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On the Cutting Edge

Back when I was in the Boy Scouts, I remember fastidiously sharpening my Swiss Army knife in front of my disapproving dad. Repeating the mantra told to me by Scout camp counselors not much older than myself, I said to him, “A sharp knife is safer than a dull knife.” I then sliced off the tip of my finger.

Wenger, one of two Swiss companies that make the iconic knife (and which was bought in late April by the other company, Victorinox) has slightly reimagined the knife, remolding the red plastic handle to add indentations for your thumb and fingers. The slightly convex shape of the handle also makes for slightly easier access to the tools, a plus for all you fingernail chewers. The toothpick and tweezers are also located on the inner part of the handle, which makes them more difficult to lose, but more of a pain to take out.

The model I tested, the Evolution 18, came with the standard equipment plus scissors with serrated edges, a saw — which I rarely found useful — and, a Phillips-head screwdriver. The stylized grip works when using the knife and the can opener, but they are the only two tools that are oriented with the grip in mind. The other four — the scissors, saw, nail file, and flathead screwdriver — all require that you hold the knife counter to the way the grip was designed. While it didn’t impair the function of any of these tools, it made me wonder if the new handle was really necessary.

Grip aside, though, the knife and its attendant tools are up to Swiss Army standards, and will be the cause of consternation for Boy Scouts’ fathers for years to come. Retails for $48.95.

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