Hacking a Swiss Army Knife

Tuesday 19th December, 2023 - Bruce Sterling

*I get a lot of use from the hefty, many-featured Victorinox “WorkChamp with Slide Lock.” It’s thick, heavy, stout and, at 111 millimeters in length, it’s better classed as a multitool than a “pocket knife.” It also ceased production back in 2017.

*However, this old tool of mine lacks any Swiss Army pen. So I removed the scale (that’s the knife’s plastic covering) and I melted and sawed a channel through it. Now it can hold a pen, and, after some further surgery, it still holds the original tweezers, too.

A useful technique is to heat the knife in hot water; then the plastic softens and will snap off easily and without damage.

*While I was voiding the warranty (that’s a joke — they don’t have them, and also the knife’s old and obsolete), I also used a small file to sharpen the mostly-useless “wire stripper” included in the bottle-opener tool. Once this little crevice has a sharp edge to it, it will, in fact, strip at least some wire, somewhat.

*As a writer, I commonly need and have a pen, and often three or four pens. However, there’s always that last-ditch moment when you really, truly need a pen and don’t have one at all, and that’s when a cruddy little Swiss Army pen is a great thing in life. Not that they can ever do a great job, but they haltingly perform when the need itself is great.

*So it’s not that I would hacking the tool for the sake of doing it; the point is to spare myself some little personal crisis, and my long-time habit of toting multitools has done that for me many times and in many places.