The pocket tool phenomenon extends far beyond the reaches of my boarders and I've been searching far and wide for pocket tools that are worthy of our readers attention. I stumbled upon a knife and tool maker in Italy who doesn't crank stuff out via water jet like some folks but these are handmade tools.
The P Tool XL is 2.9 mm long and made from n690co stainless steel. N690co is a steel similar in composition to VG10 stainless; has good strength and corrosion resistance. With so many pocket tools being comprised of titanium it's nice to see someone using a different material. The weight of the tool has a good feeling to it and inspires confience.
Pry tools and one piece tools have been all the rage for years now and not only is the market flooded with them but one can find multiple on Kickstarter alone that are awaiting funding. Guess you find a cash cow and jump on the bandwagon. Schrade who was bought by Taylor Brands back in 2004 hadn't had a pocket tool in its lineup. Since the acquisition TB has re-released classic items from the Schrade past as well and produce items for the current market.
Schrade released its first version of the titanium pry tool back in 2013; it sold pretty well but not to the tune Schrade was looking for. Schrade made several changes to the design and released an updated version to their pry tool.
Pry tools seem to be a dime a dozen these days with everyone wanting to get in on the action. Pry tools used to be something only the higher end knife makers made as a way to save users from using their knives in ways they were not intended to be used. Since the Atwood craze, the mafket has been flooded by all kinds of styles and designs. Some are very creative and interesting while others giving you the impression that they are out to make a buck.
For years, I never understood the allure of one-piece multitools (OPMTs). I have carried plier-based MTs for as long as I can remember, and I always thought the OPMTs (One Piece Multi Tools)were too small to be of any real use... and besides, I already had full functionality with my plier-based MT, right? Then one day, it dawned on me -- one of these OPMTs could complement my usual EDC! After doing some research, I settled on a TT Chopper from TT Pocket Tools, and now I wonder how I lived without it.
The Chopper is made from 3/16” thick 154CM stainless steel and loaded with features. (pictured next to a Victorinox Classic and a Leatherman Micra for size reference)
This is a tiny, tiny little one piece tool that nonetheless manages to pack a ton of functionality in.
Before I get any further in the review though, let's just get this out of the way - yes, it looks to be "inspired" by the Atwood Fixer. Same size and same basic functionality, but different materials, size, blade shape and tool loadout. Whether or not this bothers you is entirely up to you. There are enough changes (including some rather clever engineering ideas) that I think this tool really does stand up on it's own merits and shouldn't just be dismissed as "just another Chinese copy".
Usually Dave Bowen handles the one piece keychain type tools as he’s the expert, but in this case I thought I’d take a stab at it . Why the Shark appeals to me, I don’t really know, but I do like the simplicity of it . While it may not have a lot of functions, what it does do, it seems to do quite well.
The pocket tool category seems to have exploded in the last year or so. I am continually finding more folks who either make custom pocket tools or companies who are just joining the market. We thought since the release of the Artifact and Shard tools from Gerber; there would be no other big companies who would jump on the bandwagon. Well seemingly out of nowhere a company called MK7 announces that they are going to start producing pocket tools that are going to be made of high quality materials similar to custom makers like Peter Atwood. The first tool on their list to be released was the Piranha; this tool has started more of a stir in the knife/tool community than the Gerber tools ever thought of doing. It’s really a mess and in this review I am not going to choose sides or dispute issues of who stole what intellectual properties. I am going to lay out the facts like they are and you can draw your own conclusions.
Some ideas are so simple and straightforward you just have to smack yourself in the forehead for not thinking of it yourself. The ScrewPop tool is one of those ideas- basically a bottle opener with a built in screwdriver- a must for any technical student!
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.
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.
What kind of people would write collect and review multitools? Quite simple really- we are designers and do-ers, outdoors types and indoor types, mechanics, doctors, problem solvers and problem makers. As such, we have, as a world spanning community, put every type, size and version of multitool, multifunction knife, pocket knife and all related products to every test we could manage in as many places and environments as there are.