Swiss Army Knife Explorer Model

Knives, maybe mankind’s first purposeful invention?  Around a Marine Corps K-bar when I was 2 or 3, a Cub Scout pocket knife a little bit later, a 5” blade buck hunting knife gift from Dad before I was a teenager, I don’t ever remember not being around them or not having one of my own.  For the last few decades or so my go to has been the Swiss Army Knife Explorer model.

Of the dozens and dozens of Swiss Army Knife models, why the Explorer?  Short answer, it is one of the few models to have a magnifying glass, and that feature gets as much use as the other features.  With the 91mm (tad more than 3.5”) length and 4 layer tool plus scales (handles) thickness, it is the perfectly proportioned ratio for ergonomic comfort of use.  Add on a few extra thinking features such as the jeweler screwdriver, corkscrew and an awl (or reamer) with a sewing eye in it, what’s not to like?

The toothpick gets used and washed practically every day as do the scissors with loose threads on shirts, newspaper articles, cuticles and mustaches to which to attend; the tweezers not too much with only a stray splinter, but one time came in real handy pulling stingers out of Ben’s face when once he was attached by bees.  I’ve never once used the multipurpose hook, but then again, not too many packages are tied up with string these days.

The basics, the longer blade, shorter blade, cap lifter combo flathead and can opener combo with smaller flathead all get their frequent use.  I wouldn’t even consider going on a bike trip without the Explorer; the surprisingly sturdy inline Phillips screwdriver gets to adjust the Harley mirrors every ride.  As with the other toys … errr… Tools, the Explorer gets a periodic bath: cold water, mild detergent, soft bristle brush for the hard to reach spots (note: don’t brush the magnifying glass); hand dry with soft cloth and then I use the hair dryer to get into non reachable spots; a drop of lube for the pivot points.

The blades are sharp when sold and tend to stay that way.  Even so, I enjoy the therapeutic tranquility of knife sharpening.  I like the wet stone best, but when my lovely wife is standing over the cutting board, and hands me her knife, I get it done quickly with a few swipes to the Füri.  A small stone, about .5” half round, 2.5” long is also available for touch up in the field; just in case.

For the real aficionados, these Explorers, and its various iterations over the years, can be dated of sorts.  The tell tale signs will be, in no particular order, for example, does it have the multipurpose hook? Is there a sewing hole in the awl (reamer)?  What is the appearance or color and shape of the magnifying glass?  Each of these features will date the knife.  If you find one with a straight pin and a pen feature, that will be the Explorer Plus, which is essentially brand new.

A FAQ is why do I have/need more than one?  Well first of all, they are not all mine, but the collection of the family.  These Explorers make excellent gifts and are better than some piece of stuff, opened, fawned over and then throw into a draw sentenced to a life of loneliness.  Plus, when I gift one to a family member, they will not be coming to borrow mine.  Hey, I’m not stingy, just have lived and learned.  Loaned mine to Dante once and I’m still trying to get off the arc welding discoloration when Dante tried to do that with mine: arc weld.  If I wouldn’t have given DR a strange look wondering what the fahey he was doing when he kept screwing down and screwing down on the jeweler screwdriver, to the extent of entering the scale (handle).  And, when something like the Dante thing and the DR thing happens, I can no longer wear the knife “for good” with like a Burberry or a Brooks Brothers suit.  It just wouldn’t be right. So, the short answer is, I have one everyday Explorer and one dress Explorer.  Who will or would know the difference? Me.  Pura vida


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