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New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise

us Offline WhichDawg

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #60 on: January 23, 2008, 08:50:51 PM
yeah, whenever I see Davids reviews I want one! (shouts)"Thanks!"


Offline ringzero

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #61 on: January 23, 2008, 10:19:55 PM
I certainly cannot argue about the size- you are absolutely correct on that.  And, the XTract's handle is longer, giving more leverage.

However, the XTract's pliers are all cast while Vic and Wenger's are machined.  The tolerances of manufacture and assembly are also significantly higher on the Mechanic and Handyman, and instill much greater confidence in me as a result.  By comparison, the XTract's pliers feel flimsy to me.


Perhaps you got a bad example of the X-Tract.  The pliers on my X-Tract have very decent fit and and an acceptable finish.

The jaws' tips meet precisely with no detectable sideways wiggle to them.  The tips of the jaws have little transverse grooves and ridges to improve grip.  Those grooves and ridges mate together precisely, interlocking as the tips of the jaws close, which requires fairly tight manufacturing tolerances.

I do agree that leverage is somewhat lacking with these pliers due to the short handle of the swinging jaw.  On the bright side:  these pliers are less likely to break, given how difficult it would be to exert sufficient leverage to break them.

X-Tract pliers do provide sufficient jaw opening and leverage to grab and turn smaller nuts and parts.  For example, X-Tract can take apart my backpacking stove for cleaning and maintenance.  That job is beyond the capabilities of the smaller pliers on my Mechanic and Handyman.

Your comment that the X-Tract pliers are "virtually useless" was troubling to me.  That could mislead those readers who have never had a chance to personally handle an X-Tract.

Buck X-Tract provides a serious blade, decent screwdrivers, and some plier capability, all at a fairly low price.

Compared to prices of other multitools - even compared to prices of folding knives with 3-inch locking blades - the X-Tract's price isn't out of line for what it offers.

.
N


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #62 on: January 23, 2008, 11:58:58 PM
I think that's one we are going to have to disagree on, which is fine because that's what the forums are about!  What was troubling to me was the fact that no one pointed out it's shortcomings, and to me the point of this site is to provide many viewpoints and all the facts.  If you want unbridled sunshine, there's the manufacturer's sites! :D

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


Offline Tom Munch

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #63 on: January 24, 2008, 01:19:06 AM
It does have shortcomings.

-It needs a pocket clip
-The pliers lack leverage
-The drivers don't have much reach
-The blade is a CE
-The can opener is small & not good for bottles
-The scales are easily broken (in my case)


us Offline J-sews

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #64 on: January 24, 2008, 01:52:24 AM
It does have shortcomings.

Good points Tom, hope you don't mind me adding my two cents:

-It needs a pocket clip.............Agreed! (as do about 95% of the other multitools out there)
-The pliers lack leverage...........Agreed, but do they have "enough" leverage for tasks the user is likely to encounter?
-The drivers don't have much reach......wish they had more. Not a problem unless dealing with recessed screws.
-The blade is a CE..............a combo edge bothers some folks more than others.
-The can opener is small & not good for bottles........Buck definitely could have/should have made this a little bigger.
-The scales are easily broken (in my case)..........Yow! Haven't had this happen to me yet. Thanks for the warning.
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools


Offline walt_uoob

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #65 on: January 24, 2008, 09:22:03 AM
Coming up with bulletted priorities has been really hard.  But here goes:
I KNOW I want:
  --light weight
  --a knife blade  (not sure how heavy duty I actually need this to be..see below)
  --a can opener
  --pliers  (definitely to grab small nuts on bicycle and to use as a pot grabber, may or may not need heavier uses)
  --screwdriver that will accept an adapter for hex bits
  --locking implements

I know I DON'T care about:
  --a wood saw, which I just don't want to rely on a multitool for
  --a dedicated bottle opener.  (I mean, once you know how to open a beer bottle with a cigarette lighter, you realize you could do it with pretty much anything; plus, anywhere I'm going to be near a glass bottle I'll also probably be near other ways to open it)
  --tiny tiny screwdriver bits
  --wire strippers (I'll take my chances with the knife if the need happens to arise)

