A waiter's friend is a type of corkscrew tool used principally by bartenders, restaurant waiters and sommeliers. It consists of a hollow handle into which fold two items - the corkscrew itself - a metal helix known as the worm - and a small knife blade. In addition, a small lever arm called the fulcrum folds over one end of the handle, hinged at the end of the device. Some models have a bottle opener either as a separate component folded over the knife blade, or built into the side of the fulcrum. Note: mkb informs me that some of these devices have segmented fulcrums to allow for different separations between the tool and rim. Shaogo adds that this is the type currently in fashion, as this allows you to get the best leverage twice when opening bottles in front of other people, minimizing your chances of looking unskilled.

Rough diagram of the waiter's friend tool:

      /--------------\      O////////////-       --====O|
      O              |----------------------------------/
      \---------------\          ^                   ^
                 ^               |                   |
       Fulcrum --|         Worm--|      Knife blade--|

The above diagram shows the tool in its folded state. All three components hinge out from the handle, rotating at their mount points ('O' in the diagram).

To use the tool, the user first unfolds the knife blade and uses it to cut through any foil or plastic covering of the wine bottle's cork (which Albert Herring tells me is called the capsule). The blade is then folded away. The worm is unfolded so that it extends from the handle at a right angle, the point of it (represented by a dash in the diagram) placed against the center of the cork. The entire tool is then pressed into the cork and rotated, turning the worm into the cork itself. When only one or two turns of the worm remain above the cork's surface, the fulcrum is unfolded and the end of it (which is stepped) is braced against the bottle's rim, which will typically result in the tool sitting at an angle 'down' from the fulcrum's tip towards the bottle. At this point, lifting the handle will lever the tool against the fulcrum, and extract the worm (holding the cork) from the mouth of the bottle with a minimum of fuss.

This tool is also sometimes called a 'sommelier's knife'.

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