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The Decline of Leatherman Quality with Budget Offerings

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by T.H.Cone, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. edjo69

    edjo69 EDC Junkie

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    I bought a Wingman from said store about two summers ago, it has very slight play in the pliers when that are open, leagues better than my 10+ years old Gerber and not enough to warrant concern, but it is not "rock solid" that's for sure, everything else on it is up to par.
     
  2. polonium9

    polonium9 EDC Junkie!!!

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    The wingman definitely is made to be cheaper so the populous will get a taste for Leatherman and want to buy something like a charge.
    I have the Wingman and it's in my EDC because if I lose it, I won't cry.

    The kicker for me was the scissors on the wingman which I use everyday. They're sharp, large (for a multitool), solid and actually useable.
    -
    Logan
     
  3. Tallboyjim

    Tallboyjim Loaded Pockets

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    My wingman is nearly perfect for me. It hasn't got the fit and finish of wave by miles, there's a bit of play in the screwdrivers for example. But I'm not taking engines apart so I can live with that. I love the spring pliers, something leatherman don't bother with in most of their stuff. But the cutters don't meet - there is literally daylight between them. And they're rounded - really rounded. Yes they'll eventually go through wire or cable ties but you'd get a cleaner finish chewing them.

    But the weight, tools available, layout is perfect. Had been built as well the wave or skeletool it wouldn't leave me. As it is, when it really counts I pickup something else and that's a shame.
     
  4. Brtsmpsn
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Brtsmpsn Oh, Canada!

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    Almost sounds like that one needs a trip to the leatherman warranty center for a spa day to fix the head.
     
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  5. Ben Rubinstein

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    Just as a matter of interest, why don't they do spring pliers on anything but the cheapest models? Is sprung a no no in the higher end MT world for some reason? I'd been holding a candle for the Charge TTI for a while but since finding out that they aren't sprung, my biggest complaint on my Skeletool, I'm not so sure any more. If sprung is a bad idea I'd be interested to find out why and start saving again perhaps.
     
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  6. Tallboyjim

    Tallboyjim Loaded Pockets

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    Quite possibly, and I might get that done tomorrow. But it really shouldn't come out of the box like that - none of the others have.
     
  7. jnieporte

    jnieporte Loaded Pockets

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    So, I can have one? Or two? My Home Depot stopped stocking the cheap Leathermans because they were being stolen too much. Or three? Four and I'll send you a Christmas card.
     
  8. Sriracha

    Sriracha Loaded Pockets

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    I want to post a rant about multi tools literally crumbling in my hands, several models, several generations, doing pedestrian things like cutting/stripping phone wire...

    But my mom always said if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all.
     
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  9. Gilatabar
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Gilatabar Loaded Pockets

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    Please do my friend :)
     
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  10. Travis Branch

    Travis Branch Loaded Pockets

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    I don't see it as a decline in quality but more of, "appealing to a customer with less money to spend".
     
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  11. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    "Wall of text." Video will NOT follow.:rofl:

    As with anything, there appears to be a continuum. Yes, I can see the product iteration that is specifically designed, manufactured, and marketed to appeal to a specific, targeted market sector. This is not one of those. The Wingman and its ilk are new products by Leatherman that are for the demographic that would ordinarily buy a product branded by a big name at such an affordable price point that it becomes an entry level acquisition meant to placate the curiosity of those teetering on the purchase of higher-priced similar items, but refrain because of the higher price point. So as far as a degradation of quality, the Wingman/Sidekick/Rev do not appear to exemplify that diatribe; however, from the perspective of the purist and the long-time user and owner of not just the better-quality Leathermans & other makes and models that has suitably positioned oneself onto a lofty perch from which to scathe the attempts of a organization to divesify, it is certainly just that.

    I have moved my palette from the offerings of Leatherman years ago due to the hints of Gerber-esque positioning and product placement shenanigans.
     
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  12. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    OdBm, my problem is not so much that the budget line exists or even the repositioning of the brand. I may not personally like, but I can see why a company might want to do it.

    After many years of using the budget line because of tool preference and integrated pocket clip, not to mention I get them for "free", my issue is the apparent decline of quality in that particular line. I have more than a few multi year old tools that see regular use but are far tighter than the two new ones I just opened.

