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Swiss Army knife gains popularity

If you need to push a cuticle, measure a tire tread, clean a golf club or adjust a bicycle spoke, this is the knife for you.

A Swiss Army knife that weighs nearly three pounds (1.4 kilograms) has been inducted into the 2008 edition of Guinness World Records for "most functions on a penknife." At the time, the knife had 85 tools; the latest version has 87 tools and at least 115 uses, according to Wenger North America, the Orangeburg-based American distributor that announced the induction Tuesday.

"Basically, they took every implement they ever put in a Swiss Army knife and combined them in this one piece," said company spokeswoman Jennifer Voss.

The bristling behemoth has a dozen or so blades, saws and cutters; a dozen or so screwdrivers; and the toothpicks, key rings, magnifiers, fish scalers and nail files sometimes found on combination penknives.

But it also includes a laser pointer and a flashlight. And it has a wrench just for the spikes on a golf shoe; a tool just for opening the case of a watch; and a screwdriver specifically for gunsights.

For the extremely avid gardener, there are four different blades for grafting one plant onto another: the grafting blade with a hooked end, the grafting blade with a narrow belly, the standard grafting blade without a belly and the narrow grafting blade without a belly. The "belly" is a bulge along the blade, said Wenger spokesman Dennis Piretra.

The knife, manufactured by Wenger in Delemont, Switzerland, looks like a bunch of different pocketknives placed side-by-side and soldered together. At 8.75 inches by 3.25 inches (22 by 8 centimeters), it is big for most pockets. And at $1,200 (810 EUR), it is pretty much a collector's item, but 450 have been sold in its first year, Voss said.

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