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Wenger Esquire

in Miscellaneous Products

Average Rating
3.00 / 5 (1 reviews)


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John Gilbert
( JohnG10 )

Locale:
Mid-Atlantic
Wenger Esquire on 03/07/2008 19:05:43 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I was looking for something a little bigger than my Victorinox Classic (2.25") knife. The Wenger Esquire has essentially the same tools, but is 1/3 of an inch longer, about 3/32" wider and has a 1/4 inch longer blade, and scissors with about 50% more cutting length.

The length of the Wenger handle was just barely big enough to do minor whittling - like making tinder shavings to start a fire, sharpen a hot-dog or marshmallow roasting stick on a family car-camping trip, etc. The almost 1/8" extra width combined with the 1/3" longer length to make it feel a LOT more "hand filling" than the Victorinox Classic.

The length of the blade made cutting paracord, and 1/8" braided nylon line MUCH easier. I had to be much more careful with the smaller Victorinox blade to prevent it from slipping off the rope during the cut. The longer Wenger blade also opened plastic "blister" / clamshell packaging much easier. Maybe it was because my hand wasn't in the way and I could see better... Maybe it was because the 1/3" longer handle provided more leveragee or a more slip-proof grip. Also, the extra 1/4" of blade length also made it just barely big enough to cut up food during eating.

The length of the scissors was much better than the Victorinox Classic's, but the tip profile was wider - which made fitting them into small spaces (like when trimming hangnails or ripped cuticles) MUCH more difficult. Also, I expected them to have more cutting power than the Victorinox scissors due to their extra length - but then didn't. I could actually trim my thumbnail easier with the shorter, but non-serrated Victorinox scissors. It seemed like the Wenger's serrated blades (which have a 1/16" deep file-like sawtooth pattern on both blades) didn't want to sink into the thumbnail at all... The Victorinox Classic's scissors were also more comfortable to squeeze shut. The scissors on the Wenger Esquire were only about 1/2's as thick at the handle end (single layer of steel) and the extra width of the Victorinox's tools handles (2 layers of steel, 1/2 of which is ground out to make the blade) was noticeably more comfortable when scissoring.

The Wenger Esquire's tweezers were about 1/2" shorter than the Victorinox Classics. This made them harder to use - both because your hand was too close to the sliver to see it easily, and because there wasn't as much room to grip them in a way that made them easy to squeeze hard enough to pull stubborn slivers out. The tweezers were also a little hard to get out of the handle since they were mounted on the inside of the handle scales nearest the blades rather than on the outside like the Victorinox's. While this made it almost impossible to accidently have the tweezers slide out and get lost, it also made it almost impossible to get them out if I had just cut my fingernails.

The file on the Wenger was fine, and ends in a spear-pointed profile that almost exactly matches the flat-phillips blade on the mini-Leathermans (Micra & Squirt). The end of the file on the Wenger is taper ground though, so that the steel on the very tip is only about 2/3 as thick at the as the flat-tipped (non taper ground) screwdriver on the Victorinox Classic - so I wouldn't count on being able to tighten up or loosen any screws on your backpacking stove (etc) without bending or twisting the tip of the screwdriver. I've used my Victorinox Classic SD as a screwdriver a few times. It worked pretty good on #1 and OK on #2 phillips screws if I was careful to keep it centered in the slot - and it was suprisingly durable (the pivot joint seems to be the weak point).

The quality of the Victorinox Classic also seemed to be head and shoulders better than the Wenger Esquire. I checked several Esquires, and also the model with 2 extra blades (an bottle opener / eyeglass screwdriver combo and a sewing awl). On all the mini-Wengers I tried, the blades wobbled, and the scissors felt flimsy. The steel appeared significantly thinner on the mini-Wenger blades & Scissors than the mini-Victorinox also.

In the end, the slightly thinner blade & scissor steel, wobbly pivot joints, poor cutting & uncomforable to squeeze scissors and inconveniently short, hard to access tweezers convinced me to stay with the Victorinox Classic.

Boy, I wish Victorinox made a 2.75" long version with a tapered fid to untie knots and a #00 phillips screwdriver for changing batteries in electronics...

Edited by JohnG10 on 07/21/2008 12:06:14 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Victorinox Classic SD priced at: $12.99 - $26.00
Victorinox Knife priced at: $42.47 - $49.53
Wenger Esquire priced at: $12.99 - $23.99

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