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Thread: Review of Gerber Clutch

  1. #1

    Default Review of Gerber Clutch

    While at Lowes to get yard supplies, I once again yielded to impulse and bought another multitool, this time a Gerber Clutch. After playing around with the Clutch for a few days and using it for some real world tasks, I'll offer some observations.

    Fit and finish are decent - not up to Swiss Army standards, but not bad. Tools, including pliers, snap open and closed with authority, resulting in a tight 'lockup' when opened. None of tools actually lock, but when fully open they have zero slop, either side-to-side or back-and-forth.





    The knife blade is slightly less than two inches long and is good for typical tasks a pen-knife would perform. Works fine for opening packages or envelopes, stripping insulation off wires, cutting twine, etc. The blade is fairly thin, so I wouldn't use it in situations requiring lots of cutting power, except during an emergency.



    The nail file is about the same size as the knife blade, and has a curved, pointed tip for cleaning under nails. It files nails OK, but I'm more interested in its potential for other things. Can be be used for light prying, scraping oxidation off metal parts, positioning wire around terminals, probing solder joints during desoldering, and as sort of an awl for digging into softer materials.



    The slot-head screwdriver on the end of the bottle opener isn't bad - wouldn't want to put great stress on it, but it works fine for removing switch plates, screws in enclosures, etc. The bottle opener will open a bottle, but not as quickly and easily as the larger one found on my Tinker.

    The bottle-opener/screwdriver implement provides the single issue with the Clutch that bugs me the most. Opening it requires enough force to nearly break a thumbnail. Hopefully it'll loosen up with use. The other implements require some force to open, but nowhere near as much as the bottle-opener.

    The small screwdriver will fit screws in eyeglass frames, which is a plus. It could also be used as a short, pointy probe to get into small openings.

    The Phillips screwdriver will turn small screws fine, but usabilty for larger screws is limited due to its flatness.

    The tweezers are short, but usable. The ends of the tweezer tips are angled, which is a clever design. The angled tips have a sharp corner that works well for grabbing onto tiny things. Used the tweezers to remove a small wood splinter from my thumb, which they accomplished easily.

    Finally we get to the pliers, which are the primary tool around which the Clutch is built, and also the primary reason for carrying the Clutch rather than a small Swiss Army knife with similar functions.



    The fit of the pliers is rather precise. The tips of the jaws are smooth and come together without a visible gap. Small serrations line the jaws between the tips and a small elliptical cutout which is also serrated. The cutters are small, but they cut wire cleanly. The plier handles and jaws snap into place tightly when opened. The plier pivot allows no vertical play at all in the jaws. Handling the pliers gives the user a feeling of precision due to a total absence of slop. The spring opening function is also a nice feature.

    Obviously, because the of their small size, the pliers should be limited to jobs not requiring a lot of torque. Within this constraint, the pliers are very versatile. So far I've used the pliers for cutting and stripping wire, splicing wire, holding a nut still while turning a bolt, positioning and tightening wire around a terminal, and holding parts while soldering.

    The Clutch's pliers are well suited to electronic and light electrical work. I have a butane-powered, shirt-pocket-size soldering iron and a shirt-pocket Digital Volt Meter. With nothing more than that iron, that DVM, and the Clutch, I have the capability to do basic electronics work in the field.

    Summarizing, I am really impressed with the Clutch's pliers and find them very useful for a variety of tasks.

    Good:
    +Very well made and useful pliers.
    +Knife is decent.
    +Slot-head screwdrivers are decent.
    +Compact size and light weight; carries well in pocket.

    Bad:
    -Phillips is of limited usefullness.

    Ugly:
    ---Very stiff opening screwdriver/bottle-opener.

    I bought the Clutch with the idea of replacing my Vic Tinker for EDC. While the Clutch offers most of the functions of the Tinker, it doesn't do them quite as well. The knife blade isn't as good as the big blade of the Tinker, the screwdrivers aren't as good as the Tinker's, and the bottle opener isn't as good. The Clutch lacks a true awl and a can opener.

    So, I may end up carrying the Clutch as a complement to the Tinker rather than a replacement. There are many situations where this combo would be handy. Using the Clutch to hold a nut while tightening a bolt with the Tinker. Holding a screw with the Clutch to start it while turning with the Tinker. Holding an object with the Clutch while cutting on it with the Tinker. If I can get used to carrying the Clutch in one pocket and the Tinker in the other, this could be my ideal EDC.

    (Pics courtesy of Defender at Multitool.org)

    .
    Last edited by ringzero; 07-14-2007 at 08:30 PM. Reason: remove irrelevant reference - spelling

  2. #2
    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Well written review with great attention to detail! Thanks for posting this!
    -"Must control self"-
    ....

