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A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman? 1259

No Life Club Posts: 2,282
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2019, 05:19:01 AM »
Bear Jaws 155 Review (part 3 of 3)

While Bear MGC changed the handle/plier pivot bolsters in later designs, this early 155 reviewed here features the welded ends that secure the pliers. This is another consequence of the outside-facing C-channel handles, as the plier head would otherwise have nothing to stop against when opening. Bear MGC lapped a short, reversed C-channel section to capture the plier mounting points and provide a hard stop when folding open the multi-tool. The PST has no need for this additional piece of metal, as the spine of the C-channel handle forms the stop, as it does for all similar Leatherman designs.

While the plier heads are close copies, the tool loads are quite different:
                                     Bear Jaws 155   Leatherman PST
PE Knife                   Yes         Yes      
SE Knife              Yes         No
File                      Yes         Yes
Phillips Screwdriver   Yes         Yes
Small Screwdriver           No         Yes
Medium Screwdriver   Yes         Yes
Large Screwdriver          Yes         Yes
Awl                        No         Yes
Bottle/Tin opener         Yes         Yes
Lanyard            Folding tool      Outside on rivet

The folding tool count is 8 on each, however the 155 has the advantage of the wider handle that can accommodate longer tools both sides of the plier head in both handles, while the PST is limited to just one long tool per handle, as the handle only widens asymmetrically on one side.

Comparing the PE blade, they are both near identically shaped clip points 67mm (2.6in) long, although the PST is very slightly thicker. Both hollow-ground, while the PST is better finished with a higher polish. None of the tools lock, however the 155 has the more positive detent – most likely a result of the stronger spring, a consequence of the thicker gauge metal. In fact, Bear MGC added a hole to the handle in later versions to reduce the high spring pressure.

The SE blade on the 155 is a chisel sheepsfoot with combo-edge (a repeating pattern of one wide serration followed by two thinner serrations), a very close match to what’s found on the modern Rebar.

The file appears coated and has a fine pitch, single-cut on one face and one edge, and double-cut on the second face. The tip is squared-off (cut as opposed to stamped-off like the PST). Thickness is about the same in both, around 1.8mm (0.07in).

The 155’s Phillips screwdriver is a serious chunk of cast steel, taking up 7mm (0.27in) of the pivot base and serious overkill. This is a full three times wider than the Phillips on the PST and undoubtably the strongest Phillips driver I’ve seen on any multi-tool, ever. The Phillips tool is so wide, there’s only room for a knife on one side and the tin opener on the other. The tool ‘stack’ is 11.8mm (0.46in) per handle, which is easily a tool width more than the 9.5mm (0.37in) of the PST. Incidentally, the 155 stack is almost the same as the Rebar’s 12mm.

The tin opener is a standard affair, but with a sharply milled edge and sharp tip that will pierce bottle tops. The medium and small screwdrivers are standard 5.3mm and 7.3mm drivers (0.2in and 0.3in), similar to the PST and similar 2.3mm thickness, but the 155’s medium driver has less reach (30mm/1.2in), by 5mm (0.2in). What the 155 lacks is the PST’s small screwdriver that tapers to a tiny 1.8mm (0.07in) blade size, fine enough for glasses.

The 155 is also missing the awl found on the PST. Something they could easily include if they reduce the generous width of the Phillips tool to a more standardized size. Even though Bear & Son continue to manufacture the 155 (in locking 155L format), the features and design remains faithful to the original, and they market it as having 18 functions. But using Leatherman’s more conservative tool count, the 155 has a low 12 tools compared to the PST’s 13 (pre-hardwire notch).

Strangely, Bear MGC saw fit to include a folding lanyard strong enough to lift a small car. The lanyard matches the full internal height of the handle (12.5mm, half-inch), and 2.3mm (0.09in) thick. The lanyard hole is almost 5mm (0.2in) diameter, so with a 4mm steel cable, you could support over one ton of weight on this lanyard! Positioning the 155’s two handles into an ‘L’ makes it a good pulling tool, like you find on some SAK products.  By comparison, the PST’s lanyard is a small stamped affair included under one of the knurled rivets, just large enough to take a split-ring. To be honest, probably nothing more than you need. As a side-note, if you open the 155’s lanyard tool and attached a cord or split-ring, the adjacent screwdrivers cannot open fully – oops!