    That's the part that troubles me.

    And, let's be real, the plier head is the heart of the tool. If anything, they should concentrate on getting that right regardless of where else they may have cut back. Furthermore, LM has put together untold millions of plier heads. It's not like they don't understand the process of doing it.
     
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  13. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    T. H.,
    Good point!
    I haven't owned or used any of the budget line. I've only owned and used the Wave, Charge, and Surge so I don't have a point of reference.
     
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  14. jrandom

    jrandom Loaded Pockets

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    The thing is when this all started there was... one tool the PST. That one tool was actually, at the time, relatively expensive. I want to say it was like $45 at Cabelas and in 1983's (the x-mas of that years release) dollars that works out to roughly $105 today. The tools have never been "that" cheap until recently. I still stick with my original posts :D
     
  15. Crash_Fistfight

    Crash_Fistfight Loaded Pockets

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    My original original Leatherman is still going strong after many years of very hard use and my mini-leatherman has been on my belt since the day it was given to me upon completion of my department's tree falling class. Both tool show signs of use but are still functional after all this time.

    I've never had another brand of multi-tool and see no reason to change brands (or even purchase) another multi-tool.
     
  16. anditsgone

    anditsgone Loaded Pockets

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    I have also complained allot about leatherman, My Supertool 300 file was only grinded half way. the backlock was loose and rattled. My Rebar backlock was also loose and rattled. My first Skeletool CX had a huge manufactuering defect in the blade that even a blind person could reconize. (aka quality control)

    Bought an Swisstool X after that. But gave them a second chance with a wave.
     
  17. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

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    Please rant away. Unlike your mother, whose advice was probably concerned with social relationships, the kind of people who subscribe to these forums would likely be curious about your experiences of multi-tool failures. Speaking for myself, I am interested in what users like or don't about these products, and bear no grudge if one of my faves gets caught in the hate. So relax, get a grip, and dish. ;)
     
  18. Sriracha

    Sriracha Loaded Pockets

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    I love my OLD Leatherman... Original that hurts if you squeeze too tight, OG Wave, an old Micra, the Crunch was good too until it broke... But the Spirit kicks Lmans butt in every category now.

    I bent 2 screwdrivers and twisted the pliers out of alignment on a Juice. Not even working hard! I destroyed 2 or 3 squirts. The pliers broke every time.. Like there was a void in the casting. And this was just working with phone wire, soft , thin copper.
    My co worker had the same happen to him with a wingman or sidekick... Idk which.

    I have had several other failures, but not once has my SAK or Spirit failed me. I admit, I never owned an MUT or Rebar, but I have owned Vic Classics and other small knives. None of those have failed me.

    I really want to like Leatherman. I really want to buy Made in the USA. I really like the form factor of the Juice and the Micra. But they need to be made well. From the little guys, all the way up to the big guys. If you want, form a Byrd like brand, and put all the Chinese crap in there, and still allow us to buy a more expensive, but superbly crafted tool. Anyone who puts a new Wave next to a Spirit and says the Wave is better constructed, should be scanned for brain tumors. And stop casting pliers! Or use a better casting method using centrifugal or vacuum or something! The pliers that broke looked like iron sponge!

    I will come back... But you have to make it up to me!
     
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  19. leigh_ratcliffe

    leigh_ratcliffe Loaded Pockets

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    I've just puchased a Wingman. At it's pricepoint the quality is acceptable. In fact it's probably better per £ than the Skeletool that was my last Leatherman purchase. The SK profoundly disappointed me. Basicly it's a toy rather than a serious tool.

    Regarding the bigbox purchases? They represent them as a bargain by playing on a man's oppotunistic side of his nature.

    Are Leathermans as good as Victorinox SwissTool's? No, not ever. I've used both. I use a SwissTool at work and to use a boxing analogy when the Leatherman is being counted out, the SwissTool is dancing like a butterfly, singing like a bee and making come on gestures at the next opponent.
     
    Last edited by leigh_ratcliffe, May 2, 2015
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  20. Ben Rubinstein

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    Are you comparing like for like? Neither a skeletool and certainly not a wingman are of the level to compare with a swisstool from what I understand.
     
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