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Growing Disappointment With Leatherman (and Love of Swisstool)

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by emrah, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. emrah

    emrah Loaded Pockets

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    First of all, I'm a self-professed Leatherman nut. I currently have: Original PST, 2 Waves, Skeletool, Rebar, Squirt PS4, Style PS, Style, Kick, Juice S2, PST II, Wingman, Sidekick and Sideclip. For years, I've carried and trusted these tools. But lately, it seems the quality at LM has taken a sharp downturn.

    It's little things, but they never used to be a problem. Or maybe the internet was in its infancy and we never heard about the problems so much, but it's things like sloppy side to side play in the pliers, loose, sloopy handles, easily broken springs, easily twisted and broken screwdriver bits, etc.

    For example, I have a friend at work who recenly had is original (and well worn) Super Tool replaced by a brand-spankin new ST-300. Good for Leatherman, right? Well the lock spring (on the handle) broke in less than a week. He sent it back and they sent him a new one. Again. This time the flat screwdriver bit twisted into a pretzel and snapped. I was there and he was NOT applying much force.

    This is something I've heard and read more and more often. The bits and plier heads are just too soft and prone to breaking. I realize they are the "fuse" in the link so as not to damage the rest of the tool (pivots, etc.), but they really should take more abuse than that. I'm not sure what's going on with Leatherman, but it seems their metallurgy or quality control is severly lacking these past few years. Compare the fit and finish of the newer stuff to the original PST and such, and it's noticeable.

    Also, the spring for the scissors on my Style PS recently broke. I RARELY use that tool (only when flying and going though TSA) and I rarely use scissors anyway. What gives?

    On the plus side, I've discovered the beauty that is the Victorinox Swisstool CS and the Spirit X. Oh MAN are these things sweet! They, without a doubt, absolutely blow ANY Leatherman I've ever had out of the water. Blown away.

    They say you have to actually pick up and "feel" the Swisstools to see what all the fuss is about, and they're right. They re just a pleasure to use. Incredible. The fit, finish, solid "thunk" opening and closing, lack of slop, feel, everything about it unreal.

    I just replied to another thread where the poster was not happy with the sloppy handles and misalignment of his Spirit X, and that's certainly disconcerting, but it seems rare (with the exception of the misaligned handles; mine does that too.

    Still, if Victorinox made the Spirit X with one-hand-opening main blade (just the main blade), I don't think I'd ever pick up another MT ever again

    Emrah
     
  2. CitizenSnips

    CitizenSnips Loaded Pockets

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    I have to agree with everything you've said, but when it comes down to it I'm happy to abuse my wave and rebar but I rarely knock around my Spirit X - it's just so pretty!
     
  3. Darth_Firebolt

    Darth_Firebolt Loaded Pockets

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    my dad and i figured that out in 1998. everyone was on the leatherman kick (PST2 i think had just come out), but my dad had always been a victorinox guy, so he got us each an original SwissTool. i'm still using mine in pretty much original condition. the only thing i've done is sharpen the blade. the only thing i would change is i would get rid of the scalloped blade and put a pair of scissors on it.

    the pst just felt so small and cheap compared to the ST. my dad and i both have large hands, and the pst was instantly swallowed up in a fist. none of the tools felt any better than what we were used to in our SAK package, and we already had small pliers everywhere we needed them (mostly in boats, where the pliers on any multitool are useless in the mouths of fish). then you had to open them to get to anything... it just seemed so awkward to use any of the tools. i haven't seen a LM product that has swayed me from my ST, but the spirit line from victorinox has had my eye since they came out (and the LM wave to a certain extent), but every time i look at them, i remind myself that there's nothing wrong with the ST i already have. lol
     
    Last edited by Darth_Firebolt, Feb 9, 2014
  4. Syph007

    Syph007 Loaded Pockets

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    The spirit line are my favorite for sure. I like leatherman as well and have many models, but if I have to choose there is no contest. :D

    I collected all 6 variants of the spirit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. baja820

    baja820 Loaded Pockets

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    Well I'm sure you have all seen my Vic spirit thread, and are aware of how I feel regarding the spirit.

    I have carried a leatherman since 1993, and I have never once felt disappointed or let down by a leatherman product.[​IMG]

    [​IMG]I would take a leatherman over a swisstool any day.

    Here's was bothers me about the spirit.[​IMG]

    They send them out of the factory like this! Then charge you $5.00 to look at it!?!?!

    Leatherman wouldn't do that!
     
  6. Syph007

    Syph007 Loaded Pockets

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    I did have one that had uneven handles like yours and found it annoying. I put it in a vice and pulled it straight. I shouldnt have had to, but I didnt want the return warrany hassle.

