Victorinox EvoWood 17 Review

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The Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is one of the most iconic multi-tools in the world, and for good reason. Found in toolboxes, pockets, and glove compartments everywhere, the SAK is available in dozens of configurations with different tools, shapes, sizes, and designs. We reached out to the leading SAK manufacturer, Victorinox, to try something new from their lineup that we thought you guys would enjoy. They graciously sent us a sample of their EvoWood 17 to consider. It stands apart from the usual candy red Swiss Army Knives with its genuine walnut hardwood scales, while boasting 9 tools capable of 13 different features in one 85mm package. Read on to find out how the EvoWood 17 held up in our EDC.

The Specs

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Size: 85 mm L x 27.5 mm W x 23 mm H

Weight: 3.07oz

Blade Length: 2.50” blade, 2.75” saw

Handle Material: genuine walnut hardwood

Tools (9 tool, 13 functions): 2.5" Blade, Nail File, Serrated-edge Scissors, Can Opener, Large and Small Screwdriver, Cap Lifter, 2.75" wood saw, Corkscrew, Punch/Reamer, Key Ring

Design, Fit & Finish

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The first detail that sets the EvoWood 17 apart from the rest of Victorinox’s lineup is the contoured wooden scales on either side of the tool. The walnut wood used in the scales give great woodgrain figuring and a silky smooth touch. The wooden scales add a bit of classiness and vintage aesthetic to this multi-purpose classic. The tool is made very well, with tight tolerances all around.

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Each individual tool is kept in place by a spring tension mechanism with no noticeable play. The steel tools are high quality and are polished up to a nice shine. I wouldn’t worry about the tool breaking if force is applied when using the screwdriver or saw. It’s worth noting that the 2.5” blade does not lock into place with a true locking mechanism as seen in most dedicated pocket knives, so take a bit of extra care when using it for piercing tasks.

Swiss Army Knives are typically non-threatening, even more-so with the addition of the wooden scales. Since most people know what they are, you’re definitely less likely to get alarmed looks when using it around the office or in public. I like the way the tool looks and feels. The contouring and wood make it feel like a luxury item.

Operation and Performance

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Using the Evowood 17 is straight forward. All of the tools are arranged perfectly to nestle with each other in the relatively slim body of the SAK. To open a tool, most of the components are equipped with an indent to catch with a finger nail. Simply grip the tool and pull outward. They’re easy to open, but do require two hands to do so: one to hold the knife and the other to open the tool. The tools lock in place with an authoritative “snap” when they’re fully extended and ready to use.

The wooden scales provide a unique tactile feel. They’re carved to fit the hand and they feel comfortable whether you’re right- or left-handed. 

I’m not so sure about the long-term durability of the wood. I would definitely avoid water/liquids if you want to keep the multi-tool looking pristine. The finish is light and the wood isn’t terribly hard, so beware of unintentional patina (aka damage) when using the tool for heavy-duty tasks.

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The 9 tools in the EvoWood 17 are all very usable. Nothing is hard to get to and when extended, each tool is easily used thanks to the ergonomic handle. The 2.5” blade is plenty sharp and slices easily. I find the serrated scissors to be excellent. The spring mechanism is sturdy and the operation is smooth. It’s great having reliable, sharp scissors in my bag. The nail file is convenient for cleaning dirt out from under my nails - a task usually done by my knife. This is not only safer, but it works better too. It’s no doubt a useful tool that would make a great all-in-one EDC solution or backup in my bag.

Carry Options

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The Evowood 17 has an attached keyring, but it’s a bit big/heavy to carry on my keys. A lanyard can be easily attached to the loop for deep pocket carry. The SAK does not have a clip, so it’s usually loose in my pocket. I prefer my EDC gear to have some sort of retention system/clip so everything stays right where I want it to. At 27.7 mm thick, it does have a significant presence in pocket. If you take the amount of tools/utility it provides into consideration, the width is very reasonable. I have found through daily carry that I prefer the tool be carried in my bag rather than my pocket. The EvoWood’s small footprint is ideal for throwing in a bag, therefore making it an excellent way to carry many different tools in one compact form factor.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Very well made
  • Having 9 tools in pocket is handy
  • Sharp blade is very capable for daily tasks
  • Scissors are great

Cons:

  • Thick to carry in pocket
  • Some tools seem unnecessary for most daily tasks
  • Built in keyring, but a bit large for keychain carry

Conclusion

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Victorinox has added a touch of class to their standard Swiss Army Knife with the introduction of the EvoWood series. They’ve ditched the red scales for contoured wood, and I love the result. Having as many tools as this does in such a small form factor is useful and has come in handy in a multitude of situations. The highlights of the tool are the scissors, sharp blade and great ergonomics. I prefer carrying the EvoWood in my bag, as I found it a bit clunky to have floating around in my pocket or on my keys. Is it worth carrying? I’d say so. For SAK collectors, adding at least one EvoWood to your collection is a must.

