Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leatherman 830850 Skeletool CX Multitool

Technical Details

* Stainless Steel Handles with Carbon-fiber Handle Scale and Tungsten DLC Scratch-resistant Coating
* Outside-accessible blades mean, just like a pocket knife, it can be opened with one hand, quick-style.
* Bit driver technology makes it possible to customize the tool for any job
* At a mere five ounces, this is the lightest full-size multi-tool on the market.
* 25-YEAR WARRANTY Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.proudly stands behind our products.

Introducing the Brand New Skeletool CX from Leatherman
Get back to basics -- the very cool basics -- with Leatherman's Skeletool CX. Today’s outdoor enthusiasts want to keep weight and volume to a minimum without sacrificing quality and true functionality, and that's what the Skeletool is all about. Many multitools have multiple options, but they’re often heavier -- and they're loaded with more features than most people actually need on a regular basis. Conversely, pocket knives are light and streamlined, but they render themselves useless when the task calls for a more versatile tool. Enter the new Skeletool platform, offering minimal weight, compact size and endless capabilities.

Key User Features
The Skeletool CX has a large straight knife blade that can be accessed while the tool is closed; to open it, just place your thumb in the thumbhole at the base of the blade and rotate it out until it's fully extended -- which will engage the safety lock. This locking mechanism is noted with a padlock symbol on the tool. To unlock the blade, press the locking mechanism towards the handle until the blade slides past the lock.

Equipped with a universal bit driver, the Skeletool offers real utility options like no other multitool. To change the tool bits, simply unfold the tool and remove the bit from the bit driver -- and pop it out. And replacing bits is just as easy. Just press a new one into position and you're good to go. There's even a spare bit located in the handle side opposite the knife blade. This tool includes the following bits: Phillips #1 and #2, screwdriver 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch.

In the plier jaws you'll find a hard-wire cutter and a regular wire cutter. The regular wire cutter is great for softer grades of wire, but the hard-wire cutter is excellent for heavier jobs -- like cutting and bending fishhooks.

Multitool Capabilities:
The Skeletool keeps it simple -- and light, and compact, and easy to transport. Why waste time with pointless, heavy add-ons when all the basics are right at your fingertips? With its open hardware, skeletal design and hardy appearance, the Skeletool boasts a premium stainless steel blade, pliers, a universal bit driver, and a carabiner/bottle opener ... and that's it.

Key Tech Specs:

* Length: 4 inches/10 cm closed
* Weight: 5 ounces/142 grams
* Materials: Stainless steel, Tungsten DLC coating, 154CM, carbon fiber (handle scale)
* Included Bits: Phillips #1 and #2, Screwdriver 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch

Optional Accessories (not included)
Spice up your Skeletool with genuine Leatherman accessories. Options include a bit kit that offers 21 double-ended bits for real versatility. From new belt sheaths to t-shirts and caps, genuine Leatherman accessories are durable, fun and show that you're a part of Leatherman World. With such a wide variety available, it's easy to find just the add-on that's right for you.

All Leatherman products are covered by a 25-year limited warranty. If within 25 years from the purchase date of your genuine Leatherman tool you find any defect in material or workmanship, you can count on the manufacturer to make it right with fast warranty service. To obtain warranty service, return your tool to Leatherman Tool Group. Depending on the tool defect, they will decide whether to repair your tool or replace it with a product of equal or greater value. No variations, upgrades or refunds are offered.

The Leatherman Tool Group and its History of Quality
In 1975, Leatherman Tool Group founder Tim Leatherman was inspired by leaky pipes and a cranky car on a budget trip to Europe -- and thus the idea for his first pocket survival tool was conceived. Since then, Leatherman has become an internationally recognized company with hundreds of employees and a wide variety of durable, versatile, stylish products. Created with bold designs and truly rugged construction, Leatherman products are a perfect addition for tool kits, emergency sets, and glove compartments everywhere.

I think there is a lot of confusion about what advantages the CX has over the cheaper (-$20) stainless version. I hope this review will clear some of that up. Some reviewers are advising you buy the stainless version because the only difference is a slither of carbon fiber. That is simply not true. The CX has a lot more going on for it than that!

1) The metal used to make the blade in each model is different. The stainless version uses 420HC steel, which is a decent metal with good hardness and good edge retention. The CX version uses 154CM steel, which is considered by many as a "super steel" because of its good corrosion resistance and excellent toughness and edge retention. Imho, this is worth the $20 price difference alone.

2) The blade styles are different. The stainless version has a plain edge whereas the CX has a partially serrated blade. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The plain blade is much easier to sharpen because you dont have to deal with maintaining any serrations (if you dont know what you are doing, serrations tend to get ground away when you do any sharpening). The partially serrated blade, however, is much more versatile in terms of cutting. In a pinch, you can used the serrated part of the knife as a saw or just for more cutting power. Additionally, if you learn the proper technique, sharpening a serrated blade is not that much more difficult, albeit a bit more time consuming. Personally, I like the partially serrated blade.

3) The tungsten coating isnt just for looks. True, it makes this tool even sexier than it would otherwise be, but it also adds a layer of corrosion/oxidation protection. This is a big deal to those of us who intend to use the tool in humid or moist conditions. Natural oxidation isnt always that noticeable and protects the layer of aluminum underneath it. However, it is porous and is not as durable as a coating.

4) Some reviewers have stated that the carbon fiber portion of the scales adds cushioning to the handle, making it more comfortable to hold. I dont know if that is true or not because I have only held the CX. Still, it might be something worth considering.


*The 2009 model of the CX has a plain edge blade and the Stainless has a partially serrated blade* Thanks, Poiuyt Man, for the heads up.

After 1 year, I still love this tool. So far, it has held up to daily use and abuse very well. I sharpen it maybe 4-5 times a year and oil the joints once or twice a year. I also gave the pocket clip significantly more tension by removing it, bending it inward, and reattaching it. This keeps the tool firmly in place when I clip it in my pocket. Be careful not to strip the threads by cross-threading or over-torquing if you decide to do this. The pliers have developed a tiny bit of lateral play, but they still work great for anything I throw at them. The spare bit holder still has a lot of bite and holds the spare bit firmly in place. I still lost a bit, however, out of carelessness and had to order a replacement from Leatherman. Although the replacements are pricey, Leatherman got it out to me extremely quickly and customer service seemed very responsive and helpful. The tool's black anodizing has held up remarkably well despite being dropped countless times, used heavily, and tossed around in my pocket with keys.

Overall, I am very happy with this tool and it has been my trusty daily-carry almost every day since I got it. Much more versatile than a pocket knife alone and not much bulkier. You really cant appreciate something like this until you start to carry one and forget it at home one day. You will find yourself constantly reaching for it throughout the day, only to be greeted with an empty pocket and disappointment. I almost feel naked without mine.