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Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge) 602

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« on: February 12, 2018, 10:24:31 PM »
This tool review is part of a challenge i was given, to find the best MT for $10, tax and shipping included. To see other contestants in the challenge, check out the main thread here...
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,75705.0.html

This tool was purchased used on ebay for $8.49.

Over the course of about a month, I watched listings for a lot of different tools. The Micra is one that seemed to come up fairly frequently for the sub-$10 price range, in what looked like pretty good condition. They can be had for a fair bit less, if you get them in lots, or paired with other multitools, but this particular one was purchased by itself.

Here it is.


The Micra is all stainless steel, and weighs 49g (1.72oz). It is bolted together, instead of peened, and this will be important in this review. When I received the tool, it had a fair amount of rust, and in places I couldn't get to without disassembling the tool.

So... It got disassembled.

First one side...


Then the other...


One of the great things about the Micra is that the knurled bolts don't require any special tool to disassemble. It can be done with 2 pairs of pliers. However, be warned that you can mar the bolts doing it this way. As this is never going to be a particularly valuable tool, I didn't feel that some marring on the bolts would be a real issue, and proceeded.

I have tried a number of ways to remove surface rust, but what worked well in this case was using P600 and P2000 automotive wet/dry sandpaper. I made myself a little sanding block to wrap the paper around, that by crazy chance just so happened to be exactly the perfect width to sand the inside of the handles.

There's no great secret or trick to this. Take a picture of the tool side before disassembly, pull it apart, clean off the rust, wipe down the parts to get rid of metal dust, and put it back together. Okay... a point of order. There IS a bit of a trick to reassembling it. The two backspring pieces are not identical. One has a raised piece near the bolt hole. One doesn't. That piece interacts with it's counterpart on the other arm, to sort of lock the two arms into place. If you get the placement of one of those backsprings in the wrong position, the tool won't close correctly. Ask me how I know. :D

Here's a pic of the two pieces interacting as seen from the end of the tool...


I don't know if this is a fair representation of Micras at the sub-$10 price point, because i've gotten others that didn't require this degree of service before use. But I test what I have.

Review of functions to follow shortly.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 10:47:45 PM »
The Scissors

For those who've never read any of my stuff, I kind of made a rating system for multitool scissors. Here's the thread.
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,36798.0.html

Here's a summary of the scale:"The materials tested were paper, corrugated cardboard, T-shirt, The seam portion of old khakis (4 layers thick), suede leather, PETE plastic bottle (as a stand-in for blister packaging), Cardboard box (non-corrugated), heavy gauge screw-on plastic lid (from a container of ‘country time lemonade’, about 1mm thick), and 550 paracord. I scored these in one of 4 categories: Fail (-1), Barely Adequate (+0), Pass (+1), Pass with distinction (+2)"

How did these do?

Barely Adequate: 550 Paracord, Khakis, T-Shirt
Pass: Suede, regular cardboard
Pass with distinction: Corrugated Cardboard, Heavy Plastic, PETE, Paper

Total score: 10

This is honestly not great for a Micra. There is slight damage to one blade, making it really bad at all of the fibrous materials. For everything else, it worked as every other pair of Micra scissors I've ever had.

Since all of the things it didn't do well with aren't day-to-day items that need to be cut, I'm going with ...

Scissors: Pass (understanding their limitations)
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 11:19:52 PM »
The blade.

As received, I tested the edge on the blade, and it was JUST able to cut thin receipt paper. I gave it 10 strokes on a ceramic rod and tested it again.



It would then cut very easily through both receipt paper and telephone paper.

I was at a bit of a loss as to how I was going to test this after sharpening. I mean, with larger blades, I give it 10 passes through corrugated cardboard, but this blade was so small, it didn't seem like it would handle that. Would it?



In fact, it will.  :o

Uhh... wow. I'm going to give you an odd bit of cautionary warning if you ever try this stunt. That blade is going to get HOT. I had the long blade on the Explorer warm up a bit as well, but there's a good bit more material there for the heat from friction to dissipate into. So you absolutely don't want to touch the blade to your tongue after doing this. And ABSOLUTELY don't want to touch the blade edge to your tongue. Why are you touching that hot, sharp blade to your tongue, you idiot? Stop that!

Okay, in all seriousness. That blade WILL get very hot but not horribly so. The ergonomics on a tool this size are NOT great doing hard cutting tasks. I could only get about 2 1/2 fingers of grip.I also had trouble guiding the blade on the long cuts, I suspect because of the chisel grind on the blade.

But it DID it.

And afterward, I took it back to the paper, and it still cut both the receipt paper and telephone book paper easily.

Wow. That ought to give a nice long life of package and envelope opening.

Blade: Pass (shockingly good for its size)
No Life Club Posts: 1,565
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 12:30:28 AM »
So you absolutely don't want to touch the blade to your tongue after doing this. And ABSOLUTELY don't want to touch the blade edge to your tongue. Why are you touching that hot, sharp blade to your tongue, you idiot? Stop that!

Dang it! Now I have this weird urge to touch blades with my tongue! :ahhh I'm just too impressionable.

A Micra for under 10 seems like a good deal :)

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 12:33:49 AM »
Dang it! Now I have this weird urge to touch blades with my tongue! :ahhh I'm just too impressionable.

