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Multi-tool war stories

The old pocket knife and pliers in the leather belt holsters used to be just like parts of a uniform for a lot of farmers. Today, those old standbys are being replaced by modern multi-tools, like those made by companies like Leatherman and Gerber.

Multi-tools like these can save a lot of space -- a lot of models let you basically keep miniature versions of a whole toolbox full of tools in your pocket. But, they're not quite the real thing -- you can't generate the torque with a multi-tool like you can with a pair of longer-handled pliers, for example.

And, there's the question of durability. Will they stand up to the rigors you'll put them through on the farm? According to multi-tool maker Leatherman, they should. But, if they don't, the company won't leave you hanging.

"We take extraordinary measures so your Leatherman product will give you many years of dependable service. If it doesn't, we will gladly repair or replace it, at our discretion, with one of equal or greater value under our 25-year guarantee for tools and 10-year guarantee for lights," according to the Leatherman website. Shop Talk member Nebrfarmr can vouch for both the durability and warranty service for Leatherman multi-tools. He wasn't the most optimistic when his tool that was "years and years" old finally gave out and the blade lock broke, "making it extremely unsafe.

"I wasn't too optimistic, as the main blade lock was all screwed up, the screwdriver bits were twisted and the pliers were all chewed up from cutting telephone wire in an emergency fence fix that would have involved cows in the corn had I left to get my linesman pliers," he adds.

Both the Leatherman company and Gerber, maker of similar multi-tools, offer blade replacement and repair if damaged or broken during regular daily use. Turnaround time ranges from around a week to a month. In most cases, the only cost incurred by the owner is to ship your multi-tool to the manufacturer.

"I think I had the repaired/replaced tool in my hand exactly 6 days after I mailed it in," Nebrfarmer says. "Good tool, great warranty, great service, forgetful old duffer for an owner."


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