Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Range Reviews: SOG S62 PowerLock with V-Cutter

SOG PowerLock in Afghanistan!
© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

“At SOG, we create style through craftsmanship. Our purpose is to combine advanced technology, imaginative designs and high-quality construction to create products of the highest caliber-products that enhance your life”
The SOG Philosophy

Multi-tools have become ubiquitous. Just about everyone makes one, with quality varying from atrocious to sublime. In my opinion, having carried one for almost two years in Afghanistan, SOG Specialty Knives makes one of best multi-tools.

To quote SOG Specialty Knives, they are “totally committed to creating the world's finest specialized knives and tools.” Having used their S62 PowerLock with V-Cutter for well over a three years, I have no doubt as to the commitment of its founder and chief designer, Spencer Frazer, and his talented crew, to produce cutting edge tools for today’s military personnel and civilian outdoorsmen.

Picture courtesy of SOG Specialty Knives

The S62's specifications and components are impressive:
  • Double tooth saw
  • ½ serrated blade
  • Three sided file
  • Large screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • ¼” socket driver
  • Awl
  • Can opener/Small screwdriver
  • Bottle opener/Medium screwdriver
  • Wire crimper
  • Wire cutter
  • V-Cutter

Picture courtesy of SOG Specialty Knives

From left to right: Drive unit, blade
can opener-small screwdriver,
bottle opener-medium screwdriver.

Top to bottom: Double tooth saw, awl, large screwdriver,
Philips head screwdriver, can opener-small screwdriver, and file.

Standard leather sheath

Closed it measures 4.6 inches and open it is 7 inches. It weighs 9.6 ounces, which while not heavy, gives it sufficient heft. It is made of polished stainless steel and comes with a leather sheath. A nylon sheath is also available, and can be purchased separately.

The first impression is that of a very sturdy and solid tool. The polish is very good and the imprints and logos are deep and well done. Upon opening, the needle nose pliers are robust without being too bulky. It is obvious that they are meant to be used.

Picture courtesy of SOG Specialty Knives

The gearing system, called Compound Leverage (TM) generates twice the gripping and cutting force than other multi-tools. As a test I went and clipped a couple of pennies, a dime, some hardened wire, plain wire, and a coat hanger. Except for some copper streaking, the cutters show no sign of any wear.

Very little pressure disengages the locks.

The components are held in the open position by the PowerLock spring. To close them you depress the lever and fold them back.

The blade is serrated along half of its length. These serrations worked well against cardboard, nylon strapping, along with polypropylene, manila, and cotton rope. The blade itself is chisel ground. While some may not like that edge, it does make it easier to sharpen. The steel is easy enough to sharpen if you don’t wait until it is stone dull, and the blade is very serviceable.

Double tooth saw blade made short work of 1X1 oak!

The double tooth saw was exceptional in its cutting ability. It cut through a 1X1 piece of oak and then two pieces of pine lumber. Again the saw felt as sharp as when the first cut was made.

¼ inch drive unit works well; carry the adapter
and any bits you need for your guns when you travel!

A neat feature is the ¼ inch drive. Any ¼ inch socket will fit on the drive, and with the adapter you can use all those hex screwdrivers, allen wrenches, torx bits and anything else with a ¼ inch hex shank. You can also use an extension to give you a little more reach or clearance.

The V-Cutter is designed to cut through webbing or cord. Unable to find any webbing that I could safely cut, it made short work of ¼ inch braided cordage. I'm thinking you could even use it to gut game animals if need be.

All of the minor tools performed as expected; that is to say the screwdrivers tightened and loosened screws, and the bottle and can opener opened their respective containers. The awl is diamond shaped and as sharp as a razor. It punched through some very heavy harness leather with ease. It is best to back whatever you are punching through with a piece of softwood for safety.

All you need to disassemble and service the S62 is a ¼ inch wrench.

Something that really set the tool apart is that you can completely disassemble it, rearrange the components, or replace components with completely different ones. (As long as they are the same thickness.) All that is required is a ¼ inch wrench.

Care is nothing out of the ordinary. Keep it clean, oil the hinges lightly, occasionally strip it down to its components and clean it thoroughly. It should give you a lifetime of service.

Overall I rate the SOG S62 PowerLock a rock-solid buy, well worth the price. It is the best multi-tool currently on the market, the guarantee is unbeatable, and their commitment to be the best instills great confidence. A SOG S62 PowerLock on your hip will resolve 95% of your problems; the other 5% probably require a specialist and a big fat bank account.

