A typical multitool is usually associated with a considerable size and a huge amount of tools. Leatherman Skeletool CX seems to be exactly opposite – it is small, lightweight and equipped with just a few tools. Should it, nevertheless, compete for a place in your pocket?
The scales of Leatherman Skeletool CX were covered with a black DLC coating (Diamond Like Coating), after almost a year of use they show no significant signs of wear/damage (except for some scratches on the liner lock). Additionally, one of the arms was also equipped with a carbon fibre pad, which slightly reinforces the construction, and provides a place to store one of the included bits.
Thanks to an additional mechanism, opening (and closing) the pliers of Leatherman Skeletool CX is slightly assisted and works with a pleasant “click”; the mechanism also reduces the chances of accidental opening.
Leatherman Skeletool CX features a minimalist set of tools:
A blade with plain profile (at first Leatherman Skeletool CX featured a combo blade, now used in regular Skeletools) made of 154 CM stainless steel, which is more durable but also slightly more vulnerable to corrosion than the “typical” stainless steels. Thanks to a convenient thumb-hole it can be easily opened using one hand.
Accidental closing of the blade is prevented by a liner-lock, marked with a small padlock symbol. Even though the lock holds the blade safely, it is best to be cautious when using Skeletool – the tool is shaped in a way that makes you hold your index finger exactly on the lock. A bit stronger grip is enough to loosen the leaf spring sufficiently to allow closing of the blade under a minimal pressure (hit on the blade’s spine, pressing the thumb on the spine to enhance grip, etc.).
Rather short pliers of Leatherman Skeletool CX were additionally equipped with a set of wire cutters, both thin and a bit thicker. However, it should be pointed out that due to their size and structure they shouldn’t be used for heavy work or cutting barbed wire. It is also worth mentioning a slightly unpleasant tendency that the pliers of Leatherman Skeletool CX have – when pressed together, they tend to block a bit due to the friction between the blades of wire cutter. This isn’t a significant issue, but can be irritating when the pliers are used for longer tasks.
Another functionality of the Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool is a bit driver located at the end of one of the arms, with a double-sided philips (cross) and a double-sided flat screwdriver included. A small backlock protects the mounted bit from the accidental detaching, while an unused bit is stored securely inside the “pocket” on the carbon fiber pad.
The last of the tools, which can be also condiered as a mean of carrying, is a carabiner that can also act as a bottle opener, and which gives the tool a look characteristic to the Skeletool series.
Alternatively, Leatherman Skeletool CX can be carried on the pocket’s edge using the included pocket clip. It isn’t the hardest one, however, it holds the tool safely enough that the Skeletool CX wasn’t lost during the almost year-long period of testing.
Our Thoughts on Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool
My first thought after opening the box was a surprise in the Skeletool’s size. I dn’t know what I was expecting from a “pocket tool” weighting 142g,but the difference in size when compare to such models as the Wingman, Signal or Charge AL was striking. This is not, of course, a weight category of LM Style or LM Squirt, however, its size makes the Leatherman Skeletool CX a tool suitable for less demanding tasks.
Right out after unpacking, just when I opened the tool for the first time, the problems started. The arms of pliers required a lot of strength to be moved and worked with a clearly noticeable crunch. Needless to add, the mechanism supporting the opening/closing wasn’t working at all. Wondering whether or not it was a faulty Skeletool, I immediately contacted a representative of militaria.pl, a shop responsible for distribution and service of Leatherman’s tools in Poland. After a short call I was informed that this “behavior” is normal for Skeletool series, and I should use the CX in order to make the parts move properly. The only problem is, how to use something that doesn’t work and is discouraging you to use it? After a week of usage attempts – crunching and fighting against the mechanism – we decided to take matters into our own hands. Leatherman Skeletool CX was thoroughly lubricated, the screws on arms slightly loosened, and then exposed to a whole evening of opening and closing – since then the multitool works flawlessly.
After it became possible to use the Leatherman Skeletool CX, the multitool turned out to be a great companion for the daily activities. Its small size and low weight make it possible to carry it comfortably in a pocket (clip), and the minimalist set of tools includes these most useful inside the urban jungle. It is, however, important to stay caucious during the every-day use of the Leatherman Skeletool CX, and not to attempt to insert your hand into the pocket in which the CX is carried. The ending of the blade’s spine wasn’t, unfortunately, smoothed and ends with a fairly sharp edge, which can painfully scratch a palm.
Except for the initial problems and the just mentioned edge, the quality of craft is at a high level. If, however, something goes wrong, there is always a legendary 25-year long Leatherman warranty.
Minimalist, but reasonable, set of tools, very good quality of craft, great aesthetics; all this makes the Leatherman Skeletool CX a perfect “pocket tool” – EDC-multitool for the less demanding tasks. Unfortunately, the price (~400zł, what would equal 100USD [in Poland, in other countries the price and tool’s affordability might be different])), which is very high in relation to the features and capabilities offered by the Skeletool (especially in relation to other multitools, from both LM and competition) makes me, unfortunately, conclude that the Leatherman Skeletool CX should not be treated as a tool in the full meaning of this word, but rather as a gadget. Exceptional, well made and useful gadget that gives a feeling of using the top-notch equipment.
+ Quality of craft
– The tool can’t be used out-of-the-box
Special thanks to militaria.pl / Leatherman Poland, for giving us a chance to review the Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool!