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Busy with reviews today....

ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Busy with reviews today....
on: February 07, 2011, 05:16:10 AM
Sharp eyed members may have noticed a few changes to the Main Site today, but you probably didn't see all of them!

First off, I posted a couple of reviews from Gareth:

Style CS

Squirt PS4

And I posted a couple of my reviews over there too:

Gerber Curve

Superior Titanium Shark

And I added some pictures to a couple of reviews that didn't have any:

Gerber Grappler

Gerber Octane

Plus I wrote this long overdue review:

Utica Kutmaster Multimaster

   Every so often we look closer at an often overlooked yet very interesting tool.  In this case, it’s the Utica Kutmaster Multimaster multitool.  On paper it’s a very impressive tool, featuring all locking implements, fixed plier head (my personal preference!), very reasonable price (about $40) and made in the USA by a company that has been around since 1910.  With pedigree like that, why don’t more people know about them?

   Most of the Multimasters on the market these days are marked as CAT tools, and are marked with the heavy equipment manufacturer’s logo.  Mine is an actual Kutmaster branded tool, but there is no difference between them other than branding, so this review counts for both! 

   The first thing you notice about this tool is how solidly it’s built.  It feels like a tank, and indeed could probably be used to disassemble an Abrams.  It’s made with one solid handle and one hollow handle with the various implements inside of it.  They fold out from the inside, so the flat, smooth side of the handle comes in contact with your hands, making it above average for comfort during heavy use. 

   Inside that handle is a plain edged, clip pointed knife blade, wood saw, bi metal saw, serrated sheeps foot blade and a combo tool that opens both cans and bottles.  Each one comes out easily enough with no problems, and each one locks open, but I’ll discuss the lock mechanism later- it deserves a dedicated look.  There are a few drawbacks to this kind of setup however- for one, the wood saw and file are kind of stubby, and there’s enough space inside the handle to add another ¼” of length.  Still, they are functional enough despite the length, and the selection of functions is good.

   You may be wondering why it doesn’t include any screwdrivers inside the hollow handle, but there’s a reason behind that- the solid handle has a ¼” slot inside it for standard ¼” bits, which are carried in a secondary pocket in the sheath.  Plus, since ¼” bits are the universal standard, the bit set can be replaced if lost or customized with any specialty bits you may need, like Robertson and/or Torx bits.  Since this handle is squared it’s not as comfortable when used hard, and since it’s a solid hunk of cast steel (it’s part of the plier head) it contributes significantly to the overall weight of the tool, but also contributes to its sturdy feeling.

   As mentioned above, the lock mechanism deserves a close look.  If someone told you they’d developed a lock that is as secure as any lock could be, engaged automatically and required no disengaging to fold the tools, you’d probably roll your eyes in disbelief, but in this case, such a mythical machine exists.  It’s so simple, no one else could have thought of it.  The solid handle has a lip of steel cast into it, while the implements have a notch cut in their bases, at the pivot point.  When closed, the lip fits into the notches, locking the implements closed, then, when any of the implements are opened, the lip closes into the notch keeping it open.  Opening the handle to fold the blade pulls the lip out of the notch, automatically releasing the lock mechanism.

   Last but not least is the plier head- I have the blunt nose version, but it’s also available with a needle nose.  Both types have a bypass style cutter that is actually somewhat longer than most multitool cutters.  They also don’t have a hard wire notch, but I’ve always wondered about how useful that really is with a stainless plier head- a soft cutter versus a hard wire seems like a bad idea to me.

   In conclusion I think this is one of the best value pieces out there.  I think it’s more suited to a craftsman, tradesman or mechanic (or a hobbyist version of any of those!)  than to the outdoors or adventurous types.  It’s not as versatile as some tools, but the price is good, and what it does do, it does well.  And, for under $40, you can feel good about using this one as a go to tool for dirty or hazardous jobs.  It would also be a good gift idea for a multitool to someone who doesn’t usually carry a multitool since it’s solid and reasonably convenient.

Pros:
•   Solid construction- Made in USA
•   Lock mechanism is as brilliant as it is simple
•   Fixed headed pliers

Cons:
•   Stubby saw and file- less draw means more work
•   Solid handle is heavy and sharp corners are uncomfortable
•   Sheath is terrible

Pictures coming soon....

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


au Offline MultiMat

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 05:59:08 AM
You have been busy Def  :o :o :D :D :D.

Def I have a old style Multimaster which I think is made in the US & a newer CAT version which I thought was made in China  :think: :think:.

