spyderench review


Jun 27, 1999
well, this is my first review, so i apologize in advance for its shortcomings.

I picked up my spyderench friday at the new york knife show. I dont have access to a scanner or a digital camera, so i cant put up any pics, but James Mattis had posted some over on the spyderco forum if people want to see what it looks like.

As far as first impressions go, I really like how the tool is designed to separate into two parts, one with the hex-bit adapter, and one with the adjustable wrench. I also like that the tool uses hex-bit screwdrivers, instead of meciocre fold out ones like in most multi-tools. The use of hex bits also allows a slight bit of user-configuration, and will allow the user to replace damaged ones.
Its a little-complicated looking, and some people will probabally need to read the instructions before being able to handle it proficiently.

The tool may not be as all-around usefull as one of the other multi-tools, as all it really has is the pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, diamond file, and knife blade.
I believe it should be very effective for mechanical type tasks due to the hex bits, the adjustable wrench, and the ability to separate into wrench and screwdriver.

Overall, the tool is very comfortable to handle, not many sharp edges or protrusions.
It also looks like it will be easy to clean, as pretty much everything can come apart with little effort-even the blade comes off rather easily(and goes back on) it has a C-type clip attaching to the pivot to hold the blade in place. There isn't many places that lint and grit would get into that would be hard to clean out.

The pliers part of the tool(the ones used when the tool is together) are kinda stubby, and have a channel-lock type pivot, so they have two open-close positions. The way the plier jaws are angled causes the tips to close before the rest of the pliers. I find this usefull for grabbing the ends of objects, like small pieces of sheet metal/etc sticking out from inbetwixt things. The way the plier jaws are angled makes it easier to use the tool to pick up objects. Someone at work suggested it would be usefull for picking up cooking pots from a stove/campfire. The tool is incredibly strong too, I couldnt get any noticeable amount of flexing when squeezing various objects. I also used the jaws to crush/crack a few rocks and pebbles(I dont know/remember why, but this is somehting I always end up doing with mulititools...) the spyderench crushed the rocks and pebbles fine, with no apparent damage to the jaws, and no noticable flexing of the handles. I also tried gripping the ege of a shovel and prying and twisting, and this had no noticeable effect on the tool.
Granted, I am not an incredibly strong tool, and otheres here will probabally be able to damage it in this manner, I was unable to damage the tool, yet I have broken and damaged other multitools by gripping things too tightly or by twisting/prying.
So as far as the pliers go, they are very strong, and easy to use, the handles are comfortable, even when gripping very tightly.

The knife blade is 440C, about 2-1/2 inches long(my tool is serrated) easily opened with the right hand(I dont know what to say for you left handers, I tried opening it with my left index finger, and just got bit
The blade looks a little thin at the
tang(3/8-1/2") but I cant think of anything I would be doing with the blade that would cause it to break(screwdrivers and pliers should handle most of the prying)
One problem I have with the blade is that when the plier handles are open, I can sometimes manage to rub my finger tips over the very edge of the blade. This isnt a major problem since I cant get enough finger in to draw blood, just to shave off finger tips
this may not be a problem with a plain-edge version, but I havent handled any others much, so I cant say.

Once the tool is separated or extended, the adjustable wrench can be used(it cant be used when the tool is closed due to the hex-bit holder getting in the way) Ive tried the adjustable wrench on a few bolts and nuts, and it seemed to work fine. It seems to have a slight bit of play in it, but not enough to cause any problems with the nuts/bolts I tried it on. It did slip off of one particularly rusty one, but I belive that was more due to excessive rust then due to the loose wrench jaws.

As for the screwdriver half, it is probabally best to use it attached to the rest of the tool, in the extended position. This is more comforatble then gripping just the screwdriver piece. The four little screwdriver bits seemed to work fine, although this may not be to important, as some people may replace them with others of their own choosing. The long double sided bit has a diamond file on it, and is used to hold the other bits in place, and keep the tool closed. I dont like the designt of this screwdriver, the philips head is just a point with four grooves cut into it. These grooves arent large enough to make it a usefull phillips driver, and i havent been able to find any phillips head screws that it will work on. The flat head seems to be to thick, I think it would be better if it were slightly thinner. This bit fits into a spring-loaded hole and the phillips end is used in the same manner as a ball-bearing detent to hold the tool closed. This may cause problems for some people, as the phillips point wears down and/or wears a groove in the part it is holding closed. This can be avoided by pulling the piece foward before opening or closing the pliers. I have recently managed to move the piece with my thumb while opening the pliers with one hand.

