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#98232 - 06/23/07 08:41 AM a multitool for EDC knife owners?
dchang0 Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/22/07
Posts: 5
Hi,

If you're like me, you always have a trusty every-day carry knife with you. And you'd like to have a just-as-reliable multitool on your belt every day.

But the blade(s) in the multitool are super-redundant because you wouldn't be caught alive or dead without your EDC knife. And you'd like a smaller, lighter multitool because carrying that much hardware can be a bit annoying at times.

Given the choice between carrying your multitool or your knife, you'd pick the knife every time because it's far more ergonomic (and therefore far safer) and far more versatile at cutting.

So, like me, you're looking for an EDC multitool that's the perfect complement for your EDC knife--a set-up that allows you to: 1) carry just the knife when you need to travel light; 2) carry both the knife and the multitool most of the time; and 3) carry just the multitool when knives aren't allowed.

-----

I'm currently carrying a late-model Leatherman Charge Ti with my Mini RSK. The Charge is perfect in terms of build quality and tool complement but is a bit overkill in terms of weight and blades. It also doesn't pass through security checkpoints--which means that when I stop by to repair the computers at many Los Angeles businesses, I have to walk in "naked" without either a knife or my multitool.

What I'm looking for is essentially a "repairman's multitool" or "electrician's multitool" that I can carry in addition to my knife. The perfect multitool for me would have:

needlenose pliers
hard and soft wire cutters
crimper
wire stripper
scissors
small and large bit drivers
fold-out 1/4" square stud for standard 1/4" drive socket wrench tools
reliable locks on all fold-out tools

I've left off the survival tools like bottle/can openers, files, etc. just to keep the weight down.

Anybody have any recommendations on a multitool that even approaches this concept? If Leatherman offered the wirestripper and the fold-out 1/4" drive socket wrench stud, I'd disassemble my Charge and customize it myself!

Thanks in advance,
Dennis.



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#98271 - 06/24/07 12:17 AM Re: a multitool for EDC knife owners? [Re: dchang0]
Doug_Ritter Offline

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Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1996
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#98276 - 06/24/07 01:08 AM Re: a multitool for EDC knife owners? [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5247
Loc: SOCAL
I agree with Doug. Leatherman developed the knifeless Fuse to meet TSA requirements and legally pass through airport security. It's a good option too. When I need a knife I don't reach for my XTi, I reach for one of the locking folders I always carry.
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#98284 - 06/24/07 02:18 AM Re: a multitool for EDC knife owners? [Re: dchang0]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Ohhh, a quarter inch socket stud would be a wonderful thing to find on a multitool, but I'd rather have the backup to my pocket knife.

Blades are like bullets, you can't have too many so long as they aren't headed towards you. :P
_________________________
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When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#98289 - 06/24/07 03:14 AM Re: a multitool for EDC knife owners? [Re: ironraven]
dchang0 Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/22/07
Posts: 5
Thanks for the suggestions!

I forgot to mention: I've already looked at the Knifeless Fuse. Without an integrated bit driver, it's pretty much worthless to me. As a computer tech, I'm always running across multiple shapes and sizes of screws/bolts (especially T10 and T15 Torx and teeny-tiny Philips/flathead), so the Charge's nice bit set is a must.

I noticed last night that the Leatherman Crush is actually closer to what I want--it seems to have been designed for technicians/electricians rather than for wilderness survival. Too bad that its integrated bit driver is very hidden away and that it isn't a needlenose. A huge plus is the vise-grip capability and the ability to take standard hex-bits.

A bladeless Charge would pretty much be perfect--I emailed Leatherman last night to suggest that they make an "electrician's Charge," minus the four outer blades, with thinner handles, a combination scissors+wire stripper, and crimper notches in the pliers. The Charge is sooooo close already!

Though I'd void my warranty, I could probably buy two security-TORX bits and remove the four blades myself...

I noticed that the SOG multitools often include the 1/4"-drive socket wrench tool. If only they'd build in bit drivers!

