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Leatherman Juice CS4 review

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by yellowhammer, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. yellowhammer

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

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    Having used this for a little while now I thought I'd give my views on it. I originally posted this over at British Blades, but thought you might find it interesting. I appreciate that you lot know more about multitools than I ever will, still I hope it will be of use to someone considering a CS4.

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40005.jpg[/img]

    First impressions were very favourable. Only having had a Wave before now I though the smaller tools might be built down to a price and rather cheap-feeling. In fact the Juice is very solid, with good build quality. Tools are all tight without feeling too stiff and with no blade play. The pliers are rather tight, you can't 'butterfly' this one open, but I think they'll loosen up over time as the tool is new.

    This is, size wise, truly a pocket tool. Big enough to use comfortably it can also be carried deep-pocket without making you limp round in circles. To save a bit of weight the liners have been skeletonised, which has the pleasing side effect of looking nice too.

    One thing I don't like is how the scales don't line up properly - one stands slightly proud of the other. Apparently this is a common moan about the Juice range.

    [img width=640 height=426]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40011.jpg[/img]

    The skeletonised liner;

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40090.jpg[/img]

    Tools

    The CS4 has the following tools;
    Needlenose Pliers
    Straight Knife
    Wire Cutters
    Hard-Wire Cutters
    Extra-Small Screwdriver
    Small Screwdriver
    Med/Lrg Screwdriver
    Phillips Screwdriver
    Lanyard Attachment
    Can/Bottle Opener
    Corkscrew with Assist
    Scissors
    Saw
    Awl

    Which is pretty much all I need. I can't understand people that buy a multitool and then complain it hasn't got the tools they need. Don't buy it then! Rant over...

    Having said that, I would like a file :D

    Except for the screwdrivers (and pliers, obviously) all the tools can be opened with the handles closed. None of the tools lock, & the knife blade is less than three inches making this ideal for EDC in the UK.

    The knife blade is very sharp, with a slight hollow grind. It locks up nice and firmly with no play, but is a bit light for 'serious' cutting. The scissors are very good, better than those from Victorinox. Springless, and slightly longer in the blade, they also look like a friendly bird, which pleases me very much.

    [img width=640 height=426]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40020.jpg[/img]

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40029.jpg[/img]

    The awl is useless. Blunt, with no point, it won't even strike a spark on a firesteel. It also interferes with the closure of the saw blade. A common complaint of the Juice line, apparently. The saw itself is a double-tooth design similar to that found on a SAK, but a bit thinner. It works fine, although the added flexibility of the thinner blade means it can hang up in green wood sometimes.

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40023.jpg[/img]

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40026.jpg[/img]

    I picked a model with a corkscrew as I like to have a Victorinox eyeglass screwdriver with me. It fits the corkscrew well enough, although it's loose enough to rattle. I haven't tried the corkscrew or assist, as round here we only drink wine in screw top bottles, and Tennants Super ;)

    The bottle opener works well enough; the can opener is rubbish, the worst I've ever tried. I might try and sharpen it, or I might just order a takeaway and not worry about it.

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40035.jpg[/img]

    [img width=640 height=426]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40032.jpg[/img]

    The pliers are very good, lots of grip and no play. You can exert a surprising amount of force on the short but comfortable handles. The wire cutters made short work of one of SWMBOs coat hangers.

    You get three flathead screwdrivers with a chisel grind and a single Phillips. They work, but no multitool screwdrivers are that great. I'd rather have less tapered flatheads but that's a minor gripe. There is also a foldaway lanyard loop. Sorry about the lanyard colours, it's all I had.

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40038.jpg[/img]

    [img width=640 height=426]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40081.jpg[/img]

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40084.jpg[/img]

    Sheaths

    There are two sheaths available for the Juice range. The first is a polycarbonate open affair with a belt clip. This actually works fine, and after extensive scientific testing (holding it upside down and shaking like buggery) I couldn't get the tool to fall out. To my mind though it's a bit too obvious on your belt and, as the tool doesn't sit flush with the back of the sheath, it doesn't look secure enough for me. Stays on the belt well though, and the tool is easy to get in and out.

