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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > Swiss Advance Kitchen Accessories > Test Report by joe schaffer

Swiss Advanced Accessories

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - November 8, 2017
FIELD REPORT - January 12, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - March 16, 2018


NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 69
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Products: a) Jack Penny Knife
                 b) Rex Vegetable Peelerthree pieces
                 c) Crono Pocket Knife

Manufacturer:  Think Industry, Ltd.
Jack Penny Knife      
Weight: 30 g (1 1/10 oz)
Closed: 10.5 x 1.8 x 3.0 cm (4 1/8 x 3/4 x 1 3/16 in)
Opened: 17.9 x 1.8 x 2.6 cm (7 x 3/4 x 1 in)
Materials: Stainless steel and beech wood; not dishwasher safe.
MSRP: USD $11.50

Rex Vegetable Peeler
Weight: 14 g ( 1/2 oz)
Measures: 105 x 53 x 12.5 mm (4 1/8 x  2 1/16 x 1/2 in)
Materials: Anodized aluminum with steel blade
Colors: Green (pictured), gold, blue, red, purple
MSRP: USD $8.49

Crono Pocket Knife
Weight: 38 g (1 3/8 oz)
Measures (from hang tag): 95 x 15 x 6 mm (3 3/4 x 9/16 x 1/4 in)
Materials: Stainless and chromium steel
Tools: bottle opener, fish scaler, wire stripper, cm-scale, hexagon, wing nut opener, cheese blade knife, bradawl and sewing, square, fork, screwdriver (flat blade).
MSRP: USD $48      

My Specs:  (measures by ruler)Jack Crono
Jack Penny Knife      
Weight: 1 oz (29 g)
Closed: 4 1/8 x 3/4 x 1 1/4  in (10.5 x 1.9 x 3.2 cm)
Opened: 7 x 3/4 x 15/16  in (17.8 x 1.9 x 2.4 cm)
Blade cutting edge length: 2 15/16 in (7.5 cm)
Maximum blade width: 15/16 in (2.4 cm)

Rex Vegetable Peeler
Weight: 13 g (1/2 oz)
Measures: 4 1/4 x 2 5/8 x 1/2 in (108 x 66 x 13 mm)

Crono Pocket Knife
Weight: 38 g (1 3/8 oz)
Measures: 3 3/4 x 5/8 x 3/16 in (95 x 16 x 5 mm)
Longest extension: 6 13/16 in  (173 mm)
Blade cutting edge length: 1 3/4 in (44 mm)
Maximum blade width: 1/2 in (13 mm)

Received:  November 6, 2017

My Description:
    Jack Penny Knife:The knife blade folds partially into the round wooden handle's recess. The handle is lathe-turned for greater thickness in the center and at a somewhat bulbous end for better grip control; and spindle and quill (lathe tool) marks remain evident at both ends of the handle. The front of the handle has a fixed metal collar. The blade hinges freely in and out of the handle. The point of the knife sinks fully within the handle recess. There is no blade lock. The blade edge follows an even arc to a sharp point, though the top edge is not sharpened. The blade and collar are metallic; the handle one piece of wood; and there are no plastic parts.
    Rex Vegetable Peeler: The peeler handle is shape-bent from a single piece of metal, rounded to fit in the palm of the hand and indented for the thumb and forefinger. The frame is sturdied with a brace, allowing free semi-rotational movement of the cutting blade. The outside end on one side has a gouge. There are no non-metallic parts.
    Crono Pocket Knife: This tool engineers multiple devices into a unit thinner and narrower though a bit longer than a package of gum. All devices are flat and none protrude when folded into stowed position. All devices rotate from the same end of the tool. The tool has no non-functioning sides or covers. There are no non-metallic parts. There are no locking parts, though the devices may be opened in only one direction. A Cordura 'pouch' with lanyard attends the tool, but the tool won't fit into it in any way I can find.

     Being familiar with the Jack Penny style of knife I can make one comparative observation: The metal collar cannot be rotated to prevent the blade from collapsing. This makes the handle far less likely to crack when abusing the knife in lateral prying applications, but also allows the blade to close onto fingers when abusing the knife in a thrusting motion. The blade seems wider than I'd expect for a knife of this size and anticipated duty, and in the closed position protrudes from the handle more than I would like. It is certainly light. It is not sharp enough to shave arm hair. I did wonder about the moniker and the explanation is that local lore disdains giving a sharp edge away; thus a penny attends the transaction.
    The peeler is so light I would have no difficulty toting it on a backpack outing, and perhaps I'll have occasion on a snow camping trip. The cutting edges bite into paper edge but won't "peel" it; they will cut a hair or two off skin. The gouge looks the right size, but I'm not familiar with a loop.
    The Crono taxes my imagination to figure out all of the devices and how to use them. It has the look and feel of quality steel and I'm duly impressed with the ingenuity of design. I note that the smallest hex is placed nearest the end of the device, and the largest toward the center. This seems backwards to me as the larger a bolt is, the more torque required to loosen or tighten it. This appears to be a well-made tool for light tasks. The knife edge will shave hair.
     I copied the vendor's measures from the Crono hang tag for that tool's factory specifications. This tool is shown twice on the website; and the three instances of measures are not consistent. I might also lightly suggest occasioning a more practiced English speaker to edit both the site and hang tags in order that the language appear as well crafted as the devices.

