Early Examples of Modern Multi-Tools

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    Buck BuckTool 360



    Buck has a long history of manufacturing high quality knives and won "Knife of the Year" at the 1996 Atlanta knife show for their BuckTool 360. The BuckTool 360 was the first "Leatherman-like" multi-tool manufactured by Buck. Although Leatherman already dominated multi-tool sales, Buck received a years worth of orders for the BuckTool 360 within a few hours of its release. Much of the popularity of the BuckTool is due to the ingenuity of Splane Design, an industrial design and product development company. In order to avoid purchasing rights to use the patented designs of Leatherman, Buck contracted Splane Design to develop a "two axis hinge" multi-tool. The result was a uniquely styled tool that opened by rotating the handles in opposite directions.




    The "two axis hinge" design works quite well but one drawback is that the handles tend to open when using the internal tools, especially when using the drivers to turn a fastner in a clockwise direction. This problem can be easily avoided by exerting a slight equal and opposite pressure on each of the handles.

    (photo)

    The original BuckTool 360 featured the following tools:

    * Needle nose pliers
    * Wire cutter
    * 1/3 serrated drop-point blade
    * Serrated sheepsfoot blade
    * Two Phillips screwdrivers (#1 & #2)
    * Three slotted screwdrivers (#4, #6, #8)
    * Can and Bottle opener


    Later versions of the BuckTool included the BuckTool 360CL, the BuckTool 360F, and the BuckTool 360WM (also called the BuckTool WorkMan).  Buck also manufactured a special BuckTool for Harley Davidson.  See the chart below for an explanation of the different models.  The BuckTool was also available with black oxide (BuckTool 360B) or camoflauge handles (BuckTool 360CM). And in case those weren't enough choices, Buck also manufactured two smaller versions of the Bucktool, the BuckLite (BuckTool 355) and the MiniBuck (BuckTool 350), which featured the same "two axis hinge" design but lacked a locking mechanism.


    360 360CL 360F 360WM Harley Davidson
    Needle Nose Pliers * * * * *
    Wire Cutter * * * * *
    1/3 Serrated Drop Point Blade * * *
    *
    Serrated Sheepsfoot Blade * *
    *
    Can/Bottle Opener * * *
    *
    #1 Phillips Screwdriver * * * *
    #2 Phillips Screwdriver * * * *
    Phillips Screwdriver (Fits Bit Adapter)




    *
    #4 Slotted Screwdriver * * * * *
    #6 Slotted Screwdriver * * * * *
    #8 Slotted Screwdriver * * * * *
    Pocket Clip
    *


    File with Wire Stripper

    *

    File with Wire Strippers (Multiple Gauges)


    * *
    Awl


    * *
    Hex Bit Adapter and Bits



    *


    Icons on the handles make it easy to locate the internal tools.  The internal tools feature a spring retention and a secure locking mechanism. Although these features work well, they do have drawbacks. The spring retention mechanism makes it difficult (and slightly painful) to open the tools by the finger nails. The lock releases are also a bit stubborn and must be pushed deep into the handles to unlock the tools.

    (photo)

    As expected of Buck knives, the drop-point and sheepsfoot blades are razor sharp. Curiously, Buck chose to use a 1/3 serrated and a fully serrated blade. A plain edge drop-point blade would have been a better choice to complement the serrated sheepsfoot blade.


    A pleasant surprise is that the BuckTool 360 features standard size (#4, #6, #8) slotted drivers and two sizes (#1 and #2) of Phillips drivers. Unfortunately the Phillips drivers on the BuckTool 360 are not full size drivers and are rather short compared to those on Leatherman multi-tools.


    I have not had the opportunity to use the bottle or can opener (sort of outdated nowadays) but the can opener is razor sharp.



    The overall fit and finish of the BuckTool is excellent and the nicely contoured handles provide an ergonomic grip for both the pliers and the internal tools.


    (+)
    Excellent fit and finish
    Standard size (#4, #6, #8) drivers
    Two common sizes (#1 and #2) of Phillips drivers

    (-)
    Spring retention mechanism makes it difficult to access the tools
    Phillips drivers are not full size and are quite short
    No ruler
    Handles tend to open up when using the drivers
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    Subpages (1): BuckTool 360 Photos
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