Thursday, March 15, 2007

Micra: my tinyest tool kit

Leatherman is the BIG name in multi-function fold-up tools. Most of them are carried in belt pouches, or kept in desk drawers or car consoles. One of them is tiny enough to fit on a key chain, and useful enough to be carried everywhere (but not on an airplane!).

Since I was in first grade, I've been Mister Fixit, always expected to have the knowhow and the equipment to get someone else out of a jam, even if I couldn't always unjam myself.

In sixth grade, the school custodian came to me to borrow a screwdriver. In ninth grade, I used my emergency sewing kit to repair a kid's split pants. In adult life, I used my ever-present skinny screwdriver to unjam the push-button transmission in my mother's Plymouth, and to remove the molding from a door frame so I could escape from an unexpectedly locked closet. I haven't worn a pocket protector in many years, and my ever-present skinny screwdriver has been replaced by an even-more-useful Leatherman Micra.

Made completely of stainless steel, this mighty midget includes a spring-action scissors, knife, tweezers, nail file, nail cleaner, three screwdriver blades, bottle opener, inch and metric rulers, and a loop to attach it to your keyring. The only basic tool that it doesn't have is a pliers. If you think you'll need a pliers, Leatherman makes plenty of foldup tools with pliers, but they're bigger and heavier. (Yes, I have them, too.)

When closed, Micra is just 2-1/2 inches long, and it weighs only 1-3/4 ounces. It's available in several colors in addition to the standard brushed stainless finish.

It's extremely well-made, and has a 25-year warranty. You'll probably lose it long before you break it, especially if you forget it's on your keyring when you try to get on a plane.

I got mine at Costco, but Micra is available at lots of other physical and online stores. Price is usually under $20. Buy a few.

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