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    does the name refer to one of its functions?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Nice pictures and review,
    Flashlight collection: Ra, Novatac, Surefire, WolfEyes, Inova, Olight, EagleTac, Dereelight, Tiablo, Fenix, Nitecore, Lumapower, JetBeam, Zebralight, Thrunite, Sunwayled

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Nice work Ringzero.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic RebelRAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by ringzero View Post

    I bought the Clutch with the idea of replacing my Vic Tinker for EDC. While the Clutch offers most of the functions of the Tinker, it doesn't do them quite as well. The knife blade isn't as good as the big blade of the Tinker, the screwdrivers aren't as good as the Tinker's, and the bottle opener isn't as good. The Clutch lacks a true awl and a can opener.
    Excellent review! I think most of us are constantly searching for the perfect multitool. I tried this same method with my Leatherman Juice CS4. The CS4 is a really nice tool, but I found that I like my SAKs better. And I also found that I didn't use the pliers as much as I thought I would. To me, the main tools I use most on a multitool are blade, phillips & flat, and scissors. The problem I find with most multitools and this is not just SAKs, but also the plier based tools is that the phillips driver is never quite long enough. I had this problem last week while trying to unscrew a super tight monitor cable. A quick trip to my desk to retrieve a real screwdriver and I was done. My plan now is to try a SAK Explorer and see how I like that. I think the main thing for us to remember is that experimenting and trying out these various tools is half the fun!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelRAM View Post
    I think most of us are constantly searching for the perfect multitool. I tried this same method with my Leatherman Juice CS4. The CS4 is a really nice tool, but I found that I like my SAKs better. And I also found that I didn't use the pliers as much as I thought I would.

    The Juice has decent capability, but is just a little too big and heavy for me to carry every day in a pocket.

    Anything much bigger or heavier than a Tinker or a Clutch just doesn't work out for me for loose pocket carry. I can carry a slightly bigger and heavier knife with pocket clip with no problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelRAM View Post
    To me, the main tools I use most on a multitool are blade, phillips & flat, and scissors. The problem I find with most multitools and this is not just SAKs, but also the plier based tools is that the phillips driver is never quite long enough. I had this problem last week while trying to unscrew a super tight monitor cable. A quick trip to my desk to retrieve a real screwdriver and I was done.

    I'd guess that over 90 percent of my use is blade and screwdrivers, but it sure is nice to have even the small pliers of the Clutch with me all the time. Since getting the Clutch, I'm constantly finding uses for its little pliers.

    Yes, I agree about the short screwdrivers. Some of the medium and full sized multis do a little better with screwdriver length. And some have bit adapters available that allow use of longer extensions when needed.


    Quote Originally Posted by RebelRAM View Post
    My plan now is to try a SAK Explorer and see how I like that. I think the main thing for us to remember is that experimenting and trying out these various tools is half the fun!

    The Explorer looks like a great pocket tool, with a better Phillips than Tinker. However, I think it'd be just over the limit of what I can tolerate for daily pocket carry.

    I may get an Explorer just for hiking and camping.

    Yes, experimenting with pocket tools is fun - a relatively harmless and low cost addictive behavior. ;>

    .

  8. #8

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    The Squirt P4 with a Gerber Clutch. The Clutch only goes for about $14 to the Leatherman $35 – 2.5 inches to the Squirts 2.25 inches – implements harder to pull out – can pinch your finger when closing – not the quality of the Leatherman Squirt but not bad for the price.




  9. #9
    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    good luck with your clutch, mine broke the first day of my senior year at academy in the hands of one of my best friends, shes a dainty little thing and broke it so be careful.
    heres what i mean by dainty.

    Amber
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
    NOTICE: I'm a guy. Im to poor to buy cheap.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by MountainMan View Post
    [i]The Squirt P4 with a Gerber Clutch. The Clutch only goes for about $14 to the Leatherman $35 – 2.5 inches to the Squirts 2.25 inches – implements harder to pull out – can pinch your finger when closing – not the quality of the Leatherman Squirt but not bad for the price.

    Personally, after using both, I prefer the Clutch's pliers to the P4's pliers.

    Clutch pliers in use feel like a real pair of pliers and can actually be useful for a variety of tasks. The P4 pliers feel more like toy pliers to me.

    .

  11. #11

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by mossyoak View Post
    good luck with your clutch, mine broke the first day of my senior year at academy in the hands of one of my best friends, shes a dainty little thing and broke it so be careful.

    Sorry to hear your Clutch had such a short lifespan. Gerber should replace it under warranty if you send it in.

    Any of these pocket multitools should be limited to relatively low stress tasks.

