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MacGyver Online Forums > House Boat > Maintaining and using your SAK correctly.


Posted by: MacGyverOnline 20 April 2009 - 04:17 PM
Maintaining your SAK

We all know that over time our SAKs suffer from wear and tear, and become harder to open and close.

Here's a little tip from Victorinox on how to remedy that problem and keep your SAK working at optimum condition.
It's recommended that you follow this precess every 6-12 months depending on how often you use your knife.

user posted image
Note: I would say any standard 3-in-1 "sewing machine" type, or small parts oil would work for this.


Correct use of the can opener function
user posted image


Screw Driver blade function
user posted image


Basic Swiss Army Knife functions
user posted image


Don't open multiple blades at once

As you can see in the below picture, the spring is actually a solid piece of stainless steel which can be
permanently bent by having more than one blade open at a time due to the way the blades apply pressure
and bend the spring in various points even though Victorinox themselves dispute this we have heard many
stories of people's knives not functioning properly after opening too many blades at once.

user posted image

Posted by: aatgmac 20 April 2009 - 04:51 PM
Ohh! *grabs SAK* Cool thanks Rock.

biggrin.gif sak.gif

Posted by: Beachbead 20 April 2009 - 05:36 PM
yes thank you I may need this info in the future.

Posted by: MacDriver 1 May 2009 - 01:42 AM
The best oil to use it 3-in-1 or mineral oil (pharmacies usually have it). THis is a pretty good sharpener:

user posted image

wal mart and sporting goods store usually have them for under $5. Then occasionally there will be so much damage to the edge that the V-sharpener wont do the trick, and you need a stone for the course work before using the V-sharpener. Stones also are around $5. It takes a lot of practice though boxing.gif

Posted by: MacGyverOnline 1 May 2009 - 02:02 AM
Yeah the 3-in-1 oil is the sewing machine oil (at least it is in these parts).

I've updated that note in the post.

My father always had a rather large sharpening stone hanging at the back door which he used regularly for his knives.

I've actually found that a butchers sharpening steel works really well for keeping the edge on SAK blades - (I've got a very old one which is actually made from steel, not aluminum or what ever they use these days) - works really well, although they do take a little practice.

I like those electric ones to that sit your knife blade at the right angle with the spinning stone in them. They're fun to use smile.gif


Posted by: MacDriver 2 May 2009 - 08:46 PM
I'm so jeaous, I just have my rocks sad.gif

Posted by: Beachbead 6 May 2009 - 09:09 AM

sweet sharper.

Posted by: macann 6 May 2009 - 01:05 PM
I have got a sak.gif too. It was a Christmas gift, for my sisters. I love it. I carrying everywhere. laugh.gif

Posted by: MacDriver 19 October 2009 - 05:50 AM
I finally bought a bottle of the 3-in-1 oil with the cap that allows you to just squeeze a drop or two out- it's PERFECT! I wish I had found it sooner.
For sharpening SAK's, if you've just cut a lot of semi-hard material, those V-sharpeners will restore the edge, but if you have nicks or chips out of the blade you have to completely hone them out. I have a double sided stone I've used for ages that has a coarse and then a fine side. I also recently bought a wet stone that I use as a final stone, then I run it through the V sharpener for the final fine edge. The trick, I've found with SAK's, is to lay the blade almost flat on the stone. Obviously you don't want to lay it ALL the way down or you will horribly scar the sides of the stone. I just say that because I used to stand the blade up too high as I was sharpening and never could get a sharp edge.

There are also kits like the Lansky Sharpmaker that totally take the guesswork out and provide a more quantitative and consistent edge, but it's a lot more expensive than three stones and a Smith's V.

I also use Q-Tips to get the crap out of the knife when lint and similar matter accumulates inside. I open all the blades and get that junk out. THen if you want to do fine picking, the toothpick is the only thing I've had 100% success with.

