The Wine Knife

The final project I have chosen is to re-imagine a tool I use often, the server’s wine key. The classic server’s wine key (shown in the title image) has a classic high society feel with smooth lines, efficient function, and generally drab colors (maroon, black, dark green). I intend to reverse this feel, taking a Bentley and  transforming it into a Baja truck (edgy, expensive, and bright).

On first inspection I want the piece to scream with high end male gadgetry, bright color mixed with complex lines and an air of mystery. I don’t want the piece to be judged by what it is before inspiring awe at the visual appeal.

Initially the piece will appear similar to a Leatherman tool or Ballisong folded closed, I am looking for a high end tool feel, with bright handle material, thinking red and black carbon-fiber, with cutouts to see the interior tools. Once open the nature of the wine key will be revealed, it is simply a wine opening device (bottles too), using basic lever action to remove a cork.  A few changes are a better foil knife, the tiny often dull foil knife of the standard screw is far from perfect, I intend to include an update to that, as well the casing is fully enclosed rather than having the screw and bottle opener exposed. The final design should make for a rugged, beautiful, high end tool: The Wine Knife.

The inspiration for this project came from multiple sources, Mantis Knives and their approach to form and function of design, Leatherman tools, for the handle cutouts often seen, and the general aesthetic seen on The idea is to take something everyday and add a bit of style and engineering to create something amazing.

Leatherman Skeletool-closed
MT8 Mantis Knives






As the tool will be functional, great care has to be taken in the design of the tooth, as proportionate size and shape and relative distance to the screw determine the ease and efficiency of the tool.  Mistakes here will cause complete failure, thus rapid prototyping will be used to create a few options, with the best design being machined from aluminum.Tooth

Wine Knife

My current estimation on cost is roughly $75.00 including handle materials, pins, pivots, and hardware, as well the body materials, a bit of aluminum and stainless steel remnant material.

The revised timeline, design has had mass failure three times so far, is as follows:

3/4 Finish preliminary design, Finish shopping

3/6 – 3/8 Prototype tooth, Machine spring and backing

3/8 – 3/9 Order connector and handle materials

3/15 Build interior structure, Test tooth effectiveness

3/20 – 3/26 Finalize design of tooth, Machine

3/27 – 4/2 Machine handle, final assembly, exterior finishing.

4/3 Drink wine

Video of presentation








corkscrew, Knife, wine
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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Derek Sikora
    March 9, 2016 12:31 pm

    I never knew how critical the wine opener piece was. Your presentation opened my eyes to the struggles wine handlers undergo. I am interested to see how you machine this final piece, since you intend to have a metal finish. Best of Luck!

  • Katie Hortik
    March 7, 2016 12:36 pm

    I like that you are adding an aesthetic to a common item. It might be interesting to add an additional twist like a unique cutter or wine saver.

  • Jason Mcgrath
    March 7, 2016 12:12 pm

    It looks like you’ve made good progress on the project. May this new wine knife bring you many fat tips.

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    March 5, 2016 11:27 am

    Wine corkscrews have been around for a longtime, and it doesn’t occur to most people that the same functionality could take on a different form (I think we just use it and don’t think to much about it). Your extensive experience using one will allow you to also improve the functionality. Once you have finalized the design, you should start machining as soon as you can. Both of the shops in the ITLL and the Idea Forge get incredibly crowded with senior design and freshmen projects at the end of the spring semester. I look forward to the demo!

  • Sreyas Krishnan
    March 4, 2016 12:41 pm

    Looking forward to seeing the final product! It will be satisfying to say that you made your own wine key when people ask you where you bought it.

  • Elyse Skinner
    March 4, 2016 12:35 pm

    I like the origin of your project. I think it is great that you are working towards making a design better and have more use for you. It is a very practical project and I like your opposite take on the aesthetic of your design. I think it’ll be awesome to see it in action.


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