Thursday, June 27, 2013

Buffalo horn custom Spartan

About a week ago I ordered a few water buffalo horn plates on Ebay and yesterday they arrived. After some inspection, I started with sawing, grinding, sanding and polishing... The result.... a god awful smell, loads of dust and an amazing smooth, shiny finish. I never expected that a rough material like this could result in a beautful smooth finish. Manipulating the material is fairly easy, and if you don't sand it too thin, you should do fine. This type of horn is dark black through and through and the only variation is in the structure. The small cracks and lines give it that "natural" feel. This is an awesome material...

Custom lucite display box with Buffalo horn...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brass scaled mod

This time I went for the over the top engraving. My last brass scaled mod was a real temptation to engrave, but my wife made me promise to let it as it was. "Less is more" is her credo, and I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with both results. The tool combination is rather chaotic, because I used everything I had lying around, so i ended up with a knife, wood saw, metal saw, scissors, philips head screwdriver, mag-glass, can opener, caplifter, etc... The engraving is a real success. At first I was afraid that it would look to crowded, but after some painful wrist-movements, I was able to make a continuous line with small waves added. It may look easy, but believe me, it isn't! 

Below you can see the scales right after the sanding. My new belt-sander is a great addition and makes producing new scales fairly easy,but sanding brass is still a challenge, since it gets overheated pretty quick.

Buffalo horn scaled Victorinox Golf tool

I thought I scored a 91mm with horn scales and the old style tweezers. I was up for a surprise when I noticed at home that I actually bought a 84mm. I was in a hurry and didn't notice the size difference in the box... When I took a good look, i noticed a long, thin tool on the back. For a brief moment I realized that I bought a brand new in box Golf tool with Buffalo horn scales. Doesn't ring a bell? Well, this is one of those knives, a real collector would pay big money for. I didn't buy it to gain profit, but it feels good to know that I made a good choice... The knife contains the combo tool, scissors, large blade, long nailfile, corckscrew and tweezers/toothpick. This knife has a beautiful white to black fade on both front and back scale. The knife has the grooved corkscrew and combo tool, which makes it's production date situated between 1986 and 1991. 

Victorinox Deluxe series

This series contains 6 58mm "Bijou" knives with enameled scales, or in simple scales... These scales have each another pattern, going from blue marble to plain black. They were made from the early eigthies till 1999 and are discontinued. While the knives are actually 56mm, due to the fact that the corners are squared off, they are still labeled as a 58mm. From 1987 on Victorinox added the shield on the scales, so this serie should be made before 87... I recently bought four of the six available in a brand new condition. The one I definitely want to add is the gold one, but this is gonna be difficult since this was the first one to be sold out completely...

Share your story Victorinox Classic

Early 2012, Victorinox created a contest in which every Vic-employee worldwide could enter and send in a real life story about their knife. A few days ago I met an ex-Victorinox employee who wanted to sell his "gift"... The white cardboard box with red logo contains a picture frame with cellophane instead of glass. When you open up the frame, you can clamp the Classic between the two layers of cellophane. On top of the frame, there's a small brochure with a text where Carl Elsener thanks his employee for the inspirational story. The knife itself is extraordinary! The scales are filled with "thank you" in all different languages, and the main blade has "for your story" and the signature of Carl Elsener etched on it. This is, according to the small letter included in the box, a set limited to a few hundred pieces worldwide, and that makes me smile, because I'm one of the few with one... ;)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Victorinox Climber with Microlight

This set is offered in a metal box with the Victorinox logo printed on top. The Microlight is made in the shape of the Victorinox cross and shield and the key chain has the name Victorinox engraved. The knife is a standard 91mm Climber, but the light, well that's another story.... I tought that the light was made by Victorinox, but that isn't the case. This type of microlight is actually made and sold by Inovalight. Inovalight is the manufacturer of high power portable LED-lights. This Microlight is crush- and waterproof, has enough power to lighten up the road ahead of you (about 50 feet according to their website) and has a one mile signal visibility... Pretty impressive for such a tiny light!

100 years Victorinox Classic

On occasion of their 100th anniversary, Victorinox made a wide range of knives with a metalsmith and the two dates "1884 - 1984" printed on the scales. These knives came in a cardboard box with golden letters imprinted. They are hard to find since it has been almost 30 years ago since they went into production... I found this Classic in the DesLoges shop in Brussels for 16 euros, which is very cheap.

DesLoges Brussels *Victorinox reseller*

About half a year ago I received an envelope from DesLoges in brussels with Victorinox promotional items like stickers, leaflets and an 2011 catalog. I was impressed by the customer-service that I decided to take a look at the shop in Brussels. For me that means an one hour and a half drive and searching for a small shop in a pretty large city... But, as usual when it comes to Victorinox... It was worth the trouble... If you find an underground parking spot near the Grand Place de Bruxelles, you should find it fairly easy... So, after some searching we saw the metal "DesLoges" - sign popping up and I was a bit disappointed when I saw the size of the shop. Inside the shop it became pretty clear to me that they had a lot to offer. In the displays, there were some discontinued knives and the prices were very low. The kind lady in the shop gave me some additional information about the limited alox runs, and promissed me to send the new 2013 catalog by mail.... The Swiss quality even reflects in the kindness and professional attitude of the sellers... If you're ever in Brussels and have some spare time, this is certainly worth the visit...

