Introduction: How to Take Apart and Reassemble a Leatherman Skeletool Multi-tool
This Instructable will give you the step by step on how to fully dissassemble and re-assemble a Leatherman Skeletool multi-tool. The steps are the same for any version or year of the Skeletool.
Without experience and proper tools, the Skeletool can be a difficult tool to work with. The main purpose of this Instructable is to give you pictures and suggestions that show all the parts of the tool and how they're assembled. You may need to revise your methods based on the tools you have on-hand.
Please be warned that tampering with your tool may void the warranty. If you're having an issue with your tool, Leatherman has a great warranty repair program, and in most cases you can send your tool in for factory repairs.
If you're looking for a specific modification to your tool and would like to have a warranty, please check our our website. We will mirror the original factory warranty on the functionality of all of our modified tools.
Step 1: Tools and Materials List
- your Skeletool multi-tool
- 2x torx 8 bits
- a screwdriver that accepts 1/4" bits
- a poker to remove the pins (we're using an old torx 8 screwdriver)
- a 3/8" punch (we use a Craftsman 42861)*
- either a vice, vicegrip pliers, or a clamp**
- loctite (optional, as needed)
- oil for lubrication (optional, as needed)
*The purpose of the punch is to help align and compress the springs when reinserting the pins. If you do not have a punch that will work, you can compress the tool in a vice to align the holes
**This demo is done using a specialized rig holding one of the torx bits vertically. You can accomplish the same thing with a vice or clamps.
You can find replacement blades at our website:
Here are some shortcuts to the available blades for the Skeletool:
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Step 2: Notes and Warnings
The Skeletool can either be very easy to work with, or very frustrating. Sometimes it comes down to how much loctite was factory applied and where. Here are some tips and warnings before we get started.
1. The screws. The screws used for the assembly of the Skeletool are very fine and are prone to stripping and breakage. Old and excessive loctite can exacerbate this issue. Be very careful about over-tightening!
2. The pins. Unlike many Leatherman tools, there is no key on the pins and they have screws on both sides. This can make it difficult to ensure that you're removing the screw on one side of the tool and not the other. This is particularly of concern when you're only wanting to change the blade.
3. The blade. Please be careful when handling the blade. Keep the sharp edge protected as much as possible.
Step 3: Blade Side Descriptions and Order
Hold your tool so that the flat side of the blade is facing up. Here's the rundown on the parts, from top to bottom:
- large beveled washer
- nylon washer
- brass bushing
- small beveled washer
For the purpose of this demo, we'll be doing as full a dissassembly as possible, but depending on what you're intending, you may be able to keep some of the assemblies together.
Step 4: Remove the Blade
Start by tightening the screw opposite the screw over the blade (the bottom item on the list of parts from the previous step). This will make it easier to get the screw over the blade to loosen.
You'll only be able to tighten a fraction of a turn -- don't over-do it or you'll break the head off the screw.
Using a sharp turning motion (lefty loosey) to break the loctite on the screw over the blade, remove the screw, bushings, and blade.
Step 5: Finish Disassembling the Blade Side
Clamp the pin on the blade side and remove the screw on the clip side. Depending on your clamp, you might want to protect the pin with a piece of paper so it doesn't get scratched.
Use a poker to remove the pin from the handles.
Parts you'll be left with:
- 2x small screws
- 1x brass bushing
- 1x nylon bushing
- 1x small beveled washer
- 1x large beveled washer
- 1x blade
- 1x blade side handle
Step 6: Clip Side Dissassembly
It's usually easiest to remove the screw opposite from the clip first. If you're lucky, you'll be able to then remove the screw on the clip side without hassle.
If you're unlucky, things will be rotating where you don't want them to be. If this happens try tightening the screw opposite the one you're trying to remove.
If you're still having trouble, you may need to get a clamp on the clip side of the pin. Again, use a piece of paper to protect the finish if necessary.
Once both the screws are removed, push the pin through with your poker.
On this side of the tool, the parts you'll be left with are:
- 1x large head screw
- 1x clip
- 1x small beveled washer
- 1x small screw
- 1x carabiner side handle
Step 7: Blade Side Reassembly
Please be careful when reassembling this tool. Some of the steps described require a bit of force -- always be aware of where your fingers are in case you slip.
For the purposes of this demonstration we're using a 3/8" Craftsman punch to align and compress the springs. If you don't have a punch that will work, you can also compress the tool in a vice to align the holes and insert the pin. If you're using a vice, you'll definitely want to protect the tool from scratching with paper or rubber pads.
Insert the pliers into the handle assembly and insert the punch from the clip side of the tool. The punch will align the holes and compress the spring enough for you to push the pin through from the blade side. We use an old torx screwdriver to make it easier to hold the pin and push it through. The punch will be pushed out as you insert the pin.
Once the pin is through, reverse the steps from the dissassembly. I like to get the screw/small beveled bushing started on the clip side first and tightened down as much as possible. Then add the brass bushing, blade, nylon bushing, large beveled washer, and screw down that side as much as possible.
Tighten each side by holding the opposite side in your bit holder being careful not to overtighten and break the heads off the screw.
Step 8: Carabiner Clip Side Reassembly
The steps are similar for this side.
Insert the pliers into the carabiner side assembly. Insert the punch from the blade side of the tool to align the holes.
Again, we use the old torx screwdriver to hold the pin while it's pushed through.
If you're unable to get the pin through all the layers of the tool, you can try using the clip side screw to help pull the pin through the rest of the way. Use caution with this method, as it's easy to strip out the screw and/or the pin. The photographs demonstrate this method.
With the pin through, reattach the clip and the small beveled washer.
Step 9: Voila, You're Done!
You can go back and adjust the tension at each of the joints so that the tool opens and closes as desired.
Sighting down the tool from the short edge, you should not see gaps between the plier/handle/blade.
The blade should open smoothly and lock into place cleanly.
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