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The Victorinox Handyman

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by sebastiantorres, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    [​IMG]

    For many years I've been looking for the perfect EDC tool and the best EDC configuration as well. I've tried many things, both cheap and expensive, switched them in my pockets, etc. After several years carrying tools with me and having tried lots of brands and models I finally came to the conclusion that there's no perfect tool that does all the things we'd like to be done. No matter how well we think we are prepared, sooner or later there will be a task we won't be able to achieve because of the lacking of the proper tool. That doesn't seem we cannot achieve that task using some other tool instead, but I think you can understand what my point is: nothing's perfect, but we can come close to perfection.

    I've always been a fan of McGyver and I remember myself watching that series and getting amazed with all the things he could do with those SAKs he carried (as you know he used many models along the program). That led me to buy my first SAK when I was 11 (actually it wasn't an original SAK but a chinese one) and from then until now I've been carrying at least one knife, SAK or multitool with me everywhere I go. They've served me well and have taken me out of problems or emergencies, like cutting a seatbelt when in a crashed vehicle two years ago. I use at least one tool almost everyday (scissors, or corkscrew, or a blade, etc.) and that makes me think that I'm better prepared than most of the people out there in a daily basis. But to get there was a process of trial and error and it
    took me a lot of time (and money) to reach to this point.

    In the beggining, due to my former job as a security coordinator at an oil field, I was able to carry many things in my waist bag but now I'm a lawyer and work in the city so there's no need to carry a bag full of things with me. And I don't have a car, so I need to have only the most practical and essential things due to space and weight restrictions.

    I own several multitools like the Victorinox SwissTool and Spirit, or the Leatherman Charge TTi, and I have used each one of them for a long time as an EDC tool, but for one thing or another I don't use them anymore:

    1- The SwissTool is too large and heavy for EDCing, besides the fact that I don't wear a belt so carrying it in my pocket is a little uncomfortable. Its metal/nail file is the old model, which doesn't work well on fingernails and that's a big con for me.
    2- The Spirit, even though is smaller and lighter than the SwissTool, still lacks of some useful tools I want, as well as a plain blade. It doesn't have a clip so carrying it in my pocket is uncomfortable after a while. The scissors on the Spirit are reversed so if you try to cut following a line you won't have an exact cut, you'll get a little more extra space between the line and the cut, so it's not for precision cuts.
    3- The Leatherman Charge, on the other hand, has a belt clip but it's bulkier and heavier than a SAK.

    None of these three multitools have an integrated corkscrew, tweezers nor toothpick, so I decided to take a look at the faithful SAKs, which are lighter than those multitools and easier to carry with...

    I used to EDC a Victorinox Ranger, and I loved it, but there were three or four times when I needed a pair of pliers to loose a bolt or to extract something strong enough that the little tweezers couldn't do. That's why I chose the Victorinox Handyman, because it has all the things I need and most important, it has all the things I have needed in the past, including some tools that I haven't had when I needed them. The Handyman has all the things a Vic Ranger has and it also has a pair of pliers.

    Before I continue I must say that there's also a similar model called Craftsman, which has a Phillips screwdriver on the back instead of a corkscrew, as a matter of fact, I didn't know that the Handyman model existed but I knew about the Craftsman. I didn't buy one because I wanted the corkscrew and not the Phillips screwdriver, I think it offers more functions than a screwdriver, but I'll explain that below.

    The Handyman is not a thin SAK, in fact, it's massive and I think that it comes close to the SwissChamp in terms of weight and size, but it's not as huge as the latter one, though. It can be carried in a pocket without bothering you. I carry it in my back left pocket along with a zipped key wallet, so it stays in place without moving it. I put it on the left side of my left pocket because that way it doesn't bother me when I sit down, so my butt sits on the wallet and not on the SAK. Now take a look at its size compared with other objects of my EDC:

    [img width=640 height=480]http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii21/sebastiantorres/DSC01640.jpg[/img]
    This is my EDC: a Seiko Diver's SKX007J4 automatic watch, an Inova Microlight flashlight (clipped inside the front left pocket), Victorinox Handyman (back left pocket), zipped leather key wallet (back left pocket), Victorinox leather wallet (back right pocket) and a Blackberry Pearl 8120 (front right pocket).


    Now let's take a look at the tools of the Handyman so you'll see this is a truly EDC SAK for almost every task you can find out there:

    [​IMG]


    Large blade: This is one of the most important tools for me and I think for you too. From cutting rope, a piece of bread, a fruit, a box or almost anything you can imagine, a blade is truly necessary and it has been since the human being walked on this planet with two legs. I try not to use the large blade on some tasks where I know they could compromise its edge, for those tasks I use the...

