Sunday, 06 February 2011 22:46
Usually Dave Bowen handles the one piece keychain type tools as he’s the expert, but in this case I thought I’d take a stab at it. Why the Shark appeals to me, I don’t really know, but I do like the simplicity of it. While it may not have a lot of functions, what it does do, it seems to do quite well.
When I opened the package I was surprised by two things- first by how light it was, although being a thin frame made from titanium that probably shouldn’t have come as much of a shock, and how thick it was. Given how small and light it is, the Shark is about ¼” thick for strength.
From the first moment you look at it, you can see why they named this tool the Shark, since it looks very much like a shark with an open mouth. Rather than trying to eat Roy Scheider, this Shark’s mouth is used to open bottles, a job I’m sure old Roy would appreciate in more ways than one! As a bottle opener, it functions well enough, but due to the width, it takes a small bit of technique to open bottles in one quick motion, but I made sure to stick to it until I mastered it. After two or three bottle openings you’ll be able to pull caps off in one swift motion. Until then, you may have to lift the caps twice to get them completely off. Of course, that’s not really a big deal, but since the Shark has so few features, I have to pick at things when and where I can!
In the body of the shark is a number of cut outs which act as an almost universal wrench. The slot is cut out in graduating steps to allow for different sized nuts and each step is large enough to provide a firm grip on the nut it’s holding. I have used a number of these types of wrenches, and this one provides a better hold on the nut than many of them. Unfortunately, the smallest cut out is at the tail end, and provides the most leverage, with larger sizes going towards the middle of the Shark, offering less and less leverage as the nuts get bigger and bigger. The only slight upside to that is as the nuts get bigger and bigger, you get more of a handle on the opposite side of the nut as well, meaning you can apply pressure to both sides. Still, this is probably a safety feature, as titanium man be strong, but it’s a poor metal for a wrench and as you get into larger and larger nuts, less leverage means you are less likely to break it.
The other drawback is that in order to use the wrench, you need 360 degrees of clearance around the nut. If there is anything obscuring the nut, the Shark likely won’t be able to get a bite, or its range of motion could be significantly reduced. It is also virtually useless for recessed nuts, unless enough of the nut is exposed enough to get a bite on it.
If there were to be a Shark 2.0 made, I’d like to see a few changes made. While these may complicate the manufacturing process slightly, I think it could be done, especially if there were a steel version as well. For example, I’d like to see the nose of the shark ground down on one or both sides so that the jaws could function as a can opener in addition to just being able to open bottles. If the tip were flattened, it could be used as a light duty pry bar and/or flathead screwdriver. The tail points could also be ground into smaller flathead or Phillips screwdrivers, but again, in titanium the usefulness of a screwdriver is very limited.
While these may seem like great drawbacks to this tool, remember that the Shark is not meant to be the “Go To” tool for diesel mechanics- it’s designed to hang on your keys and help out here and there where it can, with mostly spur of the moment, light jobs and for that, it works quite well. When it’s the Shark or nothing, I think you’ll find yourself quite happy with the Shark’s limitations, especially when you consider how difficult it is to hold a nut while turning the screw on the other side.
• Relatively affordable compared to similar tools
• Extremely lightweight
• What it does, it does well
• Titanium isn’t the best material for a wrench
• Not much leverage on larger nuts
• Only works on nuts that are not recessed or obscured