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Deluxe Tinker

The Tinker comes in many shapes and sizes, from a 84mm Small Tinker up to a Deluxe Tinker.

This reminds me of the Handyman (left), but without the saw blades. Of course it also has a Philips screwdriver instead of a Corkscrew and lacking the Chisel and Small Screwdriver.

I can see why people like the Tinker. It’s a versatile little knife.

Microtech – Mini Venom

On the topic “Knives I really don’t need but bought anyway”: The Microtech Mini Venom.

(A quick note before we start; this is a replica knife*1)

Microtech never tickled my fancy. They are agressive knives and OTF (out the front) knives are illegal to carry here in Holland. So there is no practical use for me to own one. As we’ll see in a moment, the Venom isn’t very practical. So no problems there.

Technically OTF knives are very interesting. The mechanism uses most of the length of the handle, thereby limiting the length of the blade. When deployed there is little blade material left in the handle putting a lot of force on the scales. So the handle has to be really strong in order to use this knife, especially as a fighting knife.

The Mini Venom is the smaller variant of the VenomTech. Like I said it’s impractical.
OTF knives hide their blade in the handle, deploying it rapidly with the slide of a switch. The Venom has the tip sticking out. You can’t put this in your pocket, it’ll stab you 3,18 cm in the leg if you do. Instead you carry this knife in a kydex sheath. I bet you can mount it on a belt, but yo could also opt for a concealed carry x-harness.

The mini really is mini with a handle length of only 8,9 cm. Making it just a hair shorter than a standard Swiss Army Knife. When you remove it from it’s sheath a 3,18 cm tip is exposed. It’s an aggressive tip, with edges on both sides. If you’re not used to handle daggers please be careful as they cut on both sides .

It takes a little effort to pull the trigger on this blade, but when you do the tip launches forward to extend the entire 9,4 cm blade. Giving the knife a total length of 18,3 cm.

I’ve read reviews where people what use this knife has. The regular Venomtec is obviously an assault knife. The 2″ protruding tip is perfect for stabbing the moment you remove it from it’s sheath. This little fellow has to be for collection purposes. The 7 cm blade is small for big tasks, combine that with a 9 cm blade and you have a knife with lopsided proportions.
Considering the purpose of the original VenomTech the Mini Venom is an attack knife that will do very little more than attack milk cartons. Costing around $700,-…

But make no mistake. This is a very cool knife. It has a very clean design, a nice machined slide switch on the side and two window breakers on the back. Together with the exposed tip it gives the knife a very aggressive look.

With that thought in mind, I’ll only use this knife at home. Considering the nature of this knife I don’t feel any need to carry this. And since it’s a Mini Venom it’s highly impractical as a defensive weapon.

*1 A quick note before we start; this is a replica knife
If that bothers you please stop reading. I have a few replica knives in my collection, those are knives that are beyond my reach. They are unobtainable either by price or by numbers. Having a replica gives me the possibility to try it, get a feel for it. These by no means represent the quality of the real knives.

Spartan – Siaspeed

Advertisement knives are not really my thing, but some are interesting.
Some have special inlays and some special scales, line this one.

Siaspeed makes abrasive papers. This SAK was a freebie with 6 boxes of 1950 abrasive paper (for sanding). That’s about €300,- of sanding paper.
While I could use some for remodeling our home that is a whole lot of paper!

I believe the scales are white celidor or nylon with a pink coating. It resembles sanding paper, but it’s printed. It does have a course texture though.
The Victorinox logo is in relief and printed in a dark grey, like the Siaspeed logo on the front scale.

The large blade has the Siaspeed logo etched on the blade.

I got it new in box. The standard Victorinox leaflet included. Oddly the box did not have a model number. Perhaps that’s normal for advertisement knives.

Wenger Skier

Sadly, this SAK is no longer in my collection.
I sold it to save up money for a new backpack.
It still is an interesting SAK so it’s worth to take a look at.

Some of the more interesting tools can be found on Wenger knives. I grew up with Victorinox, so Wenger always felt a bit exotic to me.

The skier has a very basic toolset, Large Blade, Nail File, Can-, Bottle Opener, Awl and Corkscrew. The interesting tool is the red plastic disk. It’s a wax applicator for skies. This one has never been used. The SAK was in near mint condition save the drawer damage to the scales. Which, of course, does not make it mint at all. However, the tools were spotless and unused.

I guess that’s an advantage of advertising knives. People get these but don’t buy them. So the chance of ending up in a drawer somewhere is greater than when people buy one to actually use.

