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Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it? 840

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« on: January 10, 2019, 03:21:37 AM »
Bear Jaws Multi Tool Club!

Yes. Another MT club. Just Bear with me here. :D
Searched around MT.o and didn't see a club for the MT history-important Bear and Sons ( Bear Mfg.) multitools. They have many models, including the 155(& 155L)(with several variations like the 155EL and Sportsman), 156(& 156L), 157(& garden/bird shears), 153(mini jaws keychain tool), and produced tools for countless brands(like Craftsman, Toolzall, Crescent and many others). They pioneered the classic-design multi tool with all outboard implements as well. The finish of Bear Jaws is an attractive high-polish on the handles with a clean grind-polish on the tools(except the sides of the phillips drivers and files). Fit & Finish are great on the older Bear Jaws and a bit 'iffy' on some of the newer tools. All of them are robust and reliable, with excellent hardening of the stainless steel. The "L" versions of the 155 and 156 are controversial, with few liking the protruding unlock-levers, some indifferent to it, and most users not liking it. This can be remedied by grinding down the lever tang-bump or removing the lever(with unlocking accomplished by opening an adjacent tool to open the locking spring to close the tools).
They are produced all in-house in Jacksonville, Alabama. That is cool, because the area is not known for knife-making or multi tools. Bears Jaws are under-appreciated and not as well known as the other quality manufacturers in the business. Hopefully this thread will make  a good vehicle to promote the Bear Jaws tools as a viable MT option, possibly encourage Bear to up their QC-game, and update some of their designs. I also hope that this thread will be a good place to show our Bear Jaws tools and discuss them.


Here is a group photo of my modest(yet decently varied) collection.
Top row: 157(Toolzall Maintenance Pro Stamped), 157SM(bird shears), 156(MAC Tools promotion), 156L, 155(Craftman 45201), and 155L(Craftsman 45521).
Bottom row: 155, 155 Sportsman, 155L(MAC tools promotion), 155L(mirrored handles), 155EL(Electrician tool with stripper head), Bear Pocket Tool(prototype tool -possibly the only one made), and 153(Keychain tool).

Tools closed.

Tools opened.


Photos, information, and commentary are greatly appreciated for the Bear Jaws Club! :)

Edit: Typo corrections.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 03:30:06 AM by gerleatherberman »

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 03:26:03 AM »
User 'Max Stone' wrote a great bit of MT history summarization in this thread, with relevant Bear Mfg. Information.
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,80241.msg1846015.html#msg1846015

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 08:48:38 AM »
Some detailed images or the previously posted images in the first post.














































































Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 4,241 Apparently it is possible to have too many tools;)
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 02:39:02 PM »
Bear also re-labelled their tools for other brands.  Craftsman & Crescent Toolzall were the most common re-brands, but there were also Nicholson Multimax, Moore Maker and even a TiNi LL Bean (rare).  There may be other re-brands that I haven't seen (yet).

Bear made some MTs with coloured handles, I've seen Mini Bear Jaws in Red, Blue, Green & Black, and std Bear Jaws in Blue & Black.  I have a couple of minis in a combo presentation tin with a Vic Classic with the same colour scales.

Some other manufacturers paid Bear the compliment of copying their tools, I've come across knock-offs labelled Schrade, China, Garrity and Smith & Wesson.



« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 02:48:05 PM by gregozedobe »

babola: "Enjoy your tools and don't be afraid to air your opinion and feelings here, but do it in courteous and respectable way toward others, of course."
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,586 Firm believer of Sturgeon's Law
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 03:31:36 PM »
great photos!
I've never had a Bear tool, but for the looks of them and the toolset (that thick Phillips  :o) looks like most models cover the bear necessities  :D just fine.
The saw looks sharp, the blade pointy and reminds me of old leatherman Clip Points,

and just by the name of it you know that the "Jaws" are business.  :multi:

The toolset on the smaller one is almost identical to the Micra (bearing in mind that the main tool is different, scissors vs. pliers), it almost looks like a copy
Great collection,  :hatsoff:


My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 02:05:59 AM »
Gregozedobe,
Thank you kindly for the additional information.   :like:

great photos!
I've never had a Bear tool, but for the looks of them and the toolset (that thick Phillips  :o) looks like most models cover the bear necessities  :D just fine.
The saw looks sharp, the blade pointy and reminds me of old leatherman Clip Points,

and just by the name of it you know that the "Jaws" are business.  :multi:

The toolset on the smaller one is almost identical to the Micra (bearing in mind that the main tool is different, scissors vs. pliers), it almost looks like a copy
Great collection,  :hatsoff:
Many thanks, TP! :cheers:
They are a business-only kind of MT. No frills or fluff. Just a tool.  :)
The Mini Jaws is basically a regular Bear Jaws that has been miniaturized. Unlike the Micra, the tiny pliers lock into place like the bigger Bears. It does have a similar toolset though. :iagree:

