Multi-Tools

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by skysailor, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Liko

    Liko Noncommittal at best

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    In college I got involved with a project in Baja Sur. A small community of people who were struggling with their gardens. I went down with a couple other students and did soil samples and such but what they really needed was irrigation supplies.

    With the help of a course instructor and a business connection I had in Mexicali we got them training, materials and set up several systems. During the install of each system (one per weekend trip) I'd end up giving away my Leatherman so I bought about 20 of them and gave them all away.
    #81
  2. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile Supporter

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    I’m another fan of the Leatherman Juice S2 for EDC. On rides,a Leatherman Wave goes in the tank bag or on my belt.
    #82
  3. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    I do like modding Gerbers with clips and contrasting colors. My latest is a diesel.

    6E7C0443-8D39-4DF1-B334-73468FA0F43D.jpeg

    8794A6AD-FA44-48CE-ADF5-CD386007AF21.jpeg

    The diesel has a couple of advantages over the MP 600. It has a slightly wider handle splay, which makes it more comfortable me to use. It has longer scissors, a beefier flat driver, and a wood saw. Unfortunately it also has weaker pliers with thinner tips which often don’t line up, and a 2.5D Phillips driver instead of the beefy 3d driver in the mp600. Still it’s a very good tool, especially if you need a very small needle nose at the tips. The bigger scissors, woodsaw, and thin tips make it a good fishing tool. The clip makes it easy to carry anywhere, without belt holsters.

    Charles.
    #83
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  4. S21FOLGORE

    S21FOLGORE Been here awhile

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    Leatherman MUT & Gerber Center Drive




    I'm not bashing Center Drive.
    I like mine.
    But, .... in a situation like this ...

    [​IMG]

    MUT wins.
    #84
  5. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    I see that. But in the first case any bitdriver style screwdriver was going to have an issue in a tight space. AND you could have just used a longer-shank phillips driver. The thing about the CD is, it feels like a normal screwdriver to operate. It's one-handed, where the MUT appears to be a two-handed screwdriver operation because of it's odd shape. The CD is also big and beefy, and I can use ANY bit. Which means, I have a selection of JIS bits, and the driver can work on old vintage Japanese bikes without tearing them up. The leatherman bits are quite limited, you can only use the ones Leatherman sells. I have those JIS bits to security torx and everything inbetween for the CD.

    The CD isn't perfect. The pliers are needle nosed, and I vastly prefer blunt nosed. Tehy don't open as wide as an MP600, likely due to the spring-loaded nature. The tool selection is somewhat limited too, but you can mix and match tools from an MP600 so that's not as big of a deal.

    Charles.
    #85
  6. vtduc

    vtduc Been here awhile

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    I like my leatherman crunch for what it does, but it gives up a lot of other features to do it. I wouldn't carry it as my only multitool, but it's nice to have in my generic gear bag.
    #86
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  7. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer Supporter

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    I need another Leatherman Micra for another first aid kit I am putting together. I love having these in first aid kits but hate paying $30 for them. So I decided to check eBay.

    Wow. If anybody needs one, there must be thousands for sale at around $10 that people apparently bought from TSA auctions.
    #87
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  8. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    So... I bought a leatherman wingman on sale a while back, and was pretty disappointed. And on a whim at Walmart today I took a look at a multitool in the glass case. It was an ozark trail multi force for $38. It’s everything the wingman should be, for $22 less. It’s actually more like a wave than a wingman.

    It had four outside opening tools: plain edge, serrated, saw, and file. It has 4 inner tools: can/bottle opener, flat driver, scissors, and a bitdriver that can take standard 1/4” bits.

    The pliers are not spring loaded like the wingman. They’re thicker and far better machined. The tips meet precisely and there is no side to side play. The cutters are excellent, they can cut individual strands of #000 steel wool. In comparison, the wingman pliers have 2-3mm of side to side play, and the wire cutters are really wire smashers. They don’t work for anything except household solid copper wire... and even that, badly.

    The scissors in this tool are surprising. They’re smaller than the wingman scissors, but far sharper and more robust. I used them to wrap presents and they would slice through thin wrapping paper for long runs without tearing the paper. Very little resistance going through the paper. The wingman scissors could also slice similarly, but with more resistance and they start tearing the paper in about half the distance I get out of the ozark trail multiforce. The wingman scissors also have a weak spring and the scissors often bind and stick in the closed position. The ozark scissors have a very strong spring and don’t have this problem. The ozarks scissors are smaller, but far more rigid. They cut paracord every time. With the tips, center, or back, it’s a one-snip affair. With the wingman I have to get the right spot or the scissors will flex and the paracord will fold between the blades and jam up.

    The handle splay on the ozark is smaller, which I prefer, and the jaws open wider. The handles are well made and smooth and feel quality. All of the inner tools lock, and the lock is intuitive to use.

    The ozark trail multiforce is under $40, comes with a case, pocket clip, a bitdriver extension, and one 2-sided bit retained by spring loaded ball bearing.

