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#302074 - 10/26/23 09:37 PM Leatherman Arc: First Impressions
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3828
Loc: USA
"Hi everyone, I'm chaosmagnet and I am an unabashed Leatherman fanboy."

"Hi chaosmagnet!"


With that out of the way, I ordered a Leatherman Arc nine days ago and it arrived today. I paid for the tool out of my own pocket and also for the Leatherman Custom Shop to put my chaosmagnet symbol on the blade, and I give them huge props because it came out perfectly.

This is a Christmas present from my wife to me, so I couldn't mess with it for long without risking a glare and possibly even a scolding. So this post is the result of a few minutes of clandestine fiddling at my desk. Other than where I quote manufacturer's specs, everything here is my subjective opinion.

My unit arrived with everything looking right, working correctly and without the need to tune the tension on any of the pivots. I performed a thorough inspection of each implement and lubricated it carefully with Tuf Glide. I've only had one previous Leatherman come messed up from the factory (a MUT) -- and Leatherman warranty service came through bigtime for that.

The Leatherman Free series left me cold (until the Arc) and I haven't even touched one before today. My thoughts:
  • The magnetic retention system worked a treat for me. I did one-hand-open and one-hand-close every implement, easily. Stowing the pliers one-handed required that I push a handle against my body, which is fine by me.
  • Reviewers say that the magnets don't cause problems and that the tool is easy to clean if metal filings get stuck to them. Based on how the tool is designed and built this is easy to believe, but something I did not test for myself.
  • Manufacturer's specs indicate that it's a 1/4" longer closed, a tenth of an inch wider, 0.02" less thick, and 0.1 ounce heavier than my beloved (current generation) Wave. They also indicate that the main blade length is 0.14" shorter.
  • I would call the blade shape a modified drop point. I like the shape. It locked up solid and felt sharp. The way it closes pleases me -- disengaging the lock is intuitive and the knife pivot has the right amount of friction, making it harder to accidentally close on one's digits. I did no cutting with it.
  • Reviewers say that the large bit driver allows a bit of play from side to side for the bit, and that proved to be true for my unit. Those reviewers also say that it doesn't register when using it, but I did no driving of fasteners. My best guess is that they had to redesign the large bit driver to make it be one-hand-openable.
  • The best file on any multitool ever, in my opinion, has been on the Wave (all three generations). The worst one on a Leatherman that I've used has been the Rebar, and it isn't bad at all. This one seems like it's a hybrid, much closer to the Wave's. I'm sure it's more than good enough for the times I use a multitool file.
  • The awl is a very different shape than other LM multis I own and I'm not sure how much I like it. It is not like the picture at https://www.leatherman.com/arc-833074.html! It gets a lot wider from the tip. I mostly use the awl on a multi to punch holes in leather or as an opener for plastic clamshell packaging, and this felt like it would work quite well for those purposes, so a minor nit. It would not work well for reaming out a narrow hole deeper than the tip. I cannot remember ever using a multitool's awl for that though.
  • The only tool that seems sort of useless to me is the bottle cap lifter. I don't open a lot of bottle caps. Previously I've used an LM can opener (by tilting it so that the sharp part doesn't cut into the cap). This is a minor nit. I very much like having a large dedicated flat blade/small pry implement, and I can't think of anything else they could have put in place of the cap lifter.
  • I've come to the conclusion that I prefer all multi implements (other than fastener bits and extenders) to be fixed, rather than replaceable, so the lack of a T-shank holder like the Surge has is a plus for me.
  • The lack of a serrated blade doesn't bug me. There's nothing on the tool that I would replace with a serrated blade. There's no doubt in my mind that I could cut a seatbelt or a heavy rope with the blade it does have.


It feels like the Arc's implements were designed for me personally -- it checks all of my boxes for things I want on a multi. While I wouldn't miss the small amount of play in the large bit driver, and I'd prefer the awl be like other LM awls, overall I feel like Leatherman knocked it out of the park with this. Can't wait until Christmas!

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#302075 - 10/26/23 09:41 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3828
Loc: USA
This also posted to edcforums.com.

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#302076 - 10/26/23 11:07 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 3154
Loc: Big Sky Country
Thanks for a very thorough review!
_________________________
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

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#302077 - 10/26/23 11:54 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3828
Loc: USA
Thank you!

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#302079 - 10/29/23 12:36 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
Ren Online   content
Addict

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 529
Loc: Wales, UK
Be careful with the cutters. Seems the inserts have a tendency to shatter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt19D8_dc5Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVO31dDqV5g


Edited by Ren (10/29/23 12:55 PM)

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#302080 - 10/29/23 03:45 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3227
Loc: Alberta, Canada
"Hi Chaosmagnet!" laugh

Nice review! It's a gorgeous tool, and the right mix of tools.

But lordy, the price is eye-watering. I'd be scared to take it out of the vault!

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#302081 - 10/29/23 03:49 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3828
Loc: USA
Quote:
  • The awl is a very different shape than other LM multis I own and I'm not sure how much I like it. It is not like the picture at https://www.leatherman.com/arc-833074.html! It gets a lot wider from the tip. I mostly use the awl on a multi to punch holes in leather or as an opener for plastic clamshell packaging, and this felt like it would work quite well for those purposes, so a minor nit. It would not work well for reaming out a narrow hole deeper than the tip. I cannot remember ever using a multitool's awl for that though.


After doing some examination and thinking, I reached out to Leatherman to have the unit returned under warranty due to the awl. Every picture and video of an Arc that I've seen has the awl looking like it does on the website. Further examination of mine leads me to believe that mine wasn't finished before installation. A disappointing failure of LM's QC.

Originally Posted By: Ren
Be careful with the cutters. Seems the inserts have a tendency to shatter.


These look like the same replaceable wirecutters I've been using for many years, and the problems I've had have been self-imposed (and fixable -- I took the cutters off and sharpened them successfully).

I wonder if they had a bad heat treat on a batch, or something like that. Again, looks a lot like a disappointing failure of LM's QC.


Edited by chaosmagnet (10/29/23 03:52 PM)
Edit Reason: punctuation malfunction

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#302082 - 10/29/23 03:51 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: dougwalkabout]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3828
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
"Hi Chaosmagnet!" laugh

Nice review! It's a gorgeous tool, and the right mix of tools.

But lordy, the price is eye-watering. I'd be scared to take it out of the vault!


Hi, dougwalkabout!

Thanks for the kind words. And I don't blame you, it sure is spendy. It's over $100 more than the Wave+ with pretty close to the same implements.


Edited by chaosmagnet (10/29/23 08:05 PM)
Edit Reason: last sentence needed to be sent upstate to the farm

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#302084 - 11/22/23 10:15 PM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3828
Loc: USA
Leatherman asked me to arrange a return instead of a repair, which surprised me even more than the QC issues since mine was a Custom Shop order. I returned it and received the replacement unit.

The awl was correct on it. Everything looked and felt correct…other than that the replaceable cutters look like they’re from the batch that broke for others on YouTube. I didn’t test them. Under the tree it will go.

While I’m confident that Leatherman will take care of me if the cutters or anything else fails, the Arc should have been a triumph for the company, and it’s disappointing that the QC issues seem to keep that from being the case.

More on this multitool after I officially receive it.

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#302092 - 11/26/23 08:22 AM Re: Leatherman Arc: First Impressions [Re: chaosmagnet]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 1019
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Any indication why the price jump?

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