I figure I'll find useful but not sure exactly why:
  --scissors
  --relatively hefty pliers
  --relatively hefty knife blade
  --one-hand-opening knife blade

I have never used but I suppose I might:
  --awl
  --file

About the knife blade:  If I'm being honest with myself I have little idea what exactly I'd need a hefty 3+ inch blade for, but those like the one on the x-tract just look like the sort of thing I'd want to have available.  I do like to sit around and whittle wood around a campfire, and a bigger blade is easier to flip a steak with than a tiny one, but it's hard to call those necessities.  Also, as a not-very-experienced knife sharpener, a non-serrated blade is attractive to me.  Yet at the same time, as a not-very-experienced knife owner, those combo edges look pretty bad-ass.


The Juice S2 and X-Tract are still sticking out as good options.  I was thinking of getting a juice and looking for a separate knife to complement it, but as ringzero points out, a 3" folding blade knife can easily weigh less but cost much more than the x-tract.  So this sent me back into confusion.  And I can't justify buying both of them for myself right now, but I'm considering ordering both and giving away whichever one I like least, which I wouldn't feel so bad about.

I really appreciate everyone's input, and I'm glad everyone doesn't completely agree--makes me think harder.


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #66 on: January 24, 2008, 01:58:49 PM
--locking implements

If that's a necessity then get the XTract.  None of the implements on any of the Juice models lock.  They do have fairly hefty backsprings that keep the implements open but they don't lock, which I always felt was a drawback in the Juice design.

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


us Offline David Bowen

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #67 on: January 24, 2008, 03:16:51 PM
yeah, whenever I see Davids reviews I want one! (shouts)"Thanks!"


Thanks I am flattered  :multi: I try hard to write a good review, always need to make sure it passed by my editor thought :P

David


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #68 on: January 24, 2008, 03:46:04 PM
Yeah and he can be a real hard-@$$!  :D

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


england Offline Benner

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #69 on: January 24, 2008, 06:11:53 PM
Now this doesn't meet all your criteria, but it hits most of them and nearly all the high priority ones.  Have you considered a Leatherman Pulse??  It has/is...

- Small and lightweight (IMO anyway)
- A good knife blade
- A can opener
- Good, solid pliers.
- Many different flat headed screwdrivers and a phillips screwdriver.  No bit driver but the universal tool adapter could be added if you thought it was necessary.
- All locking implements

And it doesn't have...

- A wood saw
- The can and bottle opener are combined into the one tool (so is just an added bonus)
- Tiny screw bits
- A wire stripper implement, but does of course have wire cutters.

And it also has...

- Scissors
- Hefty pliers
- Decent knife blade, but is not one handed (could not meet that criteria sorry)
and it also has the file that you could find useful.

It does noy have an awl though.  This is the other criteria I couldn't match.


So going by your list it's not a bad match.  You will not have a OHO blade or an Awl but would this be a real problem??  The Pulse is actually a discontinued Leatherman model, but is still readily available on Ebay and I also believe from Tim (Felinevet) for relatively low prices.

Benner
I'm back!!


Offline ringzero

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #70 on: January 24, 2008, 06:35:09 PM
Coming up with bulletted priorities has been really hard.  But here goes:
I KNOW I want:
...
I really appreciate everyone's input, and I'm glad everyone doesn't completely agree--makes me think harder.


Hey walt_uoob, I sympathize with your difficulty in picking the perfect multitool and/or knife for your upcoming excursion.  This discourse may give you some more ideas.

The following comprises a suite of tools I've assembled through trial and error over the years.  This suite of tools has served me well during thousands of miles of backpacking, and although I've experimented with plenty of alternatives, I always come back to these four tools.

For the last 20 years I've always carried:
-Victorinox Tinker
-Original Leatherman Tool (AKA Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool)
-P-38 can openers
-Folding first aid scissors (unknown brand)

I've rarely encountered a situation that required more cutting, screwing, pliering, prying, filing, or opening than could be provided by these tools.  These tools will conveniently accomplish all of my daily tasks.  Beyond that, they'll allow me to improvise repairs to broken pack frames, damaged tents and tarps, broken tent poles, balky stoves, etc. etc. etc.