    It's not uncommon for people to break the pliers while using them for tasks that call for a bigger tool. I've seen several people break LM P4s while trying to loosen stubborn nuts on backpacking stoves.

    These little pocket multis just aren't meant to be used for those kinds of things. I think they're a poor choice for backpacking, but people carry them because they're lighter and more compact. That's fine until you actually need to use them for something serious and they break.

    Even the bigger multitool pliers will break on occasion.

    .

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    i just tossed them when they broke, i bought a sogcrossgrip to replace it, much more durable the pliers are easily twice as thick is width and they arent needle nose they are stubby but i can put all my weight onto them and really crank down on them without problems.
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
    NOTICE: I'm a guy. Im to poor to buy cheap.
    Aeon- Smaller, Brighter, Better...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by mossyoak View Post
    i just tossed them when they broke, i bought a sogcrossgrip to replace it, much more durable the pliers are easily twice as thick is width and they arent needle nose they are stubby but i can put all my weight onto them and really crank down on them without problems.

    I too have been thinking about getting a SOG Crossgrip.

    I'd like having a pocket multitool with at least somewhat tougher pliers.

    But, the reviews I've read on the Crossgrip haven't been too good. Supposedly the pliers are great but the other tools are rather poor, especially the Phillips driver.

    .

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    yeah the philips isnt that great but everytihng else beats the clutch in quality and usability.
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
    NOTICE: I'm a guy. Im to poor to buy cheap.
    Aeon- Smaller, Brighter, Better...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Any more shots of Amber?

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    i few ive lived with her practically for the past 4 years. pm me your email ill see what i can do
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
    NOTICE: I'm a guy. Im to poor to buy cheap.
    Aeon- Smaller, Brighter, Better...

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    dig-it, stop staring at her ass i know you are...
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
    NOTICE: I'm a guy. Im to poor to buy cheap.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Thanks mossyoak!

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    I like the way this compact multi-tools looks. Promising maybe. . .Anyhou, do you know if this one's made here in the U.S.A.?

    Great review and thanks for sharing!
    LUX'Ottica

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by ringzero View Post
    I too have been thinking about getting a SOG Crossgrip.

    I'd like having a pocket multitool with at least somewhat tougher pliers.

    But, the reviews I've read on the Crossgrip haven't been too good. Supposedly the pliers are great but the other tools are rather poor, especially the Phillips driver.

    .
    I just got one 2 days ago. It has to be my least favorite of any of the multitools I have. The phillips is useless and my hand was contantly riding up to the spikes at the plier pivot.
    If you`d like to invest $20 then I`ll ship it to you.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by CHC View Post
    I like the way this compact multi-tools looks. Promising maybe. . .Anyhou, do you know if this one's made here in the U.S.A.?


    Gerber Clutch is made in China, not in the US. The lower price Gerber multitools are made in China, while the more expensive 400 series, 600 series, and Diesel series are all made in the US.

    That's why the Clutch sells for half the price of similar pocket multis from Leatherman, SOG, and Bear Jaws which are all made in the US.

    Realistically, none of these pocket multis is meant for demanding tasks. Today as an experiment I tried the Phillips on some woodscrews that anchor the aluminum frame around the back storm door, and then tried the slot head screwdriver on some other woodscrews on the back deck.

    The Clutch was able to break the Phillips screws loose and unscrew them, but it was obviously functioning right at the limit. I could feel the its little frame bending slightly as it applied enough torque to the screws to break them loose.

    I gave up on trying to break loose the slot head screws, because I could feel that the Clutch was going to yield before the screws did.

    Same thing with the pliers - I wouldn't even try to break loose bigger nuts with them.

    These pocket multis will work OK for tasks that don't require a lot of torque or cutting power, which is what they are meant for.

    They're likely to break if you push them to accomplish more demanding tasks.


    .

  22. #22

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    I'm not happy with Gerber. I bought an evolution apparently as they were at the end of their production. A few weeks ago The needlenose head came up missing from the supplied pouch. I fond that the spare head pocket was open at the bottom. The single row of stiches pulled out.
    Gerber said to bad, they stopped selling them two years ago, and to check eBay. They carry no replacement parts.
    So much for evolution.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by ringzero
    Gerber Clutch is made in China, not in the US. The lower price Gerber multitools are made in China, while the more expensive 400 series, 600 series, and Diesel series are all made in the US.

    That's why the Clutch sells for half the price of similar pocket multis from Leatherman, SOG, and Bear Jaws which are all made in the US.
    Ahhh. . .I see. Thanks!
    LUX'Ottica

  24. #24

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Painter View Post
    I'm not happy with Gerber. I bought an evolution apparently as they were at the end of their production. A few weeks ago The needlenose head came up missing from the supplied pouch. I fond that the spare head pocket was open at the bottom. The single row of stiches pulled out.
    Gerber said to bad, they stopped selling them two years ago, and to check eBay. They carry no replacement parts.
    So much for evolution.

