Need your help in designing multi-tool. All Foumites please respond, even lurkers.

Oct 8, 1998

This is a concept that has been floating around for a while and I think it needs to be brought up again, so that we make it happen.

We nuts have so many knives in our pockets, that it is rendundant to have one in our multi-tool. So, it has been put forth before and I am doing so again, that we fall in behind an acceptable design, get the backing of a large number of the Forumites, enlist Mike Turber's help and have a Forum multi-tool made. That means a multi-tool without a knife in it, to our exacting specifications, without any of the common mistakes, and with the tools we like and use. PERIOD

So, I did some thinking about this and here is the list I came up with so far.

-Seatbelt cutter. Beefy one, not nessesarily thick, but sturdy and engineered to take a beating. Will also serve as line cutter, etc...

-Milled(not stamped) Screwdriver blades. I hate fooling with an adapter of any kind so... Four of them, 2 phillips common range, 2 slotted, one of the slotted pretty small for glasses and such, the other slightly bigger than medium since if it is too big you can make do, if it is to small, good luck.

-File. Regular on one side, Diamond on the other.

-Shears. As in beefy scissors, with good travel, fit in with the tool to make them as long as possible.

-That thing that cuts wire opposite the pliers, can't think of the name, too much floating around in my head.

-Wire stripper Maybe????

-Integrated lanyard ring

-Option for clip in an effective place, I hate pouches. And the success of clips makes me think others do too.

--- And most importantly, the choice of dis-assembling the thing and putting different tools in. That way we won't have to buy a whole new tool, just change out the tools we don't need and put the new ones in. Also if we have the base package, we can always have some machine shop make us a specific tool, we won't be hat in hand to some big company that doesn't care.

I nominate SOG to do the tool, I think their new Power Lock will fit our needs with very little work, and they have already played around with the idea of changing tools out. As well, they are doing that Titanium coating which I think is an extremely good idea, reduces wear, extends tool life and looks really classy. But I think this tool is going to be so good and with so much support that we will get bids and choose a company that will work with us.

So, fire up your ideas and post them here.

Lao-Tzu, about 29 centuries ago, said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" I am making that step and invite you to journey with me.

I think it is time to take our strength as a body of Forumites, people with well thought out opinions, solid information and more product testing than all the knife and tool companies put together, out for spin. We have the buying power and the credibility. This internet knife thing is here to stay, and we are a part of it, we are it. Whether you have been around since there was only rec.knives the newsgroup, if you joined when RDK was the place like I did, if got you interested or if is your first taste of this, however long you have been around, flex your muscle with us and we will make this happen. I believe the day is over when we complain about not being able to get what we want, what we have decided is apropriate, soon the day will be here when companies come to our door asking what the next trend will be.

If you have friends outside the internet, get them involved too, especially if they could use this tool.

I plan on posting this over at too, but they are down right now.

You may want to travel the following link to the Spyderco Forum, where I am building interest in a knife I like to call the Worker 2000. Your interest and innovation would be appreciated by me.

One may want to keep an Eye out for my review of the Bob Kasper designed, Kevin Gentile modified AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper. Sorry about the wait, my review and interview should be online shortly, look for it right here at The delay has been getting pictures, luckily Spark has graciously offered to do the pictures. Knife writer I may be, photographer I am not, yet.

Marion David Poff ska Eye, one can msg me at

"A journey of a thousand miles begins but with a single step" Lao-Tzu from the Tao Te Ching

If you are interested in a really good book, read "Finite and Infinite Games" by James P Carse.

An awl and a steel for steeling knives would be useful.

I doubt that I would use a line/seatbelt cutter, as a knife usually gets deployed for that type of job, and is easier to get to than a multitool.

The interchangeability of tools by the user is the key idea. We will probably never agree on the optimal set of tools, as it varies from individual to individual. I would hope the manufacturer would offer a selection of replacement tools to make customization easy.
How about using materials as strong or stronger than steel but lighter in weight (like titanium?). Weight is eqaully of importance with all the tools clipped in the pocket.
How about a REAL wire cutter w/stripping notch built into the pliers and a diamond coated sharpener?
The idea of interchangablity is great but I'm not sure it's workable. You generally have to work pretty hard to fit all that stuff into such a small package.

I cut it, and I cut it, and it's STILL too short!

Maybe it should be a knife maintenance multi-tool.

Diamond sharpener


Inter-changing will work given that the tool you add is the same size as the one removed.

