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Review: Juice CS4 4326

No Life Club Posts: 1,486
Review: Juice CS4
« on: August 25, 2010, 03:46:17 PM »
I’ve been curious about the Juice line for some time and have been on the fence about getting one. After deciding long ago that it wasn’t for me, I went and ordered one anyway.   ::)

Looking at the CS4, the best way to describe it would be a Victorinox Huntsman with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. Or perhaps it could be described as Leatherman’s version of a SAK. The best way to think of the Juice line is NOT as a pliers-based MT, but as a SAK with a decent set of pliers. It’s a fine, but very distinct way of seeing the Juice in a  proper context.

To clarify from the above: if you think of the Juice as a pliers-based MT, then you’ll probably be disappointed in the lack of locking tools, the limited reach of the drivers, and the inability of the pliers to handle rough work.  BUT, if you see the Juice as a SAK with decent pliers (certainly, much better pliers than Vic offers on its SAKs), and you can evaluate the Juice properly within its intended purpose.


Tools:

Pliers: Some have written that the pliers are not as sturdy as a full-sized MT.  That’s rather obvious because they are slightly smaller and *needle nosed*. Well, more of a blunted needle nosed. Anyway,  you don’t use needle nosed pliers for rough work. The pliers are perfectly suited for fine work and small jobs. As my mechanic father said, “proper tool for the job”.

Wire cutters:  I cut regular electrical wire and a brass wire coat hanger. Performance was good.

Knife:  Smaller than a SAK knife. Decently sharp but not the edge was not as fine as a Vic. A few passes with a diamond card got it right. The bevel is larger than a Vic blade and I like that; the larger bevel on the Juice blade makes it easier to hold the right angle when sharpening.

Scisssors: A vast improvement over the teeny tiny useless scissors Leatherman has on their full sized MTs. I’d say as good as the Vic scissors.  Scissors do not spring fully shut into the handles… you have to push them in manually.

Saw: Smallish saw compared to a Vic. When folding the saw back in the handle, it tends to scoot to the side and smack the awl IF the awl is not fully opened. Make sure the awl is full opened before folding the saw back into the handle and you should be fine.

Awl: decent design but DULL. Why in the world have  a deliberately dull awl? It boggles the mind.

Bottle/can opener:  a real stinker of a design. The can opener is dull and really doesn’t do the job. The tool is also a leverage-assist for the corkscrew.

Corkscrew: a Vic eyeglass screwdriver fits in there perfectly. But how does the leverage assisted corkscrew perform? When I get around to buying wine with a cork, I’ll let you know.

Screwdrivers: These are a pain to get out  because they are tiny.  The flat drivers wind up cutting my knuckle about every other time I pry one of them out (the flatheads are sharp). The selection of 3 flat-head drivers and a phillips is on par with many SAKS, and suited for most jobs.  Reach is limited, but that’s to be expected with a  pocket tool .

Folding lanyard  loop: it’s there if you need it.  Not much more can be said there. People complain about it, but there isn’t room for anything else.  
 
 
Pros

None of the tools lock (see below).

Pocket-sized: it has the pocketability and tools of a SAK but with decent pliers.

Scissors: better scissors than on the full-sized Leatherman’s.    

Knife Bevel: easy-to-follow bevel for sharpening.


Cons:
None of the tools lock, BUT this actually a tremendous advantage for our European friends.  Since locking knives are not an option, your choices are limited to SAKS, a Leatherman Kick, a Knifeless Fuse (hey, now THERE is a  thought!), or a vintage PST.  

The combo bottle/can opener: Leatherman tried to jam too many tools in this one: bottle opener, can opener, and leverage-assist for the corkscrew.  Try to have one tool do too many things and it becomes a case of diminishing returns. In this case, two of the three tools work, but the can opener doesn’t. Vic has a decent  bottle & can opener/flat driver combo tool. Maybe Leatherman should look into that.

Price: yeah, the price is about $20 over a comparable SAK, but you’re paying the extra $20 for the pliers. Well, you only pay for it once, so why not?  But then again, you can get a Kick for about $20 and  it has a full-sized pair of pliers to boot. Food for thought.  But the price for a Juice really should be in the $35-$45 range.

Lack of tweezers: a minor point, but the ENTIRE Juice line should have tweezers. This is supposed to be Leatherman’s version of a SAK, so include tweezers.

Fit/Finish: Leatherman needs to learn a few lessons from the Swiss, that ‘s for sure. Leatherman could spend a few extra minutes in the factory and give the knives a finer edge and at least sharpen the awl. Scissors will not spring back fully shut into the tool.  The saw kinks to the side and will smack into the awl if  you’re not careful. Come on, Leatherman, make me proud to say “assembled in the USA”.   :pok:

Overall:
I’d use the juice as a backup to a full-sized MT (just like you’d use a SAK to backup an MT), or carried alone in an environment where locking knives are prohibited. The Juice pliers are better suited for fine/light work and might have better reach than a larger MT.  Fit/Finish could be refined a bit more for what you’re paying.