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 03:37:43 AM »
A few images to show the size differences in the 153 Mini Bear Jaws, 155 Bear Jaws, and 156 Super Bear Jaws. These are the older ones with welded bolsters. The newer tools have bolsters that are captive inside of the handles. But, that said, the sizes of the tools are the same. :)











Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 53,476
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 04:32:49 AM »
Lots of great pics GLBM :dd: I like Bear and Son tools and wished they would update the lock system just a bit :D They are nicely built tools and I think they would sell many more if they had a different way of unlocking them :tu: Great collection of them BTW :like:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,270
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2019, 06:30:10 AM »
 :like:

Where's the best place to get a pair of 156 Super Bear Jaws?

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 08:45:30 PM »
Lots of great pics GLBM :dd: I like Bear and Son tools and wished they would update the lock system just a bit :D They are nicely built tools and I think they would sell many more if they had a different way of unlocking them :tu: Great collection of them BTW :like:
Thank you, Poncho! :cheers:
Indeed. That lock system is awful and undoubtedly causing sales problems. :facepalm:


:like:

Where's the best place to get a pair of 156 Super Bear Jaws?
Thanks, Syncop8r! :cheers:
I found some of mine on eBay, a few from members here, and some locally. :)
Ebay is a good bet, if you find a seller who accepts international shipping and returns of defective tools. :ahhh
Best place is here on MT.o. But, Bear Jaws don't pop up very often.

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Global Moderator Point Of No Return Posts: 37,041
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 04:10:58 PM »
Awesome collection G !  :o :like: :tu:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2019, 07:30:03 PM »
Many thanks, Steve! :cheers:

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 3,131
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2019, 12:31:22 AM »
I have been very interested in these ever sense I found out Victorinox bought the patent rights to create the SwissTool.  I finally got to see and handle some this past weekend.  They were labled Mooremaker but are still the same Bear tools.  The shop I was in actually had one of each model and the clerk was kind enough to let me handle them all even knowing I was not going to make a purchase.  Maybe I had exagerated these in my mind but I must say I was over all disapointed.  I had expected more form THE tool Victorinox based the SwissTool on.  Don't get me wrong, the quality of the steal and several of the tools, the pliars in particular, was quite good and I was prepaired for the fit and finnish issues I saw.  I don't know why but I just expected more from these.  I probaly will order one of each over time.  Just because they are a part of the heritage leading up to my Beloved SwissTool and it would be hard to claim to have a complete collection with out paying homage to heritage, but I was over all very disapionted.

"LOGIC!  My God, the man's talking about logic!  We're talking about Universal Armageddon!"
Dr.  McCoy
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2019, 01:09:09 AM »
Bear tools are generally hand-finished and unrefined. I wouldn't dare compare them to bigger companies that are mostly automated and/or fully automated. They are slowly getting more computer controlled systems, but have a long way to go to compete with heavily machine built tools like Vic, LM, and Gerber.
Seeing as a hand-made knife of superb quality is hundreds of dollars, I wouldn't expect something as complex as a multi tool to be of excellent build, because of cost to produce. Especially being all in-house produced in the U.S.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 01:10:18 AM by gerleatherberman »

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 3,131
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2019, 01:58:52 AM »
I understand this and agree with your statement.  :salute:  I guess I had just built up to much hype in my own head.  :dunno: They are of corse THE TOOL Victorinox thought enough of that they chose to base their Pliar based Multi tool line on.  I'm quite certain my let down is most certainly self imposed.  :facepalm:

"LOGIC!  My God, the man's talking about logic!  We're talking about Universal Armageddon!"
Dr.  McCoy
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2019, 05:28:29 AM »
Hey,
Look at the bright side of Bear MTs. They never need much cleaning.  :rofl:
Can't catch a lot of dirt in those poor tolerances.

I will give Bear a thumbs up on the steel treatment they use. It seems like a perfect combination of  hardness and resistance. It is among the best, because it tends not to snap, chip or get malformed. And that phillips driver on the Bears is, well, a bear. :)

Oh, one last thing, buy an early Bear when you order one. The welded bolster(and non locking) tools are of a noticeably higher quality

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,586 Firm believer of Sturgeon's Law
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2019, 06:22:14 PM »
I always thought that one big selling point of Bear MTs was the USA made label
Hard to find that nowadays, especially for the price, in the Knives, Tools and Gear world  :ahhh

The steel and sourced material is good in most Bear knives and tools, from what I've gathered, probably because they get it from old bearings from US industries and Machinery  :dunno::D, and the fact that they "inspired" the quintessential multitool from today, the Swisstool, bears repeating

My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2019, 08:48:16 PM »
I always thought that one big selling point of Bear MTs was the USA made label
Hard to find that nowadays, especially for the price, in the Knives, Tools and Gear world  :ahhh

