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5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know a Swiss Army Knife Can Do

The world's most iconic pocket knife isn't as simple as you think.

a swiss army knife with lots of tools
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Recently, Victorinox, the maker of the fabled Swiss Army Knife, unveiled a new version of the iconic pocket knife that can only be described as colossal — despite measuring 2.5 by 3.6 inches. Dubbed the Swiss Champ XXL, the tool packs a whopping 73 functions within the 15 tool layers sandwiched between its familiar red ABS handle scales.

It's not even Victorinox's biggest Swiss Army Knife, either. That distinction goes to the Swiss Champ XAVT, which has even more tools and includes a digital clock in its handle. Both pocket knives — though perhaps they're multi-tools, or something else entirely — beg the question: why? What sort of tasks necessitates a pocket knife becoming a 12.5-ounce brick?

As you might've guessed, the answers are equally odd and specific.

Fish Scaler

Victorinox's fish scaler tool looks like a three-ish-inch ruler with a curved, jagged edge. The ruler is short but can help you decide whether a fish is the right size to harvest, at which point you'll employ the scaler. By rubbing that edge back and forth across the side of a fresh catch, you can remove its scales and prep it for the pan, all in the comfort of a minimal outdoor kitchen. (Some SAK enthusiasts also note that the edge is adept at carving pumpkins for Halloween.)

Hook Disgorger

At the tip of the fish scaler is a small, U-shaped tool called a hook disgorger. This one is also for anglers, who can use it to remove a hook from a fish without harming it.

Pruning Blade

Here's a unique one that's only available on a few Swiss Army Knife models, including both the Swiss Champ XXL and XAVT. The pruner is a small hawkbill blade, a type characterized by a cutting edge that curves downward. Historically, these types of knives have been used for pruning and foraging — consider that it looks like a small scythe — as well as jobs like cutting carpet.

Sewing Tool

Even many small Swiss Army Knives come with an awl — that blade-like tool with a hole in its side. The implement is a multi-tool in its own right with the ability to punch or widen holes in cloth, leather and aluminum. That little hole is used similarly to a needle for sewing (click here to read our guide on how to do it).

Pharmaceutical Spatula

The pharmaceutical spatula, a tool with a stem that widens into a broader, rounded tip, calls to mind a tiny pizza paddle and might be the most obscure Swiss Army Knife tool. You can use it to mix powders or creams and, supposedly, to count pills, though you can probably get that done without the help of a pocket tool. In fact, it's hard to imagine needing this thing at all.

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