    My main issues with leathermans are rust. I think my shop might be more damp than more, cuz if I leave a leatherman out there its rusted in a couple days.

    Here is what a juice parts looks like after 2 days in my garage. It was damp and then left unattended. The 420 steel they use is just way more rust prone than the Vic stuff.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. baja820

    baja820 Loaded Pockets

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    are you on the coast syph?
     
  8. baja820

    baja820 Loaded Pockets

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    @syph007
     
  9. baja820

    baja820 Loaded Pockets

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    I've lived in the north west most of my life, rust doesn't bother me. however of all my leatherman tools the only one to rust is my original super tool and then it was a very small spot near the plier pivot.
     
  10. Syph007

    Syph007 Loaded Pockets

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    Nope im in southern ontario, by the great lakes.

    I used to use my wave as my main work tool, but if I didnt wipe and oil it regularly it rusted. After takign it apart and cleaning again, I got fed up and just retired all my LMs.

    Vics are perfect mind you, there are things Id change, but they are the best for me from what there is. What swisstools need is pocketclip and lanyard options. That was my favorite feature of the wave, the way you can clip on the pocket clip or use a lanyard.
     
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  11. baja820

    baja820 Loaded Pockets

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    well I thin Vic makes a nice tool but its not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I may stick my spirit in the vise when I get home and see what I can do.
     
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  12. alex fekete

    alex fekete Loaded Pockets

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    I have also fallen out of love with leatherman. My first multi-tool was a Gerber with the pliers that slid out of the end- cheap pos. Soon after I got my first leatherman (crunch- I still like this one) and immediately became a fan, mostly due to the better quality over Gerber. Recently a good friend gave me a sog power assist in trade for some work and I could not believe the difference in quality! I still carry my pst keychain tool, but I doubt I will ever buy leatherman again.
     
  13. emrah

    emrah Loaded Pockets

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    I'm not a lanyard guy and very rarely can stand to carry in a sheath. I put Nite Ize stick on clips on my Swisstool CS, Spirit X and my Rebar and couldn't be happier.

    I tried to pocket clip carry the Wave but the legs on mine are loose and cannot be tightened at the pivot without making it impossible to open the outside blades (it's not the pivot screws that make it loose anyway).

    Plus, the clip is on the wrong :censored: side and the handles face up. They open up in my pocket within 5 minutes of just normal walking.

    Emrah.
     
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  14. Gravy

    Gravy Loaded Pockets

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    When my wave arrived almost half of the coating was worn off the bits, as if somebody took them out and switched them around a couple hundred times, right out of the box. I also don't like how the scissors unfold and the redundant extra flat-head. I hope I can have an IRL look at a Swisstool sometime soon.
     
  15. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Loaded Pockets

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    From what I understand the steel Victorinox is very similar to what Leather man uses. The difference I think is that Victorinox finishes there tools to a mirror polish. That aids in rust prevention more than you might think.

    As for the which one is better, I can't really say one is better than the other. I will say that I recently picked up a Farmer and I don't see the superior fit and finish everyone seems to talk about. While the knife and tools all function well and I'm happy with my purchase in a lot of ways the fit and finish is better on my Leathermans.
     
  16. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

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    I'm a fan of both Leatherman and Vic, each for different qualities. After using samples of both over the last 2 decades, I have pretty much settled on Leathermen because they seem to work better for the kinds of things I do. Even so, if all that were available were Vics, I could easily live with them. With no experience of SOG or any other make of multi-tool (awful Swiss+Tech junk excepted), I can't comment on those.
     
  17. Geary Mitchell
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Geary Mitchell Loaded Pockets

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    I have had leatherman tools for years, I picked up my first Victorinox Swisstool today. All I have to say is WOW !!! The Vic Swisstool is VERY, VERY nice ..
     
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  18. SAKplumber
    • In Omnia Paratus

    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I'll just leave this here. ;)
     
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  19. Sriracha

    Sriracha Loaded Pockets

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    My disdain for newer Leatherman products is well documented in this forum, so no need to beat a dead horse. The older Leatherman stuff, while an ergonomic disaster and rough, was sturdy and reliable.
    I love my Vic Spirit (I added a clip, major oversight Vic!) and acknowledge its far from perfect, but wish there was some real competition to the Spirit. Kershaw, are you listening? A quality, made in the USA tool would sell well! Look how many Leathermans they sell! And they break!
    OK. Rant over.
     
  20. Kentucky

    Kentucky Loaded Pockets

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    I keep meaning to replace my 14-15 year old Wave but it keeps plugging along..It shouldn't be in as good of shape as it is honestly..Ive cut way to much heavy fence wire with it, fish hook shanks and the like..Ive abused it to be honest but its solid as a jug..Not the biggest fan of the ol' 420hc steel but oh well..
     
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