BUY ($55)

Does the EvoWood 17 look like it could have a place in your EDC? Do you already have a tried-and-true favorite Swiss Army Knife? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclosure: The manufacturer of this product sent this sample to be considered for review at no charge. It does not, however, affect my opinion in this review.

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Discussion (19 total)

My SAK Huntsman is my backup EDC Knife, it provides so many useful tools not the least of which is the corkscrew, my main EDC Knife is my Griptilian but for travel and EDC nothing has beaten the functionality of my SAK.
Love my SAK. First thing I turn to at home, on camp or even out and about with my scout group. Replace the cork screw and I'd have one in a heartbeat.
Get yourself a model 18 (Evo, EvoGrip, EvoWood) and you have a great Phillips screwdriver instead of the cork screw.
I'll have to look into this one!
I agree the corkscrew is a bit of a useless tool unless your seriously into drinking wine
I love my SAK. Of all my knives, I use my Classic the most. And it's because of the toothpick and tweezers. I wish this Evowood had them too! The same goes for all of the custom or after-market SAK scales--they almost always do away with the toothpick and tweezers.
I wouldn't mind if there was a toothpick and tweezers in this model, they definitely round out functionality of a tool like this!
It's funny I never gave these types of knives a second look .... Until this one with those wood scales! Totally different outlook on these now after that wood has been added! Overdue nice touch on a classic breed
Well, I don't agree at all with the cons you present. This is an old Wenger model, before Wenger was bought by Victorinox.
- I've been using an Evo for years (first an Evo 15 and now an EvoGrip 18) in my pocket, and don't find it thick. I carry it in the coins pocket, it's perfect.
- Unnecessary tools for most daily tasks? Of course it depends on your daily tasks! I use it on a daily basis and all the tools have some action once in a while. Of course I got the one that was perfect for my needs.
- Built in keyring doesn't mean you have to use it with keys. Like I said, I carry mine in the coins pocket, but have a carabiner locking it to the belt loop (I lost my Evo 15 because I wasn't doing this).

Now just a few thoughts:

The Wenger scissors (used in the Evo series) are incredible, when compared to the regular Victorinox scissors, which are mediocre. These ones are outstanding, the spring mechanism is flawless and the serrated blade just keeps itself sharp. Brilliant.

Also, the can opener of (Wenger) Evo series is different from other Victorinox models. I got used to it and it works perfectly, but I know a few people who prefer the Victorinox one.

Finally, the blade is amazing. It's made of an "average" stainless steel, but the heat treatment must be perfect. The shape of the blade is very good and even a child can sharpen it, maintenance is that easy.

For me, the Evo is the perfect multi-tool if you don't need pliers. Just find the model with the tools you need, and you'll have a friend for life (as long as you don't lose it).
Thanks for your points! The issue with reviews is that they tend to be a bit subjective, as this represents my personal experience with the tool. I carry a slim, light knife (Spyderco Dice) in my right jeans pocket clipped on. The coin pocket has a Zippo in it. During the course of testing I ditched my regular knife and kept the EvoWood free floating in my pocket. I agree with you, totally love the scissors and the blade is great. While I may not pocket carry it, it definitely has a place in my bag!
I agree, reviews are biased by personal experience. Of course you will consider it thick if you're used to a Dice, it's natural. Also, another point I realized, this model has the Victorinox can opener, which also doubles as a cap lifter. On the other side, it has the classic Wenger cap lifter. Why have two? Unless you "lift a lot of caps", it seems pointless. Maybe they could have added a different tool. Nice review though, keep up the good work.
I had the opportunity to "play" with several evowood models at the Victorinox outlet in San Marcos, TX, and almost went home with one (but that's a different story). Your review is spot on, Ed, the look and feel of these tools is superb in the hand and a must for any SAK fan.
woodgrain im grippin
wood scales look nice, but are not very practical. theres also a lack of tweezers and toothpick.
Ed, quick question for you. What's the wallet in the last picture in this set?
Not Ed obviously, but looks like an OG Corter wallet: http://shop.corterleather.com/
I have had an EvoWood for a long time. It is still my favourite tool/knife to hold. It's like playing a nice guitar. It feels so good in the hand you'll never want to put it down. The blade and tools are scalpel-
Sharp. This is basically the world's classiest Swiss Army Knife. Sheer perfection.
Nice knife but, I prefer the classic red scales. I've been carrying a Victorinox Tinker for years. They're not a hard use tool but, they sure come in handy for small tasks!
I love the Tinker (first knife my dad bought me) and have it in my pocket right now!