I prefer the older version , but I forget why  :think: :think:. I must do a comparison  ::) ::) :D :D.I think the older version is more solid in its construction  :think: :think: :think:
The L shaped lock I agree is BRILLIANT simple & effective  8) 8) 8). I must go find my Multimasters & carry them again.

"Downunder Mod (that sounds dirty, doesn't it?)"
Yeh Baby :P >:D >:D


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 02:02:34 PM
There is a newer version of the Multimaster that has more functions and is made in China.  The original Multimaster is made in the USA:

http://www.kutmaster.com/productline/caterpillar/multipurpose-tools.php

The 30 in 1 Wrench Head tool is made in China:

http://www.kutmaster.com/productline/caterpillar/knives-and-tools.php

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


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 04:18:28 AM
And another:

Gerber Crucial F.A.S.T.

   Silly acronym aside (I can’t remember what it stands for anyway) the F.A.S.T. is an update to the Crucial model that came out a few years ago.  The original Crucial was a decent enough tool, but had some drawbacks that are addressed in the current model.

   Perhaps the biggest problem with the original was the extremely short screwdrivers, which made them virtually useless if the screws were recessed at all.  The F.A.S.T. solves this problem by getting rid of the carabiner found on the original and using that space to give the flathead and full Phillips drivers their own sides of the tool, rather than forcing them to share only one slot.  The result is a couple of screwdrivers that have slightly more than average reach.  And, since both screwdrivers lock open with a liner lock, they are actually nice to use.

   I said above that the F.A.S.T. has a full Phillips, meaning that unlike its predecessor and many other Gerber models, it’s got a full, four tined, three dimensional Phillips driver instead of the more common flattened driver.  This alone is a huge improvement over the original, and when coupled with the extra reach, it moves the Crucial design from the lower end of the screwdriver pack to one of the front runners.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, the Phillips driver also doubles as a bottle opener!

   Improvements don’t end there though- the F.A.S.T. gets its name from the assisted blade opening mechanism that fires the blade out when the user opens it enough for the torsion bar to take over.  It’s a decent system, but doesn’t have that huge snap that other assisted opening knives and tools have- although it’s only competition with assisted opening blades in a multitool is the SOG PowerAssist.

   For safety the blade also locks closed, and for the sake of simplicity it uses the same lock switch to release the blade when it’s open.   For example, flick the switch forward so you see the red dot, then flick the blade open and the lock automatically locks into place.  Release the blade by sliding the switch forward again and the blade can be folded.  Other than the assisted opening mechanism, it’s the same partly serrated sheeps foot blade found on the original.  The blade is functional enough, but nothing overly special.

   Also, the F.A.S.T. shares the same plier head with the original Crucial- there was nothing wrong with it, so why mess with it?  It’s a standard type set of needlenose pliers found on so many multitools that have a pretty good reach for getting into awkward spots.  They also have a set of anvil style cutters with a small hard wire notch at the base of them.  It’s smaller than many other hard wire notches, but since this is a light tool you wouldn’t want to be doing anything too heavy with them anyway.

   Naturally there are a few drawbacks to this tool.  As mentioned above the spring system isn’t as strong as others, and on the sample I have the pliers seem a bit gritty.  But, since mine is a pre-production version that may not be an issue that users will have to worry about.  Another concern I have is one I have with many Gerber products- the liner locks don’t seem very robust.  I have never had one fail on me, so it may be a moot point, but the ultra this locking bar seems a bit flimsy.

   Overall the Crucial F.A.S.T. isn’t going to set the world on its ear but it’s a good tool in its own right.  It’s well suited to light to moderate duty, and rides along in a pocket nicely with its pocket clip even in the most conservative work clothes.

Pros:
•   Full Phillips driver
•   Screwdrivers have great reach
•   Assisted opening blade
Cons:
•   Bottle opener reduces reach of Phillips
•   Spring system is functional but not as powerful as many
•   Liner locks on screwdrivers are thin

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


ca Offline jekostas

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 04:41:57 AM
Forward Action Spring Technology

Look forward to seeing pics.


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 04:17:51 PM
Thanks.  I keep thinking F*cking Awesome Spring Technology, but somehow I knew that wasn't right... :P

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


ca Offline jekostas

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 09:33:57 PM
The sad thing is that I knew it off the top of my head.


scotland Offline Gareth

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 11:53:14 PM
Thanks for the read boss, very enjoyable. :tu:
Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...


gb Offline Malarauko

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Re: Busy with reviews today....
Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 11:59:21 PM
The sweet Octana review has made me add it to my list of "Gerber tools I will one day own".

The Style CS review is good as well. Now I want one of those. My list of "Leatherman tools I will one day own" is basically every tool they've ever made though so it might take me a while to get round to the style....


 

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