Promotional Huntsman

When I purchased a lot of SAKs I thought that I’d get four Huntsman (Huntsmen?).
Turns out I did, sort of.

Three of the Huntsman SAKs were damaged at first glance. But when the tools had extra stops when opening them I had a vague notion of what happened. A little research later I knew I had three Promotional Knives, SAKs that have been on display in a store.

Fanning out the tools can be quite a hassle, sometimes they will snap shut on their own. The tools on this SAK had a piece filed out of the hinge of the tool to create an extra stop, indicated by the arrow.

Because these SAKs are made to be on display there is no need for sharp blades. So the blades (Large and Small) are unsharpened. I found it difficult to photograph, but the bottom blade is unsharpened, the top blade is sharpened.

It’s fun to see that the scissors and the saw are razorsharp, as expected from Victorinox. Two of the Promotional Huntsman have scissors with screw, the other is riveted.

Another interesting feature on one of the three SAKs is the chisel. There is not supposed to be a chisel on the Huntsman. There is a reference to this on SAKWiki, so perhaps that makes the other two Huntsman without Chisel more interesting.

Victorinox Caddie

58mm SAKs are not a big part of my collection, but this one tickled my interest. The sellers foto’s were not that good, so it was a bit of a gamble.
This one turned out to be very nice.

I suspect that this was given as a promotional gift and it ended up in a drawer. The scales have what I call drawer-wear or drawer-damage, but the tools are mint. And that’s what makes this little SAK so interesting.

Around the ’90s Victorinox introduced pens in their SAKs. The 91mm plus scales are a fine example. And unlike the retractable pen Victorinox uses now, the 58mm SAKs had a removable pen as well.

At first glance this looks te be a Classic. However upon closer inspection we find a divot tool instead of the nailfile. The golfer print on the front scale kind a gave that away.
There is a grey nail-nich on the front and the back. This is because the back does not house the toothpick but the pen.

The 58mm pen is very interesting. It’s quite similar to the 91mm version. What surprises me is that the 58mm version was even made. Because in all honesty, it’s a horrible pen to write with. It’s jus too small to use comfortably.

Sure, it can be used for small notes, or marking a score on a golfcard. But it’s fiddly and easy to loose. I see how Victorinox eventually went with the retractable version. You are far less likely to loose it and the added body of the SAK makes it easier to use. You can even open the nailfile to add to the length of the pen.

But not on this one. Yet I really like it and if it weren’t so hard to get I’d EDC it.

Let’s take a look at the divot tool. While this is a very specific tool to have I’d like to rename it to tapa’s fork. Because it’s very well suited for olives, blocks of cheese or little meatballs.

So I’m sure to be on the lookout for another caddie to use as a party-SAK.


Not a Victorinox Knife, but interesting nonetheless.
Making an Altoids Survival Tin has been on my wishlist for a long time now. I’ve drawn out several on paper and most of the times I got stuck on the blade.

There isn’t a whole lot of knife you can fit inside an Altoids tin, so basically you’re stuck with razorblades, folding razorblades, small utility knives or folding pocket knives.

I didn’t know who Doug Ritter was before, but apparently he’s an internationally acclaimed authority on survival equipment and practical survival techniques.
Sounds interesting, I need to look this guy up on YouTube.

In the meantime, I have his RSK Mk5 knife laying on my table. This guy designed exactly the knife I was looking for. Take a look here if you want an interesting read about the knife and it’s development.
It’s very small, at first glance to small to use. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and unpack the knife first.

I was greeted with a matte green cardboard box. In it a shiny Altoids sized tin and a leaflet. The tin can be used to build your own survival tin. Knowing me I will keep this tin to store the knife and get an Altoids tin alternative (we don’t have Altoids here in the Netherlands) to build the kit out of. We have Barkleys mints that are a great (and tasty) alternative. I’ve made emergency candles and charcloth makers out of them.

Back to the package at hand and see what’s inside the tin.

A knife with lanyard, a sheath and an instruction leaflet.
The leaflet provides some information about the knife and about building a survival tin. Here we can see Doug Ritter knows what he’s talking about because his tips for building a survival tin are well thought out.

But the star of the show is the knife. As I mentioned earlier it’s really small.
In order to appreciate this knife we have to consider the main use of this knife. It’s a backup blade. It’s not meant for hunting, combat or building a log house. While it’s a fixed blade and you might be able to baton with this tiny knife it’s not it’s intended purpose. However, you can cut rope, sharpen and cut notches into sticks. It can cut fabric or sheet plastic. So in a pinch you can make a shelter with this.