You have to be careful with some blades on SAK's such as the main blade of the One Hand Trekker, the chisel, the scissors, Minichamp hook/picker, and the reamer- as you sharpen those, it's imperative to only sharpen the one side as they are a "chisel" edge, meaning only one side is sharpened to create the edge. If you try to sharpen it with a "V" edge, especially with the scissors, you will ruin them. Unfortunately, that is experience speaking.

The saw, believe it or not, can actually be sharpened. It is accomplished by using a really fine stone, like a wetstone. You lay the side of the saw down against the stone flat, completely flat, and sharpen. Do the other side as well obviously, but that is how it is done.

If you have never had a SAK, beware the reamer chip! If you close the awl/reamer and aren't careful, then you can close it on the keyring! This puts a small chip in the end of the reamer that can only be sharpened away by removing some serious metal. An easy fix is to remove the keyring, but I can never bring myself to do this as MacGyver always had it (well except in Tough Boyz)- and I was always afraid I would need to lower my SAK by a string and need to tie the string through the ring! (Think opening Gambit of Trumbo's World, or Cleo Rocks- although, in Cleo rocks it was a knife that does not come with a keyring- alright, that's it, I'm taking it off right now!)

Posted by: MacGyverOnline 19 October 2009 - 12:46 PM
QUOTE
The trick, I've found with SAK's, is to lay the blade almost flat on the stone. Obviously you don't want to lay it ALL the way down or you will horribly scar the sides of the stone. I just say that because I used to stand the blade up too high as I was sharpening and never could get a sharp edge.

Hmmm, that's interesting because "experts" always say that with stainless steel you sharpen at more of and upright angle than normal steel and if you look at a new SAKs blade it does have quite an edge to it.

I've actually found a standard butchers steel is quite good for sharpening a SAK and keeping it sharp

Posted by: sean 5 January 2010 - 09:08 PM
nice, thanks for this. i have a super champ, its always been my prized possesion in my youth, so big with every tool imaginable, but i really havnt used it since scouting days....some of the blades wont even open. anybody have experience with sak's that wont even open? just oil it and hope it opens eventually?

Posted by: MacGyverOnline 5 January 2010 - 09:16 PM
leave it to soak in warm soapy water for a while. I've found the best is to throw it into the sink when you start washing the evening dishes, leave it in until you've finished washing and drying everything then try opening the blades while it's still in the water.

Another option might be a good dose of WD40 or similar product and leave it to soak in over night.

Posted by: sean 5 January 2010 - 09:25 PM
thanks, im gonna put some wd40 on it right now...it was just wrong of me to abuse it so that it got to this point.

a little off topic but anybody know a good place to buy replacement tools for removable sak items? i know i have lost the little needle/pin in the super champ, would like to replace it.

Posted by: lee 6 January 2010 - 09:47 AM
QUOTE
a little off topic but anybody know a good place to buy replacement tools for removable sak items? i know i have lost the little needle/pin in the super champ, would like to replace it.


http://www.swiss-knife.com/en/accessories-couteau-suisse/replacement.htm?page=3

Posted by: Flyboy16 22 January 2010 - 01:42 PM
Yeah i cleaned up a 1980s fishermen with warn water then used some oil then sharpened it up and now it works like new. I don't use it though cuz its the last thing i have of my grandmother. She bought it in Switzerland. but i owned a smith pocket pal sharpener and it ruined the grind of my swiss champion plus. now im learning how to use a stone. My sog twitch 2 has taken the role of my primary knife but i still carry a recruit, cadet, or tinker sak aswell.1 sakopen.gif

Posted by: Makedde 8 March 2011 - 10:53 PM
I'm positive I saw a thread that mentioned the types of knives Mac used, but I haven't been able to find it - which knifes does he use, and which was the most popular?
I'm thinking about getting one but don't want to get one unless it's really good.

