When it comes to pocket tools Peter Atwood is the king of the hill. Not only has he helped define the genre but his quality and attention to detail is impeccable. When you look at all of the tools Peter has produced; he has come a long way and has created some great tools that are the essence of form meets function. Of all of the tools he produces, one in particular has been more popular and has seen more revisions than the rest. The original prybaby was the landmark tool that Peter created out of necessity and has become a staple in his lineup to this day. The prybaby is so popular due to its simplicity and no bones approach to a tool that can handle numerous duties.
This being my first Atwood review, I would like to talk about Atwoods in general and why they are not only popular but a good tool to buddy up your other multitools. Peter Atwood as a custom knife/tool maker has made many different items, but his true passion is for small pocket tools. With his artistic eye he creates tools that are both functional and in the eyes of his collectors they are works of art. Getting into Atwood tools can be somewhat difficult, the first problem is acquiring one after you get over the initial sticker shock. Atwood tools can start at $40 and work their way up to the hundreds, they can be bought directly from Peter in a process called “lotteries” where you put your name into a hat so to speak and names are drawn randomly or you can go to one of the various knife forums on the internet and see if any are for sale.
With pry tools and pocket gadgets being all the rage these days, most folks look to the big guy Peter Atwood. There is however someone else who is very close in quality and can make the tool you want with a quick turn around time. Peter use to make tools on a as needed basis but he got so overwhelmed that he ended up doing runs of particular tools instead. Folks now had to wait till he would make another run of something, if in fact he ever did decide to make that model again. This is not the case with a fellow named Joshua Rice at JDR Knife and Tool. Joshua produces various kinds of both knives and tools and makes them to order out of his shop in Fischer, Texas.
When you think of pocket and key chain tools the first name that comes to your mind is Peter Atwood. There is such a following for these miniature works of art that they become incredibly hard to find and sometimes you pay more than you would if you get them directly from Peter. I knew there had to be some folks out there besides Peter and I went on my quest to find other pocket tool manufacturers. What hit me were there a quite a few folks who either make tools full time or dabble in them a little as a side project. Most of them are folks who no longer make them and getting your hands on one is next to impossible. But alas there is hope; I came upon a gentleman named Ray Kirk who runs rakerknives.com. Ray is a custom knife maker who makes fixed blades as well as some folders; his new found love though is for a tool he called the Raker Ring Tool.
I awaited rather impatiently the arrival of several Super Tool 300s that I had ordered before they came out. As luck would have it, I finally got them, and it is time to write a small review about my thoughts and ideas about Leatherman’s newest addition to the multi-tool family.
The Super Tool 300 is 3rd in a family of large heavy multi-tools. You can see its lineage in the older models. The first Super Tool came out in 1994 and was discontinued in 2001. That was quickly followed by the Super Tool 200 which had a run from 2001 to 2005. At this point, Leatherman produced the Core which was introduced in 2005 and is still being produced although there are talks that it may be discontinued soon, but who knows other then Leatherman. The Super Tool 300 is a 2009 model that had a September roll out.
To better understand the Super Tool 300, you have to examine its predecessors. The whole family is geared towards Industrial/Construction trades, where a larger and tougher tool is in high demand. Special mention should go out to another large multi-tool, the Surge, which will not be talked about in this short review as it belongs to another Leatherman family and doesn’t quite fit into the lineage of the Super Tool 300.
One could almost argue that the Core does not belong in this group, as it came out along with the Kick, Fuse, and Blast, which belong to another branch of the family. These all contain Zytel liners. However, the Core shares quite a bit with the Super Tool 300 as you shall see, and is deserving of its place in this review.
Lets take a closer look…