    Small blade: Some people don't realize that this blade can make almost the same things as its larger brother, and they tend to forget it. I don't, in fact, I think I use it more than the large blade due to its small size so it can be more precise for some jobs. A great tool, without a doubt.

    Bottle opener & Medium flat screwdriver / wire stripper: They come all together and are one of the most useful things on a SAK. The bottle opener works flawlesly and the medium flat screwdriver on its tip is useful on most of the screws out there in a house. Probably it'll be the most used of your screwdrivers for that reason, and it can handle some large screws as well. This tool can be used at 45 degrees or completely open, which is very convenient. The wire stripper on the bottom of the tool remains unused on my Handyman, but is good to know it's there just in case I need it.

    Can opener / Small flat screwdriver: I've used them both and they're excellent for their intended jobs. The can opener gets the job done smoothly and on its tip you'll find a small flat screwdriver, which can be used as well to unscrew medium Phillips head screws.

    Metal file / Metal saw / Nail file: Well, this is a must for me because I'm a nail freak and I always like to have my nails cleaned and cut, but smooth and rounded off as well. If you cut your nails with a clipper or scissors it'll leave a straight surface on your nail which I hate because of the feeling of it against your hand or clothing. That's why I never clip my fingernails and use a nail file instead. And the file on the Handyman is great for that task. If you are a nail freak like me be sure to have the new models with the improved metal
    file instead the one with the old crossed-section style, which is almost useless for fingernails. This file works on metal too and can be used as a metal saw because it has little teeth on its edge. I've tried this a couple of times and even sawed a screw off its base with it. This is the tool I use the most.

    Wood saw: And this is the tool I almost never use, but it's so thin that it doesn't take much space on the SAK configuration, so it's not a problem to have it. Besides using it to cut some wood you can cut bones with it, or some type of hard bread or frozen packages of food as well. Again, is good to know it's there.

    Scissors: Another of my favorite tools! And I use it on a daily basis, even though some people can rid of them, I just think they're one of the most useful tools on a SAK. I cut loose threads on my clothes, nose hair, eyebrows, hair, paper, you name it! This scissors are sharp as hell so if you cut paper you don't even need to move your fingers, just apply a little forward pressure and the scissors will move along the paper as if it was butter.

    Pliers / Wire cutter / Wire crimper: As I said before, I used to carry a Vic Ranger but I realized I needed some pliers after a couple of times when I couldn't take some bolt out of its screw. It's also a strong enough tool to do almost any job in a house that doesn't require a very strong force on it. These are not real pliers for using on heavy duty jobs, for those tasks you better use a multitool like a Victorinox SwissTool or a Spirit (or Leatherman). I use these pliers a lot, in fact, the last time I did was five days ago to take some broken plastic piece out of a friend's cell phone (one leg of the USB port's cover), something too strong for the tweezers. I haven't used the wire cutter and crimper, but it seems too small for a real job. Anyway, I don't work with wires and hate electricity so not having that is not that important to me.

    Tweezers: Inside of the cellidor handles there are two removable tools and one of them are the tweezers. They are very useful to take splints out of your hand (like wood), to take some hair out or just to do any precision job like picking something really tiny.

    Toothpick: This is the other removable tool inside of the handles. It's great to have it, especially after having dinner outside in a restaurant when you go to the restroom and clean your teeth. No one wants to have food between their teeth while smiling at a woman, isn't it?

    Awl / Reamer / Sewing hole: On the back of the Handyman there are a handful of very useful tools as well, like the awl. It can be used to make holes on different surfaces like leather belts, for example. It has a hole, which is handy to sew camping tents or similar things on canvas. The awl is one of the most underestimated tools in a SAK by regular users and many people tend to use the blades instead when they need something pointy, ruining their blade's edge in the best of the cases.

    Hook: Not many uses come to my mind but one of them would be as a package carrier, as stated on the Victorinox website. Or to pick up your glasses from the toilette, as shown on an old Victorinox TV advertisement. Anyway, I think the hook is an standard tool on the SAKs with more than three layers so this comes either I want it or not.

    Chisel / Scraper: It has a sharp edge forI've used this tool for removing dirt and dried materials on many surfaces. It also does an excellent job on wood.

    Small flat screwdriver: As you know, almost all of the Phillips screws can be unscrewed now using a flat driver. This one works very well also with those screwheads, so there's no need to worry about the Phillips one missing on this model. Remember that the Handyman comes with a corkscrew instead, which I'll review it now...

    Corkscrew / Precision flat mini screwdriver: Even though they're two diferent tools, they are placed in the same slot. the corkscrew is very handy for me because besides its primary job with the bottle of wine, it can be used to loose knots, take o-rings out and last but not least, it stores the little precision screwdriver inside which is very handy for those who use glasses like me.

