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Thread: Worlds smallest multi-tool?

  1. #1
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    Worlds smallest multi-tool?


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    I've been backsliding.

    I used to carry a regular size sak edc on a pretty regular basis. My old Wenger SI has traveled with me in Germany, al over the U.S., and my old bantam was a regular for many years. But of late, like in the last year, my only sak carry has been my old beloved 58mm classic. All I can do is blame it on my peanut.

    Almost a year ago, I was gifted a Case damascus bladed peanut. I'd never had a damascus blade before, and I love Case peanut's, so it was inevitable it became my edc pocket knife. My impressions of the damscus was that it was weird stuff. It held a great edge, cut like the dickens, and was not too hard to re-sharpen. Harder than a sak, and different. Felt different on the hone. But the weird thing was even after the razor edge gone, it kept cutting just fine. It had a weird toothy edge that worked even less than optimal sharp.

    So how did this affect my sak use?

    I stopped carrying my regular size sak because it got bumped right out of use by the damascus peanut. But I still worried over the occasional can that didn't have a pull tab, or loose screw I'd be running into. It was then I reverted to my old army days, and maybe the worlds smallest multi-tool.

    The U.S. army issue P-38 can opener. I'd carried mine all through the 60's, the 70's, and well into the 80's were I dabbled with the red handled Swiss wonder. I took it off my keychain, and it went into the zipper part of my wallet. There it stayed until last year, semi forgotten. Then I stopped carrying a full size ask for the obsession with a damascus peanut. Over the past year, I've went back to my days as a young GI that used a P-38 for everything. Screw driver, scraper, small pry tool, awl, and even a can opener now and then. I'd forgotten how useful the tiny thing was. Back in my days in the army, we all had one on our dog tag chain, and being young GI's, we used them for all manor of makeshift tool.

    Since the P-38 was brought out in 1942, well before the Leatherman and Gerber multi-tools, I wonder if it could be considered the first, or smallest multi-tool? Someplace I saw a list of 101 things to do with a P-38, and I think I've done most of them. I've sharpened up the inside of the can opener blade a bit, and it cuts string and twine well. Openes boxes. Pries open Flying Dutchman or other imported tobacco tins.

    I hate to admit this, but the only sak I've carried in the past year has been my trusty 58mm classic. It's like I've back slid to a point were if I need a screw driver for flat or phillips, I use the P-38. If I need a can opener, I use the P-38. If I have to remove staples from a box or papers, I use the P-38. It takes the place of an entire layer of a tinker for me.

    I feel like I've been bad, bordering on treason for mostly deserting the rans of sakdom. This little gray patines 1942 device has lured me away from most saks and now only the 58's hold a use for me. I will still carry my TSA classics to hand out to non knife people, like a Giddeons bible of knifedom.

    So I wonder, can the P-38 be considered the worlds smallest multitool?

  2. #2
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    The P-38 is definatly a wonder lost to the world. You can normallu pick them up in surpluss stores for a dollar or so. I would recommend everyoen add one to their keychain. My wife hates mine, but I can open a can faster than she can with a regular can opener.

  3. #3
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    You make a strong case. I haven't heard of a smaller multitool with similar functionality.

  4. #4
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    When I was released from active duty way long ago, I took with me a half dozen P 38s collected over my period of enlistment. They came one out of four B units, so sooner or later, everyone would have their's, then they would accumulate. Although then and later I was much more committed to the SAK pattern multi-tool knife, which was easier to use, I was impressed at how versatile a tool the P38 could be. As a last resort backup for those times I couldn't carry a blade, one was always with me either in a change purse or wallet. On occasion it did come in handy, but I must admit it was more souvenir than EDC tool.
    I still keep those remaining P 38s in my knife drawer "just in case," but for sure it won't be to open C rations (not nostalgic about those ).

  5. #5
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    Just curious, but are they TSA safe? I would imagine not.

  6. #6
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    I use my P38 quite a bit at work opening cans.While the can opener on my SAKs work,the P38 works better for me.They started phasing C-Rats out the last year of my 4 year hitch in the Marines.I opened alot of C-Rat cans in the field,back in the day.I miss that pound cake and pears.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud Shrimp Moe View Post
    Just curious, but are they TSA safe? I would imagine not.
    I can't imagine how in any way, shape or form can a P38 be regarded as a weapon, even by the thickest of TSA guardians.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud Shrimp Moe View Post
    Just curious, but are they TSA safe? I would imagine not.
    I've flown twice with a Sear's 4-way screw driver and the P-38 in the zipper compartment of my wallet along with a safety pin and a paper clip, with no trouble. I think it's totally under the radar. :thumb up:

    It's amazing what you can fix sometimes with a screw driver and a bit of wire.

