Thursday, September 18, 2014

New "Display" space...

First of all I would like to apologize for the sudden stop of input to this blog. Early this year, my wife and I started looking for a house and after six months of visiting, making appointments and a lot of discussions we found the most fitting one we could ever imagine... So to make a long story short... It consumed a lot of "spare"time, time I normally use to maintain this blog. It will still take some work to move and customize some minor things, but we're getting there... I will still be active on this blog, but please give me some time to settle. For all the viewers out there who've mailed me and kept looking for updates a well meant THANK YOU! ;)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yannick's Forrester mod.

A few weeks ago, a guy called Yannick, contacted me about a modification he wanted to do with his 111mm Forester and after some mails we agreed that I would post his report on the Blog. Here's the result...

Customization of my Forester 111mm

by Metalu

Hi ! I wanted to tell you a few things about the customization I have done on my Forester.

In a few words, the Forester is like the new 2008 Swiss Army Knife, with a corkscrew instead of the cross screwdriver, and red bi-material scales.

I wanted to test the “one hand” blade. After a few weeks of daily use, I find it wonderful and I can’t do without, now.

But the serrated blade is still a problem. It cuts very well, but it is difficult to make a straight cut, and fine work is impossible.

So I found a Sentinel with a non-serrated blade and did the exchange.

I also wanted to change the can-opener which I find useless, for a small blade that I want to keep very sharp.

Here are a few notes that I took during the disassembly:
the2 main rivets are Ø3.0mm. the 2 rivets on the rear are Ø2.5mm.
Here is a drawing of the rivet head (that we sometimes call « rosace » in french):

So I wanted to try something : instead of making new identical rivets, why not making screws with the head the same shape as the rivet heads?

That’s what I did. I machined them on my toolmaker’s lathe, and so the nuts, with the same head profile. My plan is to secure the thread with Loctite threadlocking glue. The glue can be desactivated by heating at 120°C (for exemple with a small blaze) If I want to disassemble the knife again.

This solution enables me to fine tune the rivets’ thightening and go backward if needed.

OK, the change of the can opener for a small blade is not obvious:

The root of the blades have the same profile. Starting well. But the thickness is 0.8mm less. A small Thickness shim should do the trick!

But the samll blade from a 91mm Victorinx SAK is done to cross the long blade on the left. And here, on the left there is the screwdriver. So I have to cheat to make it go on the right. Otherwise the blade’s tip is touching the screwdriver.

After taking the dimensions, I calculated that I needed 2 shims with 2° tilt.
assembly test: the blade is over-tilted and is touching the stainless steel liner.
try again ! new shims with 1.5° tilt (thank you my milling machine with tilting table)
Perfect! The blade is touching neither the screwdriver nor the liner.

Ho ! I forgot to say: rivet for a 91 SAK = Ø2.5mm
rivet from my 111 SAK = Ø3mm
So I had to drill the small blade to Ø3.
A high quality HSS drill-bit failed. I needed to use a tungsten carbid bit.

Time has come to do the assembly with my specially developped assembly tools : a normal screwdriver ! and for the nuts I found a bit that fitted perfectly after grinding it to the thickness.
On the following picture we can see the 2 thickness shims on each side of the small blade, and it’s alignment along the central liner, with no contact.

after that I fine-tune the tightening of each “rivet”, then secure them with the threadlocking glue, then put back the scales. I use a black scale for the corckscrew side in order to have a slot for the tooth-pick (no slots on the bi-material grip scales!)
and her it is! My wished ideal swiss army knife!
concerning the Sentinel, I assembled it with the serrated blade and the rivets from the Forester.

thank you for your attention


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why the ads?

About a month ago I gave it a try and started adding banner ads to my blog. Why these annoying ads you might ask? Well, let's be honest... I love my hobby and spend a lot of time on this blog, but although I like receiving / replying  mails and adding new pictures /texts to this blog I needed some way to justify the time consumption to my wife. This seemed the perfect way in between... Don't think this is a huge money-making machine. I'm talking about a few Dollars a month, but it gives a certain comfort that you get paid for the time you invest.... Don't feel obligated to click these ads (I get a small fee per click)! Take a look and if you notice something you like, click it... If not, no harm done! I just wanted to let you guys know why you should "tolerate" these small "inconveniences"...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Explorer Damast Limited Edition

Ok, let's start off with... FINALLY!!! It took me about twenty mails to three different countries, two visits to the Flagship store in Dusseldorf, almost an insane trip to Switzerland in two days and oh, two months of waiting.... After a few negative reviews of the early releases I was having second doubts and with prices online, going from 160 Euro to 250 Euro, I had some mixed feelings about this release. On the other hand... This is a milestone in collecting Victorinox knives. I was always impressed by the way that Carl Elsener sr. ran his company and there is no more respectful way of commemorating his legacy as with a knife like this...So.... after some hesitation I went to the Flagship store in Dusseldorf and made a reservation in december for the knife, that hopefully arrived in january. A few days ago I received the mail I was waiting for. Josef Hegemann, the Dusseldorf shop manager mailed me that the knife arrived and two days later I was drooling on the display model in the shop... At the counter, the woman who gave me instructions on making my own Spartan during the last visit, showed me the model they kept aside. I wasn't really impressed, mostly because I already knew the small imperfections, mentioned on the negative reviews and I noticed rough edges on the scales, so I asked if she had some others, just to compare. I could choose from three knives and there was a lot of difference, especially in the wooden scales. One of the small details is that they didn't sand the oak scales smooth. There are some pores in the wood and this gives the knife some rough feel to it. Not something "bad", just something we aren't used to by Victorinox, and some do have this more "expressive" then others. I choose for the more even surface. Other imperfections, the other reviews mentioned, weren't visible on the ones they showed me. The scales were well fitted on the outer liners and the shield fitted perfectly in the wood. This is one impressive knife. It looks good, feels good and the Damast... well... is quite unique. I love it!

Here's some technical details :

The knifes actually a standard Explorer with the addition of a Damast main blade. Damasteel, or the pattern used on the main blade found its origin in ancient India, where sword smiths used a unique way to forge this beautiful steel. Real Damasteel should be almost indestructible and was a source for some of the greatest legends, claiming that a Damasteel blade could split a hair and so on. Victorinox uses a more chemical technique and puts a layer on the blade. I don't know the details of this technique, but I do know that it isn't real Damasteel through and through. This should make the knife far to expensive for the average consumer. Nevertheless the blade looks stunning!!!

It weighs 105 Grams , has Oak scales, a width of 27mm and a length of 91mm. It comes in a beautiful display box with a snap-closed lit and a small lucite window on top. On the front scale, the signature of late Carl Elsener sr. was laser burnt in the Oak. Behind the Corkscrew you'll find the year of production (2013), your unique production number and total produced (7000pcs).

Available Swizerland /Austria : December 2013
Available Germany : January 2014
Available USA : ?March? 2014

Retail PRICE (Germany) : 215 Euro

Conclusion : If you're looking for the tools, buy a standard Explorer, but if you're a collector, or just someone who likes to show off with a unique piece, this is the knife you should buy! With 7000 pieces available worldwide, they probably will be around for some time, but don't wait too long, since the prices will rise over the years! I started off with doubts, but after holding this one in your hands, you just know Victorinox has released another gem...

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...