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Gerber Freehand in Use - First Impressions

Offline bandito

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Gerber Freehand in Use - First Impressions
on: September 04, 2008, 11:22:56 PM
I'm hardly an expert in multitools, but what I hope to give you is my first impressions on how the Freehand works in use. There's two excellent reviews of the Freehand on this forum, so I'd recommend reading those for a detailed description of the design and tools on offer.

Size and weight:
The Freehand is certainly a large, weighty piece of kit, but I didn't find it to be a problem. It's nicely balanced and just the right size to fit in my average sized hands. In fact, the large size makes for a very comfortable grip and allows for a lot of leverage to be put on the tool. It's small enough to fit in a pocket - as long as you're carrying nothing else.

Fit and finish:
The Freehand is a nice, purposeful looking tool, but not as nicely finished as the better Leathermans. There are a few rough edges, and there was plenty of swarf left on the tool. There is some rattle from the pliers, but on the whole, the Freehand seems tightly put together and not likely to fall apart.

Tool selection:
I'll start by saying that, working in furniture refurbishment and upholstery, the Freehand has the perfect set of tools for me (with the exception of an Awl and hex keys). However, there is no saw or file. Not a problem for me, but you outdoors types may find this lacking. Personally, I like the limited selection as I can quickly find the right tool.

What we have is a bulky set of needlenose pliers. Not small enough for fine work and not enough grip for heavy work. However, for a multitool the pliers seem sturdy and have a useful set of wire cutters for occasional work. The Freehand's large handles enable a lot of pressure to be put on the pliers, and they have taken it with no complaints.

There is a tanto style straight blade and a round headed serrated blade. The straight blade is very sharp and ideal for detailed work, cutting through tough fabrics and leathers with ease. The serrated blade is surprisingly effective at cutting through plastic fittings on modern chairs. I find this a very useful blade to have, as the heavier plastics often cause a problem for straight blades. What did not impress me was the rough finish on the edge of the tanto blade for this level of tool, however it did not affect performance. Both blades are quite thick and inspire confidence - a very good thing in my book. The one-handed blade opening (using small thumb tabs) works as advertised, however I would advise caution as your thumb pivots over the flat of the blade. An absent minded moment could cause a nasty cut.

The best scissors on a multi I've ever used. For once - decent sized scissors that are actually comfortable to work with! They do an excellent job of cutting through jute and hessian webbing.

Industrial driver/ruler/pry bar:
As a flathead screwdriver, it looks like it should withstand heavy use. As a ruler, at first you think the marks are on the wrong side of the implement (i.e. they face towards the inside of the tool). However, just open it out to 90 degrees, and it's perfectly useable. As a pry bar - brilliant! For the first time, I have a pocket sized tool tough enough (and just the right shape) to lever apart stubborn plastic shrouding, badly repaired wodden joints - you name it. I may be the only person that uses this feature, but I love it.

Small screwdrivers:
As other reviews have said, these tools are rather short. You lose out on reach, but I have noticed other tools display a worrying amount of torsion under load. So, for me, the Freehands screwdrivers inspire confidence. The packaging info suggest that the philips head will take Gerber's bit kit, giving you more reach if needed.

Bottle opener and can opener:
The bottle opener works, the can openeer doesn't. Enough Said.

The Freehand lives up to it's claim of being a big, tough tool. You get an ok pair of pliers, superb blades, superb scissors, a really useful pry bar and screwdrivers that are good enough for when you need them. The best thing however is the confidence that this tool inspires. It feels like it will take a lot of punishment without any dangerous breakages. If you can get by with the slightly odd pliers and limited selection of tools, the Freehand is highly recommended.

gb Offline Mike, Lord of the Spammers!

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Re: Gerber Freehand in Use - First Impressions
Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 11:26:56 PM
Bloody fine review sir :salute:

And you are right about the scissors being excellent, finest snipper's out there imo :)
Give in, buy several Farmer's!!!!!!

ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Gerber Freehand in Use - First Impressions
Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008, 01:15:02 AM
I'm hardly an expert in multitools, but what I hope to give you is my first impressions on how the Freehand works in use.

That's how the best reviews are written!  :D

Thanks for taking the time to put this together for everyone!

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

us Offline J-sews

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Re: Gerber Freehand in Use - First Impressions
Reply #3 on: September 05, 2008, 03:34:31 AM
Yes thanks bandito! :)

I didn't find the pry bar as useful as you did, but that will certainly vary depending on the user's needs. The big scissors are indeed nice.
In order to be certain of having the right tool for every must first acquire a lot of tools



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