Monday, April 30, 2012

Toucan Review by Tom

[Editor's Note: This is a two part review, first up will be the Toucan]

 JRP Toucan and 4Sevens Neutral-White MiniX CR123 While most Light&Saber combos are carried separate, here is a system that combines the two tools into one easy-to-carry accessory.


(The duo)

As you can see my system is comprised of a Jared Price Toucan with a chisel profile and a 4Sevens Neutral-White MiniX CR123. I am using a size 3 (micro) stainless steel (SS) McGizmo Clip and your generic keychain ring to hold the two tools together. Within this review I am essentially killing two birds with one stone and replacing the “Saber” with an edged multitool. I will give both tools their separate 20 point score, but I will consider points within my system of carry. Trust me, the carry makes a difference (divulged in the review, so read on!) The Jared Price Toucan is a rather elegantly designed edged multitool. It comes in three flavors (profiles): sheepsfoot (original), drop point, and chisel. Here is Jared Prices’s info page on his tools and keychain knives. Jared, at the moment isn’t taking any orders but you can get on his mailing list for the Toucan. Toucans can also be found for sale at several knife dealers (most are out of stock). The Nuetral-White MiniX CR123 is a limited run of the MiniX CR123 (which is now discontinued). Here is Tony’s review on the normal MiniX CR123. Let’s get started with the review! Between the two tools, I use the Toucan the most. Thus, we shall take a look at the Toucan First.


The Toucan (Chisel profile)

Design: 2

This is one of the few edged-OPMT that doesn’t require you to unsheathe the tool to use the bottle cap opener. For that alone, I give it a 2. Addtionally, the pry-tip/wire stripper/flathead can also be used without unsheathing the edged portion of the tool. A Huge plus and well thought out design. The Toucan is also aesthetically pleasing and does indeed have the profile of the near passerine birds from the Neotropics, of course the sheepsfoot/drop point profile more so than the chisel profile presented here.

Fit and Finish: 2

The grinds could be a bit more even, but you have to remember that this tiny little tool is a custom hand ground tool. That aside, everything else is crisp and clean. Areas are rounded where necessary and sharp where necessary. There is even hand beveling, which is quite impressive. Best of all is the subdued stonewashed finish. I have used this tool for nearly a year now and it still looks brand new. That is the power of a properly done stonewashed finish [Editor's Note: stonewashed steel is just awesome, my hopefully soon to arrive TuffThumbz pimped knife should have a stonewashed finish].

Purpose: 2

For the day-to-day mundane tasks, this tool handles everything perfectly. From opening mail to breaking down cardboard boxes, this tool can do it all. There really isn’t much more that you need. This, of course, isn’t a full toolbox replacement, but who else but technicians/electricians/carpenters/etc. carries a full toolbox around? I will admit it isn’t a full knife replacement, but again, for most daily tasks a larger knife really isn’t required.

Grip: 2

One full deep finger choil and one partial (3/4 let’s say) finger choil give you a substantial grip on this little tool. The second partial finger choil also acts a leverage point when using the bottle opener with the sheath on. The added beveling also makes the tool quite comfortable to use. If needed, the deep jimping does add additional grip (I despise jimping) and is well executed on this little tool.

Carry: 2

The Toucan was originally designed as a keychain carry tool. However, I have adopted it into a clip carry method that, I feel, works even better. The tool lays flat against my legs, and the light dangles very flat over the tool.

 
(Notice how naturally the light lies on the sheath of the tool)
 
Materials: 2

The blade is made from a lot of numbers and letters. Specifically the tool is made from CPM154CM. This is your normal composition of 154CM but uses Crucible’s powder metallurgy process to refine the grain structure of the steel and improves on few of the mechanical properties of normal 154CM. Needless to say, it is quality steel. 154CM is already great steel, close to CPMS30V (but remember 154CM is much older) in terms of edge retention. Toughness of CPM154CM is one property that is greatly increased compared to normal 154cm (and higher than CPMS30V). 

Deployment/Accessibility: 2

The Toucan’s sheath is a fold over taco-style Kydex sheath that uses a single rivet located near the tip of the tool. This very simple design allows for two critical aspects of carry. First is that the tool can dangle freely (as it was intended to on a keychain). More importantly, the profile of the sheath is near that of the tool itself. Making for a very slim profile sheath. Additionally the round cutout in the tool itself allows the Kydex to mold into the hole and provide an added amount of friction. The amount of retention is good enough that carrying the tool upside-down with the clip poses no problem, but when you need the edge or larger flat head, the tool draws very easily and smoothly from the upside-down position.

 
(Rivet used to be black, notice the micro SS McGizmo Clip)

Retention Method: 2

This is the bread and butter of the system. Originally the Toucan was designed as keychain tool. However, adopting a clip style carry makes the overall system very easy to don the tool on and off a belt loop when needing the pry-tip or light. Losing the keys also makes the tool less cumbersome to use with the sheath on.

Tool Selection: 2

According to Jared Price, there are 5 main tools: 1) cutting edge; 2) bottle opener; 3) pry tip; 4) nail puller/wire strip; and 5) regular size flat head screwdriver. Note the pry tip can also be used as small flathead screwdriver for phillips or flathead screws. All the bases are covered and even a bit extra (that I don’t particularly use to often). This is a very good selection of tools in a very compact design.

Tool Performance: 2

The knife portion of the tool has served me very well. I have yet come to the point that I need to sharpen it (usually just put it over the ultrafine rod every once in awhile). The bottle cap also works very well and gets a really good grip on the cap. All the other tools work also, but I have yet to use them too extensively.

Overall Score: 20 out of 20

Within this system I give it a 20 out of 20. It should be noted that the sharp edges of the pry tool make it very uncomfortable and not suited for its intended style of carry. Under keychain carry I would have given the Deployment/Accessibility of the tool a 0 out of 2. Which really would have brought the tool down to a 0 out of 20 overall because I would never carry the tool. Plus, it is always a hassle having to fish out of your pockets the desired tool. At 85 dollars for a custom little tool, I personally think it is a steal. Sure, you can get a decent knife and a Leatherman PS4 for the same amount. However, given the extra bulk of carrying both those tools means much less pocket time. Plus, all the tools work so well together. You can even pop open a fresh brew without even taking the tool off your belt loop.

4 comments:

  1. Emailed the guy... Hopefully he will reply..
    I'd assume he sells directly..

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  2. 3 weeks later - no reply.. Anyone knows how to get in touch and order one?

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  3. I am not sure his book is open. You may have to go to a custom reseller. Moore Cutlery has them in stock sometimes.

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  4. I know Price personally. We have sold some of his knives in our store in Springfield MO. I told him a couple days ago I wanted a Tuscan for myself and another for the store. I'll post the stores number when we get it in and you can call if you're interested. Or you can try emailing him again. He's usually good about taking care of his customers.

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