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Knife chat: First time ‘Vics’

I suspect enough years have passed in the UK since the introduction of quite stringent knife laws that a whole generation of children now fail to engage with the concept of carrying a pocket knife. Many parents would also recoil with horror at the notion. This is not the case in many other countries where the tradition persists.

When Three Point of the Compass was a nipper (swing that lamp, pull up a sandbag…), myself and most of my mates rarely went out for a day in the woods, fishing, or out on a bike ride without a small pocket knife.

Whittling was still a thing then though I cannot remember the last time I saw a child whittling a stick. Neither can I recall what knife I carried, nor any envy between contemporaries as to how well-equipped tools were. We all had simple folders, probably the cheapest of Victorinox or Wenger offerings, or something handed down from fathers.

The two knives in the'child friendly' My First Victorinox range
The two knives in the ‘child friendly’ My First Victorinox range

Victorinox still produce a small range of knives that have been partially adapted to be just a little more ‘child friendly’. Something that may suit a person gaining experience of using a knife, while skills and correct usage still have to be learnt. A useful component can be a rounded tip on the blade that greatly decreases the risk of puncture or stabbing wounds. Blades are still sold sharp. It is a dull blade that can result in many accidents when a blunt implement is forced into cutting. The risk of the user cutting themself is still there, these are knives after all. But the basic rules, and more, of cutting and manipulating a sharp blade with safe technique needs to be taught, learnt and practised.

Blade shape on the My First Victorinox knives
Blade shape on the My First Victorinox knives. This ‘butter blade’ has a sharpened edge only as far as the curve at the tip. The curved end of the blade is completely blunt

“Many children will first come into contact with a multifunctional tool that belongs to someone in their family- perhaps mum or dad- and will want to try out a <<grown-up one>> for themselves”

Victorinox
My First Victorinox models
My First Victorinox models

Both of the My First Victorinox knives shown here are part of what Victorinox call their ‘medium pocket knives’ range. They need not be confined to simply children however as their blade shape lends itself to adults whittling, or as a terrific spreading implement- butter, peanut butter, cream cheese etc. while camping or backpacking.

84mm My First Victorinox in the hand
84mm My First Victorinox in the hand

My First Victorinox- model 0.2363

There are three variants of My First Victorinox currently (2021) available from Victorinox, all differences relate to the scales. Model- 0.2363, shown here, has translucent red scales. Model 0.2363.T2 has translucent sapphire blue scales. Model 2363.T5 has translucent pink scales.

My First Victorinox
My First Victorinox

My First Victorinox is a simple knife. There are no back tools. There is a blunt-tip blade with a combination cap lifter/flat screwdriver opposite. The typical Victorinox scale tools of tweezers and toothpick are present. The only other, less than remarkable, feature is a keyring with 12mm diameter split ring.

My First Victorinox open
My First Victorinox with opened main tools

Blade is v-ground stainless steel that come sharp out of the box and are easily sharpened. The blade is non-locking so compliant with current UK knife law however a child would no doubt have to demonstrate good reason for carrying one. Obviously not permissable in school or college for example as these places demonstrate zero-tolerance to knives being carried. The 58mm blade has some 48mm of cutting edge which halts just on the curve of the tip of the blade. It is 2.08mm thick across the spine tapering to around 0.65mm at the blunt tip.

All tools
All tools half opened. The combination tool has a half-stop

As mentioned, the My First Victorinox is part of the Victorinox’s 84mm frame size family. There are many popular knives with standard shaped blades in this range. The two knives shown here are variants of the Bantam and Walker, which are themselves variants of the Waiter. The first of our ‘child friendly’ knives is most similar to the Bantam which weighs 32.8g against the 32.5g My First Victorinox, the slightly smaller blade accounting for the 0.3g difference.

My First Victorinox is very similar to the Victorinox Bantam. The only difference being the blade shape and choice of scales
My First Victorinox is very similar to the Victorinox Bantam. The only difference being the blade shape and choice of scales

My First Victorinox is a single layer knife. The two tools opening from opposite ends and nesting alongside each other when closed. The My First Victorinox Plus is a thicker two layer tool with the additional saw making up the entirity of the second layer. The extra layer adds around 3mm to the overal thickness of the knife.

Thickness of single and double layer My First Victorinox compared
Thickness of single and double layer knives compared

My First Victorinox features:

  • Blade, with rounded tip
  • Bottle/tin/can opener, with 4mm flat tip screwdriver and wire stripper
  • Key ring
  • Scale tool- Toothpick
  • Scale tool- Tweezers
  • Dimensions: 84mm (actually 87mm including key ring lug) x 23.35mm x 11mm
  • Weight: 32.5g
tweezers in scale of My First Victorinox Plus
Tweezers can be seen through the translucent scales of the My First Victorinox Plus

My First Victorinox- model 0.2373, usually referred to as My First Victorinox Plus.

There are three standard variants of this 84mm knife currently (2021) available from Victorinox, all relate to the scales. Model- 0.2373, shown here, has translucent red scales. Model 0.2373.T2 has translucent sapphire blue scales. Model 2373.T5 has translucent pink scales. As with the previous knife, an economy version with red nylon scales was previously sold. There was also a limited ‘animals‘ edition produced.

saw blade
Saw blade on My First Victorinox Plus

My First Victorinox Plus has exactly the same tool set as the simpler knife, with the addition of an extra layer in which a saw blade is situated. There is no nail nick on the saw and it has to be flicked up with a finger nail under the saw tip, so cannot easily be opened from the closed position if the blade is deployed.

Cap lifter etc
Cap lifter at ‘half-stop’ position. Toothpick partially withdrawn from scale

As on the My First Victorinox above, the same combination can opener/screwdriver/wire stripper is found on My First Victorinox Plus. The wire stripper is probably a superfluous tool however the cap lifter can also be used to open tins despite lacking a cutting edge. There is a useful 4mm wide flat-tip on the end of this combination tool.

Many readers will be aware of the aversion Three Points of the Compass has for the Victorinox toothpicks, feeling that the opportunity to harbour bacteria in the scales is something to be avoided. Instead, consider swapping out the toothpick for a Firefly ferrocerium rod as the 90 degree back edge of the saw spine is perfect for striking sparks.

The similar Victorinox Walker weighs 45.9g against the 45.4g of the My First Victorinox Plus. Again a slight difference due to the altered blade shape. The saws on both tools are identical in every way. The saw is 69mm long with a cutting length of 59mm. Teeth are sharp and retain their sharpness well. The saw cuts with ease in both directions when sharp which is not necessarily a good feature as on the push stroke the saw can fold if caught or under uneven pressure. It would have been preferable for the teeth to only cut on the pull stroke as found on the now obsolete 108mm Victorinox German Army Knife. Teeth are 1.85mm thick and the spine of the saw 1.10mm which helps prevent it jamming while cutting. Despite it’s modest length this is a decent saw that will cut through thin pieces of wood well.

All tools open
All tools open on My First Victorinox Plus with scale tools extracted

My First Victorinox Plus features:

  • Blade, with rounded tip
  • Bottle/tin/can opener, with 4mm flat tip screwdriver and wire stripper
  • Wood saw
  • Key ring
  • Scale tool- Toothpick
  • Scale tool- Tweezers
  • Dimensions: 84mm (actually 87mm including key ring lug) x 23.5mm x 13.95mm
  • Weight: 45.4g
My First Victorinox Plus is very similar to the Victorinox Walker. The only difference being blade shape and choice of scales
My First Victorinox Plus is very similar to the Victorinox Walker. The only difference being blade shape and choice of scales

Both tools are well made, to the usual high quality that Victorinox demonstrate with any other knives they manufacture. These two knives open and close smoothly with a good ‘snap’. These are not ‘toys’. They are both very good and capable tools.

Both My First Victorinox knives can be found in blister packs. However the packaging option shown here is preferable as the knife then comes with additional 490mm long chain that has good quality metal mitten hooks at each end. Also included is a well made neck-lanyard, part number 4.1879. This has a metal mitten hook to attach the knife and a breakaway safety closure at the back of the neck when worn. It is Victorinox branded and the soft nylon material is 13mm wide and comfortable when worn. The closed loop is 520mm long. Note that the blade opens away from the keyring and chain or lanyard when fitted.

Good quality chain and neck lanyard come with each knife
Good quality chain and wide comfortable neck lanyard come with each knife
Box packaging for My First Victorinox
Box packaging for My First Victorinox contains both a well-made chain and quality neck lanyard with the knife. All variants of the knife are sold with red lanyards other than the pink knives which have purple lanyards.

Conclusion:

The two knives shown here are both fantastic well-made tools that need not be confined to just the younger user. While either of the ‘My First Victorinox‘ knives would suit the younger person first venturing out on hiking, camping and backpacking excursions, the wide, rounded tip blades also make them ideally suited for peanut butter spreading duty alongside other culinary tasks. The blade shape is about the only thing that seperates these tools from almost all others in the Victorinox stable. The build quality is exactly the same.

Victorinox produced a little known tool, also with a bluntened end to the blade, aimed at those completing the expedition element of their Duke of Edinburgh Award. The DofE Pocket Tool is looked at in a seperate post. Three Points of the Compass has looked at quite a few knives and multi-tools that may, or may not, be suitable for backpacking, day treks or Every Day Carry. Links to these can be found here.

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