SAK Can Opener Wear and Tear

Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
520
I recently acquired a Victorinox Farmer, and have been carrying it to supplement my other daily carry, an Emerson Sheepdog. I recently used the can opener tool to cut open four cans of chicken stock while I was cooking, and then noticed that there were a few minor "notches" in the edge of the can opener blade.

Considering that this is more or less a blunt force tool with a nominally sharpened edge (it only has to penetrate the can, not cut it), should this be considered normal wear? I have used the can openers on other SAK's in the past and have not found as deep of a notch in the can opener, but the edges on the older tools were not ground to a lesser razors edge as this current one was. A sharper than average edge on a blunt force tool suggests that some of that high edge would be exposed to have more immediate and noticeable wear than a less aggressively sharpened tool.

My situation with the can opener also brings up the idea for consideration that Victorinox tools (and all knives technically) are designed to be "disposable" units with a limited use-life factored into their design and price, though I imagine that for what is roughly the cost of this knife, I could sent the unit to the Victorinox factory for "refurbishment". I suppose that the average lifespan of a ALOX SAK is roughly five years, and that a Celluloid SAK should last for around three.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Messages
118
Strange. I've regularly used the can opener on a Victorinox Hiker I was gifted in 1970 (no toothpick and no tweezer and came with a bail) and except for some minor pitting as a result of not being properly rinsed and dried after use, it shows no visible wear - let alone notching - along the blade bevel. The can opener has a pretty obtuse grind and would not be expected to be that delicate. As unlikely as it appears, perhaps yours came with a can opener with out-of-spec hardness? Perhaps a warranty inquiry would be in order.
 

Hickory n steel

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Feb 11, 2016
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17,295
I recently acquired a Victorinox Farmer, and have been carrying it to supplement my other daily carry, an Emerson Sheepdog. I recently used the can opener tool to cut open four cans of chicken stock while I was cooking, and then noticed that there were a few minor "notches" in the edge of the can opener blade.

Considering that this is more or less a blunt force tool with a nominally sharpened edge (it only has to penetrate the can, not cut it), should this be considered normal wear? I have used the can openers on other SAK's in the past and have not found as deep of a notch in the can opener, but the edges on the older tools were not ground to a lesser razors edge as this current one was. A sharper than average edge on a blunt force tool suggests that some of that high edge would be exposed to have more immediate and noticeable wear than a less aggressively sharpened tool.

My situation with the can opener also brings up the idea for consideration that Victorinox tools (and all knives technically) are designed to be "disposable" units with a limited use-life factored into their design and price, though I imagine that for what is roughly the cost of this knife, I could sent the unit to the Victorinox factory for "refurbishment". I suppose that the average lifespan of a ALOX SAK is roughly five years, and that a Celluloid SAK should last for around three.

I've been using my recruit can opener as a Phillips screwdriver without issue, so I don't think a can should damage it. I also don't think that the average lifespan would only be 3-5yrs, if old timers could carry the same pocket knife for a large portion of their life, then a sak should last just as long if not longer. The fact that Victorinox sells replacement parts should tell you that many last long enough to need scales.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
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16,787
Back when Remington was making pocket knives, in the 1930's, they did a study and found that the life of the average pocket knife was something like three years. Blades got ground down, got snapped being used for things other than cutting, lose, and so on. A knife by reason of wha tit is, is a semi disposable product. Every time you sharpen it, you're removing some of the blade, and shortening the life of it.

A SAK should last longer because of the few tools that give the blades a break when light prying, driving screws, whatever. But only us knife nuts think a knife should last forever. It all depends on ohow hard you use it, and what you do with it. My dad carried a little Case peanut for over 30 years, and by the time he tossed it in the sock drawer, both blades were worn down to a couple of semi sharp toothpicks, and one bone handle scale had a large chunk missing from when it got dropped on concrete.

But the can opener of a SAK should have a long life span. I've used mine for staple pulling, light prying, scrapping, and it has some bright spots on it, and some dings, but it still opens cans. I can only wonder if seeing a few wear marks, you are being a bit too persnickety, and expect the tool to look like new forever? Are they really dings or just some bight flat spots?

Use any tool and it's going to look used sooner or later. I like to think of it as character.
 

jc57

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Nov 28, 2012
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You can also re-sharpen the can opener blade if you wish. Because of the small size and curvature, it works better if you use something small that you hold in your hand. A pocket-sized Arkansas stone, or one of the rods from a Sharpmaker held in the hand, seems to do a good job. It may be that some of the metal edge was fatigued from the factory grind, and you just need to sharpen it out a little.
 
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Sep 5, 2010
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I have used the can opener on several of my SAKs for years and never have seen a problem.
 
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Feb 18, 1999
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I've used the can openers on my Spartan and Pioneer to open LOTS of cans and they are intact. The Pioneer's opener does have a very slight bright spot along the edge, but it does not affect its ability to open cans. When I use my can openers, I often open up to 7 cans at a time while preparing ingredients for cooking. I can do this a few times a week. Sometimes I'll use one or the other SAK, depending on which is closer to me at the time. I don't use my old mechanical can opener, as the SAKs are easier to keep clean and they're always right there.

If they were 'disposable' tools they would have worn out long ago (years). SAKs last a long time with use reasonable to the natural limitations of the tool(s). If anything, the fastest-wearing part of an SAK is generally the main blade as it gradually gets sharpened down.

