Friday, January 24, 2014

Interviewed by Wen Jie Long...


Last wednesday I received an E-mail from a high school student in New-York. He discovered my blog while doing research about Swiss Army knives. He was asked to make a writing project, called "Who made that", based on a weekly New York Times magazine collumn. To add some facts and thoughts to the project, he asked me for an interview by E-mail. Some questions he asked were short but powerful and made me think twice ;) . Here's the interview...

1. What got you interested in Swiss Army knives?

Swiss precision has always gained my interest, especially when it comes to machinery and tools. When my father gave me my first Spartan, I was impressed by the little red toolbox, especially when it was all over the television with Richard Dean Anderson (I’m a 80’s kid), but it took me some years to focus on this brand alone. I guess the everyday use of it extends often even my imagination… :)

2. Do you carry one at all times? Were there any situations that you were glad to have it with you?

At first I thought that people exaggerated when they told me „once you cary it for a day, you get hooked”, but after some pocket carry it just feels natural to have it on you… Now I don’t leave the house without one. At work (I’m an electrician) I always cary a Swisstool X and a Soldier model 2008 and after work a Fieldmaster and a Sentinel. I haven’t experienced a life-treathening situation where my pocket knife saved my life, but with small inconveniences in life like a splinter, I’m glad to have one with me.

3. Do you have any advice for anyone who might want to start collecting?

The best advice I could give is to choose a certain type of Swiss Army knife and to focus on that part to collect, and don’t spend a fortune on you first knives! Start collecting the knives you find on flea-markets or garage sales, instead of buying over-priced so-called „vintage” SAKs on Ebay.

4. How many do you have in your collection in total? Do you have a favorite?

Right now I have about 300 „collectable” Swiss Army knives, about 40 custom SAKs and 30 or so waiting to be customized… My favorite must be the Soldier model 2008. This is by far the most toughest, user friendly SAK I own!

5. If you were to add any combination of tools to a knife, what would it be?

My wife would probably say a mirror, but for me… This year, Victorinox is starting a new line of knives, combining certain Victorinox and Wenger tools, so I would say the best of both worlds would be nice...

6. How can you tell the difference between a genuine and a fake?

There are several ways to differentiate a genuine from a fake. (1) The Swiss call it the „click and the clack”. A genuine Swiss Army knife should make a click when opened or closed. Chinese imitations often use weak springs and don’t have that certain sound. (2) The blade stamp should say VICTORINOX - SWISS MADE - STAINLESS instead of INOX (French) / ROSTFREI (German) / made in China. (3) The Swiss shield and cross on the front scale is a symbol of Swiss quality, but sadly often copied so keep an eye out for a shield, metal inlayed with a perfect finish. Many of the copies look like trash and/or are painted on. (4) Once you’ve owned a real one, you instantly notice the lack of quality with the fakes. The corkscrew bends easy with fake ones, NOT with the genuine one and the high grade polish with a genuine one is day and night diference when you look at an imitation...

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