One of my favorite useful tools? My Leatherman Wave.
Sure I had a pocket knife when I was a kid; in fact, I had a bunch of different pocket knives. You’re a young boy. You’re in Scouts. You get your Whittlin’ Chip. You get your Tote N’ Chip. You have knives (and work with other things too like axes and saws). You learn how to be responsible in the use of these tools and how to use them correctly and effectively. It’s just what you do as a kid. 🙂
I’ve also had various other knives, and sure they’re great and fun, but they’re just not always useful and handy. Tools are really most useful when they’re available to you at the point in time you need them. So you need to cut something? If you can’t get at your knife, what good is it?
So when I finally was able to get a good knife, the first thing I looked for was the ability to get the knife into my hand and the blade in a position where I can cut. Even better is if I can do this one-handed, and even better, if I don’t have to look to do it.. There are certainly lots of knives out there that do this (I like Spyderco Delica‘s too). This is one great thing about the Wave. When it was introduced, most Leatherman tools had the blades on the inside, meaning you had to open up the whole tool just to get at the blade, then close everything up to be able to use the blade. This was not handy at all. Leatherman realized this and created the Wave with the blades on the outside of the tool (seen at right). Now you can pull out the Leatherman from your pocket or sheath, and the blades are right there. You can place your thumb in the hole on the blade and with one hand open and lock the blade and off you can use it. One subtle but important thing Leatherman did was understand the importance of the sense of touch. There are 4 blades on the Wave, 2 blades are within easy deployment by a right-handed person. But when the Wave is in your hand and you can’t see what you’re doing, you can feel! There’s a small bumpy ridge on the back of the serrated blade (bumps, serrated, get it?), so you can feel for this with your thumb… if you feel the bumps, you’re in position to deploy the serrated blade; feel smooth, the straight blade. So this was a key reason in my choice of the Wave back when I bought it. These days it seems most of Leatherman’s full-sized multitools offer the blades on the outside, so that’s good to see.
The other reason for choosing this over a traditional pocket knife? More tools! Well, that and locking blades (most traditional pocket knives don’t have locking blades… something you appreciate the first time something slides and a blade closes or nearly closes on your fingers). It’s nice to have tools. There are countless times I have used the pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, bottle opener, can opener, ruler, scissors… yes, I’ve used just about all of it. But this is me and what’s right for me. What’s cool is there are many different combinations and variations out there. For instance, check out the Leatherman Crunch and it’s different pliers. The pliers have probably been one of the best things… you don’t realize how much you can actually enjoy having them handy until well… you’ve got a set always handy. Another thing that was novel about the Wave when it was introduced was that when the pliers were in use, the handles were smooth and rounded, which made it very comfortable on your palms, especially if you have to grip hard; Leatherman’s with pliers at that time didn’t have this and it wasn’t enjoyable to use the pliers.
There is only one problem with the Wave. It lacks tweezers. The first Leatherman I actually owned was a Micra. I received it as a Father’s Day present long ago because it was small and had a good pair of scissors. Why scissors? Well, my children were very small at the time, but able to sit up and drink from beverages with straws… which were always too long… which would always cause drinking problems…. so I wished I could just trim the straws down to size for the kids. And lo, I was given the gift of the Micra. I will say, the scissors are better than the Wave’s, but the Wave’s are sufficient for most needs. The real bonus with the Micra, again, is the tweezers. And I still carry my Micra, on my keychain. No reason not to. Splinters happen and need to be removed.
Keep your Leatherman handy. In your pocket, on your belt, in your bag, whatever works for you. Useful tools, on hand when needed. Leatherman ranks high on my must-have list.