Gerber, or Letherman?

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I have had this debate with a few other techs: whats better, a letherman or a gerber. I personally like gerbers for their one handed pliers. Others like lethermans for their exterior utils.

They both have thier own advantages. The pliers are great when im rigging up in the steel and i have to tighten something while holding onto it with the other hand. If i need a knife, i just carry a seperate one handed knife, which just also happens to be a gerber blade. the 400 and 60 series have a down side where the utils are on the inside, so you need to open the pliers to get to them. FIne if you have time. On the 800 and recoil series, the utils are on the outside, and the recoil actually has a push button to open the pliers, i like!! Gerber blade will also back up any of their products for a lifetime.

The nice ting about letherman is that the pliers dont seem to come as looae as the gerbers. in fact, as far as ive seen, they never get borken it. But they do come with a snazy sheath! They are also more readily available than gerbers. Letherman backs up their tools for about 2 or 3 years.

Frankly, im a gerber person. Most people i work with are gerber people. I carry one on my belt, and my spare in my tool bag . . . along with c-wrenches and altman lighting tools, and of course the spare mini-mag. Ahh, the beauty of dorkiness!!!

Is there a time limit to Leatherman? Guess my tool with the snapped off screw driver tip that one of these days I'll send in for replacement won't get repaired now. Question, what is there a date stamped on them? In the end, it's all what works for you. My leatherman gets it's most use when I'm in the paint booth and I need to paint something small but it's too close to lunch for me to spray the fingers. The pouch for it wore out long ago it now lives in a multiple tool pouch.

In the end, anything has to be better than the SOG multi-tool I once had. It had a knife like body than thin lever like handle for the non-retracting pliers. Thing was very uncomfortable to use, even more so than that of any other multi tool when gripping with it. I'm not much a fan of some butter fly knife toy like multi-tool but if it entertains and serves the purpose that's all good for me. My next tool will probably be a Xcelite Electrician's. I find the use of a moble wire stripper to be of value given Linesmens pliers are already on my tool belt.
Prices are at least 8 months old but might still be the same in some cases:

Xcelite/Crescent #XTZ1V, ToolZall Tech Electrician’s Stainless Steel Multi-Tool w. Comfort Grip, Wire Stripper, Needle Nose Pliers etc. Misc. Screwdriver Tips/Knife Blades

$65.60 MH 4/02 #HTCTZ2EV Mitchell Instruent Co. (Tool Distributer)
$47.61 MM 4/03 #7893k5 McMaster Carr (Tool/Hardware Distributer)
$43.25 TRi 5/23 Tri-State Electronics (Electronics Dist.)
$77.00 MO 4/02 #578-TZ2EV Mouser Electronics (Electronic Supplies Distr.)
$44.95 TT 4/01 Techni Tool (Tool Distributor)
$41.15 GA 4/01 Grainger (Tool/Hardware Distributer)
$51.50 SE 4/01 Specialized Products (Tool Distributor)

Xcelite/Crescent #XTZblack, ToolZall Tech Black Oxide

$79.99 DU 4/03 #81660 Duluth Trading Co. (Tool Distributer)
$71.96 PT 4/01 to 4/03 Peak Trading CO. (Rigging Equipment Distributer)
$76.50 JE 4/03 #854-060 Jensen Tools (Tool Distribuitor)

Good luck finding the tool on the Cooper website - a useless website if there is one: Cooper/Crous-Hinds (Elect. Supplies Mfr..)
Crescent/Cooper/Weller (Tool Mfr.)
drumbum said:
I carry one on my belt, and my spare in my tool bag . . . along with c-wrenches and altman lighting tools, and of course the spare mini-mag. Ahh, the beauty of dorkiness!!!


You think thats bad, try walking out into the hallways of school after a preview performance wearing all black, including socks, shoes, hat, AND boxers with a gerber, maglite, screwdrivers of all sorts, extra batteries, CRKT knife all in a huge belt organizer. Mean while its passing period and i'm running for a non actor infested bathroom!
Crewguy7 said:
You think thats bad, try walking out into the hallways of school after a preview performance...

Speaking of forgetting to take your tools off your belt and put them away, has anyone ever gotten pulled over by the cops/campus police with their tools on them?

