Do you know the number one tool that I didn’t like in my first Swiss Army Knife? No, it is not the corkscrew, It is the multipurpose hook! But the corkscrew ranked high in the list of the least useful tools in a SAK!
I always used to favor the SAK models with a Philips screwdriver over a corkscrew. I am a non-drinker and I didn’t know what to do with that twisted piece of metal.
The corkscrew is the only tool in a Swiss Army Knife that is not made in Switzerland. Victorinox has always imported it from a supplier in France. Know more about how Swiss Army Knives are made in this post.
But just like many tools in the Swiss Army Knife, I have become aware of some of these ‘other’ practical uses of the corkscrew. Over the years, many of these have often come in handy.
1. Loosening And Untying Knots
This is probably the most frequent use of the corkscrew for me. And this is also something that Victorinox mentions in their documentation as a tip.
The pointed tip of the corkscrew is blunt enough not to damage the rope.
By twisting the corkscrew, you can drive it between the cords of even the most stubborn knots. Once in, you can just pull it apart.
I have used it successfully every time with various types of strings and cords, including paracords and shoe laces. Some people say that the corkscrew can also be used to open zip ties without breaking them so that you can reuse them later. I haven’t tried that, however.
2. Holding the Mini Screwdriver
The Victorinox mini-screwdriver is designed in such a way that it can be twisted into the corkscrew. As such, only a Swiss Army knife with a corkscrew can hold it.
While using the mini-screwdriver, you can twist it backwards into the corkscrew. This will give you a bigger handle to work with.
3. Handle for Victorinox Pen
You must have seen how the Victorinox pressurized pen can be used by putting it in the slot of the multipurpose hook. Well, the corkscrew can also be used similarly. You just have to drive the pen into the groove, and then fold the close the corkscrew.
This will hold the pen in place giving it more length and then you use the entire body of the SAK to hold it and write with it.
4. Drawing Compass
This is an extension of the previous trick of using the corkscrew as a handle for the pen.
Once you drive the pen into the corkscrew, open the smaller blade and use it as the pivot of a compass.
You can draw some nice accurate circles on any surface where you can pivot the knife point.
By adjusting the angle of the corkscrew, you can control how big or small the circle will be.
5. Holding Fire Steel and Tinder
This is another utility that is specifically suited for bushcraft and survival enthusiasts. Victorinox Mini Tool FireAnt Set consists of very small fire steel and tinders that can be attached to the corkscrew.
The fire steel may seem tiny but Victorinox says you can start 100 fires with one FireAnt.
The corkscrew can hold one FireAnt and one piece of tinder in its groove.
If you want to know more about the utilities of a Swiss Army Knife as a fire starter and as a survival knife in general, don’t miss this post.
6. Cleaning Dirt From Under the Nails
This is quite an obvious use of the corkscrew. But it comes in handy more often. You can probably do the same with the reamer or the scissors, maybe even with the small blade.
But using the corkscrew is much safer. The pointed end of the corkscrew is fairly blunt, hence less chance of any unwanted accidents.
The corkscrew is also strong enough to dig out pebbles stuck in your shoe soles.
7. As a Hanger for Clothes
This is especially useful in the outdoors, during scouting, or camping in the woods. While the tip of the corkscrew is not very sharp, you can still drive it into a tree trunk with some force.
Once it is screwed in, it will hold the SAK in place. You can then use the SAK as a makeshift hanger to hang your coat or other items.
8. Remove Candle Stub out of a Candle Holder
This is a crude way of removing the wax stub at the bottom of a candle holder. Once the candle burns down flush with the candle holder socket, there is nothing left to grab hold of. You can screw the corkscrew down into the wax, and then pull it out in one piece.
The corkscrew bites into the wax stub pretty well allowing you to pull at it. The process is somewhat similar to removing the cork from a wine bottle, just a lot more delicate.
9. As a Self-Defence Weapon
Ok, this is a bit controversial and Victorinox recommends not to use a Swiss Army Knife as a weapon. But in extreme situations, especially in hand-to-hand combat, a SAK can be used as a defensive weapon.
The corkscrew when opened sits in the middle of the SAK like a T. You can clench the SAK in your fist with the corkscrew sticking out from between your fingers below the knuckles.
This can be used very effectively like makeshift brass knuckles.
It is guaranteed to do much more damage than your bare-handed punches. You can also use the corkscrew as an ice pick by holding it in this manner.
There are of course other more effective ways of using SAK as a defensive weapon as discussed here.
The corkscrew was one of the new tools introduced when Karl Elsener designed the first Swiss Army Knife – also called the Officer’s Knife or the Offiziersmesser. You will find this in many SAK models now. Read this post to know why the corkscrew was added to the SAK.
The interesting thing about a SAK is that the more you use it, the more you will discover new uses for the tools. The corkscrew is no exception.
I hope the uses of the corkscrew described here will help you appreciate the utility of this nifty tool.
I have written a similar post on the various ways of using the multipurpose hook in a Swiss Army Knife.
I am sure at least some of the uses of the corkscrew described here will come in handy to you sometime.