Dubbed the Toucan, this pocket tool features a main blade that comes in thee flavors: sheepsfoot/wharncliffe, chisel and Drop Point. For pure utility purposes I chose the sheepsfoot model; it’s just one of those blade shapes that lends itself to being used really hard and sharpens easily too. Made out of 5/32" 154CM Stainless Steel the blade is really stout, so stout that the blade is best used as a last ditch option or occasional use. I find that due to the thickness of the steel it does not cut well in regards to the overall length of the blade. Don’t get me wrong, the blade is sharp and stays sharp but it would not be something I will use to break down cardboard boxes or anything that requires a lot of cutting. The blade does get used a lot for mundane things that I encounter and don’t feel like scarring folks with a larger blade. It’s really a compromise that Jared encountered when designing this tool; on one hand you want a tool that is thick enough to pry and what not and still hold up to the stress but you need a blade that won’t be too thick and cause drag when cutting some material. For its purpose the blade thickness and blade style work well for this tool and any more modification to alter it would probably result in making the tool weak.
The other end of the Toucan which is really the business end features your typical prying area. The pry end of this tool is really the bread and butter of what the tool offers in terms of functionality. Those who are familiar with Atwood tools know that Peter loves to put what the people call “butter smooth” edges on everything. Smooth edges are nice in the respect that they won’t hurt your fingers when using a tool hard but I feel the take away some small fraction of utility I get from a tool that has nice sharp and crisp edges. The Toucan has those nice sharp angles I look for in a pocket tool, the sharp edges come in handy when splitting tape on boxes and removing stuff from a crack or something that would not be as easy to accomplish with something more rounded and smooth. The pry end is angled quite steep and offers a lot of leverage, depending on the maker your angle may vary and the steeper the better I think. Although too steep and you suffer on the amount of material you can shove up under the object you’re prying on.
Another function of the pry end that comes in handy is its ability to turn screws. The Toucan can turn straight screw heads as well as some Phillips heads and due to the sharp angles I mentioned it does it quite well. I do think the Phillips does suffer some because it’s not a dedicated driver head that that on the Flud P38.5 but it offers a good compromise without sacrificing too much. The v-notch is really nice on this tool, so sharp and precise I can strip wire without any difficultly. Some v-notches on pocket tools can be rather narrow and they don’t offer a lot of bite but the Toucan shines through and it adds another function to the tool that is executed well. Another function that the Toucan has that is not in short supply in the pocket tool market is a bottle opener. The bottle opener works well and is really nice because it can be used while the tool is still in its Kydex sheath and attached to your key ring. I personally don’t drink and have little use for a bottle opener but it’s nice to know such a feature is offered on this tool.
The last thing I want to touch base on is aesthetics or the quality put into this piece. The Toucan features a bead blasted finish (as well as tumbled) that is easy on the eyes and helps protect the tool from scratches and dings. I personally prefer polished tools because it’s helps with corrosion resistance but I really like how the finish hides the fact that this tool should already be scratches pretty good and it still looks new. The overall look of the tool is rather cleaver, seems there is a habit of folks making pocket tools who name their designs after critters. The Toucan looks just like the name suggests, I chose the sheepsfoot style when getting this tool because it helps to further keep that look of a Toucan’s beak. The Kydex sheath that the Toucan rides in is executed well; it rides in it snug and can be removed easily. It was also designed so the pry functions as well as the bottle opener could be used while the blade is still being protected by the sheath. This was a concern by some of the folks here on the site when I showed it to them, they thought that a pocket tool that features a blade at the opposite end would cause a problem and it would be possible for you to injure yourself if the blade were to come loose from the sheath. I find it’s not the case with this design, the Kydex hugs the tool quite strong and there is no way the blade is going to come loose without you wanting it to be removed.
The Jared Price Toucan tool is yet another great offering available in the pocket tool market, I think the Toucan is well executed and shows that a lot of thought was put into making it. The only problem with the Toucan is the availability of it, Jared makes his tools in batches and you will have to reserve your tool and wait in line for it to be made. It has better availability than Atwood tools and I am sure you will feel like you’re getting more bang for your buck. If you’re interesting in the Toucan you can reach Jared by his website at http://sites.google.com/site/jrpcustomknives/