Posted by: MacGyverOnline 9 March 2011 - 02:03 AM
Here's http://www.macgyveronline.com/pages/saks.html (note this is incomplete)

and here's http://www.macgyveronline.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4708&view=getlastpost


Posted by: Makedde 9 March 2011 - 11:48 PM
Awesome, I bought one off ebay last night. A spartan or whatever. It looks cool so I'm looking forward to getting it. smile.gif

Posted by: lsalzman 15 July 2011 - 10:05 AM
I didn't know it was this easy to take care of a SAK. Thanks for the information on how to maintain and especially how to use it.

Posted by: Bushwalker 20 October 2011 - 07:50 AM
One tip for sharpening all knives, chisels, plane blades ~ NEVER use an electric grinder on them, as it changes the temper of the steel if it gets too hot. It then becomes more brittle, and won't hold an edge for anywhere near as long - several of the better brands state in their warranties that letting your knife anywhere near a grinder can void the warranty.. tongue.gif

By definition, your sharpening stone(s) are for putting the initial edge on your blade; a leather strop removes any burrs and cleans the edge up; and the "steel" and the diamond sharpeners are then used for maintaing that edge...

Some sharpening stones use water - not oil - while there are others that can be used dry, same as with your steels, and diamond or ceramic pocket sharpeners..

Over time, many people here will likely end up with all of these in their sharpening "kits". dry.gif

Posted by: Bushwalker 7 June 2012 - 09:44 AM

P.S. I wonder why my previous post to this thread didn't register on the index here, last year ???

Strange, that..

boxing.gif

Posted by: mac8 16 July 2012 - 05:02 AM
thanks for the info! sak.gif

Posted by: M.C. Wolfcat 4 February 2013 - 08:46 AM
My first SAK!

The Tinker Deluxe :-D

user posted image

Posted by: M.C. Wolfcat 4 February 2013 - 08:52 AM
Can any1 tell what is the proper way to wash a SAK?

Posted by: KiwiTek 4 February 2013 - 11:55 AM
QUOTE (M.C. Wolfcat @ 5 February 2013 - 05:55 AM)
Can any1 tell what is the proper way to wash a SAK?

Just use the soapy water you wash your dishes in. Give it a good long soak and wash in the water and then rinse it off under the tap (faucet) and dry it off.


Posted by: Mac1977 4 February 2013 - 09:05 PM
QUOTE (KiwiTek @ 5 February 2013 - 07:58 AM)
QUOTE (M.C. Wolfcat @ 5 February 2013 - 05:55 AM)
Can any1 tell what is the proper way to wash a SAK?

Just use the soapy water you wash your dishes in. Give it a good long soak and wash in the water and then rinse it off under the tap (faucet) and dry it off.

And after that it's good to oil blade springs. wink.gif sakopen.gif

Posted by: KiwiTek 4 February 2013 - 10:28 PM
I've just added a picture showing how the springs work in a SAK to help explain why you shouldn't open more than one blade at a time.



QUOTE (Mac1977 @ 5 February 2013 - 06:08 PM)
And after that it's good to oil blade springs. wink.gif  sakopen.gif

You mean hinges and yes it does pay to keep them lubricated with either sewing machine oil or silicon lubricant to make sure it can keep doing this sakopen.gif

biggrin.gif

Posted by: M.C. Wolfcat 5 February 2013 - 10:31 AM
Thanx guys it will really help alot.

I always wondered why my dads SAK became useless, it's becuase they never gave it oil doh.gif

Posted by: MacGyverisms 10 February 2013 - 04:15 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. Now I know how to mantain my SAK. sakopen.gif

Posted by: indiana9310 6 March 2013 - 08:26 AM
The Smith's "V" sharpener is a great one. I got mine at Wal-Mart about a year ago. Its the only sharpener I use on my Swiss Army knife. sakopen.gif

Posted by: Mela_007 7 March 2013 - 07:29 AM
I think I saw the Smith's sharpener on Amazon and I'm thinking about ordering it when I get my SAK. Are there different kinds of Smith sharpeners and are there any I should or should not get to sharpen my SAK? sak.gif

