When I was looking at pocket tools a while back one tool really got my eye as to be different than all the others. Most folks who are custom knife designers and dabble in the tool category make pocket tools like those by Peter Atwood. It’s really tough to find a designer who will break the mold and head into a different thought direction. Most folks carry a pocket tool to accompany a pocket knife and thus save their blade from use that would make most of us cringe. Most of the pocket tools made are pry tools; these are tools that can pull, twist and pry objects or material apart. The other category is tools that incorporate a blade rather than the pry end, some examples of these are the Atwood Ring Thing and the JDR Barracuda. You tend to get one or the other, one that pries or one that cut, not often one that does both. Jared Price is one of those individuals who thought long and hard and created a tool that had a knife blade as its main function and still retained the ability to pry.
With the current trend going towards smaller, more conveniently carried tools, CRKT has once again managed to follow the crowd, but do it in their own inimitable way. Initially they shrank their first tools, the Zilla and Guppie into the Zilla Jr and Li'l Guppie , but the Cicada is something entirely new, not only to CRKT, but also to the multitool world.
The Cicada is a lot of tools in a small package
Digging through the small pile of obscure pocket tool makers, there is one guy in particular that makes you stand up and take notice. Brian Flud of Flud Unlimited is a custom knife maker who also seems to dabble in the pocket tool category as well. Most pocket tool makers seem to focus on a particular theme when they design a tool. They tend to swing from tools with a pry end or those with a wrench, sometimes even a bottle opener thrown in for good measure. Brian seemed to focus on something completely different; he instead designed his tool with a can opener as its primary function. Think of a military P38 on steroids and that is what the Flud tool is like, he takes the basic function and ramps it up to a tool that chews up cans and spits them out.
One of Peter’s great advances to his tool designs is the addition of the captive bit system. The system incorporates a series of o-rings that like the name entails captures and holds a ¼ inch driver bit into the frame of the pocket tool. This simple design is quite ingenious and does the job rather well; it’s definitely a nice way to carry an extra bit without having it loose in your pocket. One design in particular I want to focus on is the Atwood Nibble. The Nibble is a close cousin to other Atwood pry tools in respect that its main duty is for prying and the other features are just extra Atwood goodness.
The first hurdle a person faces when trying to get their hands on an Atwood tool is the fact they are not mass produced. Because they are not manufactured in a big shop they are much harder to find. Peter’s tools are made by hand in his shop and they are only available through his website or through some third party vendors and folks reselling them. You have to keep you eyes peeled and time it just right to have your chance at purchasing an Atwood. When and if you do find some Atwood’s to buy you have your next hurdle; price. Because Atwood tools are custom hand crafted pieces, the cost of them is reflected in the hard work that is put into them. When purchasing your first Atwood piece you probably want to start out small and then work your way up. Course there are those folks who have one particular tool in mind and won’t accept any substitutes.