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Thread: Review: Leatherman Crater C33

  1. #1
    Moderator JEEP's Avatar
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    Review: Leatherman Crater C33

    A while ago, I was in the market for a new lightweight lock blade folder, preferably with a pocket clip. It is not legal to carry a lock blade on an everyday basis in Denmark, this one is meant to be carried as a back-up to my fixed blade knives, when out and about.

    Having considered and handled quite a few options, my choice fell on the Leatherman c33; http://www.leatherman.com/product/c33/c33x - without the one-hand open assist of course, as this feature is not legal in Denmark.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    First impressions:
    The knife is a very modern looking "semi-tactical" folder with a glass-filled nylon handle, locking liner, belt clip, fordable bottle opener/carabiner clip and a spear point blade. It seems very sturdy, with minimal play and a reassuring click when the blade locks in place.
    Like all Leatherman products, the knife is covered by a 25-year warranty.

    Packaging:
    The knife comes in the classic black and yellow Leatherman box, the knife itself is protected, in the box, by a blue heavy duty plastic bag.

    Contents of package:
    Knife
    Manual/warranty information

    The knife:

    Measurements (my own): Weight (knife); 73 g. Blade length; 6,6 cm. Blade width; 2,2 cm. Blade thickness; 2,5 mm, Overall length: 16,6 cm.

    Appearance/aesthetics:
    The design of this knife is very discreet - the word "understated" springs to mind. The design is probably too tactical for the traditionalists - and too plain for the tactical crowd.
    I have seen people write about this knife, that it is to be considered a "promotional item" in line with caps and t-shirts, rather than an actual part of the Leatherman line-up. This may have something to do with the rather low price of the product - but the claim is, imho, highly unfair. This knife is very nicely designed - and there is nothing "promotional" about the materials nor the build quality. I believe that the claim comes from the fact that people have a hard time believing that Leatherman, the inventor of the multi-tool, can be equally good at making regular folders.
    One thing that also thoroughly denounces the the "promotional" claim, is the fact that the logos are very discreet; "Leatherman" is laser engraved on one side of the blade and stamped on the pocket clip - on the other side, the tool logo is moulded into the nylon handle.
    The spear point blade is aesthetically pleasing and is nicely balanced to de design of the handle.
    The fordable bottle opener/carabiner clip is a very handy and highly functional feature - which takes nothing away from the appearance of the knife.

    Blade:
    As mentioned the blade is a slightly aggressive looking spear point type. The metal is 420HC stainless steel. The grind is a classic double bevel. The finish is a nice, easy to maintain, matte.
    Out of the box the knife is very sharp - just like I have come to expect from a Leatherman blade. Not "Mora sharp" but close enough

    Handle:
    The handle is black glass-filled nylon. The metal frame is only present on the side of the lock - the integrity of the other side of the handle relies entirely on the nylon handle. The handle seems very sturdy, yet not "unbreakable" - for a folder this size, I dare say that it will hold up to any reasonable task (and probably somewhat longer than that).
    The handle has two finishes, along the back of the handle it is finished in a grainy cobblestone finish, the notch in the handle, at the lock, is finished in the same way. The majority of the handle is finished with horizontal lines, running the length of the handle. The two different finishes are working very well together - both aesthetically and grip-vice.
    The pocket clip is made in what appears to be spring steel, it is designed to follow the lines of the handle – it looks very pleasing and works very well. If one does not like the clip, it is removable.
    The handle is joined with torx screws, which enables the knife to be tightened, should the blade become loose.

    Handling and performance:
    I will not be doing a regular field test of this knife, as I am quite sure it will not hold up to batoning and heavy chopping – nor is it meant to.
    This knife is bought as a back-up and as a handy knife for finer work, when I am not bringing a Mora Classic for that task.
    I have done some basic whittling as well as feathersticking with this knife; the spear point blade is very well adapted for finer work - and the edge has, so far, held up very well.
    The blade is fairly comfortable to work with, considering it's size and the pocket clip. But it is not a knife that I would like to work with for an extended period of time – but, neither is it meant to.

    Conclusion:
    This is a lot of knife at the price point! It is not the ultimate small lock back folder – nor should one expect that, considering the price. It is not one of posh tactical folder brands, like Spyderco, Böker or Benchmade – but on the other hand; it fully lives up the quality one should expect from any Leatherman branded product.
    Personally I am very happy with the purchase, in fact; if it was legal to carry it everyday, I would most certainly do it. This being impossible, this knife will live it's life attached to the straps of my hiking day pack – and I am actually considering getting another one, to keep in the pockets of my scout uniform, just in case; should I ever forget to pack a fixed blade knife.

    Out of ten stars, I rate this knife:
    Design: ********
    Quality: ********
    Performance: *********
    Accessories (scabbard, etc.): N/A
    Price: **********

    Overall: 8,75 stars out of 10


    Will I recommend this knife:
    I most certainly will – if you are in the market for a “not all that tactical” nylon handle lock blade folder. No doubt there are better knives out there, fitting that description, but I'll bet you; a few of them comes with a price tag as low as the Leatherman Crater c33.
    Last edited by JEEP; 01-05-2012 at 11:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    Thanks Jakob, another thorough review thats much appreciated. I managed to take an 8mm deep 'V' out from the middle of the blade on my everyday user at work so was looking for another knife that would be suitable but not so silly expensive. Having a look through the Leatherman site I think this may just be the answer if I can find a UK supplier.

  3. #3
    Moderator JEEP's Avatar
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    How did you manage to damage your blade in that manner?

  4. #4
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    No idea!?! Just went to use it and found the blade in a lesser state. I would have expected the blade to have broken but it stayed intact so must have been a flaw in the metal/hardening I suppose. My knife is used for preparing armoured cables and doesn't really get that much abuse so its all a bit of a mystery really.

  5. #5
    Tribal Elder Fletching's Avatar
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    Top review Jakob.

    Loud words. Spoken softly. Leave no Trace!

  6. #6
    Moderator & Poshcrafter™ Martin's Avatar
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    Martin
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