    [img width=640 height=426]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40062.jpg[/img]

    [img width=426 height=640]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40067.jpg[/img]

    The other sheath is an elasticised leather affair, with a press-stud closure and the ability to hold the tool either open or closed. I'd rather have a belt loop than a clip but that's personal preference.

    [img width=640 height=427]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40071.jpg[/img]

    [img width=640 height=426]http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n275/yellowhammer_01/cutlery%20and%20gear/EDC/Juice%20CS4/2007_1119juice_cs40074.jpg[/img]

    Conclusion

    Overall it's a nice tool, much nicer to cart about than the Wave, legal EDC in the UK, NKP friendly and good at what it does. A couple of the blades let it down (the awl & can opener) and they're quite expensive new here (£69.95 at Heinnies http://www.heinnie.com/Pocket-Tools/Leatherman/LEATHERMAN-POCKET-TOOLS---JUICE-CS4-GLACIER/p-94-222-551/ )but I'm very pleased with it, and it makes a useful companion to my UKPK or Pioneer.
     
  2. bruner

    bruner Loaded Pockets

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    Great review yellowhammer. Nice photos too.

    I agree. Just one Phillips and one flathead screwdriver would have satisfied me. IMO, ideally a multitool should have two Phillips and two flathead screwdrivers. One small and one large of each.

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  3. HoopleHead

    HoopleHead Banned

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    got mine today. i like it, although its heavier than i would have liked. but most definitely a big improvement and worth the step up from a micra, which was just too small and i returned.
     
  4. houdini28

    houdini28 Loaded Pockets

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    Excellent review. The CS4 is one of my favorite multitools. My can opener works just fine. The best can opener I have encountered on a multitool/pocket knife goes to Victorinox. Their can openers work the best for me. The CS4 works well and it isn't as sharp as it could be but I have not had to sharpen as others have mentioned doing.

    I was also disappointed by the dullness of the awl. I have had great success though with using it as a marlin spike to undo knots or as a probe to simply poke things I wouldn't normally want to poke e.g. something on a hot surface or a small piece of wood on a band saw. Disappointing as an awl, but not disappointing as a is-this-hot-tool?

    I currently use the black leather sheath. I have used both and I broke the polycarbonate one after dropping it on concrete. The polycarb is rather durable but obviously has its limitations. It retains the tool rather well and functions like a clip for a mobile phone. The black sheath retains the tool exceptionally well too. Neither sheath has ever slipped off my belt.
     
  5. ran23
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ran23 Loaded Pockets

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    Got mine a few days ago in the US. Good review. What polycarb sheath? I sure like the idea of the small Vic screwdriver, need to find one. This is my first smaller multi next to the Wave, Super Tools, that I have carried. Smaller than most single 123A lites. Nice addition.
     
  6. Brangdon

    Brangdon Loaded Pockets

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    Good review.

    My tin-opener works; it opens tins, albeit it takes a while to work all the way around. I see it as an emergency tool if I don't have a proper one. If I were, eg, going camping and taking tins, I think I'd take a proper tin-opener rather than rely on the Juice one.

    The corkscrew works too, and the assist really helps. The screw is so thin there's a real risk of it pulling out of the cork. I don't drink a lot of wine either. I think on a camping trip I would rely on the Juice.

    The scissors are tough enough to cut shoe leather. I think they are a bit big for nail scissors, though. And with no file, the Cs4 doesn't make a good manicure set.

    I agree with houdini28's comments about the awl. It's useful as a general purpose tool for poking things with.

