Monday, August 8, 2011

Leatherman Blast

You’ve just climbed to the top of your tuna tower. You have wonderful bird’s eye view of the pretty girl on the bow of the boat two slips down. She’s not wearing her top again while getting a tan. Thank goodness for sun tan lotion. And youth.

You can finish up the last part of that new cable run to the repeater for the GPS as soon as you cut the old cable ties and snake the data cable into place. You look around and all you have brought up with you is a Phillips screw driver. You look around for anything with a sharp edge to cut the old ties. Nope. Nothing. You look at the pretty girl and figure it’s going to be a long, sweaty climb back down and then back up once you get a knife before you can go over and offer her a beer and some help applying more sun block. In addition, you are not going to look your best. Resigned to a long climb in both directions, you get ready to lower yourself to the first step and then you remember that you have your Leatherman Blast on your belt. Life is suddenly very good.
You open the sheath and select the blade, which cuts through the ties as if they made of spaghetti instead of hard plastic. You run the new cable, retie the cable run and think about SPF factors and cold beer.
Again, your Leatherman has saved you time and effort. Founded by Tim Leatherman and Steve Berliner in 1983, the company has grown dramatically for one very basic reason. Their tools work well. I’ve personally carried a Leather man for over twenty years and have found them extremely well made and easy to use.
I’ve been on boats that had a limited tool inventory and found my Leatherman to fill most niches with ease. The tool is not designed to be a full replacement for your regular tools, but it can step into the breach and save your day more often than you may expect. I cut a hole in an aluminum roof to install a hatch for light and air using nothing but a battery operated drill and a Leatherman. It was one of those situations where I only had a small window of opportunity to do the job and the Leatherman performed flawlessly.
I have learned over the years carrying one on boat is extremely handy. I have also found that you want to have one of the models that has a saw blade on it. The serrated teeth can do things more safely and easier than the regular knife blade, that comes on most models. The knife is extremely sharp. I cut myself to the bone right behind a knuckle when I wasn’t paying attention because my then girlfriend was rushing me to open a plastic clam shell package. The finger has healed and the girlfriend is gone.
The Blast has 15 different tools. Some are double duty, like the needle nose and regular pliers, but I don’t mind. If it works, it works. And these work. Download the user’s blade guide to get a good overview of the versatility of each model you are interested in.
At first glance, some of the tools may seem to be an odd choice. For example, the Phillips and Flat Tip Eyeglasses Screwdriver Bit. How many times have bought one those repair kits for eyeglasses just to get the little screwdriver to repair you glasses? If you are out to sea on a delivery and crew member needs to tighten the screw that holds the arm of her glasses to the frame, you could save the day with your Leatherman. You will find there are not too many places you can just pull over and buy a kit to repair her sunglasses.
The wire strippers, regular screwdrivers and even the scissors will find many uses. Longer blades make it easier to slice, saw, file and turn a screw. When you need a quick fix or a way to just tighten something, there is nothing as handy as a well-made Leatherman Blast.
Now get off that tuna tower, grab a couple of beers and the suntan lotion and get down the dock. Youth doesn’t last forever.

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