© 2014 Earl L. Haehl: Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.
I first wrote this a couple months back, like within a couple weeks of purchase—I am a skilled tool user and I did a quick overview. This was probably a bad idea. It is a mistake that a lot of the internet folks make when they are dazzled by a new toy. The other mistake they make is devising a test without thinking about what they are likely to do. Daily use for a couple months is the best field test I have seen.
Realize that I do not have a “testing regimen” for my tools. I use them the way I tend to use them and evaluate the results—I am a writer, not Consumer Reports®. If paid, I would develop a regimen and test gear, but I am not.
It is almost 30 years since I got the first Leatherman™. It was 14 months since my Super Tool 300™ had gone missing, the result of carrying it in an unsecured vest pocket rather than a pouch fastened to my belt. I do not know which is the longer term because being without the tool that has been an extension of one’s being amplifies the need for it. I was carrying, for the last six months my old Victorinox™ Hunter—it is not the same. The Swiss knife says you are the kind of person who drives a BMW and listens to NPR. People view you as civilized and your opinions are expected to be erudite and progressive.
I generally listen to AM radio and drive a pickup that was built in the last century—I am civilized and can speak with some erudition but I have more use in my daily comings and goings for needle-nosed pliers and Phillips head screwdrivers than a corkscrew and my Leatherman CS™ tool has better scissors and lifts beer caps. Even with the complete tool box on the truck bed the multi-tool is so much more convenient. I was at odd ends and awake about midnight when I ordered a black stainless Leatherman™ Rebar™. It arrived by either UPS or Fedex early in the afternoon a couple days later. (Note: Staples has good delivery.) NOTE: While midnight to 0230 may be good for writing, it may not be good for the Visa bill.
Now to the tool in question. It is slightly lighter than the old Super Tool 300™ which was new thing when I bought it a couple years back. I do not see this as a disadvantage because I can still use it to tap in tacks. It reminds me of the original Leatherman™ Tool that Tom built after a trip to Europe and marketed through Cabelas. In 84 or 85 I got one as a present and have had one on my hip since.
There are two features that are improvements on the Rebar over the original. The blades lock. And the wire cutters can be replaced. I feel my reputation for breaking wire cutters may have gotten back to the manufacturers as this feature is found on the newer Leatherman™ and Gerber™ multi-tools—my son said he could tell which were his by looking at the unbroken wire cutter.
It might be helpful if it would carry the trash, but that is not part of its job description. It does its job and has a good price point and is built rugged—like my old truck. After a couple months I feel I have worked out the stiffness and bugs—the tool is what it is, not some ideal of perfection that everyone is looking for. When I was daily using the knife blades to cut boxes and wood I appreciated the Wave™ which let me access the blades without opening the pliers. Now, I have more time so that option is not as important.
It did take awhile for the tool to loosen up to the point where I could easily work the functions. I do not recall the break in time as being that long on previous tools, but I am older and slower now and still only six months or so out from a fusion. It seems to be working better. If you are looking for bells and whistles, get the Wave™ or the Surge™.