Good Idea, Guys
Besides the usual tools and pliers and such, it should have room for a rubber fist and be able to vibrate.
Sorry( too much coffee),
Joe"Brain Dead" Rosenthal

Rock On!

MDP, I like most of your ideas, but especially the notion that knife blades in a multitool are never optimal and seldom used.

I have two distinct uses for a multitool.
One, (and an idea that I've vainly flogged around abit with some of the multi-tool makers) is a dedicated work tool. What would separate this one from the crowd is that it would be designed from the ground up to be used by tradespeople every day and would feature real tools instead of compromise toys. Diminutive size would not be as much of an issue as durability, usefullness on the jobsite and ergonomics.

To the best of my knowledge, Klein Tools, by marketing the Utica tool, is the only co. that has really tried to explore that vast niche market, and their $68 tool doesn't really offer much that a much lower priced Gerber does. When this topic has come up on rec.knives, in the past, there were plenty of folks that mentioned willingness to pay around $100 for a suitable belt toolbox, provided that it really offered utility, not just 'neato' factor.

Topeak has clearly established a heck of a market for itself by offering a multitude of multitools for the bicycling market. It's time somebody woke up to the fact that there's a vast number of maintenance, repair and construction personnell that have already explored numerous of the multitools oriented towards 'survival' or weekend warriors and found them lacking for daily use.

The tool that I would build would feature interchangable tools, or would come in different models for different trades. For instance, there might be one marketed specifically towards electricians, and another marketed more specifically towards carpenters, but all of them would have wide market appeal to all manner of tradesmen from bricklayers to lab techs.

Give me a multitool that can replace a 6" adjustable wrench, a pr 6" channel locks, a pr needle nose, a pr wire cutters/strippers, a "6-in-1" screwdriver, and a miniMag lite and I'll show you a market.
Toss in a useful awl big enough to be used as either a marlingspike or a pipe reamer if you really want to do it right.

One word of caution, I think too often too many tools try to be all things to all people. I'd limit the number of tools to whatever number meant that there was _no_ compromise in effectively using the other tools. As mentioned, the concept would be one of the user selecting the mix that was best for them and their situation, and so I think it best to limit the number of tools rather than the quality of any one tool.

Actually, as I type this, I think there'd be much merit in simply developing a mating system for various small tools. Forget trying to make everything work all on one handle or one hinge, just come up with a way to offer several useful tools in one belt carry sized package. The best I've come up with so far has been to stick several regular tools in a nylon belt case, but surely we can do better than that.

Oh, yeah, I mentioned two uses for a multitool. The other one is just weekend warrior stuff like the rest of the world. Take a look at the Victorinox Multi tool, improve on that a bit and that's good enough for such light duty.

This is what I just did to a Gerber Multi-Plier 400 (compact sport).

1) removed the knife blade, I carry my own pocket knife.
2) removed the can opener since I carry a modified P-38.
3) removed the scissors ( no use for them).
4) I put in thier Replaceable saw blade attachment, came out of thier Woodsman model.
5) Put in thier file, also from the Woodsman.
6) Last but not least is put a Titanium clip.

I need a one hand opening tool with locking accessories. I have a old SOG power Plier it is great for one hand but the tools are non-locking. So the Gerber will be tried.

let me be second in line for the tool design you described. I almost objected to the flashlight addition, but it is always useful to have a back up lamp. A light along the lines of a Laser Products Surefire 3P would be nice.

In theory you can change out the tool selection of the Gerber (what other tools are available I am not sure of) but I have not explored this option. I chose the Gerber because of the one handed plier/cutter operation. At least one of the tools is easy to use in a hurry, and it's the one I use most often. It seems I mostly carry it for those pliers, and I always carry a wrench and sometimes a screw driver as well. Since I have bottle and can openers,(as well as a pair of spare blades) on the Swiss Army Knife on my key ring, I'm starting to wonder why I don't just carry a decent set of pliers/cutters and toss this contraption into my wifes glovebox.

To actually carry the tools I might need at any given time I have a nylon belt pouch from Reeline, a model CO44, that has 3 pockets with velcro closure flaps and slot across the back good for a 6" adjustable wrench or channel locks. I can mix and match tools for different jobs, very handy. They have a wide variety of styles. Their site is;

they do not sell direct, but can point you to a retailer near you.(sorry for the product endorsment)

I would love to see the multi tool market push towards the Tool direction. Anything that the members of this forum can do to help forge this dream into reality would be welcome.

