Mittwoch, 2. August 2017

Long time user test... Victorinox /Wenger new ranger

 This is one of those knives I own and use for quite a long time now. It rides in my pocket every day, since 2013... for a reason. In the meantime, the corporation had shut down, but the good thing is, Wenger has been bought by Victorinox, and the management decided to keep up production on site in Délemont and keep up producing nearly all of the models, including the New Ranger Wood. Even better, while this one is from 1.4034 (similar to 420HC), which works well enough, to be true, newer models come in 1.4110 (440A), and since 2017, 1.4116 steel. The blade is nearly 100mm long and just 2,5 mm thick at the base with a high flat grind. 1 mm above the edge thickness is just 0,4mm, the grind angle is some 25°. The knife come with a saw from 1.4034, which works equally well in a pushing and pulling motion and which is 102 mm long, has a thin spine and thick albeit razor-sharp teeth, a caplifter, a tin can opener, a corkscrew and an awl. The saw is an absolute highlight and easily beats sawblades more than triple the size. It simply bites! The saw also holds an edge very well (I have never sharpened it since the knife came out of the box. The knife locks via an intersting system. It is more of a liner block. In this a strong back spring is complemented with a locking liner made from 1.4034 steel which is unlocked by pressing the marvellously fitted Swiss cross. After 4 years it still works like new!
 The springs and liners are made from tempered 1.4034 steel that comes in a mirror polish even on the insides. They are riveted through under the scales with brass pins on massive washers. The washers ride in pockets of the scales, which are made from stunningly beautiful Swiss walnut scales. The wood comes from a certified forestry program and is chosen for its sustainability as well as its beauty. Over the years it has darkened considerably, and of course this is something you might or might not like.
 The knife blade has some serrations on the spine making for quite a secure thumb rest. The blade is razor sharp, which I experienced personally when I was off my attention and quartered an apple freehand and cut off the top of my left index finger with a smooth cut... I had put it back in place, and it even stuck back on ;-) with just some tape and stitching (I was a bit clumsy, so I still have some sensitivity issues, but no harm done, if you think you get through life unscarred, you did not get the gist ;-)). It is of a respectable size for snacking and stuff. Due to a somewhat chunky handle there are better knives for whittling delicate tasks, but there are worse knives, too, and most of them labelled as explicitly bushcraft knives.
 The handle, however chunky, feels great in your hand, due to an ergonomic design and offers a very secure grip. The caplifter works a cinch. The tin can opener works well enough, but with a reverse motion that needs some adapting to, but it keeps an edge very well and it so sharp out of the box that you could actually whittle with it (I tried ;-)). The corkscrew is excellent and does its job flawlessly. the awl, however, is a tool I seldom use, because the spring is so stiff it is a pain in the arse to open it. It has no edge to it and cannot be used to drill holes as with the Vic pocket knives, but only for poking... maybe they have changed that in the meantime... ?
Overall, this is a knife that is very underestimated by many. Of course, the blade does not offer the nimbus of a heebie-jeebie-goobalahbah fancy unobtanium steel. But I cut a lot with it, from cardboard boxes to snacks, from hard, seasoned sausage and bacon to paper and wood, leather and persenning and Paracord, and it holds an edge well. All I had to do was strop it frequently on a common steel strop and I once put a very fine stone to it to bring it back to hair-popping sharpness. The saw is simply lovely and offers a good length, the tools (except for the awl) work perfectly or well enough, and it comes in at a bargain prize. Of course, batoning is not quite an option, but I daresay, thsi knife would live up to that task, too, if you do it sensibly. For a bimble through the woods with a picknick with your friends and even overnighters it´s a very valuable tool.

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