Friday, 2 October 2009
It was in 1983 that Tim Leatherman's several prototypes were eventually honed down to a first production model, the "Pocket Survival Tool" or MkI. I bought mine in 1989 over the 'phone having seen one deftly employed by Mark Walker securing a loose rose joint on the Caesar Special. My very rash impulse purchase arrived about two weeks later and within a day or so was in regular use. I reckon it's been pressed into service at least three times a day, every day, for twenty years. I love the fact that it's made in Portland OR and that its US REG TM of 1325473 is proudly stamped into the handle. On first sight it did occur to me that I might have spotted a short-lived gimmick - as soon as I had it in my hands I realised things were different, I think it was the pliers that impressed me most. They include a very tough wire cutter, a jaw that really bites and perfectly engineered pointy nose pincers. All of this before I even owned one. This particular model has a very useful double sided file which has been used for everything from tidying up ignition points, rasping a chipped tooth to save on dentist's bills and even fettling a bit of valve seat damage in an emergency roadside repair on the G3L. All the screw drivers are great - the PH hasn't lost its shape yet - and the can opener was whizzing round a tin of bully only a few weeks ago. The knife's good too and only Wednesday was employed in squirrel skinning duties. I know the "multitool" is all over the place these days for few quid but I've yet to see one come anywhere near this bit of kit. I actually paid a (then) massive £49.00 for this one twenty years ago but it has paid for itself many times over. I'm celebrating its twentieth birthday because I like tools that stay with you. MORE LONGEVITY !