-----

I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should carry TWO smaller tools rather than one multitool. For instance, perhaps I could carry a tiny multitool for just the folding pliers and a tiny bit driver for everything else. Anyone ever see a super-compact, daily-carry bit driver? Something that folds into either a straight handle, L-handle or T-handle would be AWESOME!

Hey, I think I just found what I've been looking for!

http://loggerheadtools.com/?main_page=products&id=6

The Loggerhead Tools ImmiX might also work, though it doesn't have needlenose pliers... The 20x version has no knife blades!

I'm gonna order one of those Bit Dr. right away...

Thanks for all your help!
Dennis.


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#98305 - 06/24/07 02:52 PM So... why? [Re: dchang0]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
So basically, you want a pair of pliers, maybe small file, and screwdrivers.

Why the heck are you wasting time trying to take the blades out of a multitool that is designed to work properly with the blades attached?

You need:
-One pair of small needlenose pliers with a side cut. They start at about four bucks.
-One needle file or small metal file. Starts around four bucks.
-A pocket screwdriver. I like the Versadriver, they go for about ten bucks plus shipping. CountyComm has them here, but there are other places. Add a 2" 1/4" socket extension (more stable than the bit holder) and the bits you need.

It won't cost as much as a multitool, and you don't have to mutilate a multi to get what you want.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#98308 - 06/24/07 03:40 PM Re: So... why? [Re: ironraven]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 999
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
+1 on the repair kit.

If you're repairing computers that often, set up a dedicated kit for it. I set one up in a tool box sized tackle box. This is slightly overkill but it was what I could find with the compartments I wanted.

If the company you're going to be doing the repair for will call down to security they will probably grant an exception for an expected repair tech with a tool kit. For a more suit & tie environment I'd have looked harder at modifying one of the aluminum briefcases or something like this or this. Before you go in transfer the sharps to the tool kit.

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#98314 - 06/24/07 07:59 PM Re: So... why? [Re: UTAlumnus]
cfraser Offline
Member

Registered: 06/17/07
Posts: 110
Loc: Toronto area, Ontario, Canada
I carry a tiny Leatherman JIC. All the regular sized Leathermans are just too heavy for me, I like bulgeless and stealth EDC. A half-decently sized folder knife is still bulgeless.

Anyway, you seem big on the bit-driving capability. IMO that's one of the most useless parts of the Leathermans because it doesn't do standard 1/4" bits. I have at least 80 different 1/4" bits I might have to use, though of course mostly I use a few common ones, but some bits really common in Canada are not so common in the U.S. No 1/4" drive = no sale for me (I have a gen. 2 WAVE in my PSK, no wasted bit driver). You can put together a tiny 1/4" driver for next to nothing. Actually, all you need is a tiny 1/4" hex driver (nut driver), looks like a tiny screwdriver, weighs nothing and uses all standard bits. Maybe add a small magnetized extension, I do, mainly to hold the bits in. I'm an engineer who works on computer stuff too. All those damn "security" bits these days, needing custom sized bit shanks doesn't cut it...

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#98345 - 06/25/07 12:03 PM Re: a multitool for EDC knife owners? [Re: dchang0]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2838
Originally Posted By: dchang0
Though I'd void my warranty, I could probably buy two security-TORX bits and remove the four blades myself...


I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should carry TWO smaller tools rather than one multitool. For instance, perhaps I could carry a tiny multitool for just the folding pliers and a tiny bit driver for everything else. Anyone ever see a super-compact, daily-carry bit driver? Something that folds into either a straight handle, L-handle or T-handle would be AWESOME!


Those are not security torx, they have 5 points instead of the 6 a torx head would have, those bits can be had but not as easily as a security torx.

When I was working as a tec I carried my wave for the pliers and baldes and carried a screwdriver with the removable cap on the end of the handle and bits inside of it. I found that even with the wave bit adapter the multi tool was still a little large for sticking down inside of places to get to the screws so carrying a normal screwdriver along with the wave gave me what I needed. Then if I needed more strength to get a stuck screw/bolt I could fold the wave bit adapter over so the wave handle would give me the extra torque I needed. I wise leatherman would have kept that approace instead of the flat bit adapter they switched to with the new wave and then added a ratchet to the bit adapter, you could then use it as both a screwdriver and ratchet wrench.

