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Discussion Starter #1
I've always been fascinated by the multi-function or "pocket tool box", as Leighton calls 'em, pocket knives ever since I saw my first Swiss Army. (FWIW, I think the Swiss Army Tinker model -- one is in my pocket right now -- is the most useful pocket knife ever devised. For general use, a Boy Scout knife also is pretty good.)

I 've heard multi-function pocket knives have been around since the 1700s. I almost bought an old-timer with a tool for picking pebbles out of horses' hooves a while back, even though Missus Smithfan says I need to start another accumulation of something like a fish needs a bicycle.

Anyway: aside from established brand names, what to look for, especially in those from the early 20th century and earlier; what's common, what's not; any rarities, and why -- that sort of thing.

Thanks,

Bill
 

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Bill, I love my VSAK Huntsman, I've had one since before I joined the Army in '76. I have retired my original an have a newer version of the same model. She is with me every waking moment, and is used more than anyother knife I have.

As to collecting the "Pocket Tool Boxes", besides the VSAK's, one to look for were made in Germany by Puma. There are two basic types, one is a fixed blade with folding tools in the handle very nicely adorned in stag. These were produced from the late '30's till the early '60's. The other is a folder with locking primary blade, also adorned in stag. Both of these models had varing tools. The fixed blade has either a small saw, skinning blade, corkscrew. The corkscrew would be changed out for a leather punch. On the folder you'll find all these to include both punch and corkscrew, with the only change being to the skinning blade. It would be changed out to a gut hook for fowl. In the US you'll find a few with other types of blades and such but not to the level of the Europeans.

Another to look for are the French knives, not as many tools, but they do have the primary locked blade, and have all kinds of different handle material.
 

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I have a couple of the Wenger models, but my favorite is this Puma with Stag scales. It has a locking main blade, the innard hook, a blade with a capped tip, a bone saw, and an awl. My only complaint is that it is a PITA to thoroughly clean after use on big game.


xtm
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your posts, fellers. Appreciate the info, and I hope others will have comments here too.

xtm I know what you mean getting things thoroughly clean sometimes. Only tip I can offer is, I save every old toothbrush. They make really handing cleaning tools for lots of different things and weird spaces.

More on VSAKs: we actually have a bunch around the house. The little "Executive" or whatever it's named, small blade and combo nail file and small screwdriver head made to fit on a key ring has even been give away by a lot of companies as a promotional item. I have one from about 25 years ago when I worked for a utility company that still is seeing service. My wife carries one in her purse everywhere but through airports. And we have at least five others stashed around the house someplace.

We also have a "camping" model VSAK that goes in the car with us on every trip, long or short. Inlaws brought it back from a trip to Europe in the 70s. Its main blade is serrated; I have never seen one quite like it for sale in the US.

Bill
 

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Bill, I also have two of those with the main blade being serrated. Both came back with me from Germany in '94. Both have been put up, as I've yet to see any others here in the US. From what I've been able to find out on those is they were a noncatalog item, so there wasn't to many floating around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Leighton, interesting comment about the "camping" model VSAK with serrated blade from Europe. You have two, I have one and my brother-in-law has one. That exactly doubles the number of them that I've seen or (now) been made aware of in the US!

If they're that hard to find, I probably should retire ours, too -- except that serrated blade is so durn handy on picnics and such when it comes to slicing a loaf of sourdough bread, not to mention salami and other goodies! I gotta admit, that serrated blade has cleaned a few trout, too...

Bill
 

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Smithfan said:
Leighton, interesting comment about the "camping" model VSAK with serrated blade from Europe. You have two, I have one and my brother-in-law has one. That exactly doubles the number of them that I've seen or (now) been made aware of in the US!

If they're that hard to find, I probably should retire ours, too -- except that serrated blade is so durn handy on picnics and such when it comes to slicing a loaf of sourdough bread, not to mention salami and other goodies! I gotta admit, that serrated blade has cleaned a few trout, too...

Bill
Yes they are, but as long as they'er still in good shape, I think I'd set those aside. Reason? Since I've had several of my VSAK's serviced(It's free for the life of your knife), I've contacted Victorinox about these, and asked what blade they would put back in if it broke, and was informed it would be a plain blade, so the collector value is there for these.

Leighton
 
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