Posted by: Mac1977 7 March 2013 - 02:08 PM
I donīt know about smith sharpeners, but I have fiskars roll-sharp and it works great for victorinox and wenger knives. macsak.gif

Posted by: Mr. C 13 March 2013 - 08:35 AM
I always use Break-Free CLP for oiling (works great on firearms, engines, other steel surfaces, etc.), and I am permanently hooked on my Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker.
The majority of my knives have been in use for years, but they all look brand new (some of my SAKS have scratches on the scales.. but don't they all eventually?).
I wipe down the tool that I use daily keeping it free of the wrong kinds of moisture. I oil them all about every 2-3 months if they've been in regular use.
I NEVER let a blade get dull.
Then again, I've been collecting all sorts of knives, multitools, and firearms for years and I take great pride in my collection (not to mention the money I spent on them... far too much to let them get messed up).
If you want a tool to be reliable, you have to maintain it properly. Even the best tools can work poorly if the user is poorly apt to cleaning it wink.gif

Posted by: Mela_007 27 March 2013 - 10:20 AM
I just got my first real SAK!!! Hooray!! I got the Tinker for carrying in my pocket daily and the Swiss Champ Plus (and a case) that I will carry in my purse or backpack.

sakopen.gif happy_dance.gif

Best part is I have this thread at my disposal for knowing how to care for both of them!! clapping.gif

Posted by: YopeGyver 27 March 2013 - 10:56 AM
Hey congrats, Mela-007!!!! ^-^ lucky lucky lucky! Lol!

Posted by: Mela_007 27 March 2013 - 12:06 PM
Thanks Yope! I've been carrying my tinker style knock-off (British Special Forces "Who Dares Wins") ever since MacGyver was originally airing on TV. It was what I could afford then. Besides, it's really well made and has lasted through the years.

I've been looking at the different SAKs for a while now trying to decide which one I wanted. I decided on 2 instead. One for carrying daily in my pocket, but also one with lots of cool gadgets that will be convenient to have along in a bag. I decided on the Tinker as the pocket version because the knock-off that I have is just about perfect for the tools it has.

It's kind of funny, I bought a Swiss Gear backpack for carrying my work laptop in because of the quality workmanship. It has a special red pocket that is designed to carry a SAK. Every other pocket on the bag is black, but that little long skinny pocket is red! I had thought to carry the Champ+ in that little pocket, but it's actually too big. So I will carry the knock-off in there so I can carry the SAK Tinker in my pocket. The clip leather case that I bought separately holds the Champ+ really well. I won't wear it most of the time, but it will be handy to clip into a bag for easy access.

swissopen.gif

Posted by: Wheeljack 4 May 2013 - 09:02 PM
I use just hot soap water to clean my knives, as others have already said. As for oil, I chose mineral oil for a couple reasons. To start with, it's food safe. Normally I don't use my knives to cut up food, but I have opened packages, pealed apples and whatnot, and I don't like the idea of it potentially getting poisonous chemicals into what I'm eating. Next, I also feel it's safer handling a knife free of funny chemicals that other oils probably have in them. Things can be absorbed through your skin, remember. Mineral oil is also unscented, and will wash out of your pants pocket if it happens to get on them, more pluses. And last, I don't think you have to worry about it doing any harm to the plastic handles, where something like wd-40 just might over time.

And one last thing, a knife steel is an old fashioned thing left over from when blades were made of carbon steel that would rust, as opposed to stainless. A knife steel is only designed to straighten a bent edge, not actually sharpen a blade. I know people will rant until they're blue in the face how it does indeed "sharpen" their knives, but these individuals probably don't have truly sharp edge to compare it to. (And before anyone gets bent out of shape, just do a little research and see for yourself.)

