Digging through the small pile of obscure pocket tool makers, there is one guy in particular that makes you stand up and take notice. Brian Flud of Flud Unlimited is a custom knife maker who also seems to dabble in the pocket tool category as well. Most pocket tool makers seem to focus on a particular theme when they design a tool. They tend to swing from tools with a pry end or those with a wrench, sometimes even a bottle opener thrown in for good measure. Brian seemed to focus on something completely different; he instead designed his tool with a can opener as its primary function. Think of a military P38 on steroids and that is what the Flud tool is like, he takes the basic function and ramps it up to a tool that chews up cans and spits them out.
One of Peter’s great advances to his tool designs is the addition of the captive bit system. The system incorporates a series of o-rings that like the name entails captures and holds a ¼ inch driver bit into the frame of the pocket tool. This simple design is quite ingenious and does the job rather well; it’s definitely a nice way to carry an extra bit without having it loose in your pocket. One design in particular I want to focus on is the Atwood Nibble. The Nibble is a close cousin to other Atwood pry tools in respect that its main duty is for prying and the other features are just extra Atwood goodness.
The first hurdle a person faces when trying to get their hands on an Atwood tool is the fact they are not mass produced. Because they are not manufactured in a big shop they are much harder to find. Peter’s tools are made by hand in his shop and they are only available through his website or through some third party vendors and folks reselling them. You have to keep you eyes peeled and time it just right to have your chance at purchasing an Atwood. When and if you do find some Atwood’s to buy you have your next hurdle; price. Because Atwood tools are custom hand crafted pieces, the cost of them is reflected in the hard work that is put into them. When purchasing your first Atwood piece you probably want to start out small and then work your way up. Course there are those folks who have one particular tool in mind and won’t accept any substitutes.
The absolute lightest tool I have that packs the most punch for its size is the Bottlebug. It’s very thin compared to most Atwood tools but is strong for its weight thanks to the use of high end stainless steels by Crucible. It’s called the Bottlebug because it’s designed to be a very lightweight bottle opener that sports some other functions to boot.
When looking for an Atwood tool, there are three features that are a must when I am looking for a multipurpose pry tool. My first is strength; the tool must be strong enough to replace the need for using my normal multitool. For instance, you could use the large screwdriver on a Leatherman to do some prying but it would not be strong enough, that is where the pry tool comes in. Second is versatility; the tool must be able to sport more than one function and handle different tasks well. If all I do is pry with it, then I feel the price I pay for it is not justified. My third criterion is size, it must be small enough to fit in my pocket or on my key ring and not be noticed. When I was looking for a tool that fits those things I stumbled upon the Atwrench.