And remember SOG is made in America!

SOG PowerLock S62
MSRP: $110.00

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Go Learn Something Cool to Do!

Great Blogs you are sure to enjoy!
© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.
Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850)
Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.
Fred Shero
The preceding phrase, "You must first set yourself on fire." is a metaphor, and not to be taken literally.
Albert A Rasch

I've been putting off this particular writing assignment, not because I didn't want to do it, but because I wanted to make sure I did these sites justice. These blogs and websites are particularly good at doing something that I really appreciate, and that is, the sharing of knowledge and information. I especially like hands-on tutorials and real, live demos. When it comes right down to it, there is nothing like an explanation with pictures to really get you to understand what is going on!

First on the list is Bygone Country Skills. I originally found Antoni "Toni" Ross' site through a video posted by our fellow fellow blogger, The Suburban Bushwacker. As many of you know, SBW has more than a passing interest in outdoor and traditional skills.

In his introduction Toni says, "This site is intended to inform, educate and entertain those who believe that traditional skills are worth preserving." He further goes on to say, " is my aim to pass on my skills and preserve our heritage..." To this end he has made himself available for demonstrations at schools, scouting events, and holds one and two day workshops at his... well... workshop, where he shares his skills for a very nominal fee.

Toni only uses hand and human powered tools to produce very beautiful and practical implements for daily use. These items can also be commissioned from him, which is how he makes his living. See some of them here.

It's the videos that I really like. There is enough information on them for a reasonably handy and inquisitive person to learn from. Observe first if you please, this demonstration : Carving A Wooden Ladle. Notice how Toni deftly reduces a chunk of wood with a hatchet, and then refines it with a crook knife or hoof knife and a straight bladed knife. If I thought I wouldn't lose a thumb, I might try it myself! Check out the finished product; it is beautiful!

Think about this for a minute. You go to the nearest Walmart and get a plastic ladle. It costs you next to nothing. You use it, toss it in the dishwasher. Done.

How about instead, you set aside a few dollars, pounds, or euros, and you order one from Toni. The anticipation of its arrival is just like waiting for a gift. It arrives, you eagerly tear open the packaging, and you marvel at the craftsmanship. Now every time you use it, you think about the craftsman, Toni, eyeing that just right piece of wood, and then carving your ladle out of it. That makes for a far more satisfying time in the kitchen!

Next is a Shrink Pot. Notice how Toni selects the wood, then augers the hole in the wood. That creaking noise is the sharp auger pulling itself through the wood. Then he removes the bark with a draw knife. Believe me it is sharp, but it won't cut on striking his chest. Run it down your leg though, and that might be a different story. Next he cuts a shelf in the body for the bottom, splits another piece of dry wood for the bottom, thins and flattens it, and cuts it to shape for installation. As the wooden body dries, it will shrink against the already dry disc of wood, thereby making a secure bottom.

Toni has many other marvelous and well done demonstrations. Check out his video page! Many of these projects are done with relatively common handtools. Oh, and by the way, Toni has great taste in music!

The second site I would like to mention is Stormdrane's Blog. Stormdrane likes to tie knots. He takes line and makes knots until the line is something far greater than just a line!

I've owned Ashley's Book of Knots for well over thirty years, and I have on occasion used it for some project or another. The lanyard on my Swiss Army knife is one I made who knows how long ago. I've got a sap I made out of a three ounce egg sinker too.

I'm not sure how I found Stormdrane's Blog, (probably SBW) but his work has motivated me to try a little knotwork myself. He has some great tutorials, and an excellent list of links. Another thing I like about him is that he answers your question! And answers them well. All of his projects are doable with little more than some cordage and a knife. For those of you with limited shop space, this is a great activity. You may have noticed a bracelet I wear woven out of Paracord/550. Learned it from Storm Drane.

Last I want to mention my good friend Todd at the Primitive Point. As some of you have undoubtedly heard before, Todd got me into blogging. Todd is a bladesmith and works strictly with salvaged metal. He writes well and has put together some videos. It was very well done, and I keep on harassing him to produce more!

Besides his metal working skills, he keeps some goats, and bakes bread.

Folks, I hope y'all will stop by and visit my friends. Give them a few minutes of your time and you just might learn something new!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida