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The files on multitools?

Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by Macchina, May 9, 2019.

  1. Macchina

    Macchina Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    I have several multitools with files and actually require the file for some of the multitools I buy. I tend to stash mid/low price multitools in my kits so I'm never without and most of them are Gerber MP600 tools with the file. I actually specifically buy slightly older models that don't have the giant nail cut-out in the file.

    I use the files from time to time but the hardest material I file is mild steel and it's usually aluminum, plastic, or wood. Materials I could use a knife on if I didn't have a file.

    My question is how hard/durable are these files? I'm always hesitant to really use the file when I'm camping or backpacking (such as to sharpen axes or to cut a bolt in half). My fear is that I'll polish off the file teeth to the point of not having any use left if do actually need it.

    What have you done with your MT files? Have you noticed any one is better than the other?
  2. PirateSeulb


    Jun 6, 2017
    I have never worn down a multitool file and iirc they are typically designed for use on metallic objects so I would expect a reasonably long life on any one.
  3. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    From what I've seen, they're fairly decent, at least leathman's are. I've seen a few bushcraft/long-term camp videos where a file is used to sharpen shovels and machetes, so they are at least harder than a low 50's rockwell. I suppose the easiest thing to do would be get some steel of known hardness, or has a published hardness, and try it out. I think many of these tools have replaceable parts so if you flatten it out, replace it.

    I will say, I like the leatherman wave's file more than the one on my gerber suspension, but the wave is a lot more expensive as well. I believe it also has a diamond surface for sharpening tools.

    Of course, durability and hardness are inversely related in regards to the whole file as they are more fragile. As you're referring to flattening/bending though, I understand what you mean. I am curious if they would reduce hardness of the file to make sure it can take some abuse as I've heard plenty of stories of good, hard files breaking when dropped on concrete.
  4. Ulf Krogstad

    Ulf Krogstad Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2013
    Only extensively used MT file I used is on my leatherman charge as it works better than any other have seen on a MT, works great but it IS wearing down some. Hopefully Leatherman can replace at some point for small fee. I try not to use my MT files for doing anything too crazy unless it's an emergency or no other choice. I doubt you would wear it down anytime soon sharpening an axe or anything else within reason. But yes if using them on other steels alot they will wear down eventually.
  5. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    It looks like only the surge has a replaceable saw and file for $5, but I'm kind of surprised that doesn't apply to more of the premium MT's that have very similar tool options.

    Sog has a lot of replaceable components, though I think the overall MT is not quite as nice as a leatherman.
  6. Ulf Krogstad

    Ulf Krogstad Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2013
    That's too bad. I'm not really sure what Leathermans warranty is for broken stuff either. Thought it was like 10 years and they would fix what broke. Maybe wrong.

    So sos so so so much agree Leatherman makes the best MTs that I know of. Even the cheap ones like wingman and kick have far surpassed expectations for the money paid for them. Kick I've had probably 10-15 years I think and still haven't managed to break. Think have only broke only one or two tools on a couple of like 7 leathermans I have laying around throughout the years.

    Will NEVER BUY ANOTHER SOG. Multitool or knife. I have a powerlock that the pin that holds the tools in place on one side break off within a month making the tools on that side basically useless. Also has 2-3 snapped tools now. Will say the pliers are VERY comfortable and nice on powerlock but the tools are crap. Really don't care for their knives either from few have had.
  7. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    B646F79F-0800-49B6-AD09-40BC687561FD.jpeg Kershaw’s Multitool looks like it has replaceable files and saws.
  8. jux t

    jux t

    Jan 10, 2018
  9. jux t

    jux t

    Jan 10, 2018
    The file/diamond file on the leatherman PSTii has been my favorite MT file and they have held up great.
    Allan DeGroot likes this.
  10. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I will say that I like the jaws on my sog powerlock, but I agree the tools are poop. I kind of like the assisted blades on the EOD model, now if they could have left the gas store knife blade-play out of them, they would be cool. Overall though, It's not bad as I like the gripping power the sog gives. It's like the inverse of a leatherman where I don't care for the pliers and feel they're only good for light work and are better as needle nose pliers and wire cutters than twisting nuts, whereas the sog grabs things like vice grips. It just sucks most everywhere else. I think I would take it over my gerber suspension though, which I think stands for suspension handles because those things will flex like crazy when bearing down on them.

