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While I would like to think of myself as some badass maker who needs a gunslinger’s leather holster bristling with impressive tools for forging (or destroying) worlds, in reality, I’m a desk jockey. I spend the majority of my days (and nights) in my aging Aeron chair, eyeballs glued to a glowing monitor. I’m a writer and an editor. I make words. I make words about other people making things. So, my tools are principally a notebook, a computer, and a decent pen. For years, I did carry my beloved Leatherman Wave on my belt, but I didn’t use it all that often and it spent more time getting hooked on the arm of my chair than anything else.

But one thing I wrestle with in my day-to-day, sometimes literally, are shipping boxes — lots of shipping boxes: boxes of MAKE books and magazines, review books and hardware, and boxes of other cool stuff that show up on my doorstep. And because I don’t drive and live alone, most of my shopping is on the internet. More boxes. So, my most frequent around-the-office tools are scissors and a box cutter. So, I was very interested when Fiskars offered to send me one of their new ShopBoss snips-based multi-tools.

The heart of the ShopBoss is a pair of titanium nitride-coated snippers/shears. The bottom blade is serrated and the snips are made to cut through light metals, carpet, cardboard, plastic stock, etc. They made easy work of most everything I chewed into with them, even some fairly thick acrylic. They cut CD media very easily and cleanly and would be a good tool to grab when CoasterBot building. It was a joy to process a giant pile of boxes, plastic banding, and cardboard destined for the recycling center.

Surrounding the snips are a number of other useful widgets: a wire-cutting jaw, a twine/binding strap cutter, bottle opener, and a pegboard hanging loop. The ShopBoss also comes with a plastic holster that clips onto your belt. It includes a pencil holder, a tape-cutting hook, and a metal deburring file (a piece of ceramic rod).

After using this tool for awhile, I have to say, like it. But there are things that bother me, too. I like having one tool that can handle all of my shipping work, cardboard recycling, and some benchtop tasks. It serves all of these functions well. I like the holster idea, but the holster you get feels a little… off. Too cheap. The angle of the tool on your belt makes it a little awkward to draw, especially if you’re holding something else and are looking for a smooth grab, draw, unlock, and cut. And speaking of the lock button, it’s really hard to engage with your thumb, but I assume that will get earlier with use. The ShopBoss costs $30 retail. For that kind of money, I wish they’d invested a little more in a better holster. The ShopBoss is not available on Amazon yet, but if you can get the price down closer to $20, I’d say it’s a good buy.

If the functions that I’ve described above sound more like what you encounter in your day-to-day office/shop duties (than knife-pliers-driver), you might want to strap this baby on instead of a knife-based multi-tool. Or better yet, add both of them to your belt, sling that leather low, and get down with your geeky John Wayne bad-self.

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See all of our “Toolsday” tool reviews here.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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