One of my most trusted companion tools, one that always goes with me, that other people associate with me, that comes to the rescue in remote places, that is made of solid steel: my swiss-tech® – a gadget encompassing a multitude of functions in a miniature package. It resides quietly unseen on my keyring until needed, not being in the way when things go well, but jumping into action whenever a screw needs loosening, a kitchen cabinet’s door needs adjusting, a splinter needs removing, a wire needs cutting…

The ideal embodiment of a tool. Almost.

The ideal, all-in-one screwdrivers, cutter and pliers tool.

Almost ideal. Sadly, the one in the picture is not the first one I have owned. It turns out that the vagaries of motion in a jangling assortment of keys will randomly move the various parts around, inadvertently opening the jaws, thus releasing its iron grip – without my knowledge – and losing its association with my keys.

The screwdrivers moved, the jaws released, imminent risk of loss.

When that happens, if I’m lucky the tool might remain in the same pocket as the keys and can be reattached without further ado. Unless, like that time it was still just about hanging on when I reached for the keys, the tool spun off into the undergrowth somewhere, never to be found again (at least by me).

Never mind the cost of acquiring a new issue of the tool, there’s the inconvenience of not having the tool at hand. Much greater is my embarrassment as I reach – ta-da – for my bunch of now toolless keys, unable to be the knight in shining armor by tightening a wayward screw in a distressed damsel’s glasses. The gaping hole where the tool should have been delivering a severe blow.

One that has long made me ponder a solution.

It turns out that a very simple solutional mechanism already exists and it’s just a matter of putting two-and-two together:

Exhibit A, a 1-inch binder clip.

A little clip like that, typically hiding in the various corners of a desk drawer, or available from your favorite office supply store, is just the thing. It has to be the one-inch version. Smaller or larger versions, although equally good at organizing paperwork, will just not do the trick here.

Start by folding the shiny steel handles back, squeezing them together to open the black clip, and clamping it on the hinge-end of the tool:

Stage one of the clip assembly.

Having achieved contact, fold the two handles up along the tool as shown in the next picture:

The handles folded up: note the alignment of the handles with the gap of the pliers.

With the handles folded up, it becomes clear why the one-inch clip is the only suitable size. Smaller or larger version will have respectively smaller or larger handles, that will therefore not align themselves with the pliers as neatly as the one shown above, or at all.

It’s now clear to the more technically inclined reader that the alignment of the handles with the gap of the pliers is ideal for keyring attachment:

Keyring very securely attached to the combined clip and tool.

The tool now provides a very secure location to insert a keyring, or a carabiner, or any other attachment. The clip keeps a good strong hold of the tool – keeping it safely in your possession until it’s next needed to remove a nut or to open a battery compartment when no other tools are in sight. Incidentally, the clip itself could even become a handy addition for those occasions where that little extra help makes all the difference, creating even more utility in the process.







  1. Ahh, Maarten. I love to hear again the unfolding of another problem solved. Thank you for sharing. Always fun to see and hear your mind and hands at work.

  2. Max, what a great handy solution for a tool kit and your use of the winged paper clip and I do not see a blade so it gets ono the plane just fine. Clever and so simple. Bob Hedges – West Bay Wood Turners

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