Jeremy Lyon
Technician at The McAnich Arts Center
lol.. yes... my high school had a strict policy against laser pointers. I use a real laser pointer (not one of those little laser pointers you can get at kiosks at the beach, a stupid pet peeve of mine). I use it to point out which instrument (that's in the air) I wanted moved, striked, etc.

anyways... it fell out of my backpack in front of the office one day and when I went to pick it up, I hit the button and it shined right into the main office. The Principal came out and told me to hand it over... I explained to him what i used it for... he still hauled me to his office while he confirmed with the head of the drama department that what I used it for. It was a hilarious mess.
He, I once had to go into a gig tha had stritct security, metal detectors and stuff, and of course I went in and the metal detectros went crazy. When they frisked me they started to pull out the leatherman and all. It was a drag to explain they were tools and had to do the lighting, they had someone go with me to the FOH to see if I really worked there!
About 2 years ago we had a school teaser for our musical. i had lost my first gerber the week of tech and was waiting to get out and get a new one so i had this ok 4 inch blade knife that i used to cut cable etc. i had it sitting under a whole bunch of clothes hidden. our LD lost his gerber and the principle went hunting though our booth during the teaser and found my knife and his gerber. he took my knife and called me out. not a fun day in the booth. worst part the LD didnt get yelled at for having a gerber. WTF
I sorta take the oppsite approch. My school is really small, and everyone knows that if theres something with tech, to come to me (during classes my laptop is used to watch dvd's relating to the class...etc)
Anyway, I keep it in my bag, but ill take out my leatherman during school if theres something I need with it, and everone knows I tech, so just assumes that im not going to try to kill someone with it...
Pretty much the same here... Im given liberties to carry that sort of stuff.

Generally, I keep a leatherman micra in my pocket at ALL TIMES, just in case. Then i have my bigger leatherman in my bag, along with my screwdriver, MDR-V600's, 3 extra pairs of headphones, cd case, cdplayer, etc....

(Once my friend managed to bring in a cordless circular saw for set building and hid it in his locker. Neither do I know how he got it past the administration, nor do I know why the TD let him do it at the time...)
lets see what do i have on me-
razor blade-
butterfly knife-
crescent- wrench
radio with head set-
1/4- 1/8 inch head phones-
cd case
socket set
cd player-
and at least 4 techies mags on any given day
oh and a miners headlamp for when i go diving through the catacombs of the school trying to fix our speaker cables
What I wear on me for gigging:
Cell Phone/Nextel
Nylong belt with loop sewed in it for a Linesmen's Pliers
Bucket Buddie tool pouch
Tape Measure Holder Pouch
Fluke AC1 power sniffer
8" Insulated Crescent Wrench
Mini-Mag Light
Carpenter's Pencil
Aluminum encased good quality pen
Electrician's Scissors
5/16" Allen Wrench
Shop Keys
16' tape measure
9" NE style Linesmens

It's frequently supplemented by a speed wrench, screw drivers and the shoulder holster cordless drill with socket driver or other attachments. That and the repelling harness.

As for the saw, my cordless saw more often than not has it's abrasive cutoff blade on it. Cuts thru a 1/2" thick case hardened padlock or three like butter. Were I a hall monitor, I would be very concerned. As concerned as my boss was when the DeWalt cordless came on the market and he saw me and my buddie wandering around the job site with them on a rope around our back. Ability to easily custom fitstuff is not what a boss wants to see when scenery is supposted to be pre-sized for the event. Cordless saws makes them very worried when they came out in a usable size and voltage.
during a show i have.
leatherman wave
8" cresent on a safety cable attached to my belt
every key i have managed to "aquire"
about 5 rolls of spike tape on a chain
gaff tape
surgical tape
production notebook
legal pad
but the tools that gets the most use out of everything day to day are my little swiss army knife and my little led flashlight on my keychain, between them you can solve anything in a pinch. our school is strict on wepons too, the teachers dont care about multi tools and even ask to borrow them but you got to watch out for the principal.
wow dude... wanna carry any more stuff on your belt?

at work, I have the keys for everything on a key chain that i keep in my pocket, a name badge on my shirt and one of them id ones u swipe... on my belt i wear the radio to communicate with FOH ppl and my phone.... thats about all! I hate walking around with stuff.... if im rigging up high then i will tend to put a spanner on a saftey chain and loop it to my belt, but never anything more!

i have all tools and stuff in a small roadcase which has everything u could ever want at a show!

