Saturday, November 24, 2012

Old Settler

I just love Alox knives. The first vintage Vics I bought were some nice alox ones, the Pioneer Harvester to be more specific. But this one is in near mint condition and has a shackle I've never seen before. It got me interested, when I was looking at the sales-page from Marios K. and after some hesitating, I bought it. There were some small flakes of paint missing on the bottom of the knife, but the overall condition was better than you would expect from a alox knife. The alox scales are more scratch sensitive, then the celluloid ones, because the celluloid can be polished over and over again, but the alox ones are doomed to show their true underground... bare aluminum. Here's what I've found so far.....

Age - marks :

* Small blade : The small blade has a clip point. These blades were used till 1973.
* Blade stamp : The main blade stamp says ELINOX with the crossbow in the middle. This one was used from 1957 till 1975.
* Bail / Shackle : ???

Conclusion : 

This is a beautiful knife, but one of the low-budget series called ELINOX. The low budget series was made till 1975. After 1975, it all became Victorinox on the main blade. The difference is in the grade of blade finish. Mine has a brushed steel look, while a Victorinox would have been polished. There isn't much info about these knives, and this leaves me with a rather large time window from 1957 till 1973. If you have any info about this or other knives, don't hesitate and contact me at !

Old Tourist

A few months ago I found a Nice Vic Traveler with the lcd display on a Belgian second hand site. The seller was from Leuven and it didn't take me long to figure out that he had more then one Vic for sale. This particular guy, John H., was also a collector, and after a few sales he started to sell the older types. One of them was a beautiful old Elinox with advertising on the back scale. There was only one disadvantage.... The front scale was damaged. Some deep lines were carved in the cellidor scale. I did some efforts to cover them, but without any results. He made me a nice deal, and I started digging for it's age.... Here's wat I've found so far....

Age - marks :

* Cellidor scales : These scales were introduced in 1937. Before 1937 the scales were made from fibre, and had no mirror polish. This knife has celluloid scales!
* Can opener : This type can opener is the more recent one with only one difference. It has a PAT - marking on it wich stands for Patented. This one is introduced in 1951 and continued till 1970.
* REAMER : This older type reamer was used till 1961 and a very distinctive age-mark for any Victorinox.
* Small blade : The small blade has a clip point. These blades were used till 1973.
* Cap lifter : The cap lifter, here used, with sharpened curve, without the 90 degree lock, was manufactured from 1951 till 1972.
* Blade stamp : The main blade stamp says ELINOX with the crossbow in the middle. On the back it says Victorinox Switzerland Stainless Rostfrei. The back stamp was used from 1952 and the front one from 1957 till 1973

Conclusion :

This knife should be made before 1961 when we look at the older type reamer. The can opener, cap lifter and blade stamp make the time window some smaller (from 1957). Conclusion is that this knife should be made between 1957 and 1961. UPDATE : after some catalog searching for another Victorinox, I stumbled upon this knife in a 1958 catalog. This shows once more that these dating techniques are very acurate. Here's a snapshot of the catalog page. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Swisschamp XAVT

What a Big knife! That was my first impression when I opened the beautiful leather box. But I have to admit.... This was an unexpected buy! Everybody knows the "real" price of these, but I managed to buy it much, much cheaper! That's actually the main reason why I bought it. Once I started to find out how many tools are actually inside, I started to notice that this knife was not too big to handle. Now I understand that some people actually carry this knife as their edc. The most surprising was the nice display in the front scale. It has a barometer/alarm/clock/temp/altimeter - function that gives the knife that bit extra. Not much more to ad , except the list of tools perhaps....

* Large Knife blade - plain edge
* Small blade
* Large Knife Blade - fully serrated edge
* Reamer 93mm Alox style
* Can Opener with small screwdriver 3 mm
* Bottle opener with large screwdriver 6 mm and wire stripper
* Scissors
* Wood saw
* Fish Scaler with hook disgorger and ruler in cm & inches
* Metal Saw/File with Nail file and nail cleaner
* Pliers with wire cutters and wire crimping tool
* In-line Phillips head screwdriver
* Magnifying Glass - times 2, 1 old style, 1 new style
* Bit Driver and case with the following bits;
Bit Phillips 0 (Pozidrive)
Bit Phillips 1 (Pozidrive)
Bit Slotted 4 mm
Bit Phillips 2
Bit Hex 4 mm
Bit Torx #8
Bit Torx #10
Bit Torx #15
* Bit Driver and case with the following bits;
Bit Hex 2 mm
Bit Hex 2.5 mm
Bit Hex 1.2 mm
Bit Hex 1.5 mm
Bit Torx #6
Bit Torx #8
Bit Slotted 3x1
Bit Slotted 4x1
* White LED Light Module
* Pruning Blade
* Electrician's blade with wire scraper
* Combination tool with cap lifter, can opener, screwdriver and wire stripper
* Watch Case Opener
* Pharmaceutical Spatula
* Awl/Reamer with Sewing eye
* Multipurpose hook - times 2, 1 with a nail file, 1 without
* Fine screwdriver 2 mm - times 2
* Chisel
* Corkscrew
* Patented Mini Screwdriver
* Keyring
* Toothpick
* Tweezers - Short version
* Straight Pin
* Ball Point Ink Pen
* Digital Altimeter & Thermometer
* Digital Barometer
* Digital Clock / Alarm / Timer

1940's Victorinox Tourist

Well, this one was a challenge! I bought it from Marios Kardaras. A well known name in the sak-world. He sold it as a spartan from 1968-1974 according to the main blade stamp, but after a long search for other age - marks, I stumbled upon tools made from 1942 till 1946. So here goes my theory... My guess is that the knife was originally from let's say 1942, but in the sixties, the main blade was damaged and repaired by Victorinox. They used a "new" blade instead of a vintage one. UPDATE: At first this knife looked like a Spartan, but after a while, I figured out that it was a Tourist, This one is identical to the Spartan, but in the smaller, 84mm package...