If you find yourself saying, “I like the pocketability of my SAK but I’d like to have a decent set of pliers”, then the Juice line deserves your serious consideration.

UPDATE: the scissors are not as good as a Vic. Firstly: they are thinner. Secondly; I can cut finer things with the Vic scisssors because the Vic scissors have a tighter fit.  The Juice scissors have a too much play in the blades and they won’t grip/cut as well as the more tightly fitted Vic scissors.



« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 06:46:09 PM by shamus »
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,259 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2010, 04:46:26 PM »
Quote
After deciding long ago that it wasn’t for me, I went and ordered one anyway.

Will you be able to stop at only one? You should at least try a KF4. Many people feel that is the quintessential perfect Juice...which of course, Leatherman saw fit to discontinue.

A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 05:13:50 PM »
Good review!

I agree with your concept on the Juice.  The pliers are better than SAK pliers but are not to the level as a Wave, Spirit or even Skeletool (IMO).

I have the same issue with the small flat drivers.  I also agree about the blade.

I like my Juices, but not as primary pliers based tools.

No Life Club Posts: 1,486
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2010, 06:46:29 PM »
Updated added (see above)
No Life Club Posts: 3,242
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2010, 07:30:17 PM »
Nice review shamus  :tu:

So far I'm happy to say I own four colourful Juice's or is that four colourful Jeece  :think:  :D

The CS4 is one I don't have but as Chako said it is hard to stop with one, you just want to get the lot  :ahhh :D

The KF4 has the perfect complement if scissors aren't your thing and is an acceptable pocket size  :tu:  And for me I just love Solar Yellow  :D

As you say for us UKites it fits in nicely with the law  :police:

             
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2010, 08:21:19 PM »
Nice write up there shamus! I don't agree with a lot of it, but I always like a researched, heart-felt opinion  :salute:


No Life Club Posts: 2,647
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2010, 10:33:50 PM »
Great review  :salute:

I agree that the pliers on the Juice line are good for fine work;sometimes they will allow you to do jobs in spaces that bulkier pliers wouldn't be able to fit into.

IMHO the Juice corkscrew works better if you don't  use the assist, it slips too easily and it is possible to end up bending the scales if you're careless (I should think  :-[ ). The corkscrew works fine on it's own, however.

I find the can opener is pretty good - a little more effort is needed to get the cut started than with, say, a SAK or the one on the Charge, but after that I think it's fine. One day I'll get round to timing myself opening cans with different tools.

The awl works better after a few minutes sharpening, though as you say  it's strange that Leatherman don't do it in the factory.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 10:37:29 PM by Craig »

Prone to daydreaming.
No Life Club Posts: 1,178
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2010, 10:57:39 PM »
I've seen some people on YouTube who swears by their Juice, and I do love how the scissors look, but to me the size has never made much sense. That's because I carry a wallet and iPhone in my pockets and don't like stuffing things in other pockets both because it will bulk and because some of my pants have only two pockets, so to me anything that won't go in my pocket will go on my belt in a sheath and not be carried for EDC. That again means that if it's bigger than a Micra, it might as well be a surge :D
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,259 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2010, 11:28:51 PM »
They do make a plastic holster for the Juice line...now discontinued but you can still find them on eBay.

A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
No Life Club Posts: 2,549
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2010, 02:25:46 AM »
IMHO the Juice corkscrew works better if you don't  use the assist, it slips too easily and it is possible to end up bending the scales if you're careless (I should think  :-[ ). The corkscrew works fine on it's own, however. 

Not unless you're trying to pry windows open with your corkscrew - there's a metal plate underneath the scales.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2010, 09:46:29 AM »
IMHO the Juice corkscrew works better if you don't  use the assist, it slips too easily and it is possible to end up bending the scales if you're careless (I should think  :-[ ). The corkscrew works fine on it's own, however. 

Not unless you're trying to pry windows open with your corkscrew - there's a metal plate underneath the scales.

The scales themselves though are made from very thin aluminium, very easy to dent / bend!


No Life Club Posts: 1,486
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2010, 04:37:20 PM »
Quote
Nice write up there shamus! I don't agree with a lot of it,

Dave, you have to have air your disagreements.  :) I'd like to hear them.

 
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2010, 11:50:26 PM »
Quote
Nice write up there shamus! I don't agree with a lot of it,

Dave, you have to have air your disagreements.  :) I'd like to hear them.
 

Well, you could sum up my feelings by the fact that I would much rather EDC a Juice than a SAK anytime.

