Friday, January 25, 2013

Victorinox Standard

At first sight, this knife is like any other "standard" Victorinox with red cellidor scales, except for the toothpick and tweezers, but when you look at the corkscrew, you'll notice that it's older then you would think... It contains the large blade, small blade, caplifter, can opener, corkscrew and reamer. The same configuration as the famous Spartan, but without the toothpick and tweezers. It's a 91 mm 2-layer model and sadly in a very used shape. The main blade is grinded instead of sharpened and has deep scratches, but the rest of the knife looks like new. Here goes a new search for age and identity... I love this part! ;)

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 : 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 : The new reamer without the sewing eye was used from 1961 to 1985.
* 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 Victorinox Switzerland STAINLESS ROSTFREI and on the back is VICTORIA in a crossbow stamped. This stamping was used from 1952 on till ??

Conclusion :
If I only look at the tools, this knife should be made after 1961. The reamer is the new type, but without the sewing eye. The small clip point blade was used till 1973 and narrows my time window to 12 years. My guess would be early seventies... The scales look brand new and I'm missing the visible rivets or shackle to call it a sixties knife. Further info may follow... The modelname was fairly easy to find. This knife looks like the Spartan and from there on, only one other knife uses this config... The Standard!
When I take a look at the 60's and 70's catalogs, I can't find the Standard, but can see that the clip point blade wasn't used in the seventies anymore. The model closest to the Standard is the Tinker, and has the same tool-marks as mine in 1967. So I would say.... made between 1967 and 1970. A three year time window...

Here's a picture from an eighties catalog with the Standard model. The tool config is the same as mine, but the age-marks are different. Mine is clearly older then this one. One more evidence that it's made before 1980.

Soldier model 1961

In 1960 Victorinox tried to change the known Soldier 1908 design. They wanted a lighter, more durable and smaller knife to add to the soldier's gear.This resulted in the 1961 design and this stayed the worldwide favorite till 2007... I'm a big, no, a huge fan of the 2008 Soldier, but the 1961 design had alox scales and that just looks better! This was a compact knife with durable scales and had all the tools on board to aid in the everyday military in the field problems. Let's have a look at the different types I already collected... 

The Dutch Army (Koninklijke Landmacht) knives are easy to find in this region and were made from 1983 till 1992 by Victorinox. I'm not the kind of freak to collect every year, but bought the 1983 and 1992. The year it started and stopped. Amefa (Apeldoornse MessenFabriek) was one of the contractors to make the knives at the same time and before 1983. These knives don't have the Swiss cross on the scales. There are also knives made in the same period with a KM stamping and this stands for Koninklijke Marine (Royal Navy). In 1993 they changed to the 111mm model.

UPDATE : Production numbers of each year by Victorinox 

1983 - 77.400
1984 - none
1985 - 43.000
1986 - 75.250
1987 - 87.000
1988 - 67.000
1989 - 112.000
1990 - 66.725
1991 - 71.147
1992 - 66.150

The traditional Victorinox Soldiers on the pictures below are the 1970, 1978 and 2007. I still miss the model 80-90's without the Swiss Arms inspector stamp and with the hollow rivet. The first alox Soldiers, or better known as the Soldier model 1961, with red scales and no Swiss shield was made from 1961 till 1965. It didn't take long for the military to notice that the red color faded easily when used in the field and after five years they changed it to the silver colored knives till 1973. From then on they used the Swiss Soldiers shield in combination with the Swiss Arms inspector stamp and still the hollow rivet. The hollow rivet was used till 1992 and from 1977 on the red shield was added on the scales. A nice, functional knife with all the necessary tools!

The South African Nato knife is a gem! This knife is real hard to find and has the nato number stamped on the front scale. These knives are always in a used state and actualy more abused as used, but mine is in a good used state. The scales are dented and the main blade has a wide sharpened edge, but looks and feels still very good! On a South-African forum was mentioned that these knives are even rare over there, so I was very lucky to find one in this condition.

Swiss Railway Soldier

This is by far the most beautiful alox Victorinox I own. It's nickname on the forums and Sakwiki is "Black Beauty". Doesn't that say it all? ;) There's not much information about this knife. It's a Soldier model 1961 design with no year stamped on the main blade, so technically it's not a Soldier. But I did find out who ordered them... The Swiss Railway... There's no amount known, and the nice black anodizing with Soldier shield makes it stand out between the other "special runs".It was produced in the late eighties and early nineties. This is a wanted knife and has a very high collectable factor. I was very lucky to find this one, and no, I'm not gonna sell it! :) 

Victorinox alox Pruner "Bugnard"

