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multitool for carpenter?

Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by jimwalter, May 31, 2012.

  1. jimwalter


    Oct 10, 2009
    I use a wave around my house and love it, but since I'm a knife nut I want to diversify. What is a great multitool that will be able to survive getting bombarded by slight abuse in the carpentry field?
    I've heard the swisstool is a good blade... Any other suggestions?
    Lets say the budget is below 100$
  2. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    Just about every major brand has something going for it, so I would advise get what you like. It almost doesn't matter which, because at work you will (or should) be using dedicated tools most of the time.

    My experience has been that when I was working regularly with tools as a mechanic, the only multi-tool I carried was a 4 bladed Kamp King that I had acquired as a 12 year old Boy Scout. With a shop and vehicle at my disposal loaded with every kind of tool, what more did I really need?

    Eventually, my lifestyle changed and I was no longer in a tool rich environment, but even without occupational need for them, tools were still often necessary for the kind of little projects that come up in the day to day. That's when I realized the limitations of my scout knife and started getting interested in multi-tools with more capabilities.

    If, however, you want to try out a multi-tool on the job, there is no substitute for mass; bigger is better. My top choice is the Leatherman Wave (or Charge, functionally the same), which you already have, or it's big brother, the Surge. Both have a compact, versatile bit system, and their one handed opening is a serious convenience, has almost spoiled me for anything else.

    There is virtue in rugged simplicity, though, and that niche is occupied by the Leatherman Super Tool 300. Although the Swisstool is equally rugged, I work a lot with gloves on, and the ST 300 implements can be opened without removing them. Not so the Swisstool, which is nail nick opening only and good luck with that when your hands are cold and fingernails softened by wet. I have no experience with SOG. All of these can be found for well under $100.
  3. RickJ


    Mar 2, 2003
    Leatherman ST300
  4. Mahoney


    Mar 8, 2006
    I do a lot of carpentry, I currently carry a Swisstool X, I have also carried a Leatherman Supertool, and briefly a SOG powerlock. They were all good tools, the Swisstool has the advantage of outside opening implements, The SOG had the disadvantage of the geared pliers, although great for gripping stuff, the gear teeth dug into my palm every time I needed to use a screwdriver. I see the newer models have gear covers...Swisstool has the best saw, followed by Leatherman, then SOG..You might think you'd never use such a tiny saw when you could use a "real" one, but stuff happens... The Wave is a good tool too, a few of my students carry one. Why not give it a try at work? Leatherman has a good warranty if something happens.
  5. Smaug


    Jun 30, 2003
    The Swisstool is a fine piece of equipment. All the tools lock, and they're all available from the outside.

    However, as a carpenter, I think it is overkill, and that you'd be better served (and less weighed-down) with a regular Swiss Army Knife. (SAK)

    As a carpenter, I think the most useful tools to you would be:

    • Large and small blades
    • Awl
    • Saw (for that odd little trim job)
    • Large Flat and #2 phillips screwdrivers
    • Scissors (useful to anyone)

    Take a look at the Fieldmaster model. If you think you can do without the scissors, go with the Hiker, and if you think you can do without the saw, go with the Super Tinker. If you can do without either, go with the Tinker.

    If you want a bit tougher knife and don't mind losing the scissors, small blade, toothpick, and tweezers, get a Farmer. That model has riveted aluminum scales (instead of the somewhat fragile plastic) and a thicker, stronger main blade and awl.
  6. jimwalter


    Oct 10, 2009
    Thanks for all your suggestions! It looks like I'll have to ponder a bit more on my options. Generally I use my buddies leatherman for its pliers, screwdrivers, wire snips and blade when my thin olfa just isn't enough. I haven't once used the file, saw or scissors (no saying that it wont happen). The surge looks very beefy and is looking like a very attractive option.
    One thing that I didn't realize is that I could take the wave to work and get a new multitool for the house.
    Any other thoughts?
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  7. JohnnyR


    Oct 23, 2006
    How about a Swiss Tool Spirit? Great Vic saw and smaller than the Swiss Tool.
  8. Mahoney


    Mar 8, 2006
    I carried a regular SAK for years before I carried a multi-tool. If fact when the first Leatherman tool came out, I thought it was overpriced and a bit silly. But if you really make frequent use of the screwdrivers on a SAK, they will eventually snap partway shut on your fingers...always annoying and sometimes painful. When Leatherman came out with the Supertool with the locking tools, I got one and soon retired the SAK to nightstand duty. One implement I did miss was the scissors, which is another plus for the Swisstool.
  9. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    Similar experience here. For decades I carried nothing but SAKs (or knockoffs) and had no interest in anything else when my attention was caught by a Leatherman PST in the hands of a guy I met during a country outing. Right away I saw a big advantage in having good sized pliers and sharp screwdrivers, qualities lacking on my then EDC Swisschamp. Got a PST, worked with it a while, and eventually traded it off, concluding that overall, the Champ still offered the greater utility.

    So matters stood until I discovered the Super Tool. Locking tools were the game changer, and also I liked the larger, more substantial build. The only thing I missed was scissors, and that was finessed when Leatherman brought out the Micra, which provided not only scissors but other implements supplementing the big one. Those were my primary EDC for quite a long time.

    These days my primary EDC is a Charge Tti, and I have several other models I prefer for special circumstances (or simply that I like to play with :p ). However, if Leatherman had not come out with improved versions, I would be using the ST/Micra combo still, happy in my ignorance :D .

    The SAK scissors on my Swisschamp are the same as on those on the Swisstool. I agree, Vic scissors are the best (Leatherman's are "good enough"), except those on the Spirit. Those cut well enough, but the blades are small and their opening restricted to about where those on the Classic work just as well, a real disappointment. Apart from snipping fishing line, threads, fingernails (but not toenails :eek: ) and like that, I can't imagine how useful they would be in real life.
  10. jimwalter


    Oct 10, 2009
    can you suggest a multitool with pliers, screwdrivers, wire snips and blade without a file, scissors, serrated blade and can opener?
  11. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    The only one I can think of is the Leatherman Skeletool CX, which I have never handled and don't really know. It seems well thought of by many forumists.

    Personally, since I never know for sure what's coming up in a given day, I like my multi-tools to be fully loaded. Otherwise, why carry the durned thing at all?
  12. jimwalter


    Oct 10, 2009
    I don't expect this multi-tool to conquer all tasks, I want this tool to cover a few specific bases so I can omit 3-4 tools from my belt. I hate carrying wire snips, chisels and screw drivers (unless I'll be using them all day).
    Also things like saws are always readily available at work. No need for a short flimsy saw on my multi-tool.
    Taking a quick look at the skeletool its definitely not for me.
    I'm going to take your previous advise and go for the surge, I'll swap it out with my wave and see if I prefer extra mass or not.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012

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