I... don't even know what to say.  :facepalm:
 :D

A Micra for under 10 seems like a good deal :)

Yep. I think even with the slightly mucked up scissor blade, this is still a pretty excellent tool at this price.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,888 Yoo-hoo, big summer blowout!
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 12:41:00 AM »
Dang it! Now I have this weird urge to touch blades with my tongue! :ahhh I'm just too impressionable.

I... don't even know what to say.  :facepalm:
 :D
Add a warning label to all of your reviews?  :P

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2018, 12:48:19 AM »
Add a warning label to all of your reviews?  :P

Caution: Don't take 'Lynn's Review' while operating heavy machinery, ruling a democracy, or fighting ninjas. Side effects may include: moderate information gain, a weariness of seeing fish scalers, and death. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, or about to become pregnant, or have recently visited the colony on LV-426. Do not mix with alcohol. Well, you can mix with alcohol, but not TOO much alcohol. Okay, go ahead and test that cap lifter all you want. Do not lick blades.

How's that?
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,888 Yoo-hoo, big summer blowout!
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 12:49:55 AM »
Add a warning label to all of your reviews?  :P

Caution: Don't take 'Lynn's Review' while operating heavy machinery, ruling a democracy, or fighting ninjas. Side effects may include: moderate information gain, a weariness of seeing fish scalers, and death. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, or about to become pregnant, or have recently visited the colony on LV-426. Do not mix with alcohol. Well, you can mix with alcohol, but not TOO much alcohol. Okay, go ahead and test that cap lifter all you want. Do not lick blades.

How's that?
Rust. Rust warning. :P

 :like:

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2018, 01:16:22 AM »
Okay, on to the drivers.

The tool has three screwdrivers, a flathead, a flat phillips, and a small flathead.

Before I get into testing this tool, I want to revisit some history. This is not the tool being reviewed. This picture is old.


While doing a test-to-destruction of the Les Stroud Engage, I also snapped the phillips of a Micra. If you have seen my other reviews, the 'hard' screw test I do for a phillips is a 3" wood screw in a bench on my back porch. I call that a 'hard' test, because it SNAPPED A MICRA PHILLIPS. I'm not kidding when I say 'hard'. The drivers on this tool are great, but they are limited. They are not indestructible, and we shouldn't expect a keychain tool to be. I won't be hard testing these. I have a good idea of their limits.

I tested the small flathead on my glasses. It's very well formed for this task. I seem to recall it's also good for adjusting sights on pistols.


It also has pretty good reach for getting into small electronics that have flathead screws.

I tested the large flathead on the faceplate to light switches, then the latch plates on doors, then risked the large flatheads on our door hinges. This is REALLY pushing the limits, i think, but it worked.


And finally, I tried the phillips out on the screws that hold my kitchen cabinets together.


All of these drivers are very cleanly formed, slot into screws well, grip well, and there's no sense of camming out. For the weight of the tool, the drivers are pretty amazing.

But that doesn't mean indestructible. If you keep the use within reasonable limits, these things are great.

Drivers: Pass (for light work)
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2018, 02:31:06 AM »
We're down to the miscellaneous functions, now.

The Nail file.


The nail file works fine. It has a good nail cleaning tool at the tip. It's not a terribly aggressive file, strictly for working on your nails. You're not going to remove metal burs from anything.

Tweezers

I am not terribly impressed with the tweezers, particularly in comparison with the tweezers on 58 and 91mm Swiss Army Knives.


They are marginally functional, when tested by plucking a hair without cutting it. The tips are not very precise, and getting a solid hold on a hair is an iffy proposition. I've never had to use one for pulling a splinter, but like with hairs, I'd expect precise tips would be important.

Finally, the small flathead driver also has a cap lifter.


It actually functions pretty well, for such a small tool. There ARE better cap lifters, just not many on tools of this size. The Gerber Dime being a notable exception. Aside from that, This is about as good as you get for a keychain size tool.

And, finally, the tool has a split ring for lanyard or keychain attachment.

Nail File: Pass
Tweezers: Marginal Pass
Cap Lifter: Pass

Final thoughts coming up...

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Used Leatherman Micra (Lynn's $10 MT Challenge)
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2018, 02:43:48 AM »
There's a saying, and it might be a bit tired and hackneyed, but 'The best (X) is the one you have with you'. Fill in that blank. Knife, tool, whatever. This tool is very easy to carry. It's not much bigger than a somewhat bulky keychain fob. It's stainless steel, so it handles being banged against keys for months and years... and decades.

I wouldn't ever try the cardboard cut test with a 58mm Swiss Army Knife, which I feel is its main competition. And if you need to cut something heavy, the 58mm SAK scissors are no match for a Micra. Not just A Micra, but THIS Micra. Even with the scissors a bit worn.

Set against the IDL Tools T5, another competitor in this Challenge... They have almost nothing in common. The IDL is plier based. Both have flathead and phillips, but the IDL's are larger and more robust. Where the Micra's are smaller, better for finer work, and the Micra has a lot of extra functions.

Versus another competitor in the Challenge, the Victorinox Explorer... That becomes tough. The larger 91mm scissors on the Explorer is comparable to the Micra. Drivers are probably better, and certainly more robust, on the Explorer. Tweezers are better, cap lifter is better. Blade(s) are better. So why would I even consider keeping the Micra in the running? The Micra weighs half as much, and is MUCH easier to pocket carry.

I can't say that it's been eliminated from the running for best tool, and I think at least is the best of the (admittedly only two) keychain size tools.

In the condition its in, I think it's easily worth $10.

 

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