The steel and sourced material is good in most Bear knives and tools, from what I've gathered, probably because they get it from old bearings from US industries and Machinery  :dunno::D, and the fact that they "inspired" the quintessential multitool from today, the Swisstool, bears repeating

 :iagree:

It is sad that they never got enough market share to invest in equipment to produce superior tools. But, overall, the Bear Jaws do what they are advertised to do.  :)

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 1,839
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2019, 08:41:43 PM »
Maybe with LM Free being all outside opening (like Bear Jaws), Bear & Son get inspired to refresh their range. I think they are missing an opportunity. But it could be a case of not enough sales to justify the investment in R&D, tooling and testing? They’re certainly under appreciated for what they are.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2019, 09:14:56 PM »
 :iagree: 100%

The man that I am friends with, who goes to the Bear factory once a year, told me something about their multi tools. He said that the company, though owner Ken Griffey will not say it, doesn't really care much about the MT division since it isn't very profitable.
I would love to see some new tools being made in my home state of Alabama, but if they are unwilling to tighten QC in their current tools, they aren't likely to make the investment.
It is sad, because without any special tools, I can make a 155L operate perfectly(granted there aren't any major structural flaws). A little smoothing, grinding, polishing, and spring tuning make the tool a competitor against most bigger companies. Even the protruding lock levers can have the tangs ground down and polished to recess into the handles and still work well. If I can do it, certainly they can. Though, admittedly, the time I spent would make the tool much more expensive.  :ahhh

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 1,839
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2019, 09:46:04 PM »
Thanks GLBM for this insight. Sad indeed that they can’t take their MT products forward. But as you say, just a bit of QC tightening and they can remain a respected niche MT manufacturer. Let’s hope...
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2019, 10:13:22 PM »
 :cheers:

Oh, you may know this, but I'll post it here for the record.
Bear has a terrible habit of selling "factory seconds." And normally, with most companies, they only sell tools with blemishes and mark them so. Bear sells some truly awful factory defective tools/knives and doesn't bother marking them as seconds/defective/blemished. Unscrupulous eBay sellers buy them by the bucket-load and sell them on eBay as the regular tool(at the same retail price mind you).
I wish Bear would stop selling those seconds. Who knows how much business they've lost over the years, because unknowing buyers thought the factory-seconds tools were indicative of very Bear tool/knife. :facepalm:

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,131
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2019, 02:55:46 AM »
Nice collection of Bears GLM!     :like:   If I can remember I'll dig some Bears out of hibernation and post some pics.     :)

What? Enablers! Are you serrrrious? Where? I dont see any.

Hold Fast
Global Moderator No Life Club Posts: 2,302
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2019, 03:44:14 AM »
I have been very interested in these ever sense I found out Victorinox bought the patent rights to create the SwissTool. 

Dougie - I don't think Vic bought the rights - I think they bought the whole company - Which I guess includes the rights - Maybe that is what you meant   :think:
Then it was sold back again after the ST was established

This thread / club needs to reference Chako's excellent 'Lets's Look'  thread on Bear:
 
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,52527.msg896692.html#msg896692
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2019, 05:14:52 AM »
Nice collection of Bears GLM!     :like:   If I can remember I'll dig some Bears out of hibernation and post some pics.     :)
Thank you much, David!  :cheers:

Would love to see some photos of your awakened Bears.  :popcorn:

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2019, 11:11:03 PM »
Had a bit of fun while waiting for a friend to come over today.

Imagine a Bear 155 in two-tone? I got crazy with a true-black permanent marker(made for finished furniture, so it doesn't look purple like a sharpie). :D










Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 1,839
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2019, 07:19:16 PM »
Interesting GLBM.  :like: it’s a shame Bear and Son don’t put a little effort into refreshing their multi-tools. BO would be an interesting model option, but I guess they would struggle to find someone who would do small quantities at an affordable price?  :dunno:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2019, 07:57:12 PM »
Thanks, Max! and :iagree:
They don't seem to care much about their MT lines. But, seeing as Remington dropped them as their collection tool producer, they need to get those MTs up to snuff.

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
No Life Club Posts: 1,839
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2019, 08:09:44 PM »
Oops! Do they have any major contract work left for their MTs?  Eventually, the market will move completely away from their gen-one designs (or has done already)  :dunno:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,704 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Bear and Sons Multi Tool Super Bear Mfg. Club - Can you Bear it?
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2019, 08:15:35 PM »
Oops! Do they have any major contract work left for their MTs?  Eventually, the market will move completely away from their gen-one designs (or has done already)  :dunno:
It seems that the only thing keeping their MT division afloat is a notable amount of "old-timers", in Alabama who like buying local, along with a number of collectors like myself(and several other MT.o collectors).  :-\

It is rare to see a Bear Jaws users online.  :facepalm:

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.

 

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