There are many reasons other than sabotage that can leave you wanting to keep a few undercover handyman tools on hand. Sometimes you just hate to be caught unprepared. Other times you don’t want to look like too much of a tool nerd by wheeling a hard shell case everywhere you go. Packing light is often a consideration as well. Whether it’s on an overnight hike-in fishing trip or just trying to avoid an overweight baggage fee with the airline, a small and light set of tools for minor emergencies may be just what you need.
Here are 7 super cool undercover handyman tools that will impress:
1. Hair Clip Tool Kit
Israeli designer Yaacov Goldberg came up with a utilitarian spin on the common hair clip. As a tiny tool kit, the Leatherdos Clippa combines: two screwdrivers; a 5/16-inch hex wrench; ruler; and a cutting blade. As well as the obvious functions, ingenious Clippa owners have come up with a few extra uses as well. For example, the Clippa can be used to release coin operated shopping cart locks, and it makes a handy citrus fruit peeler as well.
As a hair clip, it provides a solid hold. While it may not always be practical to let your hair down when you need to free a baby seal from a fishing net (or peel an orange), having this handy tool kit is great in a pinch.
2. Undercover Lipstick Tool Kit Disguised as Lipstick
If you’re a lipstick toting lady, this is a perfect DIY project the next time you find your favourite colour is down to the nub. Save the tube and create your own multi-tool. While ChrysN has put together a very detailed how-to at instructables with an awl punch, mini utility blade, Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, you can include any number of your favourite compact tools.
The key component for this tool kit is the bit holder. Because room is limited, you’ll want to cut off the end of a bit holder so you have just the female end. Once you have dismantled the lipstick tube, removed the adjustable lipstick platform and cleaned out any remaining lipstick, use epoxy glue to set the bit holder inside the tube.
Because lipstick tubes vary in size, you may have to try a few different brands. You are looking for something where the bit holder fits snuggly in the cap, base or insert of the lipstick tube. Other attachments include small files and chisels that can be cut down to fit in the remaining space inside the tube.
3. Handyman Key Tools
The Swiss Tech Utili-Key combines six ingenious tools into one. A small flathead screwdriver is complemented with an even smaller eyeglass screwdriver. Two blades, one straight and one serrated, fold into the Phillips screwdriver head and a handy bottle opener is tucked inside the hinge. At just 7 cm long, the tool looks right at home with your car keys, house keys or the key to the padlock on your secret lab. Although the tool would likely pass through a security screening without attracting attention, you may wish to err on the side of caution and make sure the Utili-Key rides in your checked bag.
4. Saw Blade Ring
It’s a thoughtful bride indeed that thinks to get their mate this surreptitious saw and shim combination. The stainless steel saw blade works great on nylon twine, plastic restraints and duct tape. At only 5 cm long, it’s a little tricky to handle, but if you find yourself in need of one then you’re probably already in a tricky situation.
In a pinch, the blade can also be used to shim a handcuff, which could make it the perfect bachelor party gift. At the same time, the groom is getting the hang of wearing a wedding band and behaving like a responsible married man, you have everything you need in case a wild night out ends up having you looking for a plan B. The ring is matte finished titanium and can be worn with or without the tool insert.
5. UZI Pen
If you find yourself in need of something a little sturdier to get out of those pesky handcuffs, the UZI pen comes with a hidden handcuff opener. From the same people that brought you the Cadillac of tactical submachine guns, the UZI pen is housed in a machined aluminium body that makes a formidable weapon and a handy glass shattering tool. The embedded miniature hardened steel peen makes short work of a safety glass windscreen if you find yourself trapped in a car. Impressively, the pen also writes while underwater and when held upside down.
The manufacturer, which licenses the name from Israel Military Industries, also advertises the pen as being able to retain DNA samples from any unfortunate attacker. Although this claim may be a bit more marketing spin than special design feature as it’s possible that any pen used with enough enthusiasm would appear capable of extracting a DNA sample.
6. Tactical Keychain
Brad Martin of Webster City, a small town of only 8,000 people stuck in the middle of the Iowa corn fields in the United States, has managed to carve himself a niche in the competitive world of stealth tool design. He’s had a run of successful designs and some equally successful crowd source funding campaigns on Kickstarter.com. His latest campaign for the WTF Key Chain generated over $85,000, which surpassed his $2,500 target more than 30-times over.
WTF stand for Wrench That Fits. You can either bolt your keys directly on the WTF and use it as a key flip, or you can purchase a stainless steel key cable and attach them through the hole. The WTF Mini handles standard 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″ and 1/2″ bolts as well as 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 11mm and 13mm metric bolts. The mini is 2.85 inches or 7.25 centimetres long. WTF is available in aluminium, titanium or extra sturdy Parkerized hardened 4130 chromoly steel. One end of the WTF is a mini pry-bar that doubles as a screwdriver.
7. Credit Card Knife
Only slightly thicker and with the same length and width of a normal credit card, the Cardsharp 4 designed by Iain Sinclair, is a serious utility knife that you can carry with you wherever you go. The surgically sharp stainless steel blade is held safely when the Cardsharp is folded down. It can then be released and folded into an easy to use and very sharp utility blade. The body is available in both machined aluminium and polypropylene plastic.
Some critics point out that the 6 cm length blade can be somewhat limiting when faced with larger cutting jobs like preparing vegetables or filleting fish. Several design problems with the earlier versions (such as the handle not staying together, due to a difficulty unhinging the safety tab) have been corrected in model 4. For a safe effective blade that you can slip unobtrusively into your wallet, the performance of the Cardsharp 4 can’t be beat.
Undercover Handyman Tools
While not all undercover handyman tools are perfectly suited for the job, there is something undeniably cool about having a few tricks up your sleeve. Stepping up when people least expect it with just the right cool gadget to fix the problem goes a long way in cementing your reputation as a DIY handyman master.
And having a lifelong fascination with James Bond 007 just makes having your own spy gadgets just that much sweeter.