining reviews I have read in a while :cheers:

Brilliant, and not surprising that the poor little tool couldn't hold a candle to a SAK!
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gb Offline AimlessWanderer

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #48 on: February 25, 2013, 12:15:00 AM
FANTASTIC thread mate  :drink: :drink:

Love the concept, love the writing style, and love the bloody minded determination to see this thing through to the end instead of saying "smurf it - I wan't my(insert tool of choice here)"  :D :D

Brilliant!  :hatsoff:


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es Offline El Rago

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #49 on: February 25, 2013, 07:41:42 PM
this is the best review I ever read, seriously. A good run down on a tool. A lot of reviewers should got his route, really.

and about the tool, quite the surprise. Isnt that bad for the ca$h.


us Offline jerseydevil

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #50 on: February 26, 2013, 12:48:04 AM
Very cool, thanks for taking one for the team and following through with this to the end!  :salute:  Personally I thought this thread would have ended badly three weeks ago.....  ;)
There's no such thing as "Too pretty to carry".  There's only "Too pretty NOT to carry"...... >:D


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #51 on: February 26, 2013, 06:04:37 AM
There should really be some kind of award for this kind of service to mankind, Jothra.  :salute:

I guess your reward is never having to carry a Coghlan's? :D

Thanks for going above and beyond in the test, and showing that while it's not as good as a name-brand, it really is a great deal better than a fist full of nothing.


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #52 on: February 26, 2013, 09:42:58 AM
I guess your reward is never having to carry a Coghlan's? :D
Basically. At least I now know that, in an emergency situation, I can save another $2-3 by picking up the model without the useless saw and short-lived scissors.

Also, thanks for directing me to this thread. Cheap and Cheerful indeed!


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #53 on: March 21, 2013, 10:34:49 PM
Here is a cross-link to member Nhoj's post about his Quebec souvenir knife, a SAK knock-off.

http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,43856.msg0.html


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #54 on: March 25, 2013, 06:01:57 PM
For those who might care, and wish very badly to spend a few dollars foolishly, I found a swiss army style knife at Deal Extreme, but without the offending saw and fish scaler (also missing the worthless awl and sewing eye) for about $3 shipped.

http://dx.com/p/portable-mini-swiss-army-multi-tool-knife-random-color-7-5cm-folded-length-113997

If I were assembling inexpensive emergency kits, I don't think this would be a bad addition. Everything on this version of the tool actually works, if not great.


us Offline Nhoj

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #55 on: March 25, 2013, 07:45:22 PM
That's the same toolset as the Québec knife I posted about. Be careful, on mine the can opener wasn't sharpened and in the pictures on the website it looks that way too. So one tool might not work. :)


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #56 on: March 25, 2013, 08:46:55 PM
Good point to keep in mind. Thanks.


us Offline Lynn LeFey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #57 on: April 02, 2013, 02:24:38 PM
Over in the Swiss Forum, there is a discussion of a counterfeit Victorinox. Here is a link to the review posted by someone buying one off of ebay. It is a hilarious addition to the discussion.

http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,44101.msg712524.html#msg712524


ca Offline Jothra

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #58 on: May 31, 2013, 04:05:03 AM
I know this is a bit like resurrecting the dead, but today I decided to give Coghlan's scissors a few quick hits with the mini ceramic sharpener I store under the scissors in my s18, just to see what would happen. Keep in mind this rod is not a very substantial sharpener. I literally ripped it out of one of those V-shaped quick sharpening things.

A minute later, and Coghlan is capable of cutting fingernails again. A little hammering on the pivot later, and the scissors are basically back where they started. They still lose points for dulling and wobbling in the first place, but it turns out it takes very little effort to keep them limping.

I admit to a modicum of surprise.


Offline trey

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Re: 'Swiss Army STYLE knife' review
Reply #59 on: June 01, 2013, 03:50:23 AM
You guys just made me buy one of those Deal Extreme knives.  At $2.90 shipped, why not?  I let you know what I think.


 

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