Big teeth: The Bear Jaws
I recently acquired my first outside-opening tool (thanks to supratentorial) in the form of a Bear MGC (now known as Bear and Sons Cutlery) Bear Jaws. I have been resistant to outside opening tools for some time, mainly due to the exposed nature of the tool compartment and the seemingly easy access this would give dirt, dust and other miscellaneous crap. After carrying and using this tool for only a week or so I have realized that even if the tools are bare to the elements the easy access to said tools heavily outweighs the supposed detriment.
Nowadays the multitool market is quite diverse. Ordinarily we focus on the higher end tools, but I recently received some more affordable tools that are available at many chain and hardware store. I was impressed with the overall quality for the price, especially with the Mountaineer.
Leatherman’s Blast model was a pleasant surprise when I received it. After having the Kick for a while, then moving up to the Fuse I appreciated the locking mechanism but I was so disappointed by the new scissor design that I think it jaded me. It took the Blast to really get my attention again in this series.
While the PowerLock seems to be the first tool that comes to mind when one thinks of SOG tools, the Pocket Power Plier is perhaps my personal favorite. The more compact size of the Pocket Power Plier seems to be the more “carry-able” version of the big powerhouse.
Leatherman’s Crunch is a unique model that really has no peers in the multitool industry. Certainly there are a few locking plier tools out there such as the Schrade ST6 and the discontinued Kershaw locking plier tool, but each of those tools is clunky due to the permanently fixed head. The Crunch’s greatest strength is the folding head that allows it to fold into the size of a regular full sized multitool like the PST series , Wave or SwissTool Spirit .
Several months ago the idea of a Multitool.org logo imprinted tool began being discussed. Since I sell promotional products and have managed the SOSAK Knife Project, our fearless leader, Defender asked me to see what I could find. I stumbled upon a company named Hard Hat Knives and Flashlights. They offer imprinting on a wide variety of tools in their catalog including Leatherman and SOG. The most intriguing tool was the Hard Hat Journeyman.
The engineers from Gerber were listening, and finally addressed a couple of long-standing opinions about their multitools. You all know what I’m talking about; the way Gerber Multi-Pliers have always been “loose” and “rattly.” And the tendency Gerber tools have of pinching the palm of your hand, because the inside of the handles get so close together when you clamp down with the pliers on a thin object.
I’m pleased to report that both of these issues have been improved with the Diesel.
Gerber Legendary Blades has been making multitools for what seems like forever, they seem to be about as old as Leatherman themselves. Before Gerber was owned by Fiskars they had released their first tool and it has definitely changed over the years. The first version had no locking system (much like the LM PST) and was simple in nature. Time progressed and locks were added as well as some small changes in tool design, but the 600 stays true to its roots as a testament to what kind of tool that Gerber tools were made of. The 600 can be seen as a classic or a retro tool; it reminds us of the multitools of our past. Sure Gerber has new tools like the Freehand, Recoil and the Diesel etc. And the 600 gets a lot of trash because it’s being compared to the current designs on the market. I mean; come on…how many of you remember when the PST had 3 different screwdriver blades…..all the same, did we complain then?
It’s good to see SOG staying in the multi tool game by teaming up with Paladin Tools, a large producer of professional-quality electrical and telecommunications tools. As the general-purpose multi tool market becomes more and more saturated, I believe manufacturers will begin to target these specialty niche markets in order to sell their products.
The PowerPlay PT-510 is largely based upon SOG’s Pocket PowerPlier model S44. The handles and plier jaws are the same size, but there have been some improvements, along with a few special features for electrical/datacom work.
Leatherman continues to dominate the multitool market; this is due in part by two things, advertising not only to its pre-existing customer base but to the newcomers as well and most importantly it’s the drive to continually innovate on the designs of their tools, Leatherman is constantly refining and changing the shape of the tools themselves and how the public as a whole views them. I believe most of Leatherman’s success is just the shear dominance of name brand, they pioneered the market and ever since 9/11 they have become more common place as they are more appealing to the public than a regular pocket knife.