Age - marks :

* Cellidor scales : These scales were introduced in 1937. Before 1937 the scales were made from fibre, and had no mirror polish. This knife has cellidor scales!
* Can opener : The typical Soldier 1891 can opener ( large curved spike ) was produced till 1946. From then on there were two new types. The most recent one changed a little bit in the last few years, but stays by far the best one ever made. But this knife has the oldest type!
* NEW reamer : From 1961 on, they changed the beautiful triangular shaped reamer in the known curved reamer. This knife has the old type!
* Rivets : From 1961 on they made the rivets invisible (inside the scales). These rivets are very visible!!! :)
* Shackle / Ring : From 1961 on they made it possible of attaching  your keys to the knife by shackle at first, later by attachment ring. This knife has none of the above!
* Cap lifter : The cap lifter without the wire stripper and narrowed flathead screwdriver was made from 1942 till 1951.

Conclusion :

I could go on with this for a while, but I think it's clear that this knife was never produced after 1961!  A realistic conclusion would be that the knife was manufactured between 1942 and 1946! It's allways a real joy, when I receive an old knife with so many questions. When you finally find out when it was made, it gives you a certain motivation to pull out the rest of your knives to do the same... It's addictive!

Victorinox Skipper

This one was on my "most wanted" list for a long time now, but for 50 euro one of the more expensive NEW knives. The beautiful blue scales with the four cardinal directions in a white surface print are a real collector-magnet. The one thing that makes this knife other then the more common knives, is the marlin spike and shackle wrench. I found it on a Belgian second hand site for 20 euro! this is a great knife for the rougher jobs, thanks to the blade lock. I would love to use it at work, but for now it stays in the display cabinet.... Just to be safe! ;)

Technical specs :

* 111 mm model
* royal blue nylon scales
* Large Blade with Slide Lock
* Shackle Opener with Marlinspike
* Pliers
* Cap-Lifter with screwdriver
* Can-Opener with screwdriver
* Reamer with Sewing-eye
* Inline Phillips Screwdriver
* Tweezers
* Corkscrew
* Toothpick

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A few gems on the road...

One Victorinox Skipper in near mint condition, a 60 year old Spartan and the 125 years - heritage knife are on their way to my cabinets... ;) The Skipper comes from a female collector in Belgium, and the other two from Marios Kardaras in Greece. This guy is a real Victorinox collector in heart and soul, and has one advantage compared to me... He has the abillity to sell some of his knives. For me that's unthinkable. Let's hope that they're here soon. I can't wait! Reviews for each knife will follow...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The new Soldier in real life.

I always hear people say : I used the knife in the woods or on a hiking trip... I made a spear and killed a bear... Ok, maybe not killing a bear, but you get it. These days, and certainly in a city, we don't have the need to apply bushcraft. These knives are used for far more then cutting branches and opening food cans... I'm an electrician by the way, and my Victorinox Soldier has become an indispensable tool!

 Let's start off with why I use the Soldier and not an "Electrician" like it should be.... Whenever you're working with cables, larger than the 3g2,5 used for power outlets, the knives without a locking mechanism become dangerous. Believe me, I've felt it! Making a circular cut around the cable to pull off the jacket is fairly easy, but when you start to slice trough the cable for peeling, it becomes dangerous. When you slide away accidentaly, your hand makes a back-movement as a response to the force you applied. When that happens, the blade closes and cuts your hand. This is my impression. I'm sure there are some supermen out there with a flawless way of being perfect,but I make the occasional srew-up. ;) One other reason is the saw. The saw on the soldier is just large enough for some dry-wall cutting. Whenever I need a small hole in a dry-wall, I use ONLY my Vic's saw! This tool is just awesome! Never gets dull and allways stays straight, even when I apply large forces to the side of the blade for circular movement. The reamer works like a charm when I need a screw-hole in a plastic box, and the large flathead screwdriver is locked and can take even the toughest screws. I love this knife!

One other knife I used to have in my toolbox was the Cybertool 29. This is also an incredible tool for server installation or small server appliance-installations. I forgot it in some serverroom a few weeks ago, and I miss it....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another flea-market...

Once again a flea market with a lot potential (over 150 stands), but not one single Victorinox. A few imitations got my attention, and for a split second I was even hesitating.. I wanted to buy a pocket knife so bad, that the Chinese made ones even got tempting. Instead I bought a few German made pocket knives. Nice ones with a few drawbacks... The main blades were over-sharpened. A few hours later, they were as new. Polished, cleaned, lubricated, but still with the damaged blades. Two of them have, as far as my knowledge reaches, an imitation MOP handle (Mother Of Pearl). I hope it's real, but the silicone top layer makes me think it's an imitation.  One of them has , strange enough, not one single marking on the blades. There's nothing to retreive any info. It intrigues me, because it looks very old, but the backspring operates like new. The blades are in very good shape. The price was a laugh actualy... The one on top was 2 euro and the only Spanish one. The rest was German made and around 1.50 euro. The bottom one is the one without any labels, or logo. I hope that the two on top are genuine MOP-handles! If you have any info about these knives, please let me now...