    Well, that just sucks.

    I'd think that Gerber would have to keep parts around to repair those Evolutions that come back under warranty. I'm not sure how long knife companies typically support, or are obliged to support, their discontinued products.

    You might check over on the Multitool.org site for suggestions or parts availability.

    And you might try contacting someone higher up the Gerber hierarchy.

    Gerber and Leatherman both seem to have unpredictable warranty and customer service. Sometimes quite good, sometimes horrendously bad.

    A guy I know had to send a broken Leatherman Wave in THREE TIMES under warranty before Leatherman actually fixed it correctly. He never abused the tool and it was only a few weeks old when it broke. One day the pliers just snapped off under light stress. It took him multiple letters and phone calls and nearly a year before it was finally fixed right and returned.

    SOG seems to have better warranty and repair service than Leatherman or Gerber. At least I haven't heard of any bad experiences so far with SOG, and lots of good ones.

    Victorinox supposedly has excellent, but often slow, repair and warranty service on its multitools.

    .

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by mossyoak View Post
    good luck with your clutch, mine broke the first day of my senior year at academy in the hands of one of my best friends, shes a dainty little thing and broke it so be careful.
    heres what i mean by dainty.

    Amber
    So what you're trying to say is that

    she broke your tool with her hands
    Currently own: Inova X5+X1, LP M1 XR-E, Fenix L0D CE, LP LM301, Novatac 120T+17670tube, SF 6PL+E2L XRE+M4+M962, NiteC Def+D10+EzAA
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by dig-it View Post
    I just got one 2 days ago. It has to be my least favorite of any of the multitools I have. The phillips is useless and my hand was contantly riding up to the spikes at the plier pivot.
    If you`d like to invest $20 then I`ll ship it to you.

    Thanks for the feedback, dig-it.

    If you feel that strongly about it, then maybe you should write a brief review of the Crossgrip and post it here.

    You would have the gratitude of people that your review prevented from wasting their hard-earned bucks on a multitool they won't be happy with.

    Your opinion of the SOG Crossgrip pretty much confirms what other owners have said.

    Most seem to think that the Crossgrip's little pliers are very strong for a pocket multi, but that its other tools are lacking in utility, especially the Phillips.

    Some people also aren't too happy with the Crossgrip's ergonomics.

    .

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    I ownthe Gerber Clutch. I mainly have it as a backup in the bike seat bag with my tire repair kit. It's small and light. The knife was sharp but not too sharp at first so I touched it up the blade a bit running it through a sharpener. The blade now is SHARP. When you touch the blade it kinda sticks to your finger a bit, not that's sharp!

    I've noticed with mine all parts open and lock into place with authority tho sometims opening some things is not easy with snort finger nails. >_<; I got mine at Canadian Tire a month back at $9.99 CDN and bought 4 more as possible gifts. Good backup mulittool.


    Zero_Enigma

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    Quote Originally Posted by boosterboy View Post
    So what you're trying to say is that

    she broke your tool with her hands

    she broke my tool.
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
    NOTICE: I'm a guy. Im to poor to buy cheap.
    Aeon- Smaller, Brighter, Better...

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    I have also a Gerber Clutch that I bought to try instead of my Victorinox MiniChamp.

    I miss the excellent pliers on the minichamp, the scissors and also the "hook" (it's not a hook but some rediculous tool for peeling ornages but as a matter o fact it it EXCELLENT for opening taped boxes, packets et... (where the minichamp wouuld otherwise be a to small tool).

    Anyway, the pliers on my clultch feels very good for it sixze but I really dislike the finish of the tool, the ascrewdrivers, knife etc seems very coarse in the craftmanship, hard to take the blades ouot etc and I like the quality feeling that the minichamp has.
    Is the Leatherman S4 or P4 better in that quality feeling? Does it have the smooth operation and ability to bfold out the blades with EASE? (I have a Leatherman Charge TTI and it has the same nice feeling as the victornix)

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Review of Gerber Clutch

    I've been pondering a Squirt, Micra or MiniChamp having had a Clutch for awhile and not been that satisfied with it - OK for the price but heavy on a keychain, and the tools don't have a very high quality feel to them. I had a Micra and lost it a few years ago - OK but I didn't like having to open it to access the tools. Overall I like the SAK form factor on a key ring - smaller and less obtrusive so I'm leaning toward the minichamp - and the use for the orange peeler sounds quite practical!

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