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Welcome to the Details Series, dedicated to the ubiquitous yet overlooked elements hidden in your favorite products. This week: Mysterious eyelets for classic multi-tools.
No outdoor product goes more than a century without being very useful. Despite numerous modifications from the original “Model 1890 Soldier’s Knife” – complete with spear, reamer, can opener, screwdriver and oak scale – the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is practically functional. Hell, my dad once cut down a Christmas tree with a tiny saw at a family holiday in Sierra Blanca, New Mexico.
Approximately 130 years after Karl Elsener started making pocket knives, Victorinox has released about a hundred varieties of knives for various events. As with the first, many of these include a reamer/awl, a feature that actually predates the Swiss Army Knife, which wasn’t actually the first multitool.
In chapter 107 of Moby Dick in 1851, author Herman Melville noted that “Sheffield’s design, taking on an appearance, though slightly bloated, was like a common penknife; blades of various sizes, and also includes screwdrivers, bottle openers, tweezers, awls, pens, rulers, nail files, drills.
But I digress. Unsurprisingly, the awl is ubiquitous: it takes up little space, but is essential for piercing everything from fabric and leather to aluminum and wood. However, have you ever wondered what that little hole in the middle is for? As it turned out, the features make it not just an awl, but a sewing needle.
Of course, it works differently than a traditional one, since there is no way to push the entire knife through a piece of material. However, with the right technique, you can use a Swiss army knife to fix broken gear in the backcountry, or even fix a broken belt to keep your pants in place.
Basically, all you have to do is thread the awl and pierce the two pieces of material you want to sew. Then you start creating loops on the wrong side of the material through which you can thread the front end of the sewing thread. DIY craftsman Phil Crockett demonstrates this ingenious process in this handy little video.
fast? No, but my dad brought home a six foot Christmas tree with a three inch saw blade in a pinch, it totally worked.

Post time: Nov-16-2022