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Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by Buzzbait, Jul 2, 2019.
There are small "clip" pocket to carry the knives easily
It’s almost a year and a half now, and the SwissChamp is still the status quo. The Swisstank is carried every day, and called upon continually without complaint. I don’t think I even consider it to be a knife or a multitool anymore. The relationship is far more personal than that. It acts almost as an extension to who I am, in how I relate to the world around me. Many of my experiences throughout the day are viewed through the lens of the SwissChamp (not literally the magnifier lens, LOL), in how I can manipulate those objects and situations I come into contact with.
I do get the urge to change things up now and then. I got in a Farmer X last month, and thought it might be an exciting replacement for the SwissTank. But within an hour I needed the small SwissChamp pliers, to pull the tiny staples out of some new wooden mouse traps, and the shiny new Farmer X was placed back in its box. This happens every six months or so. A new knife comes along, or I begin to miss an old knife, but it never lasts more than a few hours. The functionality of other knives and multitools just isn’t there.
I’ve also learned to live with certain aspects of the SwissTank that aren’t exactly optimal. Little things like the lack of spring channel on the scissors and pliers. The rather narrow view presented by the magnifying lens. These issues are sorted out in newer versions of the SwissChamp. I know because I’ve accumulated a number of Swisschamps and SOS Kits over the last year and a half. But the eccentricities of this one knife are really part of its charm. Both the advantages and disadvantages of the design have become familiar to me in a rather intimate way. I view this one Swisschamp as my own, where the other ones I’ve purchased, no matter how objectively superior they may be, are merely “other Swisschamps”. I guess this knife and I have history now, to the point we’ve become almost inseparable.
This isn’t to say that I ascribe life-like attributes to my SwissTank. I’m just used to it. If I ever wear this knife out, it’s comforting to know that I have a bunch of others from which to draw, in selecting a new daily carry. Or if none of them will do, it’s pretty easy to find a NIB one on auction for a good price.
This fact was underscored just yesterday. I arrived back from a weekend of camping and mountain biking, only to find the SwissTank no longer in my pocket. I searched and searched for it, and grew resigned to the fact that it must lay lost in the woods somewhere. I ordered a set of natural micarta scales from DLT trading, and started thumbing through my collections of SwissChamps for a new carry, deciding which variation I wanted to go with this time. What type of fob would I create for it?
But as luck would have it, The SwissTank turned up. A midnight search of the car with a flashlight turned up a small crevice that it had fallen into. I was relieved to say the least, that my beloved knife had not been lost forever. But I do wonder now, after having mentally gone through the process of replacing it, how nice it would be to have a brand new one to begin learning. I’ll probably finish creating the new micarta Swisschamp, and decide then whether to bring it into play or not.
The SwissChamp has definitely taught me is a higher level of knife care, especially in terms of edge maintenance. The blade’s steel is rather soft. This makes it easy to sharpen, but does limit edge life, mostly due to the fact that the edge is easily deformed. As it turns out, Vic steel responds extremely well to blade steeling, and to stropping. So instead of removing steel every time the knife becomes dull, I can usually steel the edge to realign it, and then strop it back to sharp.
As it stands now, the SwissTank remains in my pocket, virtually unchanged. The same worn leather fob is tied to it, with my two tiny handmade natural micarta beads. The same Photon flashlight, Swiss coin, and compass medallion hang from it. The main blade is probably a little smaller, due to sharpening. But I can’t actually see too much of a difference. The knife has accumulated a few scratches here and there, forever storing so many memories and experiences within its implements. But this old 1980’s Victorinox still has a ton of life left in its bones.
Great write up Buzz, and good to see you pop in. I always look forward to your posts.
Thanks for the excellent writeup. Glad to see a man so happy with his choices in knife as you
Please do continue to update us on further adventures and musings
This writeup makes me want to get a Swiss Champ. Very Cool!
Great update Buzz! Please upload a picture/thoughts of the swisschamp with the new micarta scales. I have been interested in the Micarta scales DLT offers and would love to hear your thoughts.
So the micarta scales arrived from DLT Trading today. My love for natural canvas micarta is no mystery around here. I’m crazy for the stuff. It’s my favorite handle material. The exact handle material I wanted when I first made up the SwissTank last year. So I was naturally excited to see that DLT had these scales in stock.
The scales arrived with a rough finish. But a bit of time with some fine sandpaper, and then a buffing wheel loaded with Brasso, shined up the scales nicely, and rounded the edges. The scales pressed onto the SwissChamp very easily. Much easier than similar G10 scales from Swissbianco. So installation was much simpler, but only time will tell if the scales want to stay on the knife without epoxy. For the record, I have had my G10 scales pop off a couple times, when the SwissTank has been dropped onto the concrete floor of my garage, so it does happen from time to time, but not regularly.
One big issue with my micarta scales is the toothpick slot. It’s ridiculously loose. The toothpick pretty much falls out under gravity. My first attempt to rectify this is a micarta toothpick. I had some spare micarta lying around, so I spent a few minutes crafting a toothpick to match the scales. It looks awesome, but I’m not entirely sure how durable the toothpick will be. It’s pretty thin for micarta. But we’ll see how it holds up. I may end up popping the back scale off, and adding some grip tape inside the tweezer channel, to accommodate the original Victorinox toothpick.
As for the NOS SwissChamp, this is a slightly newer version than I’ve been using. The scissors are riveted instead of screwed, and they have a channel for the spring. The pliers also have a spring channel, as well as a wire crimper. The file is a bit less coarse than the one on the old SwissTank, which I prefer since I mostly use the file for my fingernails. All in all, I consider the changes in this version to be an upgrade. A nice refinement to the older design.
The fob was simply moved from my original SwissTank to the new knife. I really like the leather, and the natural canvas micarta beads will match the scales beautifully, once the scales begin to develop a nice patina from use.
This is the third SwssTank I’ve made now, and I’m pretty happy so far. This may actually replace the original in my daily rotation. I’ll call this the SwissTank MK III.
Great review. The natural micarta scales look great
Is the wire stripping notch on your screwdriver/opener sharpened, Buzz? The scales look great, by the way.
Yes it is. I made the notch using a diamond file. It's wicked sharp.
Great great thread.
I got my daughter a Swisschamp for her 5th birthday. She wanted to do a video review of it about a year and a half later; here it is. (thought this crowd might enjoy it)
That was an awesome review. It's always great to hear a kid's perspective on things. Now that my daughter is a teenager..... I get an entirely different perspective on everything. LOL.
This is a Top 10 thread of 2019-20. Says me.
Awesome review. My compliments to your 6 year old, whose poise far exceeded mine at the same age.
@Buzzbait, I’ve never put aftermarket scales on a knife before. But I absolutely love the look of the natural canvas, so I ordered a set. They won’t make an appearance in this thread because they’ll be going on a Camper. If I can get them sanded and buffed somewhat close to yours I’ll be happy. They look spectacular!
A recent facebook memory tells me I started carrying my Swisschamp just over 3 years ago! Its funny, I kept it stock until I saw this thread one year ago. Then I bought the olive drab G10 scales and love them! Now that I see the canvas micarta scales, I might have to once again copy off of Buzzbait and put them on another Swisschamp of mine. lol You can never have too many variations of a great knife.
Fun stuff with the scale changes on the Swiss Champ. I still can't accept such a thick knife in my pocket for edc. I'm glad you guys love it and use it.
Me too. It's really fun to read. Plus the fotos...one want such a knife to be prepared for everything coming...
Nice. Next generation SAK-user. Hopefully a lifelong friendship.