Project Zebra: Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc, old bean ►

◄ Project Zebra: Eventually it'll overheat and shut down

2023-02-12 📌 Swiss+Tech pliers based multi-tool: a worthy homage to Leatherman?

Tags 🏷 All 🏷 Tech 🏷 Personal

Curiosity got the better of me so I picked up a Swiss+Tech ST021024 (aka their very recent Leatherman Wave knock off). Currently available from https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B2VD5ZXQ and if you want more in-depth comparisons with other knock offs now on the market, https://forum.multitool.org/index.php?topic=88067.0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4ib9f-t0VE show exactly the same design in other lines, eg Bibury.

Shown in the images: Swiss+Tech, "New" Wave, original Wave. S+T have clearly modelled this on the current Wave+ which itself is a progression of the "New" Wave but they're all pretty similar in layout and presumably don't count as distinct enough to get Leatherman a fresh patent. Unlike some other LM derivatives, the S+T tool aims for the same size as well. As well as the distinctive hand-friendly rolled edges on the pliers handles it has its own touches such as large blade cut outs for opening, larger lock buttons and one side of the tool dedicated to a normal size hex driver slot with flippable bit. The Philips side of this is PH1 and despite the width of the handle being allocated to the driver barrel, I'm not sure I'd trust the fairly thin metal to take a great deal of punishment. Philips drivers are always a compromise in one way or another, doubly so on multi-tools, and you're usually better off with a separate one for anything but occasional use.

This comes boxed with a reasonable quality nylon sheath that I wouldn't recommend putting on a belt because the weight is likely to pull it apart. And an obligatory reminder: the UK, like some other countries, is depressingly fascist in targeting tools that lock for safety, despite most crime being committed with cheap kitchen knives. So this isn't an EDC pocket tool for most people, but the sheath will prevent it getting unnecessarily banged up whilst stored.

The tool set has the same sort of pros/cons as the LM ones. Pliers aren't spring-loaded (not an issue personally) and there's no specific awl but lockable tools mean that the can opener should do fine as one. Not having bought a Wave+ I'm assuming that the replaceable wire cutters just happen to be the exact size of the famous brand ones and can be substituted if they wear or crack. It'll be interesting to see how well they stand up to cutting small nails, which is something I've used the original Wave for quite a bit when doing craft projects. I doubt the various torx and hex screws holding the tool together will accept much adjustment without stripping, but this does give you repair options if tools eventually become loose.

How durable this will turn out to be is hard to estimate, but I've bought S+T stuff and even knock offs of S+T designs for over twenty years and not really had any complaints, so I trust them more than other generics who are now cloning Waves. And this is twenty-seven quid (at the time of writing) versus a hundred and thirty-five RRP for a Wave+ so if it breaks it isn't exactly the end of the world. As a beater, a workplace tool or for someone dipping into multi-tools for the first time, it'll be a much better choice than what you can get for ten quid from a supermarket. And for anyone who feels that LM are trading on past glories whilst continually increasing prices, it's worth checking out too.

As an aside, patents are how copyright should work. A reasonable period of twenty years or so protection to monetise and exploit an innovation rather than the ninety-five Disney have bought lawmakers to implement.

💬 Comments are off, but you can use the mail form to contact or see the about page for social media links.