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Skeletool Review 1955

No Life Club Posts: 2,352
Skeletool Review
« on: November 30, 2016, 05:49:34 PM »
I've carried the Skeletool in my bag every day since I got it, 3 years ago. It has been used for practically everything from fixing my electric bike, taking apart computers and complex mechanical equipment in work and general DIY at home, cutting cables, whittling wood, carrying pots off the flame at camp, etc.

So what is this MT good for. Well, it's light, not too bulky and combines a good length blade with pliers, wire cutters and a bit driver.  The Skeletool is like all MT's in reality, a compromise for convenience. I'd like to discuss just how much of a compromise it really is.

The Blade. Combo, 420HC and hollow grind. I loathe all three. I'll explain what the problems are. 420HC is hard to sharpen for the non experienced due to burr problems (YMMV). It also doesn't hold it's edge very well.  Hollow Grind isn't a slicer, isn't a chopper and is annoying. Honestly, the amount the grind jams up cutting even a cardboard box in comparison to a FFG blade is embarrassing. It does bite nicely into wood but the straight blade is too short for that, there really isn't enough of either half of the blade for a combo to make sense. Bottom line, if you want a Skeletool, buy the CX. But that one is far more expensive.

My solution was this. I ordered a CX straight blade in 154CM steel from Texas Tool Crafters. $10 and easy to install. I also added a Qwik Stud (~$6) and suddenly the blade is a far better proposition and still significantly under the CX price. The steel holds an edge very well and is easy to both sharpen and maintain. It's still hollow ground which is the only thing which keeps this MT from being my sole EDC knife. The knife blade is now my hard use knife and works very well for that task. Whether it's cutting cable ties or making feathersticks. It's a good size and works well.

The Frame. Lots of cool holes, pretty light, rather sharp in the hand. I keep wondering why in a full size MT we couldn't have better pliers? The sharp edges do not help for using the tool as a screwdriver and can pinch when using the pliers. The carabiner/bottle opener is ok to have but to be frank far from essential. On the other hand I would never forgive the loss of the bit driver or put up with the unforgivable ugliness of the Freestyle. The clip has good retention but due to it being off to one side, in non vertical pockets the tool twists in the pocket. You can't remove the clip without adding a spacer either.

The Pliers. Light use only folks. My bosses brother borrowed my Skeletool to pull a nail out of a door. Twisted it out of straight. Prior to that I'd tried to cut a bike brake cable with the wire cutter and the wire forced the cutter apart and ruined it.  $10 later and I had a new pliers head and with a rather difficult change, good as new again. Within the parameters of what the pliers are, light use, they work very well. I took my sons bike apart with them, they work great when soldering stuff or using it to grip hot stuff and the cable cutters work very well with electrical cables.

The Bit Driver. This is the real strength of the tool. In fact I consider the entire tool a bit driver with added extras. It isn't hugely comfortable to work with but the amount of torque you can produce by folding the handle half way and using it as a ratchet is incredible. It's long and gets into tight spaces, for example between the spokes of my bike wheel to adjust the brakes. I never imagined that those halved bits could bite so well. I LOVE having a second bit to hand inside the handle.

In conclusion. A great bit driver on a combo screwdriver/ratchet with a good blade (after modding) and light use pliers. Why do I like it so much? Because it's been a workhorse within its capabilities. It is, for me, the perfect urban or light use MT. Is it perfect? far from it. Does it do a great job, you bet.

Here it is with my Charge AL. The charge is a better tool but it's also too much tool for urban use. Most of us don't need a readily available saw in the city. Or both a straight and serrated blade. Or a can opener. It's too much, both price, weight and complexity. You just don't need it commuting to an office job and back. That's where the Skeletool (with the blade upgrade) comes up trumps. It's perfect for the city dweller, the commuter and the office worker. Look at it with that in mind and it's a great tool for the price.

Light, cheap, does more than you would imagine.

Sharp frame, Substandard included blade, weak pliers for a full sized MT
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 05:55:55 PM by pomsbz »

"It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser." - Robert Louis Stevenson
No Life Club Posts: 2,352
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 05:54:30 PM »
I'm rather new to the site and this is my first review, apologies for going (50 words) over the 800 suggested. I tried, honest! :D

"It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser." - Robert Louis Stevenson
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,464 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 05:59:40 PM »
It's a great review and I think we can overlook a few words.

We just won't count the little ones. :D


Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,262 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 06:02:00 PM »
Good review, I agree Skeletool is perfect for city office workers, source tells me Skeletool is the most carried Leatherman tool in Leatherman office.

EDC: Black Talon, Black Cat, Spirit, LD02
Newbie Posts: 9
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2017, 07:07:14 AM »
Just noticed this review and have to say I completely agree, I had (key word had) a Skeletool for quite some time and found most of the cons to be spot on. I sold it and went back to my tried and true PST.  :P
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 22,789
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2017, 04:23:34 PM »
Well done!   :salute:

Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 2,352
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2017, 05:38:26 PM »
I should note that the price for the blade upgrade that I mentioned is now $28 + shipping. They've rather priced themselves out of the market as it's now simply easier to buy a CX model at pretty much the same price as a regular skeletool + blade upgrade.

"It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser." - Robert Louis Stevenson
Hero Member Posts: 627
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2017, 07:08:28 PM »
Great review. Sums it up exactly. I always felt that some people have too high of an expectation on MTs. As you mentioned, it suffices until you can get to your tool box.
No Life Club Posts: 1,842
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2017, 01:17:34 AM »
Really helpful. Thanks for writing it up.

Global Moderator Just Bananas Posts: 61,821
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2017, 03:56:54 AM »
Great review of a great MT :cheers: :like: :like:
No Life Club Posts: 2,352
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2017, 02:14:55 PM »
Thanks all!

"It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser." - Robert Louis Stevenson
Newbie Posts: 6
Re: Skeletool Review
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2017, 05:58:28 AM »
I agree a great multi-tool.
Lacking scissors and a file, but small size/light weight and pocket clip are pluses.

I did break the pliers on my first Skeletool pulling a bungi hook from my tire.  Leatherman replaced the tool under warranty. 

I prefer the non-serrated blade on the CX version.




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