For many years now, I have carried one of these small Swiss Army knives on each of my two key rings – one for work and one for home. Barely a day goes by when I do not take one of them out of my pocket to use once or twice – to quickly file down a broken nail, to tweeze out a small splinter, to cut open a small item with the scissor of something larger by cutting the wrapping tape with the knife blade – the toothpick is used daily! I cannot imagine being without one. Of course, I own larger and more multi-purpose knives, but when it comes to carrying something this handy on a key chain or ring, you just can’t beat them!
There are two major (authorized) manufacturers of Swiss Army knives: Victorinox, the maker of this particular favorite of mine and Wenger, a reliable alternative brand that makes many similar and some even nearly identical models. I have used both over the years and have found there to be absolutely no appreciable differences in the quality, durability or pricing of the knives. With so many models to choose from, it probably makes sense to decide which features you need and then shop both brands for the best price you can find. But back to the knife at hand, the SA Classic SD Pocket Knife.
This is the one of the smallest knives in the Victorinox line. Measuring only about 2 1/4″ long and about 1/4″ wide, it adds little by way of heft to a key ring. It is a compact knife containing a total of 6 equally compact tools. This is not for the big things. This is a small knife with small tools to deal with small things. With expectations appropriately set, it is unsurpassed in it’s usefulness as a basic daily tool.
There are compartments on the outer casing of knife – each containing a small appliance. One is home to a small white toothpick that I have found to be entirely satisfactory – except that after a year or two of use, I seem to lose them. I think the molded shape wears a bit over time and repeated use and no longer holds itself snugly in the allotted compartment. They can be easily and inexpensively replaced though at any fully stocked retailer of the knives. On the opposite side of the knife is a compartment housing a micro-tweezer. Because it is so very small and light, it cannot be used as a regular tweezer, but only for light-duty needs. These include, I am pleased to report, removing small splinters and picking up objects too small for my increasingly clumsy fingers! It has a small metal ring attached to one end (not shown in the photo) that makes it easy – and secure to put on your key ring or holder.
There are three tools that fold into the knife itself, one of which has two uses – actually providing a total of four useful mini-tools. These include 1) a flat spring loaded scissor, a regular blade and a nail file (which, as a guitar picker, I use almost daily) topped with the fourth tool, a screw driver head, small enough to be used for either flat screws or Phillips head screws – providing that they are small enough. Don’t misunderstand – the smallness of the tools does not render them either token or useless, but their size is a factor in their usability in real day-to-day life.
This is nearly a non sequitor, but in the interests of completeness, I will briefly address it.
Years have gone by before anything beyond simple removal of dust and cleaning the instruments is required. One time, a blade seemed to be sticking just a tad and a quick and very short burst of WD40 took care of it – permanently. The knife is build to last until you decide you no longer want or need it.
There are few things in life built for frequent use without planned obsolescence being figured into their design. This little pocket tool set is, happily, among them. For somewhere around $8., you can have something actually skillfully made that will serve you well and for a good long time. How many things can any of us really say that about?
I love mine and would feel not only unprepared, but somehow naked – or at least disabled – were I to leave home without one.