How I Saved My Leatherman's Life
I use the Super Tool 200 everyday as a self-employed chimney sweep. When installing a stainless steel liner in a masonry chimney, it's the only tool I need to take up the ladder to finish the top of the installation. I even use it to cut off any excess liner above the top plate. That's right, it cuts through titanium alloy stainless steel chimney lining material almost every day.
Two summers ago, I took my kids fishing at one of the fantastic bass lakes here in Northeast PA. We had been having a great day of exciting smallmouth action fishing a spot under a bridge. My kid caught one and couldn't get it off the hook as the fish had swallowed it. Out came the Leatherman to handle the veterinary surgery (it has seen its share of fish blood). Just a moment later my kid was fishing again. But, due to the combination of excitement and fish slime on my hands, as I was putting it back into the sheath, it slipped out of my hand and, unfortunately, into the deep water.
This story probably would have ended here for many Leatherman owners, but I couldn't leave my Leatherman down there... forever. I fished for the rest of the day, wondering what to do. I knew, though, that I would ultimately have to just try to dive down to the bottom of the lake and get the tool. The water was only about 12 ft deep, but there was a strong current as this particular spot was at the inlet of a feeder stream, and as it had been raining heavily for the previous couple days, the water was cold and murky. To make matters worse, the tool dropped from the top of a concrete wall that rose about 8 ft above the surface of the 12 ft deep water. To get to the tool, I would have to enter the stream and wade around the wall until it got too deep. Then swim to the spot, and then try to dive down to get it.
Now bear in mind I was new to underwater salvage and had no idea it would be so hard. It was difficult just to try to swim down to the bottom with my lungs full of air and then stay there long enough to find my sunken tool. To make matters even worse, the sun was setting. The bottom of the lake was getting too dark, and the kids were getting bitten by mosquitoes. I had to abandon the salvage operation and get the kids home. I reluctantly got out of the water; we packed up our gear, and headed home.
That night I actually had trouble sleeping. All I could think about was the poor, loyal Leatherman lying lifeless at the bottom of the cold, dark lake. It felt like I had abandoned an old friend out there. I decided to go back to the spot the next day to make another attempt to get it. The next day, I gathered up a few essentials: rope, a large metal hook, a 20 lb weight, a pair of kids swim goggles, and my old rock climbing harness. Once I had these things packed up, the kids and I headed out to rescue the tool. We met one of my friends at a gas station on the way (I needed someone to hold the rope). When we got there, I put on the climbing harness. I hung the hook off the harness and hooked the weight to that. I put on the goggles and waded into the water. Fortunately, the sun was shining brightly, the water had cleared a bit, and I could see the tool glistening at the bottom. It only took one try, and I had it back!
This may sound corny, but this was seriously one of the happiest moments of my life! How sad is that?
Dickson City, PA
An upgrade to our classic Super Tool, this time we were trying something new with handle-side locks.