Posted by: Mela_007 20 May 2013 - 12:38 PM
I have a question for you all. I have been using one of the blades on my Tinker a lot recently to cut tape opening boxes. So the residual glue is on the blade. Will just soap and water take that off properly? If not, any suggestions? sak.gif hmm.bmp

Posted by: KiwiTek 20 May 2013 - 01:30 PM
Yes it will. Dish-washing liquid seems to be best.

Just give it a wash while your washing your other dishes.

The blades are high quality stainless steel so everything should just wash off with no problems in soapy water.


Posted by: Mela_007 21 May 2013 - 02:23 AM
Sweet! Thanks Kiwi! smile.gif

Posted by: Drawz 21 June 2013 - 10:44 AM
QUOTE (Mela_007 @ 27 March 2013 - 02:06 PM)
Thanks Yope! I've been carrying my tinker style knock-off (British Special Forces "Who Dares Wins") ever since MacGyver was originally airing on TV. It was what I could afford then. Besides, it's really well made and has lasted through the years.

I've been looking at the different SAKs for a while now trying to decide which one I wanted. I decided on 2 instead. One for carrying daily in my pocket, but also one with lots of cool gadgets that will be convenient to have along in a bag. I decided on the Tinker as the pocket version because the knock-off that I have is just about perfect for the tools it has.

It's kind of funny, I bought a Swiss Gear backpack for carrying my work laptop in because of the quality workmanship. It has a special red pocket that is designed to carry a SAK. Every other pocket on the bag is black, but that little long skinny pocket is red! I had thought to carry the Champ+ in that little pocket, but it's actually too big. So I will carry the knock-off in there so I can carry the SAK Tinker in my pocket. The clip leather case that I bought separately holds the Champ+ really well. I won't wear it most of the time, but it will be handy to clip into a bag for easy access.

swissopen.gif

I've been thinking about getting a Vic. bag for a while, I like some of the ones I've looked at. I also looked at getting one of Victorinox's watches, but they're insanely expensive. Got a Timex instead. smile.gif

Posted by: denizen 15 January 2014 - 11:36 PM
Had a thorough look at this thread & would like to thank everyone for their useful feedback on taking care of your SAK. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Matt 20 January 2014 - 01:20 PM
QUOTE (denizen @ 16 January 2014 - 03:36 AM)
Had a thorough look at this thread & would like to thank everyone for their useful feedback on taking care of your SAK. biggrin.gif

I second that smile.gif Very nice being able to look at the info. here in one thread.

Posted by: cuteroma 21 February 2014 - 03:06 AM
yes thank you I may need this info in the future.

Posted by: MiniMacGyver 29 October 2014 - 12:36 PM
Thanks for all the info. I am wondering if anyone can tell me the difference in materials in vintage SAKs vs. the newer and how they hold up in everyday use. When did the change in materials take place from vintage to the newer in metals and tools? How do you clean, treat,sharpen vintage vs. the newer SAKs? Are there extreme differences?

Posted by: Mac1977 30 October 2014 - 12:50 PM
I have many vintage/new wenger and Victorinox knives and i dont see any differense in use between vintage or new materials. Only main blade is little thicker in vintage victorinox models and they have done some minor changes in few blades through the years. macsak.gif

Posted by: MacsJeep 19 August 2015 - 09:14 AM
My knife blades are blunt...they've been that way since I was given it by my dad about thirty five years ago. ( I presume he gave it me that way on purpose as he didn't want to give a kid anything dangerous for fear mother would confiscate it, which she did anyway tongue.gif)

Anyhow, mother had the knife all those years tucked away and forgotten until I asked about it when I started watching Mac. I thought she'd have tossed it, but nope, it's here and needs sharpening.

What's the best thing to use on it, if the blades are just blunt, not damaged, and how do I use whatever I need to do the trick?

Cheers! smile.gif

Posted by: KiwiTek 19 August 2015 - 12:29 PM
You could try using a sharpening steel (like chefs etc use in the kitchen) if that doesn't work you could use a sharpening stone.

