How To Use A Pocket Knife Can Opener? | Swiss Army Knife Tips
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Most canned foods nowadays come with an easy-to-open tab. However, you may receive a can of food without a tab or one that has been broken off. This is where a can opener comes in handy. But what if you don't have a can opener and are considering using your pocket knife instead? Now, you probably want to know how to use a pocket knife can opener

Using a pocket knife can opener is quite simple. You just have to place the sharp cutting part of the can opener on top of the can and keep the hook on the outer rim. Then puncture the can with a bit of pressure.

In this article, I will tell you how to use a pocket knife can opener. If you have never used a pocket knife can opener before, you may not be sure which tool in your pocket knife is the can opener. So, you will also learn about that.

Is It Hard to Open Cans With Pocket Knife Can Openers?

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You may wonder if you will really be able to open a food can with a pocket knife opener. Many people think the can opener tools in a pocket knife are just for show. But they are wrong.

The can openers found in pocket knives were designed for soldiers who had to eat canned food while on the battlefield. They were sold separately as general can cutters, but later were added to pocket knives. Over time, the can openers have become thinner and more flexible. So, it is quite easy to use these openers to cut the cans of food.

How To Find The Can Opener In Pocket Knife?

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Now, how can you identify a pocket knife can opener? There are many tools in those swiss army pocket knives. Sometimes the tools have names on them, but not always. Also, people seem to call the openers on pocket knives "bottle openers." They do not even know it is actually a can opener.

There are basically two types of can openers seen in modern-day pocket knives. One is the safety can opener, which looks like a hawksbill. It has a very steep, round hook. This type of can opener is the most common one. It also works as a bottle opener.

The other can opener style you see in pocket knives is the Swiss Pocket Knife Can Opener. These openers have a nice thin, sharp cutting edge on the head and a very prominent hook. You will also see a screwdriver on the top of the can opener. Thus, it is a multipurpose opener.

There may also be a separate bottle opener in the pocket knives. They do not have a sharp edge like a can opener. So, do not get confused with two different openers.

How To Open Cans With Pocket Knife Can Openers

Want to learn how to use the pocket knife can opener? Here is what you have to do: 

  • First, identify what type of can opener you have in the knife. Is it a safety opener or a Swiss Army Knife type opener? 
  • For example, if you use a Victorinox, it has the Swiss pocket knife type can opener with a screwdriver on the tip. It means it does not have a hook-like beak on the head. It has a sharp and thin blade-like edge. 
  • To cut with a Victorinox pocket knife can opener, you have to place the hook on the rim of the can and the sharp edge on the edge of the lid. 
  • Then, press the sharp edge on the can top to make an opening, and start cutting forward, not backward. Grip the food can with one hand. You can also move the can counterclockwise while cutting it. 
  • Make small cuts one at a time and continue like that. Be patient because it will take time to cut with a pocket can opener for the first time. 
  • If you try to cut fast, you may leave some chunks of the can lid behind. Then, you have to go back and cut them. 
  • As you start to round back to your cutting point, it may get a bit difficult to cut. So, you can leave some parts to keep the lid hanging. You can use the lid as a handle. 

Now, if you use a safety can opener like the ones in camp king pocket knives, you have to follow different techniques. These openers are a combination of cap lifter and can opener. They cut the lid from the tip backward using an upward motion. 

Here is how you use a safety can opener: 

  • Place the bottom hook or notch on the outside rim of the can. 
  • Then place the top of the blade inside against the lid. 
  • Next, pierce and cut the can using an upward motion. 
  • After you make the first cut, put the tip of the opener on the end of the cut, and make a new cut. 
  • Keep repeating the same upward motion to make all the cuts. Like before, you can leave the lid hanging to hold on to it. 

While you are cutting the lid, make sure not to touch the edge of the sharply cut lid edge. It can cause extremely dangerous cuts. 

While you cut the can, the lid should come upward. But sometimes, it may go downward and get in the food. Most of the time, a thick can opener causes such a problem. It is harder to use on cans because you have to put a lot of pressure on them. So, when you buy a pocket knife, make sure the can opener is thin and sharp.

Draining Your Can With A Pocket Knife Can Opener 

What if you want to make a drain hole on the can lid and not a wide cut? You may want to make a hole in the condensed milk can or canned soup lid. It can easily be done with a Victorinox can opener.

To make a hole, make two triangular plunge cuts on the lid of the can. The two cuts must meet up. Then, pull or push down on the cut lid to create the hole. It will create an opening so that you can pour out the liquid in the can. You can also make a hole with a safety can opener by puncturing an area multiple times.

Can You Use A Pocket Knife Bottle Opener As A Can Opener? 

As I have mentioned before, there are two types of openers on a pocket knife. Some pocket knives have a combination of a bottle opener and a can opener, like the hawksbill type openers. Some people just call them "bottle openers." These openers cut tin cans with no problem.

But other pocket knives have separate openers for bottles and cans. If, for some reason, your pocket can opener is not working, you may think about using the bottle opener. But it will not work. The edge of the bottle opener is too blunt.
On the other hand, you can use a can opener to open a bottle cap. Every can opener has a hook or notch to grab onto the rim of the can. This notch can also be used to open a bottle cap.


Hopefully, you have learned how to use a pocket knife can opener from this article. When using it for the first time, it may not feel so easy to cut a can with a pocket knife can opener. But eventually, it becomes easy. 

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