Tips & Tricks, Hang Your Pocket Tool




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Improved Version 1.3

Can't live with them (because they wear a hole in your pocket and look insidious with their threatening bulge-like manifestation in your pocket), and of course, you can't live without them. Solution: use an S-hook to suspend your pocket tool inside your pocket! Comfy, safe, and very stealth. Currently I carry a medium-sized pocket tool -- a Leatherman Juice Cs4 -- but I've had bulkier Victorinox Swiss Army Knifes that benefit just as much from suspension.

Years ago I learned to hang my pocket tools from the inside corner of my pocket, because otherwise they would grind away against my leg if I just dropped them in the pocket, and they would look rather goofy, worse than even an engineer's pocket protector bulge. Also, they are rather expensive items to loose through a developing hole in your pocket -- scenario: you are running for the subway and the tool finally plunges through the hole in your pocket and clatters down to the electrified rails as you step aboard, and the railway security people hold you back from recovering your beloved tool. You must bow pay $1,000 to get out of jail and ~$85 for a new pocket tool. All this could have been avoided with a ~$0.50 S-hook.

Yes, the hook was the thing for me, and all of my pocket tools have gotten them (I am a connoiseur of pocket tools and have a few to suit my changing moods). S-hooks -- oh glorious S-hooks, so useful for many things! -- have kept my pocket tools safe, unobtrusive, and accessible (in fact once I capsized my dory and 360'd it a few times, and had to cut the rigging to get the sail down since everything had jammed, and there my knife was, still hanging from its hook in my pocket. If you want to be really top-shelf, buy a stainless steel S-hook from a marine store to match your stainless steel tool (this will also prevent any galvanic action between hook and tool. Ha! I just told a nerd joke! Did you get it? Huh?).

The useful introduction stuff ends here. You may proceed to step 1, although as ever I have more to say in my appendix below.

Appendix I

The only time I remember being separated from my pocket tool (except for airline trips, lately) was when I had a stroke a few years ago. I was caught by surprise, healthy (well, so I thought), well exercised, relatively young. So, as the ambulance people carry me out on the gurney, I reach for my Swiss army knife on the side table -- perhaps I am thinking they will bring too some of the wood that is in my bedroom with which I am building my outrigger canoe (see instructable 'Build a sailboat-in-a-closet') along with the spare underwear and a book, and I can continue to work on the boat in the ICU with the little saw? I don't know, for my girlfriend tells me I was speaking in Klingon, and so who knows what my brain was thinking?

But I did want that knife. It was my constant companion, my talisman; it has a saw, and scissors, and little pliers, and a teeny drill -- everything needed to fix whatever, though there is a lot in my life right then beyond the heal-all of a pocket tool.

The ambulance people don't know; they gently push my reaching arm back onto my chest, and talk about me like I'm not there. 'What does he want?' they are saying (but not to me, I don't exist). I want my pocket tool, and I don't have it NOT because it has no hook, but because I have no pants on; you see, I had my stroke in the early morning! You can't think of everything.... but don't let that stop you from trying the hook.

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Step 1: The Stuff and the Result


(1) A pocket tool. Selecting this deserves a whole instructable, or at least a step, but not today. But this is important: your pocket tool should have a stout key-chain hanger thingie on it. The older Swiss Army Knives did not, and the thin hanger on the knife I owned since 1980 actually came near to wearing through. A Victorinox store fixed my broken scissors spring for free recently but can do nothing about the keychain hanger. Tip: string 1/8 inch nylon cord through the cork-screw and tie the S-hook on it. Good news: Newer Swiss Army Knives now have very thick hangers, and the Leatherman brands do too (at least mine does).

(2) A hook. I suggest an S-hook, the smallest and thickest one you can find, thick because it spread the strain through your pocket cloth better.

(3) A small spring-ring for key-chains (one might come with your tool, but I got mine off retired key-chain Maglites flashlights.

Alternative: I have used picture-hanging hooks (basically, folded flat metal) and though they do work, their edges are sharp and seem to wear the cloth on your pocket more than a small S-hook.


(1) Put the the ring on the keychain thingie on your pocket tool.

(2) Put the S-hook on the ring (the ring-plus-hook permit sufficient twistability so that the pocket tool has some room to move, reducing strain on all the parts). Leave one side of the S-hook open to hook on your pants pocket, though you can close it a little.

(3) Put it in your pocket and start your day ready to face anything that can be faced with a pocket tool! It will feel so comfortable you will have to pat your pocket to make sure it is there. The public will hardly notice it until you go through one of the many detectors that are there to both protect and remove your personal freedoms; see brief rant below:

Brief rant: USA has gone crazy with worrying about pocket-tools; it is very sad; you are now some kind of suspect if anyone sees you with a pocket tool (and if it is a traditional old pocket knife with just a blade or two, then, even worse! Oh, horrors! A knife! A pure knife!).

Warning: It is still possible for the tool to fall out of your pocket when you recline on a couch; I wear loose comfy pants with vertical pocket slits, and that has happened; also while sitting on a car seat, uncommonly. I assume that tight uncomfortable bluejeans with their small, tight, nearly useless pockets would solve that problem, but then you are stuck with uncomfortable bluejeans, which seem to be made solely to look good in advertising pictures.

