Scissors are a common tool on many Swiss Army Knives, and might be considered the distinguishing feature of these famous multi-blade tools.
Victorinox has manufactured scissors for their 58, 74, 84, 91, 93 and 111mm models (see image right). The scissors are all of a similar design and have followed a similar evolution (see History and 74mm image below), varying only in size - although the scissors in the 91 and 111mm sized models are identical.
The scissors incorporate a user-replaceable spring between their handles that automatically opens the blades when pressure is released from the handles. This automatic opening by the spring makes them easier to operate and enables very quick cutting.
The springs for the scissors are quite durable and can last a lifetime, with only a little care. A repair kit is available with a set of tools designed for replacing springs, however many people don't use the special tools and knife-jig in the repair kit, just replacing the spring manually. A quality Victorinox dealer should also be able to replace broken springs.
For many years scissors were not available on any Alox scaled Victorinox models (93mm or 84mm), although there was always great demand for Alox models with scissors within the SAK modding community. In 2016 Victorinox themselves finally updated their Alox line by producing the Pioneer X - the first factory-produced Alox model with scissors. This model is a regular alox Pioneer, with an added scissor layer. The scissors are standard 91mm scissors except, interestingly, the nail-nick in the Alox version of the scissors is on the 'outside' of the scissors, as opposed the normal 'inside' location on the Officer's models.
- First produced around 1902 in some Officer's models.
- Scissors manufactured in the 50s-60s that were included on the Fisherman and other models, have two additional features: Just in front of the pivot they have a small notch to be used to open lead split-shot used on fishing lines, and just behind the pivot is another divot/notch for crimping lead split-shot. The split-shot opener notch can be found without the additional crimper notch, however crimping is possible without a notch.
- The springs used on the various scissors have changed slightly over time. Early model springs have a single-leaf type spring while newer model springs have an inverted V-shape leaf type spring. According to Victorinox the spring change occurred in 1975.
- In 1990 Victorinox redesigned the scissors spring and handle again. The spring now has a 'cam'-end which is a slightly inverted cup. This design change was to aid in keeping the spring in constant contact with a newly designed scissors handle, that also has a 'guiding-groove' on the inside of the movable handle.
- Early versions of the scissors used a screw for the pivot, later models use a rivet. According to Victorinox the rivet replaced the screw in 1991.
- In 1991 Victorinox started manufacturing the Multipurpose Hook. The hook shares a common spring with the scissors, and since the hook was introduced it has always been paired with the scissors on 91mm models. This is a good way to date SAKs with scissors!
- Starting in 2007, (as reported by Victorinox*) the steel pivot rivet in the 91mm scissors was replaced with a bronze-colored rivet made of a nickel-silver alloy. This same alloy has also been used in some later SwissTool Spirit models.
*Note: There is some evidence that the pivot material change happened later than 2007, for instance the Victorinox 125 Anniversary models (2009) had the steel rivet.
- The 84mm scissors are no longer manufactured. Swiss Army Knives containing these scissors are considered very collectible, especially in the SAK modding community.
NB. Note on dates: As with all tool changes in Victorinox SAKs, dates are always approximate, and there is often a changeover period as old stock and parts are used up and new ones introduced.
External Link: SOSAK Archive: 91mm Scissor Changes Article - October 1st, 2009
Wenger have produced scissors for their 65, 75, 85 and 120/130mm sized models. There have been several changes to the scissors designs over the years.
In the earlier years Wenger scissors were produced with the equivalent design to the Victorinox scissors - ie. with a leaf-spring system and smooth jaws. According to published works Wenger changed from the leaf-spring system to their patented lever-type integral spring in 1972. At this time they also switched to the micro-serrated cutting edge.
- The jaws in the later Wenger scissors are micro-serrated and self-sharpening.
- It is said they can handle more heavy duty cutting chores than their smooth-jawed counterparts
- They have a unique, robust lever-type spring system that is powered by the regular back-spring inside the knife frame
- The unique 120/130mm scissors (also referred to as shears) have smooth jaws, and are of a clever fold-up design, similar to Wenger 130mm pliers. They use three back-springs, one of which powers the automatic opening of the blades