Carrying small pliers and screwdrivers at all times is helpful and comforting. So, when I travel without checked baggage, I feel strange leaving small multitools behind. Being without tools is weird. So, I decided to buy a used Leatherman Squirt on eBay (possibly a TSA auction of a previously confiscated tool), and modify it to meet/exceed the government restrictions on carry-on tools.
Here’s the original tool. Note sharp blade, longish file, and pointy, shabby awl.
I milled off the rivets so I could remove or swap out the offending parts.
The pieces parts.
I snapped the file down to size.
And rounded its tip.
Same goes for the main blade. I also dulled its edge entirely. It is now a tiny spreader for soft cheese?
I decided to drive the point home by creating a “TSA compliant” logo to laser etch into the aluminum scales.
Here’s the final tool, having blunted the awl, and reassembled it. I’d like to get some knife barrel pivot pins, but the screws and nuts (and a dab of Loctite) work well enough for now to hold it together. In the end I didn’t need to pull it apart — I’d hoped to add in other permissible parts removed from a second multitool, but none I had on hand were worth the effort.
I traveled successfully through a couple of airports recently, and even had one agent open every tool on this without any trouble. Some of my friends on Twitter have suggested etching this on machetes, throwing knives, etc. Your milage may vary.