Simplicity and beauty... Not the knife for an average handyman, but all the tools for in the garden! The large blade has proven it's usefulness over the years, the pruning blade on the other hand isn't that popular,but Cutting flowers, small branches or vegetables is getting easy with this one. Not the reason I bought it, because this knife looks far to beautiful to use in that environment. The color is unique and Bugnard designed an entire line of "gold-alox" 93mm knives. There's an older design with the old Swiss cross on it instead of the shield, but the tools and color stay the same... With a weight under 50grams, this is a great edc single bladed knife with a pruning blade as a nice bonus! Bugnard is a toolmanufacturer for the Elektrotechnic and Telecom sector. These knives are fairly easy to find, but are not available trough Victorinox. They can be purchased directly from Bugnard or SwissBianco.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Victorinox Farmer

The Farmer is one of the first alox knives I laid my hands on, and that was thanks to the pursuasive Youtube video review from Nutnfancy. I saw a nice deal on Ebay and ordered three different colors at the same time. The silver one is the more common type, and therefor not as "special" as the other two. The blue one is magnificent. As all alox models don't have the tweezers or toothpick, you might ask yourself if it's worth buying it, but the truth is that giving in on functionality isn't a real problem when you look at how cool the scales realy are! This is a real outdoor knife with a nice woodsaw and a very strong reamer! One disadvantage is that the colored alox models loose their color rather fast ,if you cary your knife as it should be, in your pocket. On top of the woodsaw and strong reamer, you have the can opener/ small flathead screwdriver and the caplifter/ large flathead screwdriver/ wire stripper. This knife has the same size as the famous alox Soldier (93mm) and weighs approx. 85grams. The Farmer is produced in many different colors and often made as a special or limited run. The first Farmer saw daylight in 1957 and the silver model with the Victorinox shield as you can see on the pictures below, was first produced in 2000. The blue and red one are a special run, produced in 2007. This is one knife that will allways stay in the collection, no matter what!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Victorinox SWISSTOOL

I bought this Swisstool secondhand and was affraid that Victorinox crossed a border when they tried to follow Leatherman, but I was wrong... The Swisstool is ,just like every tool from Victorinox, flawless! The feel of opening this highly polished tool, the silent tool lock, thick stainless steel and intelligent design makes this an indispensable edc! The tools are like we're used to with Victorinox. They have the same shape and design, but are a bit longer due to the fact that the large handle stands in the way when you try to work in a narrow environment. All the tools can be used in a "closed pliers shape". Opening and closing the pliers is without any friction. When you try to close the tool, you'll instantly feel the famous Victorinox "snap". This tool is a 1998 design and the more recent tools changed the pliers mechanism. These tools are even stronger in the counter clockwise use. The curved edge on the grip makes this tool easy to operate, even when you apply great pressure! I'm not gonna say that Victorinox is better then Leatherman, but they did an amazing job on perfecting an existing design! I love this tool and can't stop playing with it ever since I bought it. Maybe this becomes my next edc? UPDATE : I've added a Swisstool spirit Black Oxide, Swisstool Spirit and a new Swisstool x to the collection. This last one is used by me at work and I love it! I was already positive about this tool, but after some extensive (AB)use in the field, I must say that this tool is not only good looking, but strong as hell! I punched holes in small metal plate with the reamer, cut squares in dry wall with the wood saw, used the 90 degree angle to level network cabinets, cut tie wraps with the scissors and last but not least, cut steel wire with the main cutter in the pliers. This tool can handle a lot of work!

Thanks to the strong springs, the tool takes the shape of a ninety degree angle for indication purpose in a DIY situation. When you flatten the handles, you'll get a small ruler with centimeters on one and inches on the other side.

Victorinox knock-offs (part 2)

Last time I wrote something about those awfull knock-offs, I didn't actually own one of them. Today I went to a low-budget store, and since the economic crisis reached our country, I started to see that these kind of shops starts to gain interest by the general public. I love to walk trough this shop because those insane expensive gadgets adverted on the shopping channel, are here for 1/10th of the price. Sometimes it's good to have a shop like this to keep things in balance, but some things should stay in the factory! I walked by the Victorinox look a like knife for a few times now, and I finally did it. I bought one just to show you guys here that this is really a piece of sh*t!!! First of ... the price... 1,75 Euro. At this price, you can't expect quality, hell, not even a high grade steel! The funny thing with these knives is that the most basic thing, cutting, isn't even possible, without sharpening it. The corkscrew is bent, made of a thin steel wire, about half the thickness of a real one. The reamer doesn't have the sharp edge, so basically it's a small piece of metal without any purpose. The philips head screwdriver is a bit thicker then a toothpick. The only good thing is the woodsaw, but I'm affraid to use it, in case the handle falls apart. The scissor is a disaster. It won't even open or close properly. The toothpick and tweezers are smaller then the real deal and even the mall key chain ring is made thinner then the Victorinox ones. Even at an amazing low price, this still is a piece of sh*t and once more can't even imagine who would buy this. Too bad that only Victorinox lovers read this blog, because I would love to open up the eyes of the non-believers out there! ;)

I did a test on how strong these knock offs realy are, and I have to say that I'm surprised. Next time is gonna be fatal! ;)