A Love Story for the Ages…
I love Victorinox Swiss Army Knives.
Small tight package, beautiful to look at, lots of interesting qualities, sharp as a razor, and so many to choose from! What’s not to love, right?
I love them so much, in fact, that I’ve made a pledge to myself. I only buy used Victorinox Swiss Army Knives. Why? Because, just like puppies, there are so many of them out there looking for good homes!
I find them, buy them, and restore them, as best I can. Then I find good homes for them. That makes the Be Ready Every Day HQ sort of a knife rescue for Swiss Army Knives.
Sometimes though, I find a sweet little baby that I’m not sure I can help. This article is the story of one such knife.
She came to me in really sad shape. Dirty, arthritic, and completely stubborn. So dirty and stiff that I had to use a vise grip to open the blades.
And the scissors! I’ve seen some pretty messed up scissors on these things, sometimes with the springs missing, but this was the first time the spring was actually broken. So sad.
I sat there looking at this poor darling for a while, wondering if I should try to save her or just put her down. Finally, I decided she was worth a shot.
You see, this was a Huntsman. One of my favorite breeds…I mean, models. I just couldn’t let her go without at least trying to save her.
Restoring this Victorinox Swiss Army Knife
First, I gave the knife a good soak in some hot soapy water. Then I spent some time working the grit out of the pivots and the springs by opening and closing the blades repeatedly. This is usually all it takes to restore the snap in the blades.
Usually I try to leave the scales alone because they give the knife character. Not this time. The scales were just too bad to save. So I stripped her down and gave her a long hot bath and a good rinse. But she refused to budge, so I soaked her in motor oil for so long that I almost forgot she was there.
Things got a little better.
Another soapy bath and several hours moving each blade back and forth hundreds of times, then another bath. Rinse and repeat.
You see, it’s all about getting the gunk out. Victorinox Swiss Army Knives are built in such a way that the mechanics rarely change. Once they are clean, unless they’ve been really abused, the blades should get their “snap” right back.
She was just full of dirt and gunk.
Finally, she started to loosen up. She wasn’t happy about it, but the grit and the muck was finally coming loose and she was starting to respond to my attention.
Now that we had movement, it was time to lubricate. Lubrication supports movement (There’s a life lesson there, folks!). I use 3in1 penetrating oil for this step because it’s pretty good at breaking up the gunk in the pivots.
Soak in oil. Give her a bath. Keep moving the blades back and forth. Once. Twice. Three times.
By now, the blades were moving pretty well. I didn’t really feel any grit, but they just weren’t snapping yet. Maybe the springs were worn out. It can happen, though it’s really quite rare.
Then the main blade made a noise.
Eureka! It was ALIVE!
Time for Drastic Measures
I opened it up completely and covered it in gun cleaning solvent. It worked! The snap was back!
Time for another bath.
A little slower than she used to be. A little tarnished. A little less energetic and snappy than in her younger days, but she was back and ready to work.
One last hot soapy bath and another round of blade turning, just to be sure.
Then I polished her up with some Case Knife Paste, put some mineral oil on the pivots, gave the blades a sharpen and put a new spring on the scissors. Finally, a new set of scales, this time in Navy camo (Because this Huntsman is just that tough!) and it was ready to find its forever home.
I love Victorinox Swiss Army Knives.
The Recipe for Restoring a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife
All kidding aside, the truth is that most Victorinox Swiss Army Knives can be returned to good working order with this simple recipe:
- Remove the tweezers and the toothpick
- Toss the knife, closed, along with the tweezers and the toothpick in a bin of hot soapy water for 15-30 minutes, sloshing occasionally.
- Use an old toothbrush to scrub as much dirt off of the blades and out of the inside, where the blades rest.
- Remove from the bath and, with a towel or cloth wrapped around the blade, work each blade back and forth until they move smoothly and without any “gritty” feeling. Sometimes I’ll do this under the water while the knife is still in the bath.
- Remove the knife from the soapy water and rinse well in hot water.
- Use WD-40 and/or compressed air to get all the water out of the cracks and crevasses of the knife.
You may need to repeat this process more than once, but not usually.
Once the blades have recovered their snap, sharpen the blades and polish them up.
Finally, add a drop of mineral oil to the pivots on each blade. I use mineral oil because it’s food safe and cutting food is one of my favorite things to do with my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife!
If the scales are really bad; either too scarred up or they’ve become loose and ill-fitting, you can buy new scales on ebay fairly reasonably. As I said, I tend to keep the scales if I can because they add character to the knife, but sometimes, they just have to be replaced.
Look for more information on the Be Ready Every Day Knife Rescue, coming soon!
Which Victorinox Swiss Army model is your favorite? Tell us why in the comments!
Featured image by 金召 步 from Pixabay