This morning I required needle-nosed pliers to pull a small finishing nail out of a wall. I almost went to my basement to get one when I remembered that I had a multi-tool in a pack sitting beside my desk. For those who do not know, a multi-tool is a pocket-sized unit that holds tools such as screwdrivers, knife, pliers, tiny saw, wire cutters, bottle opener, can opener, file and more. These fold into the handle.
Multi-tools are popular among outdoors enthusiasts, who buy them in case they are forced one day to spontaneously build a log cabin or a boat.
In any case, I rummaged through the pack and pulled out my multi-tool. Then I deployed the needle-nosed pliers, one of its 10 tools, and squeezed the pliers it tightly on the head of the finishing nail and pulled.
Unfortunately, the pliers slipped off the nail. And, because I gripped the handle very tightly to hold onto the head of the nail, when it slipped off the pliers closed completely, quickly and with a lot of force, which caused the inside edges of the handle to come together entirely and pinch the meaty part of the palm – hard.
The verbalization I resorted to is not suitable for print.
Let’s just say it hurt and I have a pinch-bruise on the palm of my hand to prove it. I wouldn’t normally write about this, but it occurred to me that almost every outdoorsperson I know has had a similar experience.
I blame myself. I should have known going in. This happens every time I use those pliers. But we use our multi-tools so infrequently that their use can be likened to childbirth. If we remembered how painful it was, we wouldn’t do it again.
The multi-tool’s popularity has always confounded me anyhow. I mean, how is it that a group of people who are going out into the field to avoid working with tools can be convinced to carry a miniature workshop with them?
To be honest, there isn’t a tool on mine that can even come close to doing better than the real thing. I wouldn’t even try to saw a dowel with the three-inch saw on my multi-tool. Moreover, the ruler is only three inches long – and there is nothing in the angler’s or hunter’s world that small. The folding blade is good, but again, I carry a better knife afield. And using the multi-tool knife requires me to grip the handle of death, often with similar results. The bottle opener, can opener and short screwdrivers might work, though I don’t know anyone who has tested this theory. Likewise with the file (see handle issue).
The point I am trying to make is that if I ever had to do – God forbid – any work in the field that required tools, I’d find a different activity. Or bring a toolbox along.
The only reason I can think of as to why they are so popular is that they serve to remind us of what we could be doing if we were at home. Which makes being out there all the sweeter.
I know they’re not supposed to take the place of real tools. They are designed for emergency use. Then, they will do in a pinch.