Here's the result of a trip where you promised your wife that you wouldn't buy any more knives... ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Victorinox - Schuco Limited Escort/Mercedes set

This set contains a Victorinox Escort and a Mercedes Picolo model car. The set is limited to 1000 pieces worldwide and is distributed by Schuco, not Victorinox, so actually it's a Schuco collectable, but let's be honest... it looks awesome... The company Schuco is founded in 1912 by Heinrich Muller and changed over the years many times from owner. Finally in the early 2000's the company was bought by Simba Dickie toys and try to uphold the same die cast quality that made Schuco famous with collectors... The tin box has the Schuco logo pressed and the Victorinox logo painted on the lid. The small model car is weighs a lot an is made of one solid casted piece of iron. The set was released in 2003 and every now and then you find one on Ebay, but it's getting hard to find one in mint condition...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vintage Victorinox Salesman

This is my first Victorinox with a bail and old style tools. It's one of my favorite tool combinations, but in a smaller package (84mm). I bought this one from Marios Kardaras last week and must say that this knife's once more the proof that this guy delivers quality... The knife looks like new and all the tools work perfectly. This discontinued model uses the oldest style scissors and has one other tool combination available with the long nail file. It weighs 70 grams and has a width of 17mm. The larger, 91mm model, is called the Super Tinker.

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 : This newer type reamer without the sewing eye was used from 1961 till 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 VICTORIA officier suisse 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 1943
* Bail / keyring : The bail was used from 1902 till 1968.
* Scissors : This type of scissors with the single spring and screw joint was made from 1902 till 1975.

Conclusion :

This knife should be made between 1961 and 1968, since the reamer is the "newest" tool in this knife (from 1961) and the bail the oldest (till 1968). I'm very pleased to own a knife from that age in this condition... It shows on the other hand that Blade stamps, like the Victoria one, must've been used many decades after the "introduction" (1943). Tool-dating gives a more accurate answer. Maybe something to remember for the next vintage one...

Custom Fieldmaster with exposed pins and brass scales

Last week, my wife asked me why I always use such thick scales on my mods. I told her that I needed three to four millimeter wood, to give it enough strength. When I try to peen the exposed pins in a thin wooden scale, the holes start to split the wood... Believe me... been there, done that... :) With the metal scales, it became an habit. I used four millimeters, while I could've gone much thinner. A few days ago, I used some brass plate I had laying around from 2mm. After adding my favorite tools, I peened the pins, and this time it worked like a sharm. The ends are round and stick about half a mm out the scales. I polished the scales with paste and after 10 "layers" I had a mirror finnish. They really look stunning! I made one mistake... I overpeened the main pins (2,5mm) with a tough opening as a result... 

Monday, June 3, 2013

R.I.P. Mr Carl Elsener senior

Last year I went to Ibach and stayed in a nice hotel nearby. The owner started talking about the Victorinox factory and Mr. Carl Elsener Sr. He told me that this guy went every day at work with his bike, not an expensive BMW or Mercedes, but his bike. He went to almost every meeting, till a few years ago. This was a role model for many companies, and showed that with effort and determination you can run a business with happy employees... Last saturday, the multitool-world lost an icon... R.I.P. Mr. Carl Elsener Sr.

I would like to say to the family and close friends.... my sincere condolences... 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Horn scaled Victorinox Excelsior with long nailfile

The lady in Basel told me a rather nice, interesting story about an 90 year old lady who had a shop and sold her some vintage Victorinox knives. They were all in perfect state and had the name "Luscher Basel" etched in the main blade. I bought the two knives she had left for far too much money, but I couldn't resist. A knife is as strong as the story behind it... This one measures 75mm in closed position and weighs 26grams. I call it an Excelsior in the title, but the Excelsior measures 84mm, while this one is smaller and has the long nail file. The only name I could find was actually a number. Before a certain date, Victorinox gave their knives a number instead of a name. This knife, according to the Elsener 1942 catalog, has the number 50. This is at least if this particular number 50 contains a long nail file. In the catalog, number 50 doesn't show the nail file, but number 52 does. This one has the stainless steel scales, so I have no idea which one it actually is. The only thing I do know, is that my knife, when I look at the tang stamp and long nail file, must have been made around 1942. If you look at the condition, this knife is a real gem... My first horn scaled Vic...

UPDATE : It seems, according to SAKwiki that there's a name for this type of knife. Around the eighties, Victorinox made the Accountant with the same tools as my knife. It looks exactly the same, but has the Tweezers and toothpick. I still believe that mine must've been made around the early 40's, since the blade stamp is the only lead I can follow...