    Though the wingman is American made, the quality is abysmal. ESPECIALLY considering the $60 price tag. The multiforce surprised me, a lot. So much that I took one home.

    Charles.
    #88
  9. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Ozark trail multiforce on the left, leatherman wingman on the right.

    3722802C-96F9-4358-B239-2BB3E7764E0B.jpeg

    Bigger blade on the ozaek trail. Both are shaving sharp.

    E394EF8C-D800-4A1A-B470-24BA796EC52F.jpeg

    The leatherman case is neat and has a better snap, but the ozark trail keeps the weather out better, is rigid for impact protection, and has a loop to hold the bit driver extension. FE5FDFEE-DDAE-4677-9B83-46544E6E92D8.jpeg

    Both tools with all outside tools opened:
    5AEF1B39-8BD1-4A39-A48C-95A4F28F0E62.jpeg

    Charles.
    #89
  10. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Inside tools opened. Both tools have a can opener that does double duty as a bottle opener. The wingman has a 2D Phillips driver and a weird little bladed hook tool that’s completely useless. None of the wingman’s inner tools lock, but all the multi force inner tools lock.

    3B76FCD1-7351-47BF-8ED5-4ECBCCD342F2.jpeg

    File comparison. The wingman’s is more aggressive, but only one sided and very short. The multiforce is three sided, with a double cut side, an edge that can be used like a hacksaw, and the back side is a diamond file.

    5B4731B7-B0FA-45F5-80CC-0A95E2C662BF.jpeg

    Scissor comparison. The wingman’s are larger, but you can see the spring is weak and they often stick in this partially closed position. No amount of lubrication or working the scissors makes a difference. The multiforce’s scissors are smaller, but sharper and far more rigid.

    DCC31882-960A-4D0B-BC0E-C61CBB40DE84.jpeg

    Handle splay comparison. Wingman on the right.

    3643E04D-9093-4636-B037-2D678C631AFB.jpeg

    Charles.
    #90
  11. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Multi force with bit and bit extender.

    E9D36CD5-D306-4349-A646-C3AA9076A246.jpeg

    D6F51CEF-7619-4082-B56C-B0B5B29393D2.jpeg

    Wingman’s horribly imprecise, floppy, terrible pliers:

    C66CE3D4-3987-46CC-B999-06AE094069CC.jpeg

    Charles.
    #91
  12. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Thickness of the pliers (multiforce on the left, wingman on the right). Wingman is thinner :/

    A131C142-7E0B-4A9A-A5FE-FA479E532866.jpeg

    There are a few things the wingman gets better. There is less frame/handle flex when squeezing really hard. The multiforce does have noticeable flex when really bearing down hard. I need to stretch to find something else to ding the ozark trail. I guess The multiforce needed minor adjustment out of the box. Two pivots needed to be loosened a dash. Fortunately regular Torx bits made short work of that. But every one of my brand new Gerbers needed adjustment out of the box, and they have special proprietary screws. The wingman didn’t need adjustment .... it needed to be returned for the shitty tolerances in the pliers.

    Hate to say it but the Chinese have basically out-leathermaned leatherman. If you consider these both in the entry level multi tool space, the multiforce is a FAR better tool, and for $22 less than the leatherman.

    Charles.
    #92
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  13. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    For stuff at home my goto is the CRKT Bivy. Easy 1-handed deployment of knife and pliers. I really like it a lot.

    My on the bike tool kits include a Gerber Dime. Points in its favor are the size, weight, and cost. A bit flimsy. The best I can say about it is if used with care, it may be adequate to your emergency task. I've used some of the tools at home to make sure, though I haven't tried to pull a bent nail out of a tire with the pliers. If I ever do, I hope I can...
    #93
  14. RTinNC

    RTinNC Long timer

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    Interesting comparison ChopperCharles thanks fir sharing. Maybe the Leatherman quality has declined but I carry a leatherman Wave on each bike (both the Wave 2 versions ) and love them. Build quality is excellent and the Wave is basically the Charge w/o the fancy handle. At the time the Wave had everything I needed in one tool. With the added bit kit the Wave is hard to beat.
    #94
  15. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer Supporter

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    I'm thinking ChopperCharles may have gotten a bad one. Between the ones I've bought and the ones I've brought home from Dad's place, I've got half-dozen plus Leathermans around here and none of them have loose or mismatched pliers. I hope quality hasn't slipped that much on current production.

    Charles: you might want to contact Leatherman. They may tell you its within tolerances, in which case I'd kind of like to know that. It would be disappointing. Or they might do something about it. Just a thought.