    Carl.
    Last edited by jackknife; 02-15-2012 at 09:22 AM. Reason: spelling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by znapschatz View Post
    I can't imagine how in any way, shape or form can a P38 be regarded as a weapon, even by the thickest of TSA guardians.

    I can't either. But they confiscate nail clippers, for crying out loud. If you can take over a plane with nail clippers, then you must be bad enough to take over a plane armed with a ballpoint pen or merely bare handed.

  10. #10
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    I don't think so. Multi-tool to me means more then one tool. The P38 is one tool that can do many things but it's still just 1 tool. So no, not IMO.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknife View Post
    I still worried over the occasional can that didn't have a pull tab, or loose screw I'd be running into. It was then I reverted to my old army days, and maybe the worlds smallest multi-tool.

    The U.S. army issue P-38 can opener.
    Pretty amazing coincidence. Last week I dug out my lone P-38 and put it on my keychain. No idea why. And now this thread.

    I haven't yet used it, but we'll see how it does. By the way, do y'all have any tips on how to keep the pointy blade-part from flopping open in your pocket? It's not like it'll cut me, but it does tend to scratch my leg from time to time, and it's poked my finger when I was reaching into my pocket for my keys.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnblade View Post
    Pretty amazing coincidence. Last week I dug out my lone P-38 and put it on my keychain. No idea why. And now this thread.
    That kind of thing happens to me from time to time. It's a paranormal experience for receptive personalities. I guess you came to the right place. Try not to overthink it .

    Quote Originally Posted by mnblade View Post
    I haven't yet used it, but we'll see how it does. By the way, do y'all have any tips on how to keep the pointy blade-part from flopping open in your pocket? It's not like it'll cut me, but it does tend to scratch my leg from time to time, and it's poked my finger when I was reaching into my pocket for my keys.
    Early on I found both a dogtag chain and keychain unusable carriers for that reason. There have been a number of DIY suggestions posted on the internet to hold the blade flat, but so far, none suitable for me. Either they add too much bulk or are clumsy to use, not to mention compromising the tool's simplicity. Instead, I carry it in one of those football shaped plastic coin purses that squeezes open. A P 38 doesn't take up enough space to matter, is secure without the blade flopping open, and adds nothing to my loadout. A coin purse is in my pocket anyway. Otherwise, you might try a small rubber band.

  13. #13
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    I was actually considering Super Gluing the cutting blade to the larger part. The thought being that if/when I ever need to open a can, I could slide the blade of my EDC knife in and break it loose. Make sense?

  14. #14
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    P-38's are great little gadgets but the P-51 is more user friendly for larger hands.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnblade View Post
    I was actually considering Super Gluing the cutting blade to the larger part. The thought being that if/when I ever need to open a can, I could slide the blade of my EDC knife in and break it loose. Make sense?
    Makes total sense!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnblade View Post
    I was actually considering Super Gluing the cutting blade to the larger part. The thought being that if/when I ever need to open a can, I could slide the blade of my EDC knife in and break it loose. Make sense?
    It's easier to just carry it in a wallet, or put a rubber band around it. Sometimes I've just needed a rubber band, so there ya go.

    Carl.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnblade View Post
    I was actually considering Super Gluing the cutting blade to the larger part. The thought being that if/when I ever need to open a can, I could slide the blade of my EDC knife in and break it loose. Make sense?
    Until it's time to put the P 38 back in your pocket and it stabs you all the way home .

  18. #18
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    I carried a P-38 for a little while, but the blade bent the first time I used it on a can.

    Now I carry a steel thumbnail, which serves much the same purpose — it's a bit of steel that you can, y'know, do things with. Prying, cutting, scoring, as a screwdriver…

    I use the darn thing way more than I do my Leatherman!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by znapschatz View Post
    Until it's time to put the P 38 back in your pocket and it stabs you all the way home .
    When I have a belly full of baked beans, I don't mind being stabbed. ;-)

  20. #20
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    Now I Want A P-38 Can Opener For My Dog Tags Haha. It Would Hang On My Monsoon With My Tags. Perfect Place For It.
    I Still Haven't Decided What SAK To Carry On My Pack.
    Although The P-38 Seems So Useful, I Don't Think It Would Kick The Custom SAK Out Of My Pocket.

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