Monday, December 19, 2011

Difficulties in the Review process

I am working two reviews of two very different things right now--the Leatherman Charge TTi and the Spydero Lava. Both have encountered difficulties.

The Charge is a beast of a tool.  It is not for the faint of heart or those that don't wear belts.  It is massive, complex, intricate, and awesome.  But with 19 tools, two carry options, and lots of uses, testing it is difficult.  Multitools, by there very nature, are hard to test, absent some contrived circumstances.  I mean, really, when I am going to use the eye glass screwdriver?  I don't where glasses of any kind.  I did actually use it to tighten the pivot screw on a knife, but other than that, I am not terribly sure when it will come up.  And other tools have been equally dormant, including the tool I dislike the most on multitools--a can opener.  But this is a tool that deserves the attention and so instead of rushing out a review of a tool half-used, I thought I would take some extra time.  So that is why there is no Charge review.

The reason for a lack of a review for the Lava is different.  I craved this little knife.  I liked the design, the unorthodox blade shape, and the melted to the hand look.  It was, as I detailed here, a quest item.  But when I ran it through the tests and normal carry I do with each blade I hated it.  Not like, "Oh, it could be better," but like "I am throwing this piece of shit away."  I could not square my gut feeling about how it works with its design heritage.  I figured that I was not using it correctly or appreciating its subtle design.  So, instead of a knee jerk reaction, I decided to put it away for a month and then carry it again.  I have never done this before in any of the 42 previous reviews (in one year, how about that?), but this is a truly beloved knife.  See this thread/review.  But I figured two things: 1) Spyderco's consistent high quality means that I should give them the benefit of the doubt and try again; and 2) the knife's insanely devoted following deserves a bit of respect.  So, I am testing the Lava again.

Bear with me, I am also working on a end of year post.  


  1. Hello Rawls, On the TTi, I've read in a number of places "... who the hell would use a spectacle screwdriver on that thing ..." paraphrasing of course. Aside from that your general description in the dilemma to review is pretty spot on from my point of view.

    Aside from actually using the spectacle screwdriver to adjust my own sunglasses and similar of others it can be used for other tasks too. It is really effective at manipulating paracord knots and punching holes through leather and the like. Following through with an awl is a little more accurate. Which leads me to the lack of awl. I’ve made a custom awl that fits into the TTi’s bit driver and honestly think LM would do well to include one in their premium multitool.

    Thanks for your musings on EDC. Always interesting and nicely crafted.


  2. I appreciate your comments on the Spyderco. It could be perfectly fantastic, but if you hate it, then it's not for you! Glad as a reviewer, we can see that you will admit when you don't like something. Not sure I like the idea of giving it another go in a month, but then I do understand and appreciate grail items. Mine is a HDS light. Not even too expensive...

  3. Very interesting update. Will be fun to see how your Charge TTi review finally shakes out. I have a Charge AL. There are so many kewl features about it, yet it just lives in my kitchen tool/junk drawer and I must use my tiny EDC Squirt PS4 12 times for every time I actually dig out and use the Charge...

    Congrats on an awesome year of reviews and insights.

  4. Tony I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the Lava - positive or negative. I have no experience with it at all. I appreciate the fact that you are giving it more time to better evaluate the blade. I'll be very curious to see this one...