Jim
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
520
I can only wonder if seeing a few wear marks, you are being a bit too persnickety, and expect the tool to look like new forever? Are they really dings or just some bight flat spots?

Use any tool and it's going to look used sooner or later. I like to think of it as character.

Considering that it was brand-new, I'm aware that I might be looking very closely at "bright spots" that were pressed flat on the otherwise triangular razor-edge. It just seems odd because I have other SAK's that were much more worn when I purchased them at a flea market, and the can openers on those had no visible blade anomalies of any kind.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
520
I've used the can openers on my Spartan and Pioneer to open LOTS of cans and they are intact. The Pioneer's opener does have a very slight bright spot along the edge, but it does not affect its ability to open cans. When I use my can openers, I often open up to 7 cans at a time while preparing ingredients for cooking. I can do this a few times a week. Sometimes I'll use one or the other SAK, depending on which is closer to me at the time. I don't use my old mechanical can opener, as the SAKs are easier to keep clean and they're always right there.

If they were 'disposable' tools they would have worn out long ago (years). SAKs last a long time with use reasonable to the natural limitations of the tool(s). If anything, the fastest-wearing part of an SAK is generally the main blade as it gradually gets sharpened down.

Jim

So far I have only opened about seven cans TOTAL. I'm glad to hear that you regularly use your SAK in lieu of a electric can opener with no adverse effects. Perhaps my blade has to "wear in" and then there will not be any more noticeable "deformities". I really just want to use this SAK as a pure tool, and to respectfully "beat the crap out of it" as compared to my regular folders which I still use, but am more selective about using.
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2010
Messages
812
Back when Remington was making pocket knives, in the 1930's, they did a study and found that the life of the average pocket knife was something like three years. Blades got ground down, got snapped being used for things other than cutting, lose, and so on. A knife by reason of wha tit is, is a semi disposable product. Every time you sharpen it, you're removing some of the blade, and shortening the life of it.

A SAK should last longer because of the few tools that give the blades a break when light prying, driving screws, whatever. But only us knife nuts think a knife should last forever. It all depends on ohow hard you use it, and what you do with it. My dad carried a little Case peanut for over 30 years, and by the time he tossed it in the sock drawer, both blades were worn down to a couple of semi sharp toothpicks, and one bone handle scale had a large chunk missing from when it got dropped on concrete.

But the can opener of a SAK should have a long life span. I've used mine for staple pulling, light prying, scrapping, and it has some bright spots on it, and some dings, but it still opens cans. I can only wonder if seeing a few wear marks, you are being a bit too persnickety, and expect the tool to look like new forever? Are they really dings or just some bight flat spots?

Use any tool and it's going to look used sooner or later. I like to think of it as character.
Back in the 30's, most men carried one knife until the wore it out. Some people still do this. While most of us on this site rotate between multiple knives, thus spreading out the wear. Myself, while I carry and use a SAK daily, any one SAK would rarely get more than 4 weeks use in a year. So I would imagine most of my knives will outlive me!

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May 12, 2015
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If those notches that you're talking about bother you then send it into Vic and get it replaced. They'll do that. I've had my Explorer Plus for years and opened many cans with it with only scratches appearing. Victorinox produces so many knives a year that an occasional lemon would surely happen. Also, they'd be interested in seeing that damage, Vic has a very good QC dept. and would want to see any kind of damage that their knives may acquire.
Basically, you should not have any notches on the can opener, just send it in and get it warrantied.
 
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May 12, 2015
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I don't know about normal wear. I look at mine and see a couple like that, never noticed but then never looked that close. Personally, I just wouldn't worry about it, as long as it does the job. I guess I'm not that fussy, your knife is fine and I wouldn't worry about it. If it really bothers you, send it in to Vic, otherwise it should work good.
 
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Aug 9, 2010
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812
They are barely visible in the photo. At normal magnification I wouldn't be able to see them. Just sharpen them away.

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Joined
Dec 1, 2013
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311
I am not sure if the original post had a specific question, or if you were just wanting a discussion about tool life.

If it helps, I just took a close look at my 4 SAK'S with can openers - cadet, pioneer, climber, and trekker. They all have edge dings on them.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2016
Messages
109
I would say you need some dings much more significant than that before you worry about it.

The can openers on my super tinker and classic sd look alot worse than that, but work fine. Function over form, I always say.
 

The Zieg

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Jan 31, 2002
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3,685
Same level of wear on my SAKs. Use it more and the notches will even out with the rest of the blade.

Zieg
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2000
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1,055
they actually sharpen that can opener blade to a fairly fine edge sometimes....I've cut myself on a few over the years. Those look like 'flat spots' and won't affect the function it's designed for. It was probably 'too sharp' for its designated task and is now settling into a good usable level of sharpness...
 
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Jan 24, 2005
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2,783
I would say you need some dings much more significant than that before you worry about it.

The can openers on my super tinker and classic sd look alot worse than that, but work fine. Function over form, I always say.

This appears to be an error, unless you have a very unusual Classic. What SAK did you really mean?
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
520
Here is the response that I received from Victorinox:

Thank you for your request. It is normal for the can opener blade edge to flatten out a bit during normal use.

After hearing that and reading your replies, I am ready to use this knife as much as I can. Thanks.
 
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