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SOG S44 Initial Impressions

Offline supratentorial

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SOG S44 Initial Impressions
on: February 11, 2007, 07:21:43 PM
SOG Pocket Power Plier (S44)
MSRP: $70.00
Street Price: $44.00 (www.amazon.com)

Multi-tools are convenient tools but they are seldom the best tool for the job.  The introduction of ergonomic handles, locking tools, standard size drivers (i.e. Leatherman Core), and hex bit drivers are improving the function of multi-tools but they're still not a replacement for a well stocked tool box.  One of the most popular features of multi-tools is their size.  The original Leatherman PST was popular because it was small and light (5 oz) enough for everyday pocket carry. 

Wanting a multi-tool that was convenient for pocket carry, I purchased the SOG Power Pocket Plier (S44).

Although it came with a nice leather case, I carry it in a pants pocket --after all it is called the "Pocket Power Plier".  At first I thought the compound leverage gears would be uncomfortable for pocket carry (and I joked about possible injuries that might occur) but I haven't found it to be a problem.  In fact, I often end up searching both pockets because I've forgotten which pocket I put it in.
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 07:10:02 PM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #1 on: February 11, 2007, 07:22:19 PM
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Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #2 on: February 11, 2007, 07:22:48 PM
Although the S44 is more comparable to the original Leatherman PST (including tool clumping and lack of an ergonomic grip), I actually find that I most often choose between carrying it and the SwissTool Spirit.  The Spirit has a more comfortable grip and far more features but is a bit thicker and heavier than the S44 and lacks a clip point blade.  The S44 weighs 5.5 oz--just a little bit more than the original PST.
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 07:03:58 PM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #3 on: February 11, 2007, 07:23:15 PM
The S44 features SOG's patented compound leverage pliers which uses gears to move the pliers’ jaws.  The gears allow greater handle travel in relation to pliers jaw movement.  The result is that by using the same hand strength, twice the wire cutting and pliers gripping strength is generated compared to conventional pliers.  This also allows better control of the pliers since they require less force.  I wasn't able to empirically test that the strength is actually twice that of conventional tools (as SOG claims) but I can say that I find that the difference is noticeable.

Another feature of the pliers is that they are skewed and flattened on one side.  Using conventional pliers, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice your grip or hold the tool at an angle.  Holding pliers at an angle, it's only possible to grip an object by the tips of the pliers.  SOG's design alleviates this frustration since the skewed pliers allow greater use of the pliers jaws.
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 07:21:06 PM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #4 on: February 11, 2007, 07:24:27 PM
The S44 doesn't feature locking tools but the selection of tools is what I consider to be the gold standard for a minimalist design.  Borrowing from Victorinox, SOG uses combination tools (driver/file, driver/bottle opener, driver/can opener) to fit the most essential tools into a compact package--actually with room left over (there's a deluxe version with more implements).
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« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 09:38:38 AM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #5 on: February 11, 2007, 07:25:35 PM
Although combination drivers have drawbacks (they require greater clearance) they are an efficient design.  The combination drivers/openers on the SOG have less reach than those on the SwissTools but the combination driver/file (like a jumbo version of the tool on the Victorinox Classic SD) may very well be the longest flat driver on any multi-tool.

The Phillips driver on the S44 is a standard #1 driver.  The flat drivers have three sizes but none are standard.  This is a disappointment but not a surprise.  Most multi-tools lack standard size drivers.  I find this trend irritating.  Standard size drivers fit better and are less likely to slip or damage fasteners.   It is a major fault that separates many multi-tools from professional quality tools. 
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« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 09:00:49 AM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #6 on: February 11, 2007, 07:26:23 PM
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« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 08:54:12 AM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #7 on: February 11, 2007, 07:26:53 PM
The knife blade on my S44 is a plain edge drop point blade but the S44 is more commonly found configured with a combination blade.  I prefer the plain edge.  Given the reputation of SOG's knives, I was surprised that the factory edge was quite dull.  I strongly agree with popular belief that a sharp blade is a safe blade.  Unlike Leatherman blades which have a double bevel and are typically razor sharp, the SOG blade is ground on a single side.  This is easily addressed by grinding a second bevel.
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« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 08:55:01 AM by supratentorial »


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #8 on: February 11, 2007, 07:27:09 PM
As with the original Leatherman multi-tools, tool clumping is a matter of fact.  Some people find tool clumping makes it easy to access the tools and others find it irritating.  Since the S44 is so small, I find it can be difficult to dig out the smaller tools and I actually find that the tool clumping helps me access the tools.

An unfortunate consequence of the tool clumping is that the file rubs against the bottle opener and will likely wear down the file as well as scrape up the opener.  This problem occurs since SOG used a single large spacer and didn't place washers between the tools.  The spacer was likely used in order to accommodate the skew of the pliers but there appears to be enough clearance to accommodate thin washers between the tools.   

