The Gerber Splice
I went shopping for camping supplies today and came across Gerber’s newest mini-tool additions; the Splice and the Vise. At a regular price of $15 CAD each (about $13 USD), the price was unbeatable so I couldn’t resist picking them up.
Before I start this review, I must confess that I like Gerber tools and knives and I LOVE my Gerber Clutch. The Clutch has been my trusty keychain companion for almost 4 years now and I would be lost without it. (I was fortunate enough to pick up an early production Clutch before its build quality started to decline.) When Gerber announced the Splice and Vise earlier this year, I wanted to see how they compared to their older Clutch and Shortcut forerunners.
This is my review for the new Gerber Splice.Blister package version
First, here’s the writeup on the back of the Gerber Splice package:
“Don’t be fooled by the Gerber Splice mini tool’s compact size. Carried in your pocket or attached to your key chain, you’ll be prepared for any situation that arises. With Fiskar’s scissors, flat & cross-point drivers, file, bottle opener, fine edge & serrated blades, the Splice mini tool will cover you when reaching for something more convienient than your tool box in the garage.”Product specifications:
- Overall Length: 4.0"
- Closed Length: 2.4"
- Width Open: 3.5”
- Width Closed: 1.0”
- Blade Length: 1.5”
- Weight: 2.5 oz
- # of tool functions: 9
- Plain-edge blade
- Serrated blade
- Phillips screwdriver
- 2-sided File
- Bottle opener
- Large slotted screwdriver
- Small slotted screwdriver
- Lanyard ring
- Handle Material: Aluminum scales, steel frame
- Colour: Black & Silver (Green & Silver also available)
- Packaging: Sealed plastic blister pack (Box packaging also available)
- MSRP: $22.10 USD ($24.95 CAD)Size comparison: Gerber Clutch vs Gerber SpliceThe Good…
The first thing you will notice about the Splice is the small design. Compared to the Gerber Shortcut, the Splice is about 10% smaller in size yet manages to fit all the same number of components that the Shortcut has. The only component loss is the mini tweezers that is present on the Shortcut model but considering Gerber had to sacrifice the tweezers to make room for an improved tool, I’m perfectly OK with the loss.The serrated blade
Examining the tool arrangement, the Gerber Splice is almost identical to the Shortcut but features a few improvements. The newest addition is the serrated blade. Your first thought when seeing the serrated blade will probably be “Awwwww… it’s so cute!”
and your second thought will most likely be “but can it cut anything?”
The answer is yes. The serrated blade on the Splice is razor sharp and cuts through many types of rope with tremendous ease. Though the blade is somewhat small (measuring only 1.5 inches long), it can also help with the yard work (albeit LIGHT yard work) and easily prune small branches and flowers.Blade comparison: Gerber Splice (top) vs Gerber Clutch (bottom)
The Splice also retains a plain-edge blade but shortened it by a quarter of an inch. Like the serrated blade, the plain-edge also measures 1.5 inches long which is more than enough to handle light cutting duties such as opening letters and parcels. Again, Gerber does not reveal any information about their blade steel but based on the quality and price of this tool, I’m believe it’s 420 steel. Another thing you’ll notice about the Splice is that the components now have a satin finish instead of being chrome like the older Shortcut model. While some people prefer one finish over the other, I feel it’s a nominal factor when it comes to keychain tools.Phillips screwdriverEyeglass screwdriver shown with combination Phillips screwdriver & 2-sided file
The Splice maintains the “flathead Phillips” screwdriver that the Clutch/Shortcut originally had but because the nail file had to be sacrificed in exchange for the serrated blade, Gerber also made this screwdriver into a two-sided file. The combination screwdriver/file is also slightly longer now, which is always a welcomed improvement. I did have some trouble getting the screwdriver to fit properly with some Phillips screws but it still works. The small eyeglass screwdriver can also function as a light duty awl.Improved bottle opener
As I already mentioned, Gerber sacrificed the tweezers in exchange for a better bottle opener. I personally never used the tweezers very much and on the Clutch and Vise models, feel that the pliers already serve as excellent tweezers. The broad bottle opener opens bottles with ease and also serves as a large slotted screwdriver. However, like the other Splice components, it can be extremely difficult to open. In fact, I had a very hard time opening the bottle opener and actually resorted to prying it open the first few times with another tool. If the Splice was the only tool I had on hand in an emergency situation, I would have a hard time using it. The stiff-moving components really hurts this tool… and my fingertips. On a positive note, the non-locking components and scissors do open with an authoritative “snap” and feel incredibly strong.
Last but not least, is the scissors. The quality of the scissors is the same as the Shortcut and cuts quite well. I had no problems cutting precise, razor-sharp lines into paper, tissue paper and cellophane as well as snipping thread, twine and yarn. With Fiskars-branded scissors and shears, I’m rarely disappointed.Average fit, bad finish…
The biggest downside to this tool is without a doubt the finish. I spent close to 15 minutes at the store looking at Splice and Vise blister packs trying to find ones with a nice appearance. I looked at approximately 20 different Splices and Vises and each one had different finish problems. The most notable problem is the silver trim you see on the handle. It seems that during production, the entire aluminum handle was black and to create the silver trim, the handles were simply sanded down to reveal the natural aluminum. Many of the Splice and Vise models that I saw had poorly sanded handles that caused the silver trim to be slightly irregular in appearance.
Considering the low price and poor quality of Gerber’s low-end products, I didn’t have high expectations to begin with but the tool’s aesthetics could have been better; especially since the Splice is considered to be the improved successor of the Shortcut. Overall, I would say that the Splice’s build quality is about the same as the current production Shortcut/Clutch.Closing Thoughts
The Splice is a decent keychain mini tool that can handle most lightweight jobs. The scissors is sharp and effective and the tool arrangement helps tackle most of our daily tasks. The biggest problem with the Splice is the stiff-moving tool components and poor finish. If you own a Gerber Shortcut, you can most likely do without the Splice. For those that don’t own a Shortcut, SOG CrossCut or Leatherman Micra or Squirt, this will suffice. Gerber has a MSRP of $22.10 USD ($24.95 CAD) for the Splice which I cannot endorse. If the finish and quality was slightly better, I would pay a few dollars more but at $13 USD ($15 CAD), I would say the price is just right. Pros:
- Additional serrated blade(!)
- Sharp scissors
- Smaller size than Shortcut
- More tool functions than Shortcut
- Excellent bottle opener
- Excellent size for keychainCons:
- Bad finish
- Some components are too stiff to maneuver
- High MSRP