    I've not really found a multi-tool with a perfect choice of tools; it's always a compromise. I'd rather have a file than the wood-saw - the file on the other Juice models is pretty good, albeit not really practical for use as a hacksaw. I'd rather trade one of the flat screwdrivers for a tough prying tool. It's a shame they didn't put ruler markings on it somewhere.

    I'm not sure the extra tools of the Cs4 are worth the extra weight over the S2. Woodsaw, corkscrew, awl - none of them are that great really. The S2 is noticeably lighter and thinner.
     
  7. HoopleHead

    HoopleHead Banned

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    the saw was the sticking point for me, i really wanted a saw in my multitool. its functional. an S2 plus saw and no awl or corkscrew woulda been nice.
     
  8. Brangdon

    Brangdon Loaded Pockets

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    Certainly there are times when a saw is needed rather than a knife. I've only used it once, though, for cutting some sugar cane. I live and work in an urban environment so I'd rather have the diamond file.

    When I bought it I wanted the corkscrew, but now I think S2+saw+file would be best.
     
  9. appletree_man

    appletree_man Empty Pockets

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    Great review yellowhammer. Because of it's legal EDC status I was thinking about finding a second hand Juice (not paying that new price).

    However the only thing that really tempts me on the Juice is the pliers, I think for the size, a 91mm SAK does a better job for the other functions.
     
  10. Gordon

    Gordon Loaded Pockets

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    I had chosen Juice Cs4 to always carry with me because of it's size, decent quality and usefullnes. Scissors failed almost instantly, however,- blades got loose after cutting a few inches of soft thin plastic.
    Reportedly, Leatherman "Micra"'s scissors will cut thin metall without getting broken or dull.
     
  11. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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  12. Brangdon

    Brangdon Loaded Pockets

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    My Cs4 has recently been elevated to EDC. Previously I'd considered it too heavy for my pockets. I've made a belt loop out of some drab olive paracord, which takes the weight and I think is reasonably discrete. The tool hangs out of sight inside my pocket so if people see the cord they'll probably think it's just keys.

    And I use the corkscrew this evening. I was trying a new (and hopefully better quality) wick in a peanut lighter, and needed something pointy to push it through the hole. The Cs4 doesn't have anything else that's really pointy enough. The awl was too big.
     
  13. Gordon

    Gordon Loaded Pockets

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    Tried to open a bottle of wine yesterday.
    The screw went in and hold a cork well, but a bottle opener, that supposed to provide support for the lever to remove a cork, was too flimsy, useless.
    I still managed to open a bottle.
     
  14. Brangdon

    Brangdon Loaded Pockets

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    I'm surprised that the corkscrew assist was too flimsy. I usually have the problem of drilling the corkscrew in too far, so there isn't room to lodge the assist on the top of the bottle, but that's just inexperience. Get the depth right and the assist has always been mechanically strong enough for me, and it helps a lot.
     
  15. Gordon

    Gordon Loaded Pockets

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    Brangdon, you are probably right. And I probably demand too much of a less than medium size tool.
    I will try to open some more bottles.
     
  16. Red Horn

    Red Horn Loaded Pockets

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    I had a Juice a couple years ago when they were released. I believe it was the blue one. Very poor construction as blades and tools would over extend when rotated. I think the issue was with the way the tools are pinned into the handle. I took it back to REI
    and got a Gerber.
     
  17. sebastiantorres

    sebastiantorres Loaded Pockets

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    Maybe you might consider getting a XE6, which has all of the elements you desire.
     
  18. Brangdon

    Brangdon Loaded Pockets

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    I have one. In fact I bought it before I got the Cs4. I like it the least because it's too big and bulky for every day carry, and the design feels too unbalanced.
     
  19. jlomein

    jlomein Loaded Pockets

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    Does anyone else have issues with opening the screw drivers? I find it especially difficult to pull out the Philips head, and have destroyed my thumb nail in the process.
     
  20. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, the screw drivers are difficult to open on my S2. I paid $20 for it. It's not worth anymore than that.