    Nice review of the Ozark Trail. I haven't been impressed with any of the Chinese multi-tools I've looked at, including the one currently in my car. I can't recall the brand. They're ok, but not near as sturdy as the Leathermans I've got. Good to know there is a quality, cheap alternative.
    #95
  16. RTinNC

    RTinNC Long timer

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    Agree it’s nice to have alternatives I still really hate buying anything Chinese when possible. Yeah I know that’s pretty hard to do these days. I just hate how they constantly steal our designs and copy.
    #96
  17. AZ Pete

    AZ Pete Been here awhile

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    I carried a Leatherman at work, beginning in the early '90's, ended up with a Wave. Also kept a micro on my key chain. Used it every day, and used it hunting. Wouldn't have been without it. After retiring, I only carry one in my day pack, and one in my truck. They rarely get used now. I did field dress deer and antelope with one though, nice sharp blade!
    #97
  18. mr72

    mr72 Been here awhile

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    Way back in the late 90s I got a Gerber Scout (what they call a MP600 now) that was brilliant. I used it a ton. Then I lost it, and I immediately got another one, which I still have. It's a fantastic tool. OTOH I bought a Suspension tool which has been pretty much junk, although I toss it in my Triumph's bag as an emergency tool.

    Looks like the current MP600 has a crappy knife blade on it, like the Suspension, but otherwise the same tool. And you can swap the blades.
    https://www.gerbergear.com/en-us/sh...ls/multi-plier-600-stainless-needlenose-07530

    I bought my dad one of the MP400s also about 20 years ago and he has pretty much never used it, but I thought it was cool enough that I bought one for my son-in-law (who at the time was just my daughter's boyfriend) and one for myself which lives in my guitar case. It's a good tool but not quite as good as the MP600:
    https://www.gerbergear.com/en-us/sh...multi-plier-400-compact-sport-stainless-05500

    For Christmas some years ago my mother in law gave me a package set with a Gerber Dime and a Evo Jr. knife. The Dime was a terrific tool and I used it a whole lot until the jaw on the pliers broke. The Evo Jr. has been just about my favorite knife, and I have a bunch.

    Since the Dime broke, again as a gift from the mother in law I got a Leatherman Style PS: https://www.leatherman.com/style-ps-831488.html I have carried this daily for a few years basically as a key chain and I use it a lot but I have to say it's not as good as the Gerber it replaced. The scissor broke on the first one I had and Leatherman replaced it under their 10-year warranty, which was nice. But the new one has too much play between the scissor blades which basically means they do not work, at all. The jaws on the pliers also do not line up perfectly which means the bypass-style wirecutter is hit and miss. There's no knife blade, which is ok since on a tool this small it'd be essentially useless and this does allow me to take it on airplanes, as I have probably 30 times even internationally. Frankly I use it mostly for the tweezers and the combo nail file / screwdriver, which means it's overkill.

    Got my daugher a Leatherman Crater 33 https://www.leatherman.com/crater-c33tx-54.html for Christmas last year which is probably nearly the best of all worlds as far as knife/multi-tool combos go. It's a very good knife and has screwdrivers in it. I should buy more of them.
    #98
  19. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    The wingman is leatherman’s entry level tool, and according to multitool forums the pliers not lining up and poor cutters is common for the model, unfortunately. If it was a $30 tool (which was coincidentally the original price) then it would be far more forgivable. But for $60? I expect far better.

    I normally carry an MP600. In fact, I have five of them, all of them modified to various degrees. The gerber mp600 is the only multitool that comes with blunt nosed pliers in some models. It’s also the most heavy duty tool, but also has user replaceable parts that will swap around easily. I’ve removed the blades from most of mine and added extra tools, and swapped in blunt nosed plier heads where I could. I always carry a knife, so the blade was always an unused tool for me.

    Note the sight tool (MP600-ST) has a longer Phillips driver and a huge blade, and is a good base for modding if those are important. I also really like the center drive with a pro scout saw holder in place of the serrated blade and awl.

    There is something to be said for the weatherman style butterfly pliers. The one hand opening external blades are nice if you don’t want to also carry a knife. I like the gerbers better for the one handed opening and usability even when wearing thick welding gloves. They’re also a far more heavy duty tool. But also a bit cruder.

    The Leatherman style butterfly opening multi tools, and this multi force in particular feel really good to use, and are precisely made With convenient access to blades and built in pocket clips. I would generally say carry Gerber if the pliers are more important to you, and carry Leatherman if the blades are.

    I like both styles, but Gerber is my go-to for every day carry. Some days I want to simplify and trim down and not also carry a knife, and for those days the leatherman style works.

    @davidji, I have a CRKT bivy that I modified with a Phillips driver in place of the stupid marlin spike. It’s an interesting light duty tool with an epic blade, but the plier flex was far too great for me. I couldn’t do anything hard with them, and the jaws don’t open that far either. For a little plier knife I prefer this one: https://www.amazon.com/Multitool-Wrench-Screwdriver-Pliers-Survival/dp/B074MDK7RG

    The pliers are smaller, but suited to the same tasks as the bivy. The size of the bivy pliers makes them look like they should be able to do a lot more than they can. This little outu’s pliers are far smaller, but they don’t flex and I’ve abused them heavily, doing tasks that would twist a bivy. Also they have a one handed opening bottle opener. So if you’re a drunk beer aficionado, this is the knife for you!

    Charles.
    #99
  20. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer Supporter

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    I didn't realize this was common with the Wingman. Disappointing. Disregard my previous comment.