Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tool Box Thursday 1/25/2007

Issue #1 - Multi-Tools & Silicone Lubricant

Multi-Tools (All In One Tools)

One of the most important, and popular, tools in my house is my All-In-One Tool, also called a Multi-Tool. Even though I have 400 square feet, in a separate building, dedicated to tool storage, and at last count, 57 different screwdrivers, this is the tool I use on a daily basis. A good multi-tool will contain: pliers, wire cutters, slotted and Phillips screwdrivers, cutting blades, awl, and a can/bottle opener.

The advantage of this ingenious invention is that you don’t have to search different places for all your basic hand tools. I actually have two of these wonders; I keep another one in the car, like a mini tool box it’s always ready to go. If only to open that damn plastic blister packaging that encases almost everything these days, or to clip the wire ties that attach every toy to it's box. Moms and Dads, this is a tool you should not ever be without!


  • Do not purchase an inexpensive knock-off of the original designs. These cheap imitations can often be found, blister packed, hanging in the camping sections of local discount stores, priced between $10 and $20. You will not be happy with the quality, and these tools can actually be unsafe due to their poor construction. One thing to look for is a “lock-back” feature. This prevents the tool from closing when in use. Something that could be very dangerous when using the sharp blade fold out. The less expensive units, more often than not, do not have this feature. It’s another one of those “you get what you pay for” things.

Remember Tool Rule #1: A tool that's never used is sad and lonely... and a waste of money!

I’ve had my original tool for seven years now and use it on a daily basis. I paid $47 and it’s more than paid for itself.

The two manufacturers I recommend for Multi-Tools are GERBER and SCHRADE. I use the SCHRADE ST1, a great all around multi-tool. Though, Gerber has a much larger selection, and has tools designed for different purposes.

Silicone Lubricant

I would never discount the wonders of WD-40; I’m more a fan of Solder Seal Gunk’s Silicone Spray Lubricant. While WD-40 certainly has its place (to be used mainly with metal parts, though you can download the 2000 uses for WD-40 at its website) a Silicone Spray works with all types of materials. It’s especially good for rubber, plastic, and nylon parts, but can be used on metal as well.

One big advantage, that I have found, is silicone spray does not evaporate as fast as petroleum based sprays. This makes those annoying squeaks stop for longer periods. Also, petroleum based sprays tend to attract more dirt and dust, often causing bigger problems in the future. There’s also the issue of flammability. While both sprays are flammable, petroleum based sprays have a lower flash point making them a second choice when contact with heat is needed (i.e. used as a coolant for drill bits when drilling into metal.)

The next time you have a squeaky door hinge, noisy office chair or stubborn kitchen drawer slide try some silicone instead of the “blue” can stuff. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, I’m sure of it.


  • Avoid over spraying any kind of spray lubricant, most will stain fabrics, woods, and plastics. Also, use disposable paper towels for clean up. Cloth rags that have been soaked with a spray lubricant are a fire hazard.


Anonymous said...

I have that multi-tool too...I can use it. That's how great it is.

Terry said...

Thanks for the tips. I discovered several squeaks in the Big Rig this week, that are absolutely maddening.. While I cant use the sprays on all of them, I do have a large supply of paper towels shoved into every nook and cranny of my dash...

Angel said...

I think I'm going to like this feature! Thanks LID!

I know hubs has a couple of the Gerber knives... the fold and he uses them a lot. He also has a mulitool but I think it's a Leatherman. I thought I heard Leathermans were good. Am I right?

Long Island Dad said...

Janet: Good Job!
Terry: Sorry 'bout the dashboard woes -- that definitely sucks.

Angel: Leatherman was one of the first manufacturers of these tools. But, they've become a little too big for their britches, and a little too pricey. They cater more to the "sportsman" rather than the serious "mechanic." To put it simply, it's a matter of Escalades and Expeditions. Both do the same thing one is just prettier and much more expensive. In the field I need something that's rugged and reliable. Not something I keep in it's case. BTW you should get hubs and put it in the kitchen "junk" drawer. You'll be surprised how many times you'll use it.

Working Gal said...

I'm always late to post comments - guess it's my time zone. My husband is also infatuated with multi-tools - he got a new one for Christmas.

I actually do have a request for the next "Tool Box Thursday" - we need to figure out a kid-safe way to lock our pantry. It's French doors, and we have tried bungee cords around the handles - but this allows the doors to open a little bit - thereby making it a pinching risk. Any thoughts?

Angel said...

I will have to look out for that tool. I love tools! Love them. I want a tool belt for when we finish the basement in the future. I want it to be pink though but I doubt I'll find one. But I'll write this down.

WD-40 rocks! I use it a lot. Doors especially and overspray is my middle name so I always have a rag to block things.

Mike said...

I loves me a multi tool. And you are right about Leathermen aiming for hunters and the like. I KNOW that I am ALWAYS hunting for the dang thing....

Good old Silicone spray. Can't have an old truck without a few cans of that around. (along with a lot of Duct tape and some bailing wire).

Angel said...

My father has an unusual love affair with velcro and those plastic ties that have teeth. Yeah, I can do home improvement but can't remember the name of things. LOL.

I HAVE to tell hubby about the multi-tool.

We have a multi-tool for painting that I love. It opens the can, scrapes and about 5 other things. Love it. Now I can get that pink tool belt (thanks Mike) and put my fav tools in it. Woo hoo!!

Waya said...

How can I not comment on anything with "silicone AND lubricant" in one sentence?! Alright, take my head out of the gutter.