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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
New Member
I'm a 1st year inside wireman apprentice. i bought my basic tools (klines, wire stripper, 6-in-1 screwdriver, pocketknife) and carry them in my pocket.

i'm assigned to a commercial site, but i'm not doing any electrical stuff. i'm more manual labor. Fetch this, get that, help someone move whatever, etc.

I've used my pocketknife more than any of my other tools. (unpacking pallets of stuff.)

so i'm thinking of ditching my tools in my car and just carry a Leatherman.

The Leatherman Squirt E4 looks perfect for an Electrician. It has wire strippers built in (20GA, 18GA, 16GA, 14GA and 12GA). plus the blades are on the outside, so i dont need to open it to use the knife.

but the needlenose pliers is just the tip. i dont think i can grip much. and it looks very difficult to use to turn a nut.

Then i see the Surge.

It has stranded wire cutters, electrical crimper, scissors, strong pliers, and knives galore.

Here's the user manual for the Surge:

In Pic A, #4 is the stranded wire cutters. (What's stranded?) And #5 is the electrical crimper.

Which Leatherman should I get? Why do you recommend that one?


Last edited by TomEdison; 09/23/07 08:04 AM.
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
New Member
Just noticed that Pic A #18 is the wire stripper?!

It looks like the can opener?

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,380
Likes: 7
Depending on who your employer is, the use of a combo tool instead of standard electrical trade recognized tools may be a problem.

Using a combo tool to 'turn a nut'?

Go back to your basic tools!

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 40
These are great tools...However, they should only be used as a lifesaver. You should stick with industry standard tools because your torque on screws and wire loops will not be as good as industry tools. Trust me, multitools will slow your progress down and your boss will not like that. He might eat you alive if he sees you using those on a jobsite. If you get hurt as a result of using a multi-tool, someone is going to have a field day with you. Buy it, have it handy, but only use it if you are in a situation where your tool pouch is not around your waist and that is all you have. Please stick around the forum, there is alot of good people here and they wont steer you the wrong way when it comes to advice. Good Luck

Brian Gibbons

Brian Gibbons
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
I agree with Gibbions. My philosiphy is using the right tool for the job. I have worked with contractors where they mandated you have your tool pouch on while on the job site even if you are just swapping out bulbs. The job situation can change at a moments noticed and if you have to run after your tools, you are wasting time and time costs you employer money. I personnally use two pouches. My main pouch which holds all my basic hand tools and a good quaility nail pouch apron with a couple generic tool caddies attached. I use my main pouch 90% of the time for short term tasks and my pouch apron/caddies for production work like running conduit or wire pulling. When I do the production work, I have just the tools I need for the task while having my main pouch near by just in case, not in my rig. Either way, I have the right tool for the job on hand.

Hang in there while playing "gopher". We have all done it ourselves. My first day as an apprentice I was trenching with a hand shovel in the hot sun. I did such good job, I was promoted to light fixture trailer that was baking in the same sun to assembled light fixtures for the guys inside the air conditioned building. There too I had my pouch in tow.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,442
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
A lot of multi-tools knives have a simple 'V' notch in the base of a blade, that they consider a 'wire stripper.'

I have owned any variety of multi-tools over the years ... and they make a real nice collection in the bottom of a box, in the back of my storage shed. Even the best of them ... the Leatherman "Wave" .... is surpassed by a few proper tools.

True, you can't carry everything, or always know what tasks you'll encounter. Let me show what I start off with:

[Linked Image from]

This little tool pouch ... it hangs from your back pocket .... will hold a few tools, usually enough for your routine tasks.
I routinely carry a screwdriver (Ideal 7-n-1), folding boxcutter, a Sharpie, and pair of wire strippers. Often,l I will add one or two more items.
The items most often added are a small (5") pair of Channellocks, a small (4") Crescent wrench, a #2 Square driver, a Sure-Fire flashlight, OR a nutdriver .... it all depends on the task at hand.

The key is having an HONEST assessment of what work is on the schedule. If you're busting pallets, then a pair of aviation snips is real handy. Otherwise, you'll rarely use them.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,917
Likes: 29
I have two Leatherman tools and I still don't get it. I suppose if I was shipwrecked on an island and I only had what was in my pocket that might be what I wanted but I have never really found a use for one when I have access to real tools. I would take a good pair of Kliens, a real wire stripper and a "7 in 1" screwdriver any day if all I had was what I could carry in one hand. If you grind a "Robertson #2" on the end of the small Phillips bit of the 7 in 1 you really have most of what you need.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
If you grind a "Robertson #2" on the end of the small Phillips bit of the 7 in 1 you really have most of what you need.

The Klein 10-in-one has a pair of Robertson and a pair of Torx tips on it smile

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 301
I stopped using tool pouches many years ago. I use a five gallon bucket. Plenty of room, plus the funny looks you get when you walk in.
If I have to get off the ladder, then I was stupid to forget to put the right tool or tools in my back pocket.

I had contractor tell me it was not professional, to get a pouch. Instead I got another job the next day

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 152
Hummm - I have a core-2-duo processor and SAS programming language code guide. Kleins - what are those? Welcome to the forum. Oh and by the way I AM in the industry - just don't do any physical work - just crunch numbers. Cheers Ann

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