Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: keychain tools

Here's a review of the various keychain tools i keep on my primary set of keys. (Yes, I have -two- sets of keys that i carry around, one is day-to-day use, the other is for occasional, once-a-month use, no sense having a jailers fistful all the time). Ive been slowly adding and refining what goes on my primary set for some time, and even what it sits on.

Car, house and partners house keys, no brainers there. The red carabiner and tape loop were a promotional give-away from a vendor at a conference. Not climbing-rated, but great for accessories. 

SO whats on it?

The tear-drop shaped steel nodule is a very hardy LED flashlight, hold-to-illuminate button I picked up a number of years ago in the supermarket battery section. Its weighty enough to ballast the end of a line and hardy enough to make the thumpy end of a kusari-fundo in a pinch. The semi-recessed LED is quite bright, battery is accessible by recessed screws but I haven't had to in the 5 years I've had it.

At the left, is the bulk of the tools. Just past 12 o'clock is the famous liquidmetal iPhone ejector pin. Its taken just the slightest bend after 14 months of keychain life. Still nice and pointy for poking holes and ejecting SIM's.
At 12 o'clock is the CountyComm Splitpea, which is a milled steel kerosene lighter. This is the second one I've had after discovering that the lighter end of my previous one had unthreaded itself and been lost. A good little fire-starter though. I kept bell-cap of the lost one as it makes a very sonorous chime. Good machining!
At 11 o'clock is the CountyComm tweezer, a new addition. Well put together single-span tempered steel tweezer that locks into a keychain holder. I've not had need to use it yet, but it looks and feels reliable and accurate. The jaws come to a 70o point, which will make splinter and shard removal easier, no doubt.
Just off 9 o'clock is the famous P38 can opener. My father brought some of these back from his tour in Viet Nam '68-69, and i recall them always being in the "odds-and-ends" drawer of the kitchen. I think they were eventually whittled away in moves as we moved countries every 2-3 years. I bought a pack of six, gave one to my 14yo step daughter, passing the tradition along.
At 8 o'clock are the Martac screwkey's also from CountyComm. These hex-sided, Philips and flathead tools will be a real boon to me, not having to pull out my multi-tool for the odd screw tightening or loosening.
7 o'clock holds my favourite of the bunch, the hardened D9 steel CountyComm Micro Widgy pry-bar. Its cloven-hoof pointy end is good for opening packages, lifting staples and pulling nails. The teardrop mid-hole is good for pulling nails and even wire-pulling. I've open stuck doors and windows with it. I've separated planks to feed cable with it. This is an outstanding tool for its size!
Lastly at 6 o'clock (ish) is this little red anodized aluminium circuit-based LED blinky light. It's intended to be hung from pet collars, and gives a very bright red and blue flash, bright enough to be spotted across a wooded campsite, between fire-pits. It  screws open to replace the batteries (which it does eat fairly quickly) and screws closed to light. this however leads to the quandary, screw it too loose and it falls open, screw it down tight, and the lights flash, leading to unwanted drain on the batteries from time to time.

All in all, I'm very happy with my collection of key-chain tools, balancing bulk for functionality and frequency of use and need. Always happy to adjust and amend as new tools catch my eye. Adaptability is key to survival!

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