If you have a little electric sharpener, that would to too, but I've always found the sharpening stone and steel I use to keep my kitchen knives sharp works fine.

Note: A steel keeps the edge on a sharp knife but wont actually sharpen a blunt knife. To sharpen you need a stone or other sharpening device to actually grind the blade to an edge.

Posted by: MacsJeep 19 August 2015 - 12:38 PM
Would one of those V shaped things do it as its definitely blunt? Dad was a trucker, so he could have been cutting anything with it lol! I've never done this before, obviously...

Cheers

Posted by: Barry Rowland 19 August 2015 - 05:59 PM
Thanks for this post....it's really helpful as I've several SAK's and have always winged it as far as maintenance goes.

Posted by: KiwiTek 19 August 2015 - 07:10 PM
QUOTE (MacsJeep @ 20 August 2015 - 08:38 AM)
Would one of those V shaped things do it as its definitely blunt?

Some people swear by these V shaped things... I swear at them.

But if you have one and you know how to use it, it should work fine.




Posted by: MacsJeep 20 August 2015 - 09:03 AM
I don't have one, and I definitely don't know how to use one. I'm just trying to figure out what's best to get. So you'd go with a stone? How do you use them?

Posted by: KiwiTek 20 August 2015 - 12:45 PM
Here's a fairly basic guide on knife sharpening with a stone.






And here's a more in-depth explanation and demonstration about knife sharpening from Victorinox themselves.

Posted by: Barry Rowland 20 August 2015 - 06:37 PM
Those videos are pretty much spot on. It's pretty easy to mess up a good blade if you aren't careful. I just sent back a SAK Sportsman that I found, abused and neglected, to Victorinox to have it refitted. I could have rode the edge of the blade to England it was that messed up. Just take it slow and easy. sak.gif

Posted by: MacsJeep 21 August 2015 - 09:41 AM
They make it look really easy, which I'm sure its not! Right, off to look for a stone...

Thank you! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Scorpion Regent 17 June 2016 - 07:50 AM
When I get a used knife for the first time I give it a through blast with automotive brake spray to dissolve any built up gunk. Next I will go at it with cotton swabs and toothpicks to get out any stubborn dirt and lint. The final lubrication depends on if I will be using the knife right regularly. If it's a 'go to' knife I'll oil it with Marvelous Mystery oil. If it's going into a drawer then I'll grease it with Sil-glyde silicone compound.

Warning: brake spray is a aggressive chemical that may discolor plastic parts and pose health risks, so use with discretion.

Posted by: beth 23 October 2017 - 05:38 PM
I always use a stone to sharpen my SAK. My dad taught me how to use a sharpening stone when I was around 10 so I could sharpen my pocket knife that I carried when camping with my girl scout troop.

Remember to always wet the sharpening stone before honing the blade of your knife. Otherwise you will ruin your stone.

Posted by: Macgyverdino 11 May 2018 - 02:53 PM
QUOTE (MacGyverOnline @ 21 April 2009 - 12:17 PM)
Maintaining your SAK

We all know that over time our SAKs suffer from wear and tear, and become harder to open and close.

Here's a little tip from Victorinox on how to remedy that problem and keep your SAK working at optimum condition.
It's recommended that you follow this precess every 6-12 months depending on how often you use your knife.

user posted image
Note: I would say any standard 3-in-1 "sewing machine" type, or small parts oil would work for this.


Correct use of the can opener function
user posted image


Screw Driver blade function
user posted image


Basic Swiss Army Knife functions
user posted image


Don't open multiple blades at once

As you can see in the below picture, the spring is actually a solid piece of stainless steel which can be
permanently bent by having more than one blade open at a time due to the way the blades apply pressure
and bend the spring in various points even though Victorinox themselves dispute this we have heard many
stories of people's knives not functioning properly after opening too many blades at once.

user posted image

Very interesting, Thanks for sharing this!!

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