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CRKT has a new multi-tool “chassis” that consists of a dual-carabiner center section to which you can add various tools. For example, shown above is their $59.99 GoWork Pack comprising the chassis, a knife, and a hex driver. The various components slide onto the center chassis as shown below.

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I imagine the meeting that birthed the SquareONE sounded something like this:

“All right everybody; let’s brainstorm ideas for our new product.”

“How about a tape measure and flashlight?”

“No, but I like the tape measure idea; everybody likes tape measures.”

“How ’bout a combination tape measure and coffee cup?”

“OK, I know you’re not supposed to criticize people while brainstorming, but that’s a stupid idea. You’d spill your coffee.”

“A tape measure and a square?”

“Hmm, I don’t think that’s been done before.”

“Let’s add a screwdriver.”

“No.”

“Let’s make it a level too.”

“Ooh, Ooh, let’s add a pencil sharpener.”

And so on….

Generation Tools SquareONE incorporates a tape measure into a speed-square-shaped triangle and endows it with the following functions:

  • Locking tape measure
  • Square
  • Level
  • Pencil with pencil holder
  • Pencil sharpening
  • Writing surface
  • Protractor

They coat the SquareONE in rubber to protect it and make it easier to hold onto, and they triple-rivet the stainless steel and tape measure end hook. Their professional model comes with a carpenter’s pencil rather than an ordinary #2, and has a hole in the end hook for marking radii.

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Julie at The Gadgeteer reports on a new multi-tool that you can configure yourself. The Switch set from Quirky comes in a case with two exterior body covers, two slotted axle caps (removable with a quarter), three interior axle assemblies, and 18 tool attachments. You pick the tool attachments you want and assemble them on the appropriately-sized axle: small for 2—6 tools, medium for 4—10 tools, and large for 7—13 tools, as shown below.

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This month Kreg made its Multi-Mark multi-tool available for sale. It joins a long line of measuring multi-tools of dubious value like the Level Best2, the Squangle, and the Multiscribe Pro to name a few.

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What do you do if you’re a big fan of multi-tools and want to share with others? You open a museum, of course. And if you can’t afford a big building with security, parking, and a gift shop, you pony up $10 for a domain registration and take your joy online.

While I’ll admit that this small and (according to the “about” page) very personal project isn’t exactly updated every day, there’s some fun information there — especially if you’re a fan of vintage tools.

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A.k.a. the world’s oldest Swiss Army Knife, this beauty comes from the U.K.’s Daily Mail via Gizmodo. It was “probably made between AD 200 and AD 300,” and is currently being exhibited in the Greek and Roman Antiquities Gallery of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. The 3″ × 6″ knife, made from silver with an iron blade, also has a spoon, a fork*, a spike, a spatula, and a small toothpick. A Mediterranean excavation more than 20 years ago uncovered the knife, which the museum acquired in 1991.

*The Daily Mail link includes interesting — and very British — comments about the history of forks.

The Roman Army Knife [Daily Mail]

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A cable ripper is a simple tool with one function: removing the outer jacket on ROMEX and other electrical wires. One of Ideal’s versions, the Lil’ Ripper Stripper, incorporates some other commonly-used tools to let you rip, clip, strip, loop, and twist with one tool.

Besides ripping the outer jacket of ROMEX, the tool also clips it. It also can be used to strip insulation from wires, form loops in wires for screw terminals, and get a better grip on wire nuts with wings. The grip is injection molded elastomer and a measurement scale is molded into the side for measuring the correct amount of wire to strip.

You can pick up Ideal’s Lil Ripper Stripper for about $6.

Lil’ Ripper Stripper [Ideal]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Lil’ Ripper Stripper [Sears]

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Whether it’s labeled as Klutch (Northern Tool), Commercial Electric (Home Depot), or some other house brand, this electrician’s multi-tool has an aluminum handle with a non-slip grip and several stainless steel tools including:

  • 10-20 gauge wire strippers
  • Pliers
  • Knife
  • Wire hook
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Large slotted driver
  • Small slotted driver
  • Saw
  • Cable splicing blade
  • File

The multi-tool comes with the obvious disclaimer to not use the tool on live circuits because it’s not insulated — if you couldn’t figure that out for yourself, somebody should probably come take your tools away.

The Electrician’s Multi-Tool includes a belt pouch and runs $19 at Northern Tool. You might be able to find it for less at your local big box, though.

Electrical Multi-Tool [Northern Tool]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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When I first ran across Black & Decker’s SPT100 powered multi-tool I thought it was some sort of joke.  After Googling it I discovered multiple retailers sell it, yet Blac & Decker seems to disown it — there’s no reference to it on their website. Maybe they didn’t want Stanley to see it.

Designed as an “all-in-one” wiring tool, it strives to replace a powered screwdriver, LED flashlight, live-wire detector, needle-nose pliers, cable ripper, wire cutters, and wire stripper with one awkward tool.

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Speaking of multi-tools (e.g., TM 11/20/09), I just saw the Level Best2 in one of those card pack mailers — PRODUCTS FOR WOODWORKERS. RECESSION BUSTING DISCOUNT COUPONS INSIDE! — that I usually toss into the recycle bin. This “ideal portable tool” comes in 12″ and 6″ sizes, and, if you order one 12″ version now using code LB2, you will “Get One 6″ Tool FREE!” — only $19.95 plus S&H, which appears to be $4.95. If you don’t like yellow, you can get a Level Best2 in blue, violet, or pink, also. They are pretty clear on its four uses: level, plumb, square, and ruler.

Web pricing starts around $6 for the 6″ and $10 for the 12″, so, depending on S&H from other sites, the bundle from the manufacturer could be a good deal. But is this a useful tool? What do you think?

Level Best2 [Manufacturer’s Site]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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