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Short review on 4 wooden handled multi-tools. 1959

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,308 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Short review on 4 wooden handled multi-tools.
« on: July 26, 2009, 02:37:42 AM »
Wooden Handled Mulit-tools

I have always liked things constructed out of wood. I like the small, the colours, even the textures of all sorts of woods.  I am a woodaholic.

This boils down to my not being able to resist a wooden handled multi-tool whenever I come across them. I have found that modern wooden handled MTs tend to be on the cheap side. Because of those wooden handles though, I still can’t resist them. There is just something about the feel and warmth of wooden handles that imbues these with a touch of personality. Guess what I am saying, is that although I like no nonsense cold stainless steel, wood just warms what would be otherwise, a cold impersonal tool.

In this short review, I will give my thoughts and impressions on the 4 wooden handled models that I have.

Sears Craftsman

This is my newest wooden handled multi-tool addition. In fact, this one was a bit pricier than the others; however with that price, comes looks. This one is a real looker. Gazing on this multi-tool with its rich dark wooden handles, brass coloured bolsters and liners, and you are brought back in time to when life was simpler. The quality of the handles only reinforce this imagery. The fit and finish is beautiful, and the weight is just perfect in my hands. This is no light weight, but neither is it overly heavy.

This multi-tool provides an interesting conundrum. If you were to look at the overall fit and finish, build quality of the handles, and attention to details…you would think this is a far more expensive multi-tool then the price you paid for it. However, once you open it, and take a look at the quality of the folding tools, all your expectations come crashing down and risk a horrible death by false expectations. The quality of the folding tools are decidedly on the cheap side, and are completely removed from what the handles would lead you to believe. There is a moment when you realize that the Craftsman multi-tool is all about looks. I must admit, she is one sharp looking multi-tool.

For example, you only get 4 folding tools, 2 in each handle. In one handle you get a saw and a Phillips driver. The Phillips is odd in that they have cut away half the metal. You do get a full sized Phillips, but there is a obvious visual weak spot in its design.  As a matter of fact, I can bend the head a bit with my fingers. Yikes. You just know that this won’t stand up to much usage. The other handle contains a half serrated knife blade and a combo bottle opener and flat head screwdriver.  It is safe to say that there are no tool locks on this model.

The Pliers are nice, and do have a nice fit and finish. There are no gaps evident when the pliers are closed, and definitely no play either. Opening and closing the pliers feels silky smooth, and have a good action and feel to it. If you look inside the handles, you can see where they glued a rubber button to cushion the pliers. No metal on metal scraping here.

-   Lovely quality feel and looks in the handles.
-   Handles are silky smooth on the back springs.
-   Pliers aren’t that bad either.
-   Folding tools lack quality and greatly let this multi-tool down.
-   Wasted space in the handles. They had room to add at least 2 short folding tools in each handle like Gerber does.
-   Tools don’t lock.
-   Open and fairly weak spring that keeps the pliers apart.

This one is a looker. Just don’t expect good quality and durable folding tools which is a shame, because the handles feel like a million.

Carolina Knife and Tool Large Wooden Handle

I have had this one for several years now. The wood is more of a decorative element as they are just thin scales glued onto the metal handles.  Like all the others, this is not an expensive multi-tool. Whereas the first full sized multi-tool from Sears had cheap folding tools that flexed, this one is decidedly heavy duty. However, the overall feel of the tool is that of cheapness. Possibly due to the wooden scales being a bit too thin where the metal and wood meet. This ledge is felt every time you handle the tool. Not overly annoying, but there nonetheless.

The folding tools are numerous compared to the first model. Each handle plays host to 4 folding tools. In one handle we have a combo hook disgorger/scale remover/file/2” ruler, a short punch/blade, a Phillips driver, and a large flathead driver. In the other handle, we have a smooth knife blade, a can opener, a small flat driver, and a medium flat driver. A rather interesting folding tool load out considering the lack of the bottle opener. Likewise, no tool looks on this model either.

