The Gerber Incident

I don’t like to carry around a plethora of hand tools all the time, I instead carry a well-selected multitool and a good quality multi-purpose folding knife… all the time.

My tools of choice are a Gerber F.A.S.T. Draw folding/locking knife and a Gerber Compact Sport 400 multitool. I go nowhere* without the two.

I’ve had coworkers comment that I’m prepared for anything because I’m never without those two tools.

Jeans? Multitool and knife.

Cargo shorts? Multitool and knife.

Kilt? Multitool and knife.

Cycling? Multitool and knife.

Jogging? Well, okay, just the knife in that case.

So, I’m in the datacenter today unracking a bunch of servers for our corporate datacenter relocation. Screws, rails, and locks are no match for my Gerber Compact Sport.

I had to bend a small 16th inch steel locking rod out of the way to retrieve a useable hard drive from an unuseable PowerVault… grabbed the Gerber, did the quick one-hand deploy, used the pliers to get a good grip on the pin and… thought I bounced a rock off my head

No, it wasn’t a rock, but was one of the jaws of my beloved Gerber multitool parting ways, bouncing off my skull, then skittering under a server cabinet.

After standing there for a minute trying to figure out how in the world I was possibly strong enough to cause hardened steel to fracture, and coming to terms with the fact that in nearly 25 years, I’ve never had a Gerber tool fail, I fished around under the rack to retrieve the severed appendage of my faithful friend and figure out how I could get along with my afternoon without her.

I suppose I’ll need to stop by Gander Mountain tonight or tomorrow to select a replacement.

* Unfortunately, sometimes I do have to go places without certain types of tools. Those places would be anywhere there’s Security Theater: courthouses, police departments, commercial airports, etc. But that’s another post.

Update: I lasted two days until I broke down and bought a replacement. Same brand and model but now it seems they only have a Wharnfliffe blade instead of a drop-point.

Update 2: Okay, I wasn’t going to share this part, but here’s the rest of the story at the request of the other engineer who was helping move hardware around.

This whole episode started because we couldn’t find the key to unlock the PowerVault (a shelf full of hard drives) to extract the hard drives from the failed Vault. Company policy requires that we separate hard drives from computers so they can be destroyed separately.

But we couldn’t find those keys.  We went through every key in the datacenter to find the one key that fit that lock. Nothing fit.

However, we were planning on just destroying the whole thing anyway, so there wasn’t any reason to be gentle about separating hard drives from enclosure. To aide with separation, we employed a small prybar to break the retaining rod that held the drives in place. The problem was that there was part of the lock that the retaining rod nested on that was still blocking one of the hard drives.

Then the whole episode above involving the 3/16″ by 1/16″ bit of steel, small blunt objects bouncing off my skull, and destruction of my beloved Gerber occurred.

Then — no, really, just wait for it. It gets better.

Then, we removed the PowerVault from the rack and while trying to stack it on the junk pile, we kept getting caught up on something. That “something” was the keys for the security lock; they were securely attached to the back of the enclosure.

We just stood there and laughed.

Why in world we didn’t bother getting a flashlight and looking at the back of the box to find the keys, we’ll never know. But that will be the first place we look for keys next time.

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