I have this tool on a few Swiss Army knives (though I think I've seen it on other multi-tools as well). What is it and what is it for?

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On one edge, it has a sharp edge. It also only opens halfway (as seen in the photo).

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    Of course that is the indispensable "Fingernail cleaner outer". They say that it's a reamer, but I've never used it for that. – JPhi Jul 6 '15 at 18:26
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    Hehe, my granddad told me it cleaning a smoking pipe, I guess that's what he used it for all his life. – Mads Skjern Jul 8 '15 at 13:24
  • Had one of those on my Swiss Army Knife as a kid. Some old bloke told me it was for getting stones out of horses' hooves. And for a time I believed him... – Tullochgorum Oct 29 '16 at 9:30
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    it's an awl for sewing and puncturing leather (and skin) – dalearn Mar 8 '17 at 3:39

It is a "reamer with sewing eye", according to Victorinox (PDF).

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It is used for punching holes in leather or canvas and can also used to get a thread through the hole, according to SAKWiki

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    Your PDF llink is dead. Maybe use this: assets.victorinox.com/medias/… – Martin F Oct 30 '16 at 18:00
  • Oddly, your figure has no eye -- only (what i'm calling) a finger nail grip depression. – Martin F Oct 30 '16 at 18:10
  • @MartinF Yeah you're right. Liam's answer has a much better figure. – toni Oct 31 '16 at 16:24

That is a "punch/reamer". It allows your to repair leather (for example). You thread a thread of something though the hole and then use the sharp end to punch/push the thread though leather. In this way you can repair boots, etc.

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    Just a note on the process you suggested: The hole should be punched first, and thread pulled back through the hole because punching with the thread might damage the thread on the cutting edge when you punch through. See the second picture for clarity. – Bernhard Hofmann Jul 7 '15 at 7:12

The tool has two purposes.

As a punch, it acts as a large needle. You can use it to sew leather or canvas, as mentioned in the other answers. Punch the tool through your fabric, put thread through the hole, retract the tool, repeat.

As a reamer, the non-uniform blade shape allows you to make quite good circular holes in plastic or wood. Punch the tool through, then rotate it to carve off a small circular sliver. Rotate again and again and again, adjusting position, to carve a fairly even circle.

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    3. (or 2b) it's a decent awl (for starting holes for screws into wood). – Chris H Jul 6 '15 at 16:00
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    Yes, I have used such a tool on a handful of occasions to create or enlarge a hole in plastic, wood, or sheet aluminum. – Hot Licks Jul 7 '15 at 14:00

Here are YouTube videos on how to sew with the awl-with-thread-hole tool:

What is not obvious, upon first viewing, is that after you first get the thread through the first hole, you should always have half of your thread on one side of the hem and half on the other.


I use the punch while hunting to dispatch wounded birds. Simply hold the bird by the neck/head and push the punch into the back of the bird's head. It's quick and humane. I have never used it to sew since I have a better tool for that.

protected by Charlie Brumbaugh Feb 21 '18 at 4:10

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