    These appear to be quality instruments that should withstand "light" use and some abuse. That blades have no locking attributes--certainly not unique to these--causes me a degree of apprehension imposing a limit to my experimentation with them.

Field Conditions:
1. Multiple kitchen dates peeling potatoes and persimmons.
2. Dec 13-18, 2017: Pinecrest, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 5 nights. 12 mi (19 km)/10 hrs backpacking, trail and XC. Leave wt 46 lb (20.9 kg) return 39 lb (18.7 kg). 32-60 F (0-16 C), dry, sunny days.
    3. Dec 29-Jan 2, 2018: Pinecrest, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 4 nights. 4 mi (6 km) trail; 6,000 ft (1,800 m) Leave wt 44 lb (20 kg) return 40 lb (18 kg). 32-60 F (0-16 C), dry, sunny days.

Penny Jack knife: The grip feels good and the edge does a serviceable job of cutting. The "nick" for thumbnail extraction of the blade from the handle recess works OK, but there is enough resistance that when my nail is soft from being wet, the nail bends out of the nick. (So far not a manicurial disaster, but a fellow does not want to be caught with a torn nail!) The cutting edge of the knife goes all the way to the handle, denying opportunity to nudge the blade to full open with a thumb: This blade requires both hands for deployment. While I don't like the pocket feel of the stowed blade edge protruding as much as it does, it does provide purchase for a thumb and forefinger pinch to pull the blade out and into position. I must force myself to remember not to apply thumb pressure to the bottom end of the blade, where most folding knives I've ever used have a flat spot to accommodate pushing the blade open.
    The lathe headstock spindle marks are deep enough to accumulate muck. As the handle is wood, this muck can stay damp enough for mold to develop. Getting rid of these tool marks might involve an extra production step and wasting of a small amount of wood. I'm thinking they shouldn't be there and that they probably affect the integrity of the wood at this critical point.
    I don't like that the metal collar is fixed in place. I'd be happy with the trade-off of less strength for the convenience of being able to lock the blade open or closed.
    Rex peeler: It peels fine, and were I that much of an outdoorsy cooker I would definitely include it in my kitchen gear. The gouge being a loop can clog persistently; and without a sharp point does require "tearing" into the vegetable. It's sharp, and makes quick work of peeling. I even used it to shave persimmons into thin slices for a couple of bread and cookie recipes; quicker than dirtying a food processor.
    Crono multi-tool: I find the knife the handiest part of this tool. The fork works OK, an implement I can use but that will not supplant my preference for a spoon. The tool takes up little space or weight and fits very conveniently in a hip belt pocket for ready access without using up much of the pocket volume.

Field Conditions:
    4. Multiple kitchen dates peeling potatoes; cutting vegetables.
    5. Feb 7-9: Pt. Reyes National Sea Shore, California. 2 nights backpacking/14 mi (22.5 km)/7 hours.

    Penny Jack knife: Quite many spuds and veggies have gone under this knife in short work on the kitchen counter. It is a little short for whacking up Romaine lettuce. The blade could be sharper for mincing tomato. The width of the blade seems to encourage slices to stick to it. Those tool spindle marks earlier noted do accumulate muck that does mold. I don't like the feel of this knife in my pocket, though to be fair I don't much like the feel of anything in my pockets. Throughout the use of this knife I managed not to cut myself with it. I did test it with a pronounced no-no by using the tip to pry the back off a watch in order to change the battery. It popped the back off, though damaged the point of the knife tip. I don't like how the knife can collapse and I confess to being a little bit afraid of it. It seems very light for a blade of this size, and the handle feels good in my grip.
    Rex peeler: This is surely the sharpest peeler I've ever used and works great to make wafer-thin slices. I didn't use it for backpacking and probably won't have occasion to. I thought it might get use in a snow camping trip, but such trip has yet to materialize for the season. It is so small and light it will likely stay in the kit for when I develop the urge to whip up a breakfast bounty for me alone--not necessarily a common occasion that I feel so motivated. On an outing with other folks where I've much work to do, though, I probably would spend the extra weight to have a peeler that's a little larger and more grip friendly. It works great on a spud or two, but can become tedious on a pot load.
    Crono multi-tool: On the Pt. Reyes trip I tried to use the Crono's knife to slice off a blossoming callous that had cracked open, but the edge wasn't quite sharp enough. It did work great opening packages and cutting cord. This blade is small enough I don't much fear cutting myself with it. I used the awl to bore a hole in a webbing strap and found it worked very well for that emergency circumstance. No situations have arisen to use any of the other tools. The Crono is so light and small and invested with potential uses that it will be a permanent fixture in a hip belt pocket.

Quick shots:
a) small
    b) light
    c) sharp cutting edges
Thank you Think Industry, Ltd., and for the opportunity to test this product. This report concludes the test cycle.

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