- I think the Juice scissors are far more capable than those on Vics, I like the serrations and they are much bigger and stronger.

- I don't accept the comments about "fit and finish". By necessity, the design and construction of the Juice is about a million times more intricate than a SAK (mostly because it can't use a fixed, single handle). Have a look at what goes into the Juice and a SAK is like child's play!

- Your comment...

Quote
The best way to think of the Juice line is NOT as a pliers-based MT, but as a SAK with a decent set of pliers.

.... would have Time Leatherman spitting teeth!

If I get chance later, I'll grab a Juice and do a proper rebuttal, but the above will do for starters :D

No Life Club Posts: 3,242
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2010, 12:15:45 AM »
I do have a real soft spot for the Juice range  :tu:

Not sure if it's the colour scheme, the UK legal blades or the compactness but I just like them :D

The XE6 or Pro will be in my bag and the S2 on my person. Saying that on many occassions the S2 is dropped for the slimmer and lighter Vic Compact. It all comes down to needs.

I like your comparison thread here Dave  :tu:

Victorinox Swisschamp v Leatherman Juice Pro

http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,7114.0.html

             
No Life Club Posts: 1,486
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2010, 03:01:16 PM »
Quote
Well, you could sum up my feelings by the fact that I would much rather EDC a Juice than a SAK anytime.

I can see that. The SAK and a Juice operate in the same range given the size of their tools. I'd be perfectly happy carrying either one (thought I'd like for the juice to have tweezers).  And as I said, in  environments where carrying locking knives is a legal issue, then the juice makes perfect sense. 

And I'll agree with you in this way: I'd rather carry a Juice than a Swisschamp (or any SAK with 4 layers or more). The Juice may be heavier, but it's far less bulky and has the useful pliers.

Quote
I think the Juice scissors are far more capable than those on Vics

We'll have to agree to disagree on that.  ;) The juice has thinner metal than a Vic, and looser fit on the scissors. I had problems with the Juice scissors trimming a hangnail because the floppy jaws were to loosely fitted to grip things very well.

Quote
I don't accept the comments about "fit and finish".By necessity, the design and construction of the Juice is about a million times more intricate than a SAK

A good point. The Juice IS more complex in its construction. But the majority of my fit/finish complaints were for simple things that the assemblers at Leatherman could address: sharpen the knife a wee but more, get the scissors to fit a bit closer,  and sharpen the awl. Simple stuff.

and to agree with your statement on intricacy: I can forgive the problems about the saw smacking the awl, and the scissors not snapping fully shut, as a result of the complexity of design and the case of diminishing returns as you cram more tools into a smaller package.  Kudos to Leatherman for being able to fit so many tools in there :tu:


Quote
- Your comment...

QUOTE: The best way to think of the Juice line is NOT as a pliers-based MT, but as a SAK with a decent set of pliers.

would have Time Leatherman spitting teeth!

It's a purely subjective statement on my point, and my first post tried to clarify as to why. 



Quote
If I get chance later, I'll grab a Juice and do a proper rebuttal, but the above will do for starters  :D

I look forward to that. :) As it stands, I like some parts of the Juice, but I'm not so enthusiastic with others. I'd want to like it more, so I'm open to being convinced. I'd have no problems carrying it as a backup to my Swisstool (and having a smaller pair of pliers could be a bonus).

I'll even throw in another "Pro" to the Juice: it has no plastic;  you can throw it a mineral spirit bath, scrub it down, and not worry about plastic scales getting eaten by the solvents. 


« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 03:05:07 PM by shamus »
No Life Club Posts: 1,486
Re: Review: Juice CS4
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2010, 05:20:26 PM »
Dave inspired me to think abut things a little more.  :tu:

Out of curiosity, I pulled out my Leatherman Mini tool and compared the pliers to the Juice.  The Mini was Leatherman's interesting attempt at getting almost full-sized pliers in a very small package.. Maybe the Mini was an evolutionary predecessor to the Juice?  :D


Mini pliers on top, Juice pliers on bottom. The Juice pliers are a wee bit thinner...



But their size and reach is about the same (Juice on left, Mini on right)



Comparative thickness of pliers. Top-to-bottom: Mini, Juice, Swissttol RS:



Interesting to note that the Mini and Juice pliers open wider than the Swisstool, and all three are about the same size.. except that the Swisstool RS pliers are a lot thicker and sturdier:


Compared above, the size of the juice pliers are better appreciated. They are not small, but they are more delicate than full sized MT pliers (and even thinner than the Mini Pliers). I would think they are best for light work.

To be fair, the pliers had to be thinner, otherwise the tool thickness needed to accommodate the pliers would have would have been too unwieldy.  
« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 05:22:03 PM by shamus »

 

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