    I haven't tried a victorinox MT yet, but it seems like they're the only one I see reviewed nearly as high or higher than the nicer leathermans.
  11. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    Leatherman have a 25 year warranty and it's got a good name. You can use any of the tools down without worrying.
  12. hexenjager

    hexenjager Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2016
    I've used multitool files a decent amount for things like deburring steel pipes or bold heads that got deformed by striking a rock. I've mostly carried a Vic Swisstool or Spirit, so that's what I can speak for the most. I have gotten some slight smoothing (noticeable to the touch) on the file of my Swisstool after many years, but it still files very well. I wouldn't worry too much about wearing out your files unless you're using them constantly on hard materials and, if you are, you should probably just carry a small Nicholson file with you instead.
  13. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Of the multitools I've used, in general, and as mentioned Leatherman's have been very good, as is the one Victorinox I have. Keep in mind that files are very expensive to make as a component, so as costs go up, you will get better files, and as costs go down there will have to be sacrifices. For example I had a late 90 early 2000 LM Pulse that I absolutely loved, and its file was fantastic, far better than my current LM Rebar which is its replacement. The file on the one wingman I had was more reminiscent of a moderately priced travel set.

    On the topic of SOG, they are an odd beast. You have to keep in mind that they are the only user modifiable tool, as marketed, and this brings a lot of compromises. Production has shifted several times in the last two decades, and so there are batches that were certainly not as good. But to throw the whole brand out is, I think, a little harsh. The file on my powerplier got a lot of work, and held up quite fine, lots of deburring aluminum truss frames, as well as stainless components. Granted it took a lot of hours to get the loadout I wanted to be tuned well, and there were components that were not great (the scissors are not ideal) but the tool worked well enough.

    As far as tools breaking, any tool can be broken, some makers will send another out of good will, or not, but at the end of the day, you do have to look at what you are expecting of a tool that is designed to do a hundred jobs kinda okay, and maybe isn't always the right tool for the job. But blaming a company for a tool I broke, unless it broke doing the thing they specifically said it could do, I wonder. Anyway. Its a tool, use it.
  14. domiro


    Sep 10, 2018
    I sometimes use my MT file for sharpening my ax.
  15. A.L.


    Jun 27, 2007
    Leatherman surge has removable file so that’s pretty good peace of mind? Just buy few backup files and no need to worry about the maintenance.
  16. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I don't know, but i don't really trust modern multitool files and don't think of them as real files.
    I'll only use one on plastic or aluminum occasionally.

    Now the files on the old Gerber MP's, those were real files produced by a file manufacturer.
    Simonds made great files and the ones they produced for Gerber were no exception.
  17. irons


    Oct 19, 2018
    I've just used mine on metal 5 minutes ago. Some clown at work had whacked the door frame and metal piece on the door jamb. With a metal rimmed table. It tore the metal so the door wasn't locking because of a chunk that was bent into the locking cut out. (hard to explain). But I had the Leatherman Sidekick with the small file and it did the job of filing the deformed bit of metal away. Doesnt seem to have fazed it at all. I'm not sure if I would want to file metal all day with it mind you.
    PeaceInOurTime likes this.
  18. jazzz


    Feb 1, 2009
    Took a while, but I sawed through two locks with the saw edge on my old Wave’s file.
    Allan DeGroot likes this.
  19. Daedric Panther

    Daedric Panther Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2019
    Two words my friend; Angle grinder :D

    But seriously unless those locks were made of like cheese steel, I’m impressed a Leatherman file held up. Good to know
  20. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    You'd be surprised how poor quality of steel many lock shackles are made from these days.
    I'm still impressed that this did it though.

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