It’s good to see SOG staying in the multi tool game by teaming up with Paladin Tools, a large producer of professional-quality electrical and telecommunications tools. As the general-purpose multi tool market becomes more and more saturated, I believe manufacturers will begin to target these specialty niche markets in order to sell their products.
The PowerPlay PT-510 is largely based upon SOG’s Pocket PowerPlier model S44. The handles and plier jaws are the same size, but there have been some improvements, along with a few special features for electrical/datacom work.
For those unfamiliar with this series of tools, they are about the size of an original Leatherman PST multi tool. One important advantage from SOG is their use of compound leverage, delivered by way of those proprietary gear teeth up by the plier pivots. Compound leverage gives the user considerably more gripping power.
Unfortunately on the PT-510, this gripping force potential is somewhat limited due to the narrow edges on the plier handle digging into the user’s palm. Just like with the old PST, I slip on a pair of gloves when I need to pinch down really hard on something, and it isn’t a problem.
Speaking of those gear teeth and sore palms, I’m pleased with the way SOG and Paladin have solved a long-standing complaint of mine. With previous SOG multis, those teeth would bite into my hand whenever I was trying to bear down hard with an awl or any of the screwdriver bits. What a pain! I’m happy to report that the guard brackets installed on the Paladin tools do a fine job of protecting the user’s hands (and pockets!). The guards also offer a wider “platform” to push against when wrestling with a stubborn screw, giving more control as well as more comfort.
I think SOG should add these guards to all of their tools, not just the Paladin models.
The plier jaws themselves on the PT-510 are also unique, having a pointier “chisel” shape on the needlenose. The reason for this? According to the instructions, this allows you to use the jaw tip as a hole punch for penetrating drywall or thin wood paneling. Once the hole has been started, it allows access for a conventional saw or cutout tool.
Not in the mood for a divorce, I didn’t test out this feature on any of the walls in our home for this review. However, I do like the new profile of these plier jaws for more conventional plier duties, like grabbing objects in hard-to-reach locations. I carried the PT-510 to work with me all last week, and had at least one occasion when these pointy jaws worked in a location that more conventional needlenose jaws would not have.
Other included tools and blades in one handle are a three-sided file (with a #6 flat head screwdriver tip), a cap lifter (with a #4 flat head screwdriver tip) and a #1 Phillips screwdriver. I did not have an opportunity to test out the flat heads, but I used the Phillips screwdriver several times. I’ve always liked how SOG makes this implement. You would think it should be a simple thing to produce a decent Phillips bit, but it doesn’t seem to be. So many other tool makers have poor profiles, which don’t “engage” the screw properly. No matter which SOG tool I’ve tried, the Phillips bit is better than anybody else’s.
In the other handle there are only two tools. One is combination edge knife blade, measuring 2-5/8” long. (Did I mention that none of the blades lock open on the PT-510? Well they don’t. They snap into place nicely, but they do not lock. You have to move up to the PT-525 to get locking blades.) The knife blade is hollow ground, with a bevel along one edge, and is sharp as can be. I only used it to cut up some cardboard boxes, as well as to cut some plastic banding. I didn’t notice that this affected the edge any.
According to the manual, the remaining implement is called a “110 Punchdown Blade & 24-18 AWG Wire stripper.” I’ve read about how to use this punchdown thing, but I didn’t have anywhere to test it. I’ll ask the maintenance guy at work next week if he has an application we can try it out on.
As far as the wire stripper notches go, I was skeptical from the start. They do not have sharp edges, and I doubted their ability to cut through plastic insulation. After considerable testing, on several different sizes and types of wire, I was only successful once. It seems that the notches will only dig in to the very softest plastic, and when you pull on the wire, it breaks (not cuts) the insulation, stripping the wire. This only worked one time. Every other time, the plastic would be too tough, and the notches wouldn’t dig in, or the wire would simply yank out of the notch without stripping off the insulation.
I apologize if I wasn’t doing something correctly, but I wasn’t too impressed with this feature. I think it would work a lot better if the edges of the stripper notches were ground sharp, in order to cut into the plastic insulation better.
Last but certainly not least, I’ve always been impressed with the quality of SOG’s leather sheaths. The one that came with this Paladin tool is no exception. Real leather, not imitation made from felt, and in a thick enough grade to stand up to sustained abuse. All capped off with a large stainless steel snap. Just the way I like’em!
The PowerPlay is not designed to replace full-sized tools, but to offer the user a variety of field options quickly and easily accessible in your pocket or on your belt.
I read the above disclaimer in the instruction pamphlet included with the tool. When you think about it, this statement applies to just about all multi tools. Yah, a dedicated tool is usually better for any given task, but you don’t always have that ideal tool with you. The Paladin PowerPlay PT-510 is lightweight enough to go without notice on your belt, until you need it. For the electrician or datacom professional that carries it with them wherever they go, it will no doubt save them a lot of trips back to the truck!
Length closed 4-1/8”
Width Closed 1-3/16”
Length open 6”
Weight 7.5 oz
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