    Pin: Just open the corkscrew and you'll find a pin inserted on the base of that tool in a little hole of the cellidor handle. Ideal to reset some electronic devices which have their hole too small for anything else, or to fix something on your clothes for an emergency. There are many uses for this one and I'm glad to have it.

    Lanyard ring: I don't use my Handyman with a lanyard because I carry it on my back pocket, but I'm sure many of you like to have their tools attached on a lanyard, so it's very convenient though.

    As you know, I use almost the entire tools of this SAK and after many years of the best tool/SAK quest, I finally found out what I was looking for: The Handyman is the best SAK for me, because it has everything I need.
     
    marcclarke likes this.
  2. Mr. Henk

    Mr. Henk Empty Pockets

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    Welcome! I like your review, very detailed.
     
  3. Stutoffee

    Stutoffee Loaded Pockets

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    Great review, Great SAK.
    I carry one as MY EDC & its pretty much got everything I need (I DO sometimes miss the "proper" Philips head off my Explorer, though!), in fact it seems to have EVERYTHING that the Champ has, apart from the Fish descaler (which Id NEVER use!) so its perfect for me.
    Oddly enough, Ive lusted after a Champ for years, but IF I bought one, I know I wouldnt gain anything useful.
     
  4. rueingeni

    rueingeni Loaded Pockets

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    Very complete review! I have a Crafstman which I used to EDC but nowadays just carry with me from time to time. I wouldn't want a thicker SAK than this.
     
  5. WoodenChicken

    WoodenChicken Loaded Pockets

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    Great review. Gotta love the SAKs, I usually EDC a black Huntsman, my current favorite. But I am eyeballing the Explorer Plus, wonder if it is a little too big for pocket though?
     
  6. Styerman

    Styerman Empty Pockets

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    Good review ! I've been weighing up wether to get a Ranger , a Handyman , or a Swiss champ for some time . At present I'm pcking a Huntsman and a Spirit . I've always been drawn to the Handyman .

    Chris
     
  7. Mr. kydex

    Mr. kydex Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the detailed review! I'm in the market for a SAK and this helps me make up my mind!
     
  8. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks! The Craftsman is the same size than the Handyman, so I wouldn't carry something thicker with me either, one more layer and it would become impractical.
     
  9. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    It depends on where you carry your Explorer Plus, if you put it in your front pockets, maybe...although it doesn't seem too thick to me. Try one in your back pocket, close to your side so you won't sit down on it. That's what I do and it works.
     
  10. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, I've lusted for a SwissChamp as well since I was a kid, but I haven't bought it yet because I know I wouldn't carry it with me unless in a sheat, and I'm not fond of sheats. I live in Venezuela so it might be dangerous to show off your things. It's better to have them concealed in your pockets so nobody knows what you carry.

    Anyway, as you said, I knew that if I bought a SwissChamp I wouldn't add anything useful, because I don't fish, the little magnifier is too little to read anything (but good to start a fire when camping) and I already discussed the Phillips screwdriver, so far I haven't needed one because I've used the flat ones. But I know I have to have one Champ, just for the collector factor of it, even though it'll be a drawer queen. I love the one with wooden scales... :drool:
     
  11. swordscholar

    swordscholar Empty Pockets

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    Great post. I've actually been trying to decide between the craftsman/handyman/ranger and have waivered. This helps; thanks.
     
  12. max6166

    max6166 Loaded Pockets

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    Nice write up! :cheers:

    I carried a Ranger and a LM Squirt P4 for a while, which is a different solution to the pliers problem. That gives you the advantage of having separate pliers and drivers. The disadvantage is that you have to carry 2 implements instead of one.
     
  13. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, I also carried a Ranger for many years and it's a great SAK. Even though not carried at the same time, I bought a LM Juice S2 and gave it some use, but it lacked of many tools I consider important, so now it's on my bag as a backup and keep carrying the Handyman. I'm waiting for a LM Juice XE6 so I'll be able to compare it against my Handyman. I'll miss the toothpick/tweezer combo but I think I can work something out by re-shaping the dull awl of the XE6 to make it a better awl/toothpick. The tweezers are replaced by the pliers so I guess there will be no problem with that. Let's see how it turns out...the XE6 is smaller but I haven't handled one yet, they seem very massive and heavy, maybe more than the SAK Handyman. As soon as I receive it I'll do a review of both together.

    We're always searching for the Holy Grail of Multitools, isn't it?
     
  14. Manatakui

    Manatakui Loaded Pockets

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    Instead of using the awl as a toothpick, why not simply get a small toothpick holder for your wallet or keychain? ^^;
     
  15. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Last week I tried a different way of EDCing my Handyman, after having some annoyance while sitting on my left side. That's why I came up with an easy way of carrying it in my front pocket and it goes for any SAK out there, no matter how thick the SAK it is.