The S44, like other SOG multi-tools, is assembled with hex screws which allow you to adjust the tension or disassemble the tool for maintenance.  Replacement parts are available direct from SOG.  A replacement knife blade costs around $6.  If you are able to purchase the S44 for cheap, like I did ($18.95 on Ebay), the cost of replacement parts may be somewhat prohibitive.

Like the Leatherman PST, the handle on the S44 lacks ergonomic design.  I find the handle on the S44 slightly more comfortable than the handle of the old Leatherman tools.  Perhaps it's because the compound leverage pliers require less force.  Also, the edges of the S44 seem a bit more rounded than the edges of the Leatherman PST.  A rolled edge like that on the Leatherman Pulse would have improved the comfort of the grip.

Although it has faults, overall I'm pleased with the S44.  It contains the most essential tools in a compact package and offers the benefit of compound leverage.

(+)
Compound leverage pliers
Convenient size/weight for pocket carry
Good selection of the most essential tools
Standard #1 Phillips driver
User serviceable
Replacement parts available direct from SOG

(-)
Lacks an ergonomic grip
Exposed compound leverage gears
Tool clumping
Lacks locking tools
Lacks standard size flat drivers



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« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 07:49:39 PM by supratentorial »


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #9 on: February 11, 2007, 09:58:50 PM
Excellent review!  I'll transfer it to the main site as soon as I get a chance!

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


us Offline J-sews

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #10 on: February 11, 2007, 10:07:20 PM
Nice report supratentorial. How do you rate the plier jaw design on the S44, with one side offset and flattened?
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #11 on: February 12, 2007, 05:20:31 AM
Thanks!  It was a bit rushed since my boss called while I was working on it.  I'll try to update it when I can find time this week.  I seem to have forgotten to comment on the featured SOG compound leverage pliers.  Of course this was posted in the SOG forum so I just assume that everybody here has accepted the superiority of the compound leverage pliers. ;)


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #12 on: February 18, 2007, 07:11:03 PM
I updated it a bit.


us Offline J-sews

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #13 on: February 18, 2007, 07:41:06 PM
Sheesh! It was a good review before and it's an even better one now! Nice detail on the pictures too.

(I like the skewed plier shot)
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #14 on: February 18, 2007, 07:46:18 PM
Interesting- I just noticed this while checking out another thread, but it looks like your Pocket Party Pooper also is missing a lanyard ring.  Mine has one...

Anyone else have one and wouldn't mind checking?

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #15 on: February 18, 2007, 08:00:09 PM
Interesting- I just noticed this while checking out another thread, but it looks like your Pocket Party Pooper also is missing a lanyard ring.  Mine has one...

You must have missed it (see photo).  ;)   ...actually it doesn't have one.  But a lanyard ring is shown on the SOG website: http://sogknives.com/store/S44.html 

My S44 also has a plain edge which isn't the normal configuration.
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ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #16 on: February 18, 2007, 08:05:28 PM
The one looks a little beat up- I'd call SOG with a warranty complaint!

Def
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us Offline prime77

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #17 on: February 18, 2007, 09:40:18 PM
I just checked mine Def and it does have the lanyard ring attachment
"


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #18 on: March 11, 2007, 02:09:56 AM
Since I posted my initial impressions of the SOG S44, I've carried the S44 almost every day and have a few updates to my initial review. 

On occasion the implements would actually get stuck together.  For example the driver on the combination driver/can opener would get wedged in the nail nick for the knife blade.  To eliminate this problem, I've placed thin washers between the tools.  The tools still clump, allowing easy access to the smaller tools, but they don't get stuck together any more.  Problem solved.

Initially I complained that the slotted drivers aren't standard sizes (e.g. 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", etc).  But in use, I've actually been quite pleased with the performance of the drivers compared to those on my other multi-tools.  With further research, I noticed that the drivers are nearly identical to those on the Paladin PowerPlay tools (the combination driver/file on the Paladin tool is ground a bit more).  Paladin claims that their drivers fit #4 and #6 slotted screws.

If that's correct, than the SOG drivers should also fit #4 and #6 slotted screws.  To test it, I bought an assortment of screws (#8, #6, #4, #2) from my local hardware store, drilled pilot holes into a piece of pine, and sunk the screws with TiNi coated bits on a Panasonic cordless drill.  I tried to remove and reset the screws with the drivers on my SOG S44, Victorinox SwissTool X, and Leatherman SuperTool.  None of the drivers on the multi-tools fit as well as the TiNi coated bits but the SOG S44 drivers fit much better than the other two multi-tools.  The combination large driver/file fit snuggly in a #6 screw and was also a good fit for a #8 screw.  The combination medium driver/ bottle opener was the correct width for a #4 screw but it fit loosely since it is a bit too thin for the slot.  For this selection of screw sizes, the SOG S44 was better equipped than the other multi-tools.

