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.
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.
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.
In November of 2016 Gerber introduced the Center-Drive in a major media storm. Everyone was talking about it, wanting to try it for themselves, speculating on whether it was hype or whether it was the real deal. I'm a bit late to the party for reviewing it, and you'll see hundreds of different reviews and unboxing videos already, but mine is going to be different, because there is a reason we are late to the party. I have actually put mileage on the Center-Drive- I've carried and used it, and I don't think the value of a tool is in it's ability to be pulled out of a package.
The pocket tool phenomenon extends far beyond the reaches of my boarders and I've been searching far and wide for pocket tools that are worthy of our readers attention. I stumbled upon a knife and tool maker in Italy who doesn't crank stuff out via water jet like some folks but these are handmade tools.
The P Tool XL is 2.9 mm long and made from n690co stainless steel. N690co is a steel similar in composition to VG10 stainless; has good strength and corrosion resistance. With so many pocket tools being comprised of titanium it's nice to see someone using a different material. The weight of the tool has a good feeling to it and inspires confience.
What kind of people would write collect and review multitools? Quite simple really- we are designers and do-ers, outdoors types and indoor types, mechanics, doctors, problem solvers and problem makers. As such, we have, as a world spanning community, put every type, size and version of multitool, multifunction knife, pocket knife and all related products to every test we could manage in as many places and environments as there are.