The pliers are a bit wobbly, and they just don’t quite meet up exactly when closed. Nothing serious but an obvious sign of an overall lack of precision in fabrication.

-   Nice looking wooden handle embellishment and design.
-   Folding tools are sturdy.
-   Lack of a bottle opener.
-   Fit and finish not all that great, and is evident in the handles and pliers.

The Carolina Tools may not be all that big in quality construction, but I do much prefer the folding tool quality and beefy construction to the flimsy and cheaper Craftsman. On the other hand, holding this tool is a pain…literally, as those pesky ledges do tend to dig in and cause a sore spot over time. Prime reason why I haven’t EDCed this one in years.

Carolina Knife and Tool small wooden handle

We have another Carolina model here. It looks and feels much like its bigger cousin, but in a much smaller size. The wooden scales fit a lot better on this model possibly because the wood bulges outwards tricking you into ignoring the height gaps where wood meets steel. Overall, this does feel a lot better in the hand.

Each handle holds 4 folding tools. Overall, you get a nice assortment. One handle contains a clip point blade, a small Phillips driver, a combo bottle opener/medium flat head driver, and a serrated sheepsfoot blade. The other handle contains a large flathead driver, a can opener, a small flathead driver, and a file. Yay to a bottle opener. Nay to no locking tools.

The pliers are of good quality in both fit and finish. There is no sloppiness or gaps evident. My main issue with this model does concern the pliers. When you close the tool, the pliers tend to push outwards, much of the folding tools from their berth. This can get annoying and a bit dangerous considering that the knife and serrated blade get popped out along with the rest of them.  If you are not paying attention, you could easily cut yourself. You do get used to closing it just a certain way to prevent this from happening. Still, why should you work around a design flaw in this day and age….well I guess it is almost expected for its bottom rate pricing.

-   Nice tool selection in a small package.
-   Wooden handles give this little guy some class.
-   Pliers spring open nicely.
-   Folding tools pop out whenever you fold the tool to close it for storage.
-   No locking tools.

Not a bad little multi-tool. It does have a good tool selection for its size, however, there is a major design flaw in how the pliers snap the folding tools out of the handle each and every time you close it. Argh!

Winchester small wooden handle

I just got this one from a used eBay lot. There isn’t much to say about this other then the wooden scales are larger than the previous model. Interestingly enough, the folding tools are identical to the previous model with the sole exception that the blade has Winchester acid etched into the blade. We all know that Winchester has been branding everything and anything they can put their name on.  I believe both smaller multi-tools were probably made in the same factory. The pliers are identical, there are obvious similarities in handle construction, and the folding tool are identical.

-   Nice tool selection in a small package.
-   Wooden handles give this little guy some class.
-   Pliers spring open nicely.
-   Folding tools pop out whenever you fold the tool to close it for storage.
-   No locking tools.

Everything I said for the previous model works for this one also.

Comparison Photographs

From left to right: Sears Craftsman, Carolina large, Winchester, and Carolina small.

A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
No Life Club Posts: 3,274
Re: Short review on 4 wooden handled multi-tools.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 04:39:24 PM »

thanks for the review and the pic's.  I really love the look of the wooden handled tools.  :)
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,308 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Short review on 4 wooden handled multi-tools.
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 04:44:56 PM »
Your welcome.

So do I. I can't resist picking them up, even if they are mostly cheapies.

A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
No Life Club Posts: 2,647
Re: Short review on 4 wooden handled multi-tools.
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 08:13:29 PM »
That Sears looks great. Shame about the quality :(

Prone to daydreaming.
Global Moderator Just Bananas Posts: 61,663
Re: Short review on 4 wooden handled multi-tools.
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2009, 03:31:51 AM »
That Sears looks great. Shame about the quality :(

Yeah it is bad as in days gone past a wooden handled tool was a thing of good construction with plastic handled things that were cheap my how time have changed :-[ But there are always exceptions to the rule and maybe this will change :)



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