Victorinox Tinker:  the big blade is "good enough" for 99% of day to day cutting jobs encountered along the trail.  Sometimes I also carry a folding lockback knife (or lightweight fixed blade knife) for "just in case."  If weight is critical, I'll do without the bigger knife and just rely on the Tinker for everything.  I rarely build a fire when backpacking, so I don't need a knife suitable for typical woodcrafting duties.  If you're going to be building a lot of fires, cooking over fires, etc. then a bigger locking blade or lightweight fixed blade knife could come in very handy.

Leatherman Tool:  carried securely stowed away inside the pack because it is rarely used.  Its lame ergonomics and difficult tool access make it somewhat less than a pleasure to use.  It's a backup tool, only used when something breaks and needs repairs, and often it's not taken out of the pack for an entire trip.  If the Tinker was ever lost, the Leatherman could take over and duplicate all of its functions.

P-38s:  I always carry two P-38s, which are ultra-compact, weigh practically nothing, and are quite cheap.  The P-38 makes can openers on multitools and Swiss Army Knives seem totally lame.  For speed and ease of use there's just no comparison.  One P-38 is on a lanyard attached to my mess kit and a backup P-38 is always in my wallet.  (The P-51 is a slightly bigger and heavier version, and is even faster and easier to use than the P-38.)  Try a P-38 or P-51 and you'll be glad you did!

Scissors:  I carry lightweight, folding scissors in my first aid kit.  My scissors came included with a ready-made first aid kit, and I have no idea what brand they are but similar folding scissors are available in backpacking shops.  They have longer blades than SAK scissors, and finger loops which make them easier and more comfortable to use.  Weigh less than an ounce and are well worth the weight when needed for first aid or similar purposes.  I use the scissors most often for precise shaping of moleskin patches to doctor the blisters on my poor, abused feet.  Also come in handy for cutting ripstop patches for damaged tarps, raingear, down jackets, etc.

Recently I bought a Buck X-Tract to experiment with replacing my ancient Leatherman Tool for backpacking.  The idea was that for about the same weight as the old Leatherman, the X-Tract would offer a decent locking blade, which would save me the weight of a separate 3-inch lockback knife.  So far it still seems like a good idea, but only time will tell.

Recently I also bought a one-hand-opening, locking-blade Victorinox German Army Knife to experiment with replacing my Tinker for backpacking.  It's slightly heavier, but it does offer improved capabilities over the Tinker.  Only time will tell if the GAK is truly worthy to replace my time-honored, reliable Tinker.

.


   
 
N


Offline walt_uoob

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Re: New X-Tract Review up, with a surprise
Reply #71 on: January 24, 2008, 10:51:27 PM
These last two replies are very thoughtful and seem like solid options.  Thanks Benner and Ringzero.  I hadn't thought of the Pulse, or of carrying an SAK with a multi-tool backup.  I also definitely hadn't thought of first aid kit scissors, which makes perfect sense since I don't think I'll need them that often but they would be great, as you say, for patch jobs and the like that pop up now and then.  Perhaps I'll combine the two strategies (Pulse is basically a PST III anyway, right?).  All of Def's raving about the diamond-coated file makes the Pulse extra attractive, but I'm not sure if it's worth the extra 1.5 ounces over a Juice S2, especially since for the long trip I think I should have a separate sharpening system.

Early this morning there was an E-bay auction for an x-tract that was about to expire without a single bid, with an opening bid of $19.99.  So I bit on it and got a $20 x-tract.  It's supposedly "new" but without any original packaging or paperwork, so I'm not holding my breath, but I figure for twenty bucks I'll give it a try around the house and on my first spring camping trip this year and see how I feel about it.  In the meantime I'll get out to the outdoor stores and get my hands on some different models.

Long live multitool.org!  I'll definitely be around.  For now, thanks again everyone for your help so far.


 

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