Top critical review
128 people found this helpful
at first *very* pleased, then disastrously disappointed
on June 28, 2013
I've had this tool for a few years. Right until last month I considered this the best tool I ever had. I used it for camping and freshwater fishing mostly. The blade was one of the sharpest I had ever tested, with the serrated portion adding a whole deal of functionality by allowing the blade to cut through some very tough materials. I've used it anywhere from Houston (where I go out on short camping trips) to North Cascades (where I spent a week fishing trout and salmon using this constantly to cut fish and work with my fishing materials). I couldn't have been happier ...until a week ago.
I feel compelled to publish this review, because never before had I had such an overwhelming 180-degree shift in my opinion of a product.
The fact is I went on vacation to Destin, Florida, where I decided to use this tool all week while kayak fishing. Granted, saltwater is one of the nastiest things there are to put any metal through, no matter how good. Even most stainless steel has trouble with saltwater. It is basic chemistry. The salt gives it higher conductivity, and then chemically induced currents go to work on the metal surface ultimately leading to rust/corrosion. That is why you wash any reel you've used for saltwater fishing in freshwater right after you finish using it. And that is the practice I followed with this tool. Still then, it was useless. Within 6 hours of using it for saltwater fishing, I started noticing signs of rust. So far so good. I thought to myself I culd live with a little orange here and there. Just wash it well in freshwater when you're done, use a little rubbing alcohol to eliminate moisture, lubricate again, and voila. I have to say this knife spent hours in freshwater on previous fishing trips (after which I always cleaned and re-lubricated) without ever showing any signs of rust. Saltwater was different. Very different. The rusting got worse by the day. By the time I eventually got back home (about a week later), I repeated the cleaning/lubrication, but the damage was already done. Today (a week after returning) I opened the pliers and two of the STAINLESS STEEL springs that push the pliers in place simply broke off. I guess it was some kind of metal embrittlement? Not sure what happened, but now even the blade is starting to rust.
So this is not any longer my favorite knife tool. I got a spyderco atlantic salt knife and will eventually put that steel to the test. In any case, as far as this leatherman goes, I can simply share my experience and will attempt to post some photos of what I've gone through (if I find where to do so!). To be completely fair, this is probably a fantastic tool so long as you keep it free of any salt. And I mean never -ever- get it close to salty water. That said, I used it for 2 years with a lot of exposure to freshwater, and never saw a spec of rust.
I hope this helps you make a more informed purchase decision.
7/13/13 UPDATE: ***GREAT CUSTOMER SUPPORT*** I sent this back for warranty. Leatherman's website provides easy instructions to do so. You print out a form and mail it with your product. Obviously you DO pay to mail it TO them, but not for the return postage. The sent a brand new skeletool. I had a Skeletool CX, and it appears the blade no longer comes with the combo serrated/plain edge... there is a disclaimer on their warranty page saying they might send your knife back with a plain edge blade, --which is what they did in my case--. Anyway, I have to recognize their excellent customer support. They could have simply argued that the knife was not intended for saltwater use, but they did not, and --no questions asked-- just sent a replacement. Nice work, Leatherman! I am upgrading my review to a 3-star for this (close to considering 4)...just note that if you are looking at this product, the metallurgy of the steel is such that it will not tolerate any degree of salt corrosion.