For detailed work there are two holes in the blade. If you pinch down on these, like you would grip a chefs knife, you have a lot of control over the blade and can easily prepare food.

The lanyard is included for a reason. With the black bead you can adjust the length of the loop and give a ‘full hand grip’ of the knife more stability.

I have mixed feelings about the small sheath. In an Altoids tin you want to keep everything as low profile as you can. The sheath would double the thickness of the package and reduce the pack volume of the tin. If I have the chance, I will include the sheath. For starters it will provide protection to the edge while in the tin. Also, it makes it possible to carry the blade as a neck knife while on the move.
In my opinion the tin is just for transportation. When SHTF and you need to use it’s contents you’d want to take out items like a knife, signal mirror, light and whistle. Because you nééd these items immediately when the opportunity presents itself. It’s probably preferable to attach a breakaway lanyard to the sheath to carry it under a shirt.

To give you an idea of the size of the knife I put it alongside a 91mm ‘standard’ Swiss Army Knife. For a long time I thought about including a small SAK in the kit, but the trade-off with a fixed blade is just to big. Given the fact that I carry a 91mm SAK all the time and the RSK Mk5 is backup blade I think the RSK Mk5 is the better choice.

So, how does it fit in a tin? Diagonally. It makes sense as it maximizes the length available. It’s a comfortable fit, but does take up a lot of space.
If you choose to leave the sheath at home you can tape off the edge of the blade to protect it. However, you need to carry it in the tin should you need it.

Ideally I’d have a small pouch around the tin. When you need to use it you transfer all the contents to the pouch, and have the tin available for boiling water.

All in all this is a very practical small blade that fit’s my needs perfectly.
Because it’s so small and it has a very nice sheath I’m considering a second one to hang in my backpak. Perhaps on a next order I will add one.

1.3623 (Mechanic CS)

In the heap of SAKs I bought there were two I intended to keep.
This  is one of them. And it’s an interesting SAK.

First off, the name. It does not have one. 1.3623 is the number it goes by. The toolset is almost identical to the Mechanic, but this one has a Corkscrew instead of a Philips Screwdriver.
It’s the thinnest SAK to have a pair of pliers, that’s also interesting.
There is a variation of the 1.3623, the ‘Oath of Rutli’ as a part of the ‘Swiss Battle Series’.
Also, there is a thinner SAK with pliers, the Mechanic Jr., but it’s not generally available.

The Mechanic first appeared in Catalog in 1991. It was discontinued around 2006(SAKWiki). I assumed the same goes for this model.
The tang stamps put it between 1986-2005 so that’s not overly helpful.

The pliers provide better determination. 3mm Pliers without crimping tool were made between 1985 and 1995. Even better is the Corkscrew; 4 turn fluted (1983-1991). The keyring moved from the spring to a liner in 1991. So around 1991 is a good estimate.

This was an old-stock model. And the stores price tag was still on the back scale. Sadly there was no box. But in the time some-one would have payed fl 29,45 for it. That would be around €21,89 today (inflation corrected).

A little detail on the pliers. These are 3mm pliers without crimping tool:

If we look on the back of the handle there is no spring groove.

Classic SD – Berlin

Silently I’m starting to get more and more 58mm SAKs. They are not the main goal of my collection.
But I went out of my way to get this one…

I visited Berlin this summer and did a quick search beforehand to see if there were any regional SAKs. Like the 91mm tourist knives. Sadly there were none, but it got even better. This 58mm Classic SD has a metal Brandenburger Tör inlay.

The only store I could find selling these is ‘berlindeluxe‘ a souvenir shop Berlin-Steglitz. Though if you want you can order it online. The shop has a lot of nice souvenirs, for that it’s worth the travel.
The whole shopping experience got a bit of a bitter aftertaste because I had to pay extra to buy it in store because there were no shipping costs… Which is very odd to say the least.

Rosewood Pruning Knife

While this is not a regular SAK I did want it for my collection.
And I did get it for a very specific purpose as well

When my parents redid their garden they removed the grape. Because we enjoyed it’s grapes so much every year they put it in a large pot to keep it for… well they didn’t know.
Now that I’ve moved in to my house and have a lovely garden they gave me the grape. It was a small wrestle to put it in the ground but now it has a new home.
Right now it’s only a shade of it;s former self, but I hope that it will survive the winter and starts growing next season.

But this is no blog about grapes, it’s about Swiss Army Knives. Because the grape is special to me I wanted a special too to maintain it.
This 50 year old pruning knife with lovely rosewood handles is perfect for that.
I can’t wait to harvest grapes with this SAK!