Over the last few weeks I've used the S44 quite a bit and it's currently my top choice for every day pocket carry.
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« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 02:17:06 AM by supratentorial »


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #19 on: March 11, 2007, 02:18:19 AM
Very cool.  Funny though cause I just finally wrote my review of the S44 today.  I'll be posting it tomorrow hopefully.

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #20 on: March 11, 2007, 02:29:28 AM
Excellent review!  I'll transfer it to the main site as soon as I get a chance!

Def

Very cool.  Funny though cause I just finally wrote my review of the S44 today.  I'll be posting it tomorrow hopefully.

Def

Is it my review with your name on it.  ;)


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #21 on: March 11, 2007, 02:33:01 AM
No, I think I just actually forgot that you had already written it! :P

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #22 on: March 11, 2007, 07:34:16 PM
No, I think I just actually forgot that you had already written it! :P

Def

It's nice to know that I'm appreciated!   :cry:   But of course you could post my review as well as your own.  After all two is better than one and there are multiple reviews of other multi-tools (e.g. SideClip, Powerlock).


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #23 on: March 11, 2007, 07:36:58 PM
That's what I had planned to do.  I certainly wouldn't let yours go to waste, and I'll be darned if I am going to the effort of writing one for nothing! :P

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #24 on: March 11, 2007, 08:07:57 PM
That's what I had planned to do.  I certainly wouldn't let yours go to waste, and I'll be darned if I am going to the effort of writing one for nothing! :P

Def

Cool! :)


us Offline Gryffin

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #25 on: March 13, 2007, 03:09:13 AM
FYI, the difference between the S44 Pocket PowerPlier and the S45 Deluxe Pocket PowerPlier is just two implements: a 1/4" bit adapter, and a large flat screwdriver. They replace those two nylon "spacer" washers seen in the photos, and the awl. (That 1/4" adapter is thick, and takes up two "slots".)

I realize the file ends in a large flat screwdriver, but I gotta admit, I don't trust it. Files have to be very hard, to the point of brittleness; no way in Hell would I use that end driver hard!! The shorter, stouter large flat driver is a good idea, and I even use mine for light prying, which I'd never do with the file.

The 1/4" adapter is interesting: SOG sells a bit holder that fits onto it, which then holds standard 1/4" hex-shank bits. Unlike Leatherman, however, I've never seen the SOG adapter for sale at retail. However, unlike Leatherman, it uses bog-standard 1/4" bits you can buy at any hardware store, including long-shank bits that the Leatherman just can't match. It's a good system that nicely expands the functionality of the tool.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 04:49:58 AM by Gryffin »


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #26 on: March 13, 2007, 11:40:14 AM
Yeah, I know- I recently got an old MiniTool in a package from eBay and the file has seen better days.

Def
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Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline supratentorial

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #27 on: March 13, 2007, 04:53:48 PM
I realize the file ends in a large flat screwdriver, but I gotta admit, I don't trust it. Files have to be very hard, to the point of brittleness; no way in Hell would I use that end driver hard!! The shorter, stouter large flat driver is a good idea, and I even use mine for light prying, which I'd never do with the file.

Thanks for the warning.  The combination driver/file is actually one of my favorite drivers on the S44 since it fits both #6 and #8 screws.  I've used it quite a bit and it doesn't show much wear but I haven't been rough with it.  Of course, if it breaks I can just remove it and send it back to SOG for replacement.

The 1/4" adapter is interesting: SOG sells a bit holder that fits onto it, which then holds standard 1/4" hex-shank bits. Unlike Leatherman, however, I've never seen the SOG adapter for sale at retail. However, unlike Leatherman, it uses bog-standard 1/4" bits you can buy at any hardware store, including long-shank bits that the Leatherman just can't match. It's a good system that nicely expands the functionality of the tool.

I actually haven't been too impressed with the 1/4" adapter.  http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,802.15.html  (end of page 2 and beginning of page 3)  According to other forum members, the Craftsman adapter seems to be a better fit than the one from SOG.  I'm headed for Sears after work.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 04:57:55 PM by supratentorial »


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #28 on: March 13, 2007, 09:43:13 PM
Both reviews are now posted....

Def
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us Offline Gryffin

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Re: SOG S44 Initial Impressions
Reply #29 on: March 14, 2007, 03:00:12 AM
I actually haven't been too impressed with the 1/4" adapter.  http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,802.15.html  (end of page 2 and beginning of page 3)  According to other forum members, the Craftsman adapter seems to be a better fit than the one from SOG.  I'm headed for Sears after work.
Interesting... I actually don't have the "official" SOG adapter yet, either; the one I've been using is, in fact, a Craftsman, from my socket wrench set. I just ordered the SOG adapter along with some extra/replacement implements, specifically so I can put that Crafstman adapter back in the set. Maybe I should've just stopped at Sears, too...


 

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