Words + Photos By: Daniel Birkhofer

Built for tough 1

I think the time that a real man needs a knife is out-of-fashion and nowadays, only a multi-tool will serve the demands of modern and outdoor life. Multi-tools come very handy in many situations of everyday business and even more as soon as you leave the boundaries of the city.

I’ve had many multi-tools in my life and only the cheap buys were abandoned by will. All other multi-tools were lost all around the world. In general, I need a few more things than a normal blade, even though you can find multi-tools with a ridiculous amount of tools. The downside is, the more tools, the heavier it gets, especially if you are looking for heavy duty tools which are reliable and durable. Therefore I always choose a tool from the mid-range with the important stuff I need. I am not a big fan of the small versions of multi-tools since they are too tiny to have a real use for them (a small knife on the keychain is all I need).

Built for tough 2

Built for tough 4

Built for tough 3

Leatherman almost stands synonymous for multi-tools and for a good reason. The company has a long history of building these tools and has a wide variety to suite anyone needs. The Leatherman Wave is one of the full-size muli-tool with 17 functions: needle nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, 420HC knife, 420HC serrated knife, saw, spring-action scissors, wood/metal file, diamond-coated file, large bit driver (II), small bit driver, medium screwdriver, ruler (8 inch/19 cm), bottle opener, can opener, wire stripper, nylon sheath.

Its weight is 241g at 10cm size when closed. The needle nose pliers are really useful if you use it for fishing, rather than normal pliers with a wide nose. With the small tip you can easily hold or remove for example small fishing hooks. The wire cutter is strong, sharp and easily cuts metal nails, wires and cables (see test) and the rounded handles let you put enough pressure with the tool comfortably in your hand. One big advantage of the Leatherman Wave is that its main tools are situated on the outside with an easy one-hand opening (you can open the knife without opening the tool). This comes in very handy if you have only one hand free. Also all main tools lock in their position so they don’t close accidently and leave you with nasty cuts. The serrated blade works much better for ropes and other man-made materials than a normal blade (clip pointed knife). While fishing, I had to cut ropes or nets caught many times in the propeller and the serrated blade works much better and faster. The interchangeable bits for the screw driver are also a great feature especially since you cannot only replace the bits, you can also buy additional bits to suite your needs. The integrated mini screw driver is also super useful for fixing sunglasses or other mechanical gear with small parts like fishing reels. The bottle and can opener is of course a must for any multi-tool. The diamond coated file needs also a special mention since this feature allows you to really sharpen blades or fishing hooks to a high level. Normal steel files will allow only a rough finish. The only thing missing is a corkscrew of course only for the purpose of getting a message out of a stranded bottle. Also in my case for using the tool on a boat where it gets in contact with saltwater, a polished finish would be better than the brushed stainless steel since it is easier to wash off and protect against rust (don’t think stainless steel will not rust, the salty water here is so aggressive to metals that even the best stainless steel will get rusty if not maintained properly).

Now the big question, why should you spend the multiple of the price for a Leatherman compared to a not branded cheap multi-tools? To be able to provide you with a sound answer, we tested the Leatherman Wave worth 515 AED (from Go Sport the Dubai Mall) against a less than 100 AED tool from the supermarket.

Even though the tools look similar at a first glance, their performance is from two different worlds and spending a small amount for a multi-tool is not worth it at all. So overall, I can only recommend the Leatherman Wave or any other multi tool from their range. You can find the Wave and other multi-tools in Go Sport the
Dubai Mall, Abu Dhabi in Bawabat Al Sharq Mall and Doha in City Centre Doha and Villaggio Mall ranging from 95 to 955 AED.

Cutting a metal wire cord with several cords is a good test of the cutting abilities of pliers.
The materials are strong and only a good tool will give a smooth cut.

Cutting a metal wire cord with several cords is a good test of the cutting abilities of pliers.
The materials are strong and only a good tool will give a smooth cut.

Loosening stuck screws

Cutting a sheet of paper is a good test to see how sharp the blade is. New tools should usually provide a clean cut.

Leatherman Wave
The 3mm wire was a piece of cake for the Leatherman.
The saw penetrated fast and it cut nicely through the plywood.
The high-quality steel withstood all the force and got the job done.

The Leatherman cut nicely through the paper like a hot knife through butter.

Cheap Multi-tool (100 AED)
It did not even manage to cut through the wire. With all the pressure I put on my hand, the tool bent, but the wire remained uncut.

The saw has only one row of teeth which are not very sharp and cutting through the soft plywood was a slow progress – at least double the effort that is really required. I doubt it can cut through harder wood.

The low-quality steel bent under the pressure of the test.

It wasn’t a clean trim and after, the paper looked more torn than cut.