I dunno. I'm afraid if you start thinking rationally about it and try to design a toolkit to do work with you'll spoil all the fun, because the rational solution is always going to be that belt pouch with separate tools in it.

I have a better idea. Why don't the multitool buffs get together with the hollow-handle survival knife buffs and design a hollow-handle survival multitool? You have a lot in common ... they don't like belt pouches either. You can have fun together.

-Cougar Allen :{)

P.S. Uh oh -- I'm in trouble now! Nothing like running away from a pack of infuriated computer geeks snapping their voracious plier jaws at me while another pack uncoils the fishline from inside their hollow handles to set snares in my path....

What a super idea!!! Count me in on buying one of these "miracle tools." I personally use the Gerber Multi Plier and I love it for it's one handed access to the pliers, however, I don't like the fact that the tools do not lock and/or that it does not have scissors. Most of the tools and acesories that you have listed sound great. What we may be able to do is to find a manufacturer who will be willing to design and/or change an exisiting tool that will accept other tools' acessories. (May be asking a little TOO much.)
You are exactly right re: the knife blade, however I do use my sheeps foot, serrated blade on my multiplier sometimes. I love the idea of the seat belt/ cord cutter and the hefty pair of scissors.
In the times when I am really "working" and need heavy duty tools, I will have my tool box with me and/or a tool belt. BUT, when this multi-tool would be invaluable is when you are working around the yard and need a pair of pliers fast...or when you are at the ofice and need a real screwdriver right then...etc, etc. This isn't (IMHO) the tool to replace everything I have in my garage. It IS the tool to use when I am in need of a "improv" tool (if you will) to quickly help me with a need. This is not to say that the tool should be low quality or the tools should not be good size and able to be "abused."
Count me in on buying one of these beauties if/when you have a design. Please keep us all posted.

David Sproles
I think you have nailed this one. I really like the idea of being able to select the tools that would go into it. I also like the idea of the clip, I hate pouches. I would also like to add my vote for color options. I am a klutz. Dull grey, and tactical black finishes are great, until you drop them on the ground, or in a river. You can never find the darn things. I vote for a highly reflective blue. Not much in nature is blue so it would be easy to spot. Additionally, the colors may attract non knife people to a quality tool. And once they are hooked.... Add my vote for a mini light as well.

I'd be happy with a standard Leatherman with locking blades. It's only 5 oz. and with the leather sheath is almost unnoticable.


The ability to interchange tools would be great. Also make it so they come out not all clumped together. That is my biggest gripe about the leatherman supertool.

OK, several points: I use a older non-lock Gerber too, with the "bit kit". I've made a couple of small mods worth noting:

I added several different bits for my job (computer tech), mainly two sizes of Torxes for Compaq and Mac 'pooters. I also added a pair of "longshaft" 3" Phillips and regular screwdriver bits with "anti-strip teeth" from an Ace hardware, a couple bux each and used ALL the time. I also took the barrel-shaped bit adapter and used sculptable epoxy to add "grip" to it so it can easily turn one of the screwdriver shafts on it's own with the pliers being used in the other hand at the same time.

To me, the bit kit, the ability to use "long shaft" and odd-type bits is CRUCIAL.

The other thing is, I have to speak up in SUPPORT of it having one knife blade, at least. In an office environment, a multitool offers a "sheeple-friendly" boxcutter as opposed to the Cold Steel Vaquero Grande or other "combat megafolder" I'll have hidden away!

The other think about multitools is that they can be a sneaky "deep cover weapon that doesn't look like a weapon". So far the best of these is the Kershaw lockplier type with the single linerlock 2.5" blade.

So far the forthcoming "Rube Goldberg commemorative multitool" from Spyderco is my top choice as a replacement for the trusty old Gerber, 425 steel blade and all. The Spyderco will have a better, tougher blade due to both steel and pattern and "more tools, less toys".

Jim March
But you are going to be keeping the sheeple happy and placid, unperturbed and calm with your Worker 2000....

Check out the future possible Spyderco Worker 2000

One may want to keep an Eye out for my review of the Bob Kasper designed, Kevin Gentile modified AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper. Sorry about the wait, my review and interview should be online shortly, luckily Spark has graciously offered to do the pictures, look for it right here at

Marion David Poff ska Eye, one can msg me at

"A journey of a thousand miles begins but with a single step" Lao-Tzu