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Mission accomplished with multi-tools

Agriculture.com Staff Updated: 01/11/2011 @ 10:54am

By Michael D. Faw

When it’s time to tackle most farm chores, you often need tools to aid the process. And if it’s anything mechanical, like turning bolts on a combine, you often discover you need more than one tool. Maybe what you need is a multi-tool.

“I’ve owned and used multi-tools for years. With all the tools in one convenient package, it certainly saves time by not having to round up a handful of tools,” says Jeff Spellman, Woodward, Iowa. “From tightening bolts to turning screws, and cutting wire or pulling with pliers, the right multi-tool offers hundreds of uses on almost a daily basis. The best thing is that you’ve got a lot of tools in a very convenient package.”

Multi-tools are often a collection of tools – from knife blades to screwdrivers – that are attached to or built into pliers. Consumer demand has created a large market and the incorporation of many specialty tools and designs. With a wide array of configurations to choose from – including multi-tools with a can opener, hole punch, file, flashlight, and magnifying glass – you’re sure to find a tool to meet your needs.

Investigate The Choices

Selecting a tool to purchase requires some investigation, which means you might need to look at, open dozens of models, and do some hand-holding – in your hand, that is. Consider the fit in your hand since some inferior models on the market can flex and possibly create an attention-getting painful pinch, or they will break at the assembly point if excess force is applied. For safety reasons, all tools should lock into place when open to avoid collapsing and injury to the user.

Some tools are packaged and sold with sheaths; others are not. A sturdy belt case, pouch, or sheath makes any multi-tool far more user-friendly.

The industry leader continues to be Leatherman (www.leatherman.com). Its futuristic Skeletool CX multi-tool, which sells for about $90, incorporates stainless steel handles, carbon fiber exterior handle scale, and a tungsten scratch-resistant coating to keep rust and corrosion at bay. Much like a pocket knife, the outside edge blade can be opened with one hand.

Another popular brand, Gerber (www.gerber-tools.com), offers nearly two dozen multi-tool models. The pliers on most Gerber models move into place with a simple flick of the wrist. The Diesel multi-tool offers needlenose pliers, wire cutter, a partially serrated knife blade, and screwdrivers along with a file, saw, and scissors. It retails for about $60.

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