After Megan and I had finished swimming for the day at a friend’s cottage (ie the impending thunderstorm chased us out of the water!) we decided to relax and open a bottle of wine. The only problem being that the rose we had bought had a cork, and we had no corkscrew as I’d misplaced my trusty yellow scaled Compact after our last trip. Luckily I have since found it, but that didn’t help us then!
Going without wine wasn’t an option, so I had to dust off an old trick that Tim Leatherman himself taught me. I’d say that he would be proud of me for remembering it, but as the only tool I had was a SOG PowerLock, I think the shine might come off that a bit…
Following the latest trend of “Tool Knives” SOG has released the Kilowatt, which is basically a one handed opening tactical type knife with some wire stripping features. While I was curious, I have to say I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this one, but then again, electricity has never been my strong suit.
An often-overlooked entry into the keychain size MT market is the SOG Crosscut. I was talked into buying one from ‘Sharper Image’ or some such mall shop many years ago, and as overpriced as it was, I would have paid it again. The original Crosscut was an absolutely excellent tool. It has been replaced by the Crosscut 2.0, with only a few refinements, and a fairly major drop in build quality since production switched from the United States to China. While it’s not what it used to be, it’s still an excellent option for keychain carry.
The Power Plier is one of those tools that seemed to disappear from the collective conscious when it was discontinued. The predecessor to both the Pocket Power Plier and the PowerLock the Power Plier is well worth tracking down. And not just for collecting purposes; but as a great EDC tool that has some advantages over the PowerLock. Don't be mistaken, it does show it's age during use; the tools clump, implement finish is slightly lower quality than current production tools and none of the blades lock. But it has the sleek simplicity of an earlier time and the rugged functionality that the industry was born of.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools has been one of the top competitors in the multitool market for a long time. In my opinion they are second in status, with Leatherman of course being the top dog. They have come along way since their toolclip and they continue to produce models that are nothing short of unique. SOG is one of those companies however that does not release new models every year and is slower to innovate than most people in the industry today. I believe SOG has the philosophy; that “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it.”
For the longest time we thought SOG would never release anything new into the tool market. Then they totally surprised us with the release of the Powerlock 2.0. The new model was not much different than the original model but had some key features that showed that they were willing to do some innovating. The new Powerlock featured a gear cover, so the teeth don’t dig into the palm of our hands as much and what SOG calls “Piano Keys”. The keys are there to aid in preventing the tools from clumping when getting a tool out of the handles. Both designs that were introduced on the Powerlock 2.0 were a testing ground for a new breed of SOG tool they had in the works. Dubbed the PowerAssist it was to be the first tool in the world with dual spring assisted blades. Needless to say the public was divided in two; those who thought this was a cool idea and those who thought this was just a marketing gimmick from the folks at SOG. Only time would tell if the PowerAssist lived up to the hype and would help launch SOG into a future that is full of mystique.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) recently (circa 2007/2008) began issuing a customized version of the SOG PowerLock EOD Black Oxide to its troops. As far as I know, this is issued to ALL recruits entering Basic Military Training as P.E. (Personal Equipment), which means its yours to keep and not something you have to draw and return from your unit's Quartermaster. It can also be purchased from the SAF eMart (SAF equivalent of the PX) if you want it for about S$70, either using your own money or eMart credit. (eMart credit is a credit-only stipend for purchasing military equipment that gets worn out such as uniforms, boots, webbing, packs, etc).
What I've gathered so far is that this is an SOG PowerLock EOD Black Oxide (not the 2.0) that was procured by ST Logistics (Singapore Technologies Logistics) via Sheares Technologies Pte Ltd for the Singapore Armed Forces. Singapore Technologies is a publicly traded company that amongst other things, manufactures arms, ammunition, military vehicles, naval vessels for Singapore's military and for export. Sheares Technologies is a private company with a storefront that deals mainly with the gadgetry most of us are familiar with, such as tactical flashlights, knives, multi-tools, etc.
This is what the package comes with:
Let me just begin by stating that the SOG PowerAssist may well be the most sophisticated multitool ever made. High tech features abound. Every aspect of this tool is an evolutionary step up from the SOG’s that came before. No portion of the tool can be described as “ordinary.”
On top of that, the PowerAssist is an exceptionally high quality tool. Every individual component is perfectly formed, then given a bright high luster polish. Function is butter smooth without a slightest hint of a flaw. This is clearly the flagship of the SOG multitool line.
The SOG Powerlock has been out for quite a while and has remained the company's flagship. SOG is a company that is slow to make changes in their tool line. They feel that what they make is darn good and they make changes to their products when they feel the time is right. SOG took a second look at their very popular Powerlock model, made a list of all the pros and cons they have noticed over the years and decided to give this old gal a facelift. Some of the things that SOG focused on with this remodel were the gears that drive the compound leverage of the pliers, new locking system for the tools and the ability to keep their tools from clumping when finding the tool you need.
The first thing you notice when handling the Powerlock 2.0 is the new plier head. SOG worked on a collaboration effort with Paladin tools to create a multitool line for the telecom industry. Those tools became a testing ground for what would become the new Powerlock design.
The SOG ToolClip is another one of those fascinating designs that help define what we know today as the “multitool.” It is one of the more successful permanent mount plier type multitools, but unfortunately was apparently not successful enough since it was discontinued some time ago. Made in Seki City, Japan for SOG, the ToolClip and Micro ToolClip are extremely well built, sturdy tools that every collector should experience at least once.
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.