I also tried using the tool for light hammering, putting a couple small nails into some soft wood and putting a shim into position. The spyderench hammers nicely, and didnt seem to suffer any damage from it.

Overall, I really like the tool, It seems to be really sturdy, and is very comfortable in the hand. I havent gotten it very dirty yet, but it seems to be pretty easy to thourougly clean, and the hex bits give it a good amount of flexibility.
The problems I have with the tool, although minor, are the screwdriver heads on the double end bit, and the way I can sometimes graze the edge when the blade was closed.

Well, I thank anyone who made it this far for reading the whole thing
and I apologize for its wordiness and lack of cohesion.
If anyone has any questions, or any requests, just let me know(post here, mail me, whatever) as long as its not too destructive(I dont want to break my tool until they are readily available) Ill give it a try and let you know how it worked out.

AKTI member #A000911


Thanks for the review. Very well done, particularly for a first review!

How useful is the file on the side of the long bit? I use the file one my Wave more than any other tool.

Can the adapter take other hex bits or just Spydercos?

Thanks and great review!


Clay Fleischer
AKTI Member A000847
Indianapolis, IN (but still a true-blooded Tennesseean!

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
Mahatma Gandhi
I got the wonderfull oppertunity to play with Larry Wheat's after he won it on the forum and discovered that even though kind of bulky for normal pocket use the wrench could easily become a valuable asset in day to day life. This biggest adaptation from normal multitools is that is was built around a knife. Where as most tools have a knife as an added bonus. The Spyderco wrench was very well thought out and put together, unfortunatelly I don't know how well it works day to day for I don't own one ..........yet.
Thanks Darth Q.

CD Fleischer>

thanx. the file is okay, I tried using it today at work to sharped some pruning shears, and it did so-so. I only used the flat for the shears, and it sharpened them, but it is slightly awkward since the file is in the center of the piece, and has the two screwdriver bits on either end, which can sometimes get in the way. I haven't used the convex or concave files, though I did use the corner between the flat and convex(I think?) files to sharped the serrations on some cheap steak knife lying around. I dont think its the most ideal file, but its more usefull then just a plain screwdriver bit(which is what it was on at least one of the earlier prototypes, I believe)
The file on the leatherman would probabally be more usefull, with the exception of obstructed areas where a smaller file would be better, or something where the convex/concave files would come in use(like sharpening serrations)

And the tool does take other hex bits, I tried a few I had lying around just to make sure.

I still carry my leatherman wave, But I really like the spyderench.

I dont find it any problem to carry everday(Ive only had it for a few days so far) Ive tried it loose in my pocket, clipped to my pocket, and clipped to my belt, and I kinda like it clipped to my pocket. The weight may be prohibitive to some, but I tend to have fairly large pockets, and Ive been carrying several pounds of junk in my pockets for most of my life, so most multitools dont bother me.

one thing about the spyderench is that pretty much all the ends and edges are rounded, so it shouldnt be as hard on pockets/pants as some other multitools.

I have found it rather usefull the past few days, and Ive also become a lot more adept at manipulating it one-handed(opening/closing the pliers, swithcing the jaw width of the pliers, opening the blade, closing the blade, extending and locking the tool, etc)
Im also very impressed with its strength, and its pretty easy to acces with the clip and all, so unless I need the needlenose pliers on my wave, Ill reach for the spyderench first. Its more accessable with the clip, and easier to use one handed then the leatherman, and more comfortable then most multi-tools.
I agree with you, it has the best designed knife of any multitool Ive handled(kinda expect that from spyderco, though) yet the wrench and pliers part are very well designed tools as well.

I was really impressed with the prototypes that I had seen, and Im very impressed with the tool after using it. Limited functions, but very well designed, IMHO.

AKTI member #A000911