Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives. He also has a martial arts background.
It’s only recently that I finished building my EDC kit, and it all started when I scrapped that awful clone knife and decided to get a real one. Again, as always, budget was the main problem here. I learned from being a Batman fan that superpowers don’t come cheap. And the same could be said for our everyday gear. Even the so-called budget lines are still far more expensive than cheap clones. Yet it’s all worth the pennies as you are assured that your gear won’t break in times of need.
And after almost four years, I still have my very first quality EDC gear with me.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that anything with a Leatherman name will last a lifetime. And for four years, my Leatherman Crater knife is still in a great condition. I carried that thing everywhere, from hiking, test laboratories, warehouses and even in self defense class. And among my small blade armory, the Leatherman Crater is the most used knife thanks to its extra feature. True to its multitool roots, the knife has folding screwdrivers, carabiner and bottle opener.
Right now, I decided to leave my knife in my working kit after discovering its hidden feature. Well, not so hidden as some of my friends already know it. We just found out that you can use cheap generic tool bits on the knife.
The Knife Itself
The model I got is the C33T, meaning it got two folding screwdrivers (flat headed and Philips screwdriver). Among my blade inventory, it’s one of the smallest with a blade length of only 2.6 inches. In fact, my other knives could easily dwarf the Crater, and this blade will look tiny compared to my Ontario Rat 1, or Spyderco Endura. Nevertheless, with the smaller blade I could do precision cuts far better than those folding monsters. The Crater is also the least threatening among my folders. Leatherman did a good job giving this knife a sleek profile without making it too tacticool. It’s simplicity on aesthetics, something that other knives like Mtech and Smith and Wesson failed to grasp.
And as I said before, this knife saw more usage than the rest of my blades. Apart from cutting jobs, I need screwdrivers all the time. Good thing that its screwdriver is just the right size for the screws we use in the production line. And the extra tools are no gimmick. They are sturdy enough for light to medium uses. Given that you don’t need extra torque, the Crater is tough enough to unscrew and disassemble a whole window type air conditioner.
But there are times when I needed different sized screwdrivers for emergency tasks. I got other tools for that, until one day when it lost a pivot screw.
When My Tool Failed
Back then what I got was the Ganzo multitool when I needed different sized screwdrivers. It comes with generic bit kit, though I found the multitool to be troublesome to pocket. The thing is too big and heavy, and it made my pants sag. The tools are also harder to deploy. You will need to use a prybar just to open the darn thing.
Nevertheless, the Ganzo did its job well, until the day comes when it lost a pivot screw. This means I need a replacement multitool to retire the disabled vet. Now what I need is a better multitool, with a bit kit of its own.
The problem here is that Leatherman models with replaceable bits are pricey. And the bit kit itself is pricier than your average bit set you will find in the local shop. Now, the advantage of having a generic bit kit over specialized ones, like what the Leatherman uses, is that if you lose one a replacement is readily available. And to anyone who never handled a Leatherman multitool before, its bits are flatter than the thicker ordinary bits, so it will fit the folding slots of various Leatherman full sized multitool.
There are other multitool brands out there that also use generic bits, like the SOG. But after my experiences with the Ganzo multitool, I became weary of brands. I made up my mind to go to the proven Leatherman multitools.
But then, as I was dismantling an air conditioner one day with my Leatherman Crater, I have an impulse to try something to see if it works.
Trying Out the Tool Bit
Out of curiosity I tried fitting the adapter in the Philips screwdriver of the Crater.
And it fits!
It had a bit of play, yet it is secure enough to never fall off. With the adapter in place, I then slipped the bits.
And there you go. I just turned my Leatherman Crater into a multi-bit screwdriver. The question is, will it work?
Actual Tool Usage
The bit set adapter is magnetize, so it won’t fall off. The main concern here is that if the magnet is strong enough to keep everything in place. The good thing here is that despite of the minor play, the adapter is not exactly loose. In fact, the screwdriver fits deeply into the adapter. Hence the whole setup is solid.
Its first assignment is loosening the sliding lock of the door. Amazingly the whole setup held up well. I also used it to take apart my Ontario Rat 1 knife for cleaning. Now I got a knife that maintains another knife, or a knife taking another knife apart.
The thing also worked flawlessly when I deployed it at work. It’s worth mentioning that anything that could be taken apart is only good for light to medium task. Any screws requiring extra muscle power to remove will require a full-sized tool and not a multitool. But in the end, this setup works well for its intended use.
Yes, you could use any generic tool kit on a Leatherman Crater. But be reminded that this hack is good only for light to medium task. Anything that comes in pieces and designed to be put together will break if subjected to heavy usage.
In case you are wondering, the Ganzo multitool was already retired and was replaced by the Leatherman Sidekick.
And lastly, the Philips screwdriver in the Leatherman Crater is the same size as the one in Leatherman Rebar. We did a quick test and we found out the you can do the same in the Rebar, or any models that uses similar sized screwdriver.