Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tool using animal

My lovely wife and I were watching a movie the other night. The hero was struggling to remove a tie down strap on a piece of equipment. The wind was blowing, hail coming down, and he was having one heck of a time. I thought to myself what I'd do in that situation. I'd reach into my pocket, pull out my handy dandy multi-tool, flick the knife blade out one handed, and cut the darn strap. End of drama.

Humans are tool using animals. Not the only ones, as it turns out. Other primates and some birds have been known to use a tool or two. However, we do have these terrific opposable thumbs. Just the thing for tools. Since we are tool using animals, shouldn't we keep a few tools handy at all times?

Right now I carry a pretty basic Leatherman Skeletool. It has a knife, pliers, wire strippers, wire cutter, bottle opener, and a couple of screwdriver bits. For me, it's a good compromise between size and utility. Before that I carried a Gerber multi-tool. That one is kept in the car now. There are a number of good quality multi-tools out there. Prices range from reasonable to outrageous. As a rule of thumb, I'd say spend at least $30 but no need to spend over $100. Since it's a tool you carry and use every day, buying quality only hurts once.

They are compact tools, but that doesn't mean they lack capabilities. I wired a whole house using my Skeletool. I've done emergency car repairs on the side of the road. Often there are better, more specialized tools for a job, but the multi-tool is handy and good enough. Better the good tool at hand than the best tool at home in the toolbox.


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