    I just added a clip. Of course that's not my invention 'cause many people has come up with the same idea, but it's a funny thing how our brain tends to use the simplest solution. The following is copied from a previous post I've written on another forum:

    Originally Posted by sebastiantorres
    I had the same idea using an Inova Microlight's clip on my SAK Handyman, and even though the Handyman is very massive, heavier and thicker (it has pliers) than the Ranger depicted above, the clip holds it well and my SAK stays in place in my left pocket.

    [img width=640 height=480]http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii21/sebastiantorres/utf-8BSU1HMDAwMTMuanBn.jpg[/img]
    Victorinox Handyman with an Inova Microlight's clip attached and a Victorinox crab hand's clip.


    I used to carry my Handyman in my back left pocket along with a zipped leather wallet for the keys (the Handyman closer to my left arm), and although it stayed in place as well, sometimes I found it a little uncomfortable while seated during a long period of time. Now, with this new configuration, I don't even notice it's there. If you're going to carry your SAK like this, remember something: as the SAKs have the main blade partially protruding when closed, I recommend to carry them with that blade's side facing your body because the side of the corkscrew is flatter and won't protude as much on your pants. Also, the ring gets closer to the left side in that way so it fits better on your left pocket. This pic shows what I mean:

    [img width=640 height=480]http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii21/sebastiantorres/utf-8BSU1HMDAwMTQuanBn.jpg[/img]
    The corkscrew facing outside...


    By judging the size of the Handyman I think it's fair to say that even a Victorinox SwissChamp could be easily and comfortabily carried in this way, because the SAK never touches the bottom of your pocket (it's suspended). So if you didn't want to carry a large SAK in your pocket before just because of its size, now it's time to think it twice and try this configuration.

    [img width=640 height=480]http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii21/sebastiantorres/utf-8BSU1HMDAwMTUuanBn.jpg[/img]
    The Handyman is inside and clipped to my left pocket.


    Hope this helps to anyone who wants to try this system.

    Bye!


    If you want to read the rest of that thread and watch some other pics of someone else's different clips on SAKs, click The SAKKlip - BladeForums.comHere. I'm not sure if doing this I'm breaking some rule of this forum, so please let me know and if so, remove the link aforementioned. I just think this is a good complemento to the review I wrote here.
     
  16. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Good idea! I had thought about having a SAK Classic in my smallest pocket but having a toothpick on my wallet it's a better idea. I don't know what a toothpick holder is, I'm gonna search on Google...
     
  17. Manatakui

    Manatakui Loaded Pockets

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    Hmm, now that you mention it, maybe you should look into a Victorinox Signature, which would afford you a toothpick - after replacing the tweezers - and another tool you wouldn't otherwise have between the two: a retractable pen. It's size isn't much larger than a standard cellidor Classic, but would also give you a /very/ discreet knife and scissors - and nail cleaner/file - which may come in handy around squeamish people. :)

    [Edit: Coincidentally, if you replace the current scales on your Handyman with Plus scales and get the pin/pen pack, you could have almost everything you could ever imagine wanting on your SAK. Granted, if you live in Europe, you could also add the Swiss Flame and have a "hot little" SAK. ;)]

    [Edit 2: Apparently, you can't simply "add" a Swiss Flame... but it's an actual knife in and of itself. Still, it'd be an interesting mod, that's certain. o.o XD]

    [Edit 3: Interestingly enough, it appears the Swiss Flame is not much more than a retired Climber Plus with a reliable butane lighter sandwiched between the scales. o.o :)]
     
  18. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    I like your idea about replacing the scales, but here where I live it's impossible to get those replacement parts. The only way would be buying a SAK with Plus scales and switch them up with the ones on the Handyman. Now, which SAK has Plus scales? I think it's the SwissChamp but maybe there are some other models. I'm going to search on the Victorinox site...

    In case I get those scales, would it be difficult to take them out of the SAK? Are they glued or is there just pressure applied to put them in place? It would be great to mod my Handyman...
     
  19. Manatakui

    Manatakui Loaded Pockets

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    Actually, you can still get the scales and plus replacement kit from Rotokid's shop. Twenty dollar minimum order, which means you can get a couple other goodies, too. Just make sure you get the Plus scales with the cutout, though, otherwise it wouldn't fit. ^^;

    To remove scales - since I haven't yet done it myself - look at SOSAK... I can't find the thread at the moment, but I know it's on there. o.o; I'll find it in a bit unless someone else finds it first. ^^;
     
  20. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks a lot for your help!