I want one of them batons the cops have though, while we are talking of weapons. the ones you throw and they extend out, but u cant buy em here =(
yeah it is alot of stuff, but i only carry all of it during tech week, other than that its just the basics
cue book
and maby some gaff
i keep the rest at my desk
I'm personally a fan of Leatherman, have been for years. I've seen too many Gerbers loose a retaining clip, pretty much disolving one side of the plier-latch mechanism to pieces. I'm also of the mind that Gerber's tools are not as durable as Leatherman's. Historically their lack of locking tools have also earned them a negative point. (Though I do like the replaceable saw blade.)

The new Gerber Recoils are terrible IMO. Sure, the automatic spring release is cool, but closing them is a pain, and despite the their ergonomic style, but just don't feel right in a hand that's worked with an PST for years.

All being said, I've become intrigued by the Gerber Evolution series. The thought of being able to swap out needle nosed pliers for a pair of cable cutters (wonder if they do 1/8" aircraft cable?) snub nosed, or fisherman's pliers sound like fun. Though I'm would be a bit wary of how long the tool would take abuse before the mechanisms gave out. Anyone have any experience with the Evolution?

And as for one handed opening, it's pretty 'darn easy to do on the original PST and PSTII Leathermans, not so much with the Wave though.

Hey, Meloncholia? Do you go to ISU??? Small world, my atmometer. What’s it like in the new theater? Going to be there this summer no doubt doing a follow spot rental on Special Olympics, can you give me a tour? Been in class with the teacher that does not breathe between sentences? If nothing else, if you have John for design, start saying with a lot of he he’s “Fire... cool” during class at unusual moments, it will gain a smile in remembrance. - He has a Beevis and Butthead baseball cap and knows to what you mean.

1/8" aircraft cable on the tool question? 1/16" wire rope will ding the blade on case hardened wire cutters - dikes, don’t try it, it’s not going to work well on 1/8" wire rope unless you post otherwise. Been there with the expensive 2000 series of Klien Dikes, 1/16" wire rope was very sufficient to ding the cutting blade and I expect it’s quality is much over that of Gerber or Leatherman. At least it was a good reason to purchase the Journeyman series of Klien tool which the company paid for in replacing my otherwise ruined tool. You might be able to try a Warranty replacement on the Gerber much less the Leatherman should your test fail, but you also have to pay for shipping back to the manufacturer and wait until they send you a replacement tool.

Much better to convince the guy that has everything to sacrifice his toy in this experiment. That way you won’t be short your “doo all,” and get some level of “I’m soo sorry” revenge against that tech person that has too many tools or money for his own good. No fear, they will love the attention you give them and their tools, plus be 100% with you in that test to see if it works - all the more fun. I don’t think it’s going to cut 1/8" wire rope, but for the experiment, sure why not. If this guy has a set of Klien Klien ratcheting cable cutters #63060, if not at least the medium cable cutter type, have them try those tools also. Just don’t mention my name as having advised such a thing - especially afterwards to John or Dan. Even replacement blades for these ratchet tools are very expensive speaking as someone that had people grab the tools out of my road box to cut some 1/8" safety cables and fail. Hmm, ask and I will have sent you one drawer up to a actual pair of Falco C-7s. The medium cutters we were able to grind a new blade on, the ratcheting ones - a month after I finally found them hidden away with the safety cable still attached and under a work bench, needed a new cutting jaw for them and it was not cheap. Never loan your tools out to those that don’t respect or pay equal amounts in price for theirs, or make your tools available in being proud of them. Much less if you have a general understanding of the purpose of your tools, don’t do stupid things with them if you are not prepaired to replace them in the learning process. Yes, a Klien Linesmens pliers will cut a Master padlock... once. Can you afford the next pair?

Those who don’t have their own will never respect your tools and just trash them from using a #1 Phillips screw driver where a #2 would work better - “but it’s just too long” or I did not see nor know there was a difference, to I like this one better and it works - you will get your tools trashed. Full warranty or not it’s frustrating.

In the end, don’t waste time attempting to cut wire rope with a multi-tool. Not gonna work and will probably ruin the tool. They are not designed for this. That said, go for it and tell us the results.

In these tools on a serious side, what’s your further reviews and opinions of them? Others will be buying their knives soon and find useful your observations. I agree with the swapping out of pliers concept. Nice as long as you don’t depend upon them to function over the life of the tool. Simple is best. What’s up with the “Wave” and PST? More info please.

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