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New Toys

I’ve been on vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine and have enlarged my portable toy collection somewhat. I usually carry a knife with me at all times, plus I usually have a multi-tool at hand someplace nearby (bag, backpack, etc.)

I used to carry around a Leatherman (AKA the Pocket Survival Tool) but I eventually stopped. One reason is because it would become too easy or too hard to open and shut. The version I have (not all do) has knobs for changing the tightness but I could never get it to be the right firmness for opening. I wanted it hard enough to open that it doesn’t flop open randomly if I put it down or drop it in a pocket but easy enough to open that I don’t have drop everything and use both hands to open or shut it. Or worse, needing so much force to open and shut that it became a hazard.

In addition, it had no locks for the blades. I scared myself silly a bunch of times trying to use the knife and it would lurch half shut. Fortunately, the other half of the handle prevented it from shutting completely and I didn’t have anything valuable in the way. The Leatherman was an attractive idea, but a lousy product. I’ve long since stopped carrying it.

Now Victorinox has the awesome SwissTool Spirit Plus Ratchet, which is what the Leatherman should have been to begin with. It has locks for the blades and other tools. You don’t have to open the pliers to get at the tools. And it has a detent for the blades so they don’t flop open and once they are open, they move easily. I can open most (not all) of the tools with one hand and shut them too (though I can’t do that fast).

The kit I got, the “plus” model with ratchet, has a small ratchet socket wrench with it and some bits. As I work on computers all the time, this is awesome. I also have a Cybertool 34 but I can rarely use the socket wrench because it won’t fit inside any computers I use. And using it on the outside is a pain because you have to twist the tool around even though it’s lopsided.

I heartily recommend this tool. It’s pretty darn nice.

I also got a new pocket knife. The Tanto Blade BK-1 from Benchmade. This is an excellent knife and I think it’s my new favorite. The blade is amazingly sharp and I like the Tantō-style. The pocket clip is on the correct (in my opinion) side so that the tip opens down. The lock the “AXIS” lock and is excellent. It is a spring locked slide on the back of the knife.

My old favorite knife is a Kershaw Leek 1660cktx. I switched the clip on it (again so the blade opens down) and carried it for a couple years, but last month the safety broke off when I dropped it. I have the phone number to Kershaw and I’ve been told that I just have to call to get a replacement part. My wife has one too and her safety broke as well. Other than that, I do like them. Though the 1660 is a little shorter in my hand than I’d like.

Finally, we bought a pair of Pentax 8x40 PCF WP II Binoculars because we forgot our el-cheapo pair at home (we used to carry them in the car all the time, but apparently we didn’t move them into the new car). I’m not a binoculars nuts, so I’m not very qualified, but they seem very nice. Good field of view, easy controls, and they are waterproof to 1meter. I’ve seen binoculars gets messed up by moisture, so I thought this was a great idea. We used them to watch lounging seals and flying birds.

I bought my new toys at “Jekyll & Hyde” in Bar Harbor, Maine. The gentleman who helped me was knowledgable and was willing to let me drool my way through his whole stock (I’m only admitting to doing that once). And the prices are were actually as good or better than Amazon, which I thought was great.

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The personal blog of Christian Höltje.
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