So do I think Bear MGC made a winner? Yes, in its day. The Bear Jaws 155 appears over-engineered with enough tool gaps and escape holes to ignore dirt and grime and keep working. What initially appears to be just a Leatherman clone is clearly an effort to offer an improved product. Stronger, easier to use and more comfortable, yet still immediately identifiable as a full-size tool in the tradition of Tim Leatherman’s first PST.

Now I wonder if Ken and Matt’s current Bear Jaws 155L lives up to its vintage predecessor?

Footnote: Let’s see your Bear If you have one (or more)! What are your impressions?
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,324 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2019, 05:33:30 AM »
An excellent finale. Thank you again, Max! :like:

It seems Bear addressed two of the issues since the early tools. Added awl instead of SE blade and reasonable lanyard loop that moves far enough out to allow drivers to be used.



Edit:
I should add that Bear shortened the usable area of the file(to save money on machining I guess). The lock levers would be a good system if they would grind the lever tang-bumps down enough to have them level with the handle edges. I may do this to one as an experiment at some point.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 07:45:33 AM by gerleatherberman »

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 2,149 Yersinia Pestis & Campylobacter Jejuni!
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2019, 11:34:38 AM »
Great read, thanks for sharing!

 :like:

Once you go black you never go back
@blackdiamonds_42
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 54,002
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2019, 12:23:40 PM »
Great series, Max :salute: The review and pics, plus the differences to the PST make this part 3 a really great read :tu: The original Bear Jaws is a great design but dated, I wished they would update this version a bit and find a solution around the unlocking tabs that they use :D if they did this I think that they would still have a winner :salute: :like: I am gonna miss these reads :ahhh are you sure there isn't a part 4 that could start with the Super Bear Jaws :whistle: :D
Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here... Posts: 47,881
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2019, 12:50:31 PM »
Excellent information  :tu: :like:

fail to prepare prepare to fail
No Life Club Posts: 2,282
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2019, 01:17:47 PM »
...I am gonna miss these reads :ahhh are you sure there isn't a part 4 that could start with the Super Bear Jaws :whistle: :D

Thanks Poncho65 :hatsoff: I don’t have one I’m afraid! I think I got this example on a USA trip I did many years ago. There are certainly no Bear Jaws agents where I live (South Africa)...they seem to be difficult to find in retail shops even in the US!
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 54,002
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2019, 02:32:51 PM »
...I am gonna miss these reads :ahhh are you sure there isn't a part 4 that could start with the Super Bear Jaws :whistle: :D

Thanks Poncho65 :hatsoff: I don’t have one I’m afraid! I think I got this example on a USA trip I did many years ago. There are certainly no Bear Jaws agents where I live (South Africa)...they seem to be difficult to find in retail shops even in the US!

Yes, they are hard to find :ahhh I only know of one place that sells them in store and that is a couple hour drive for me still :oops: I just thought you might happen to have a Super Bear Jaws is the only reason I said that ;) The review was great though and I appreciate the time you took to write them :cheers:
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,126
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2019, 04:49:18 PM »
I'll keep an eye out for Bear Jaws.  I'd be happy to send one off if or when I find one so we can continue this great thread. 

Such a terrific write up.  It would seem Bear Jaws has got a great "prototype", is that fair?  With some tweaks and revisions they could be a real player in the MT space.   

Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 2,282
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2019, 05:55:06 PM »
I'll keep an eye out for Bear Jaws.  I'd be happy to send one off if or when I find one so we can continue this great thread. 

Such a terrific write up.  It would seem Bear Jaws has got a great "prototype", is that fair?  With some tweaks and revisions they could be a real player in the MT space.   

Very kind of you Aloha007 - I'd be happy to take you up on that offer if you come across a 4-1/2" Super Bear Jaws...  :tu:
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,126
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2019, 06:32:56 PM »
Consider it done once I locate one on my flea market trips. 

Esse Quam Videri
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,405
Re: A better Leatherman, Tim Leatherman?
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2019, 09:21:35 PM »
I'll keep an eye out for Bear Jaws.  I'd be happy to send one off if or when I find one so we can continue this great thread. 

Such a terrific write up.  It would seem Bear Jaws has got a great "prototype", is that fair?  With some tweaks and revisions they could be a real player in the MT space.   

Very kind of you Aloha007 - I'd be happy to take you up on that offer if you come across a 4-1/2" Super Bear Jaws...  :tu:

Grab one for me too?  :pok:  :whistle:  :D


 

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