Multitools have been a part of our lives for several decades and have been engineered to be a do it all tool box. Manufacturers include everything but the kitchen sink to ensure that we have the tools we need for any occasion and to keep us prepared. The downside to this is the tool is not specialized for a specific task and this general design makes the tool heavy. It also can be a deciding factor in which tool you purchase or edc if you have a collection like me. Several tool companies are designing tools that are specific to a job title, recreational activity or task and the Leatherman Signal is one of those tools. The Signal is patterned after the Leatherman MUT design and scaled down so it’s not such a massive beast. Weighing in at only at only 7.5oz the Signal is enough tool for the task and light on the tools so it's easy to carry where ever your headed.
Multitools comes in a vast variety of shapes and sizes and certainly have had a lot of changes to them since the first Leatherman was issued. In spite of all those changes the general look and functionality hasn't deviated much. Tools are usually clumped into two categories; Swiss Army style or plier based which is what most people associate with.
Back in the golden age of multitools; we'll say late 90s early 2000s there was a lot of manufacturers getting in on the game. Everyone from Buck to Kershaw was producing a multitool and some of the designs were very forward thinking. Schrade cutlery was one of those companies and they produced what they called the Tough tools. Both the Tough Tool and the Tough Chip did well for the company and we're proudly made in the USA.
Schrade had some financial struggles and was purchased by Taylor Brands LLC back in 2004. Taylor kept a lot of the lines alive that Schrade had such as Old Timer and Uncle Henry. Manufacturing was moved overseas and we saw quality control take a dip. Schrade continued to manufacture the Tough Tools but they don't have the durability of the once famed brand.
In the first quarter of 2016 Schrade brought some new products to the market which included some multitools. One of those new tools was the Schrade ST11. The ST11 or Schrade Tough Tool Multitool; is an interesting new take on an old design.
It has been a while since a multitool has come along that has generated so much excitement and anticipation as Gerber is doing with the new
Center Drive Multitool.
I don’t believe any tool has created this much of a stir since the releases of the Victorinox Spirit and Leatherman Skeletool. Best of all we should have one on the way shortly for a review!
According to our friends over at Knifenews.com (full story HERE) the famous firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson has purchased Taylor Brands LLC for $85 million. For those who don't know, Taylor has long produced knives and multitools with the Smith & Wesson name on them, and I have often commented on the quality (more accurately, the lack therof) of Taylor knives, whether they are marked S&W, Schrade, Uncle Henry or Imperial.
For years I had labored under the impression that the folks at S&W were blissfully unaware of the crap that Taylor was producing with their name on it- I am a big fan of Smith & Wesson firearms, and that name has become (in my mind at least) synonomous with quality revolvers. I had assumed that someone at Taylor had arranged for a dump truck full of cash to arrive on a bi-monthly schedule at the house of S&W's licensing manager, and that as a result, he or she just didn't ask any questions. It seems that isn't the case, and that S&W is fully aware of the crap that Taylor is producing, and that is very disapointing to me.
The worst part is that S&W doesn't appear to even want to fix it- they seem content to merely take advantage of the distribution network that Taylor has, so that they can make their own in house accessories more available. As if having their name on crappy knives wasn't damaging enough to the brand, now Smith & Wesson will be selling their actual merchandise on the shelves right next to crud, strengthening the connection.
This is one of those times when I really hope I am wrong. As I said, I have lots of respect for S&W, and I hate to see them take a bad decision (like giving a license to Taylor in the first place) and make it worse.
Pry tools seem to be a dime a dozen these days with everyone wanting to get in on the action. Pry tools used to be something only the higher end knife makers made as a way to save users from using their knives in ways they were not intended to be used. Since the Atwood craze, the mafket has been flooded by all kinds of styles and designs. Some are very creative and interesting while others giving you the impression that they are out to make a buck.