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#98611 - 06/28/07 01:43 AM Re: a multitool for EDC knife owners? [Re: dchang0]
dchang0 Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/22/07
Posts: 5
Thanks for the great responses. First, a few quick answers to help fill in the picture a bit:

1) I already carry a medium-sized toolbox in my trunk. It's loaded with electrician's, computer tech, carpenter, and datacomm tools. It's too large to carry into every single gig, and I'm tired of hearing some security screener saying half-jokingly, "hey, those screwdrivers can be used as weapons, and those cutters and scissors just aren't allowed."

Besides, 95% of the time, I only need a basic set of electrician and computer tech tools. Carrying the toolbox has proven to be overkill except for those rare situations where I need the highly-specialized tools or larger 3/8" drive socket wrenches.

2) Yes, absolutely, the bit driver is key. In fact, I don't really need pliers at all. In contrast to wilderness survival where pliers are an integral part to improvising a solution, what I'm facing here is more of an "hi-tech survival" situation. A great example is in ABC's "Lost" where Sayid takes apart the broken transceiver from the plane and repairs it. With a "repairman's multitool," working on survival electronics and small machinery would be much easier.

Another good example: technicians mainly need a US #1 Phillips rather than the widely-available US #2 Phillips heads. One of the reasons the Charge is much better than the other Leatherman multitools is that it actually includes a US #1 Phillips bit.

I agree that the problem with multitool bit drivers is that they have too short a "shaft." Leatherman ought to add about an inch to the length of their fold-out bit drivers on the Charge--I'm going to email them about that idea. It's basically the same concept as the Bit Dr. that I just ordered--the Bit Dr. takes it a bit further with an actual removable extension.

I actually like the flat bits. The reason I don't carry one of those ubiquitous screwdrivers with 1/4" hex bits inside the handle is because they're just too damned bulky. Besides, if you inspect one of the Charge's flat bits, you'll see that it is in fact a 1/4" hex bit! It just has its "sides" cut off.

3) Hey--I like that Versadriver! Thanks for the suggestion. "Mutilating" a multitool isn't really my goal--what I'd like is to drum up enough demand so that the multitool makers come up with a multitool for electronic devices--something that us technicians could carry daily and that aircraft/marinecraft and wilderness survival kits could also benefit from.

4) cfraser, you hit the nail on the head. I am indeed looking for a "bulgeless" (i.e., lightweight and compact enough to carry daily) solution. I started out by buying a nice Chapman Mfg. 8900 Kit that comes with a beautiful tiny little hex-bit ratchet and a two-part spinner that can receive a hex bit directly into the handle or use the included extension to make it look and act just like a regular screwdriver. This is definitely the most-used core of my current tool kit, and with a few additional security and specialized bits, this kit is the model for which I would like to see a folding, flat-bit multitool. With double-sided flat 1/4" hex bits and a folding handle, the bulky Chapman's functionality could be shrunk down into one-twentieth the size and perhaps one-fifth the weight! And the icing on the cake is that tossing such a tool into the x-ray machine tray won't draw as much attention as trying to carry in a toolbox!

-----

I've emailed Leatherman about the concept of a "repairman's multitool." For wilderness/aircraft/marinecraft survival kits, this would probably be a secondary multitool to accompany a primary, standard multitool like the Charge. One would use the "repairman's multitool" to repair higher-tech survival gear--we're not talking about rigging shelter but perhaps fixing something like a GPS receiver, aircraft console, or perhaps even a small motor like those found in a portable generator. Situations where finely-threaded screws that are usually hard-to-get-to and fine electrical wiring are common.

For now, I'd just be happy if they introduced a flat-bit extension, and I'll email them about that right now. That would make my Charge a much more functional bit driver.

Thanks again for all the replies!

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