A toolbox in your pocket – life with a Leatherman
The temptation to upgrade my long lost boyhood Swiss army knife has become too great… it’s time for a Leatherman Multi-tool
There’s not a day goes by when I’m not looking for a screwdriver, scissors, pliers or a thin pokey blade to clean out the dust in my iPhone or the multitude of other important jobs waiting to be done at home.
What normally happens when I’m assigned a task at home is that I first head into the kitchen and look pointlessly through the drawers for a knife that might be the right size and shape and might possibly deputise for a Phillips screwdriver. It’s then off to the utility room where there are always various tools inhabiting shelves and cupboards. These are left after completed or aborted jobs. Unfortunately, the tools here are never, it seems, the ones I require for the job at hand.
I then have two choices. Forget the task and risk the annoyance of a loved one, or head outside and make my way to the garage.
Once I’ve squeezed my way in past the three bikes, banged my head on the kids’ go-kart hanging from the roof and battered my shin off the spare pushchair, I’m in.
It’s then a stressful 15-20 minutes of toolbox Russian roulette – will I find the screwdriver that may or may not do the jobs I need it for, or will I find the loose pack of Stanley blades with the ends of my fingers?
Whether I find the appropriate tool or not, I’ve still wasted so much time looking for it.
So it’s with that in mind I’ve decided to buy a Leatherman.
A Leatherman, for those who don’t know, is modern shorthand for the multi-tool.
The Leatherman Multi-tool was created by American Tim Leatherman after a budget trip to Europe in 1975 in a temperamental Fiat. He used his trusty scout knife for as many of the fixes as possible, but really missed having pliers.
When he and his wife got back to the States, he set about creating the tool he craved. The rest is multi-toolmaking history.
Which is best for you?
The range of Leatherman multi-tools, knives, accessories and tool-kit watches is staggering and, if I’m being honest, a little intimidating. The choice is phenomenal and I don’t want to make the wrong decision.
I think the key to buying any of the Leatherman multi-tools is to be realistic with yourself – do you need practical, reliable knives, screwdrivers and pliers? Or do you need a roadside bomb disposal tech’s specialised multi-tool?
To be honest, Leatherman doesn’t make it easy. It takes a lot of willpower not to order the Super Tool 300 EOD or the MUT EOD. Have a look here and you’ll see what I mean.
The Leatherman MUT EOD is a multi-tool designed especially for shooting professionals and enthusiasts.
For shooting enthusiasts these two behemoths are a good option, but given my need for a more domesticated model, I’ve made my decision, a sensible one. I’m no outdoor survivalist so won’t be using the Firestarter rod or emergency whistle on the Leatherman Signal. I don’t skuba dive, so I’ll not bother with the Leatherman OHT and its oxygen tank wrench. But I do screw handles back on kitchen doors, I do tighten allen key bolts on bikes and chairs and various Swedish flat-pack furniture. And I do sharpen pencils and sticks and I do, on occasion, open the odd bottle.
I’m going for the Leatherman Wave + with 17 very useful tools – pliers, scissors, wire cutters, small and large bit drivers, screwdriver to fix my glasses, a decent-sized ruler, metal and wood file, plus lots more.
For anyone buying a Leatherman multi-tool, there’s the added bonus of the legendary Leatherman 25-year warranty. This covers any malfunction in the build or materials used to create your multi-tool.
So with a new Leatherman in my pocket, the time I usually waste searching for tools I can now spend clearing out the garage of the dozens of tools I’ll probably never need again.