Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: Small is good.
The Long Version: The Victorinox Tinker, August's SAK of the Month, is a very useful knife. It's a two-layer knife with the basic utility toolset: philips driver and awl, small and large blades, and the cap lifter and can opener. The small Tinker is exactly the same knife, except 8% smaller. That's enough to make it the SAK of the Month for October.
The 91mm standard-sized Tinker isn't my favourite two-layer knife; March's SAKOTM, the Compact, offers more versatility for the same size, with few drawbacks. But the simple little knife from February, the Bantam, is my favourite of all of the cellidor-handled knives I own. I bought the Small to see if that smaller form factor would still be as charming with a slightly thicker knife.
Tinker, Small Tinker
The Small Tinker is the same length as the Bantam, but is wider to accomodate two tool layers that split out the functions of the Bantam's two tools. The blade becomes the large and small blade layer, the combo tool becomes the openers layer. While I could have stopped there and saved a few dollars by buying the Recruit, the Small Tinker's backside tools don't add much to the size and weight of the knife.
Having both 91mm and 84mm Tinkers has let me do some direct comparisons between the tools. The large blade, cap lifter, and can opener are all scaled down on the smaller knife, but the screwdriver tips of the openers remains the same size. The small blade, backside T-handle Philips driver, and awl are the same between both knives.
A perfectly valid question would be why anyone would own both the small and standard tinker. Frankly, I'm having a hard time answering that one. My suggestion would be that the Small Tinker would be nicely paired with the Mechanic, an Alox knife for utility tasks, or the Compact for variety. For those who want just a single knife, though, the Small Tinker remains an excellent choice.
The strength of a Swiss Army Knife isn't that it has the best tools for the job, but that it's the tool that's most likely to be available. The Small Tinker is smaller enough that it's a bit easier to carry than the 91mm variant, but its tools remain just as useful. That makes it pretty easy to recommend.
last updated 4 oct 2013