But in other walks of life, it will be safe -- most recently I've biked, camped, and hiked in Ireland -- very active castle-climbing, rath-exploring, tent setting-upping, and pint-drinking, and I never lost it.

The photo shows me in my weekend workshop pants, with tool efficiently located for low-profile but accessible for the fast-draw. Carry on!

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    51 Discussions

    Dom Toretto

    6 years ago

    Heres my version i modded it

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    doo da do

    7 years ago on Introduction

    The sheath that came with mine works fine. I still have one of the original Leatherman tools. Still works fine. Doodado

    My husband and kids call me a "scrounge!" I will stop along the roadside (ONLY when traffic allows me to do so safely) and pick up a bungee cord that has flown off of some poor guy's truck or trailer - half a bungee cord? Just as good! I take a discarded bread knife (so I don't wear down my pocketknife blade) and cut off the cord so that I can use the big strong S-hook for all sorts of projects. Camping, I hang them from convenient tree limbs and use them to hang mugs, cooking tools, lanterns, flashlights, cyalume sticks, bug dope... S-hooks rock!

    So does your excellent 'ible, by the way! Thanks. Keep 'em coming!

    black hole

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Ahh, what a wonderful country we live in, where one can be accused of menacing just because of a pocket knife.
    Anyway, I made something similar out of wire coat hanger, bike innertube, and duct tape to make a inside-the-waistband sheath.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Wow ur genious. Im poor (not really) so i just used a coat hanger and used my multitool plyers to bend and cut it into a hook. I originally used 3 or so of the miniature keyring to make a sort of chain but didn't like the length it hung so im only using one now

    1 reply

    I just built it again with another loop at the bottom for 2 inches of  chain. Verry usefull for easily pulling out


    10 years ago on Introduction

    this is a great idea! I love my cybertool, it has come in handy so many times. But its rather thick for a SAK, and gets annoying in my pocket. (so does my any solutions for that?)

    I never use the little loop ring that comes on the knife, but I think I'll have to grab a few s-hooks tomorrow when I'm at the hardware store.

    2 replies

    Eh I like putting it in my pocket more. Its less annoying to me than a case. Plus I'd look really awkward with one of those...I'm not one of the people who could pull it off


    i'm looking for a small S hook--does Ace hardware sell em? I am going to do this with my Vic. Signature. It has a retractable pen, but same thing and size as a SAK ClassicSD.

    3 replies

    Yep, Ace sold em. 10 cents each! What a bargain! I got a handful. Heres two on my EDC SAK (Signature) and another on my Sportsman. I never noticed the signature before in my pocket, but now it's going to probably have a few rides in the wash because I forgot about it. The sportsman really benefits because it's a two-layer ( i have a three and I never carry it). Thanks for this great 'ible!


    Nearly all SAKs have split rings on them. I used those. Damn! Those s hooks were so hard that I had to use my vise to get them closed.

    I took some hobby chain and another S hook for a waist clip to modify this to a greater extent. I may end up taking about 20 links off my chain so it doesn't look too big. I couldn't find any flat waist hooks at my Ace store, so I just bent the hell out of a 10 cent S hook with a vise. The S hook is surprisingly hard to clip on your waist but its super secure. 1.5 ft of "hobby chain" at Ace was about $1.50 The pocket tool benefits even more because now you can throw anything in your pocket like keys and not worry about it getting scratched. 5*


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Another great idea Wade! Found this yesterday, made myself a multi-tool hanger last night. The only problem is the pants/shorts I wear have more horizontal type pocket openings so it doesn't stay quite in the corner.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have the exact same multi tool but in silver/grey colour and i found that if you put it in the pocket inside the right pocket on jeans it's a snug fit


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Cool! Thanx! Now I won't have to get one of those giant, dorky belt clips. I have a Leatherman Juice, and it is very useful. I (my dad :) looped the S hook so the spring won't come out, then straightened the end to loop around the edge of my pants, so it'll work with my smaller pockets as well. Thanks! Just what I needed!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    if i were anybody reading this dont get the gerber 600 or 800 or whatever. i used a friends a little while and i didnt like it. back to my leatherman blast. o i just got the gerber clutch (nutnfancy on youtube reviewed it well) and its pretty gool its equivalent to a squirt or micra but it has pliers. so now i either carry my leatherman blast or the clutch and my spyderco tenacious


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A good choice for any pocket tool is use. Since I use my knife blades more than anything, I want them on the outside when the pliers are closed, and to lock open.

    Leon Close

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wade - I tried this not long after you published this Instructable and have been using it pretty much every day since then. I've been meaning to comment for some time to let you know how pleased I am with the idea. My multi-tool is a Victorinox Huntsman which for me, would be too bulky and heavy for hookless pocketing. I made the hook from galvanised wire, and it has become highly polished, not rusty as I had feared. Just now I thought of adding some plastic wire insulation or heat-shrink tubing to make it thicker, but it has not been a problem thus far, as it is. Thanks!

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