For most people, some variant of a swiss army knife (SAK) passes through their hands during their childhood. It is the quintessential jack of all trades knife blade as well as multi-tool. For me, it was the first knife I learned to handle safely. The non-locking blade teaches youngsters how to always cut away from one's self and not to thrust a blade or risk a major finger laceration. Plus, it is a relatively affordable tool.
To me, I think the major downfall of the SAK are the plastic handle scales that seem to pop off after prolonged use. (In the photo above, you can see my Tinker has several wounds that I have filled in with Epoxy.) Victorniox remedied this problem with the creation of the Alox line of SAKs and I think they did an amazing job. The Alox SAK line changed the plastic handles to textured solid aluminum handles pinned by brass. Not only are they handsome but also have a larger tool size.
Here is a list of the current Alox models:
- Victorinox Alox Cadet (Main Blade, can opener/flat head screwdriver, can-opener, & nail file) [Video review by Nutnfancy ]
- Victorinox Alox Pioneer (Cadet toolset - nail file + awl)
- Victorinox Alox Farmer (Cadet Pioneer toolset + wood saw) [Video review by SpartanJohns ]
- Victorinox Alox Electrician ( Cadet toolset - nail file - can opener + electrician blade)
I currently own the Electrician and Pioneer Alox models. I have previously owned a SAK Tinker for about 10 years and I was impressed by the quality of the Alox models. They are much more sturdy than the previous SAK lines. The tool sizes and tool stock (or thicknesses) are much larger than older models. The spring bar that provides the tension in the tools are much stronger as well.
The Pioneer and Electrician models are have two layers which gives them a nice slim profile in the pocket (as shown below).
As far as the blade steel, I have found that the stainless steel in the blade takes an extremely fine edge and is easy to sharpen. It is kind of a nice sharpening experience when compared to something like CPM-S30V which is a very hard steel. I don't necessarily mind sharpening my blades if they can take an extra fine edge. Some of the more modern super steels work much better with a more toothy edge than finely polished.
I think the major advantage of the Alox SAK, besides the addition of multiple tools, is the non-threatening appearance. This may sound ridiculous but there is a growing dissonance in the media about blades, guns, and anything that can be used as a weapon (a wooden pencil?) to be demonized as satanic and evil. However, no one is likely to give you a hard time or to lock you up for carrying an alox SAK.
So if you are interested in the Alox versions of the SAK, I can highly recommend these to you. However, Victornoix has ramped down production of these models in recent years. Act fast, because they used to produce many more models but are more limited to the Cadet, Pioneer, Electrician, and Farmer these days. If you are quick on the secondary market you may be able to pick up some more rarer models like the Electrician Duo, Electrician Duo Plus, Pioneer Harvester, Pioneer Harvester Plus, Technician, Technician Plus, and Sailor. (See here for all the previously produced models.)
Also, if none of these tool combinations interest you, do not fear because there is a custom SAK maker, Syph007, that can produce any combination of tools that you desire. Most often with scissors! His website is here but they might set you back a few back dollars than the standard models. If you are interested in all of the Alox SAKs, you will probably enjoy this video by sticktodrum.