Compound Leverage Multi-tool – It has to be an SOG!
Now the author has long carried a multi-tool as part of his EDC for over a decade. The SOG which has been at my side for so long is still there, but today TPF has the opportunity to review the bigger brother to the SOG Power Pliers. If there is a single thing which stands out with the majority of SOG multi-tools, it is the innovative, geared, jaw assemblies of their multi-tools.
The compound leverage system, as marketed by SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, does the following:
With the same hand pressure you will generate twice the wire cutting and gripping power than all other conventional designs.
Nearly every model of SOG multi-tool utilizes this technological feature. Now that exact statement cannot be quantifiable by TPF, but the author has used his EDC SOG to perform operations which would have been more difficult if not for the compound leverage system so there is some truth to the claim. The product reviewed in today’s instalment is SOG’s Power Lock Multi-tool; specifically the EOD version with optional V-Cutter. One may ask why the feature is for an EOD version, and for the unknowing, EOD is an acronym for Explosive Ordinance Disposal. In truth, unless the 2.0 version is ordered, the EOD model designations only differ from the standard models by the use of black oxide finishes.
The first thing noticeable is the shear size of the Power Lock multi-tool. Massing in at 272 grams (9.6oz), and having a closed length of 117mm (4.6″) the Power Lock is a massive multi-tool and fills the hand completely without even being open for use. Obvious are the geared teeth of the compound leverage system and when opened for usage, the tool measures 178mm (7.0″) In length. SOG notes that there are a total of 22 tools incorporated into their standard , aka non-2.0, versions of the Power Lock and before TPF starts listing all of these excess tools, TPF will concentrate on the tool’s primary feature. The jaws and the associated compound leverage system.
The jaws of the PowerLock are typical of SOG, a stainless steel forging, which is precision machined for accuracy and quality. These pliers incorporate several jaw features. Primarily a set of needle nose pliers, whose fine teeth have seamless meshing, the jaws are stout and designed to be able to withstand much abuse and applied force. Also included in the jaw set are a set of wire cutters and a large aggressively tooth oval opening. It is this combination jaw and the associated compound leverage system which is the mainstay of this multi-tool. The geared pivots incorporated into the handle design, mesh with the corresponding one on the opposite handle, and it is this special design arrangement which allows for the force multiplier to be used when squeezing the handles together. Now TPF could go into the technical details and geometric equations, but unfortunately that does not make for good reading. As also marketed by SOG and the variety of multi-tools which utilize the compound leverage arrangement, the PowerLock can be opened and utilized one handed to deploy the combination jaws. The obvious mass of the arms/handles and practice, plus the loosening of the joints/gearing over time, allows for vary fast opening by one hand.
Some of the other features of the PowerLock other than the obvious main jaws, are the included crimping spikes/posts located on the inside of the handles when in the deployed position. These two crimping areas allow for fuses to be crimped into blasting caps as well as crimping of wires with connectors. This is present on ALL PowerLock versions as the specialization of a separate jaws assembly would be inefficient from a manufacturing/cost perspective. There are two fairly heavy and rigid flanges which cover the gears and act as pivots for opening and closing the jaws and generating the additional force multipliers to the grasping, cutting and crimping sections of the jaws.
Nearly ALL the remaining tools are nested under moving cover plate on each handle. This is the sole obvious drawback of this tool design. You need to deploy the jaws in order to access any of tools located in the handle. The reason for the cover is two fold. It primarily is for reducing the exposed edges and allowing a more comfortable grip while exerting force on the handles. Secondly it protects the additional tools from inadvertent movement from the stored position.
Under the panels are the plethora of additional tool arms. As mentioned to access these tools you need to pivot the covers away from the handles. As the covers are literally secured by a small indent, accidental removal of the covers is easily remedied.
The listing of tool arms is as follows.
- V-Belt Cutter: This cutter is used for quick severing of flat belts and small diameter fibre ropes. Very sharp blades are riveted in place on this arm.
- Scissors (Standard Model): The scissors replace the V-Cutter in standard versions of the PowerLock, The scissors utilize a torsion spring to keep the scissor blades open.
- 1/4″ Socket Driver: This odd shaped arm is actually a driver for standard 1/4″ sockets. The spring around the perimeter of the arm is used to secure the driven socket to the arm and minimize any fumbling. This arm can be locked into position 90° from the handle.
- Bottle Opener: One of the most common “tools” on all encompassing multi-tools. This one has a medium sized flat blade screwdriver head on the tip of it.
- Blade: This 190mm (3.5″) partially serrated blade has a drop point and variation of a chisel grind which has the blade’s back side featuring a concave profile similar to that of a hollow grind.
- Can Opener: The obligatory can opener to go with the aforementioned bottle opener. Also incorporates a small flat screwdriver tip.
- Philips: A true size #1 Philips screwdriver head. Comes with a small wire stripper feature built into the nail nick for opening the blade.
- Flat Screwdriver: The large flat head screwdriver.
- Awl: A chisel designed and very pointy awl/punch.
- Saw Blade: This double toothed saw blade is very aggressive in design.
- File (Not visible): The three sided file which include single and crosscut files on opposite flat sides and a coarse file on a single edge. In addition the file tip acts as a large flat screwdriver.
With all the tool arms and jaw features, SOG decided to add in another couple of items that might be useful, which includes imperial and metric rulers and a lanyard eyelet. SOG Specialty Knives and Tools also has the ability for consumers to order replacement blades and tool arms for the nested components as well as some more specialized non-standard components. The one which caught the attention of TPF and may spark interest in the Canadian market is that of the Robertson screwdriver.
The final component of the entire package is the nylon case. With a Velcro backed flap to secure the tool into place in the pouch, the universal clip on the back will hold the pouch in a vertical position on belts up to 38mm (1.5″) wide. Simple and effective and with easy access to the tool. The non-EOD version have an option to have a leather pouch which has a positive retaining snap button but forgoes the universal belt clip to a more traditional belt loop style of attachment.
A heavy and solid multi-tool with an impressive number of features and attachments, the PowerLock as reviewed (model B63) has an MSRP of $124.25USD, and is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, PowerLock – EOD version with V-Cutter with nylon pouch; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?