Gerber Groundbreaker - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

The Gerber Groundbreaker is meant to provide users with a range of tools for electrical work - pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, jab saw, utility knife, screwdriver - wrapped up in one package.


Gerber Groundbreaker

I've always been quite fond of multi-tools. It's more efficient, and convenient, to have a single tool that provides the functionality of several tools. The caveat, of course, is that you want the multi-tool to be good at what it does.

The Gerber Groundbreaker (31-001440) is an 11-function tool primarily designed for electrical work. It comes in a canvas sheath that you can attach to belt or tool bag. The belt loop has a metal snap, which I prefer, rather than a hook & loop closure. It also provides storage for a pack of 6 utility blades (included with the tool), a mini-pack of six 1" driver bits (included), two side pockets for holding pen and pencil (not included), and a removable loop on which you can attach a roll of electrical tape (not included). All in all, a convenient sheath.


(A) serrated tips; (B) hammer face; (C) wire stripper; (D) wire/cable cutter; (E) wire loops; (F) screw cutters; (G) terminal crimpers; (H) jaw lock; (I) handle release

The Groundbreaker itself measures 5/8" x 2-3/4" x 9" and weighs just under 13 ounces, making it reasonably light in the hand. The handle, which is made of a high impact ABS plastic, is covered with a textured, anti-slip rubber overmold. The jaws are made of 420J2 stainless steel, noted for it's corrosion resistance and durability.

The business head of the tool has several functions. A thumb activated hand release unlocks the jaws, and a compression type steel spring expands the jaws. The action is quite smooth.

The ends of the jaws have replaceable serrated tips useful for pulling wire or tightening fasteners, and the outside edge of the jaws can be used for light striking. The wire strippers can handle common stranded or solid core wire from 10-20 AWG. There is also a curved set of cutters useful for cutting wire and cable.

Additionally, there are loop holes on both jaw arms, and screw cutters that can trim 6-32 and 8-32 screws to length. Finally, there is a crimping tool that can crimp both insulated and non-insulated terminals.


Both handles are easily removable

Both handles on the Groundbreaker, which contain accessory tools, are removable by means of a lock button. I found that the system works very well - handles were quick and easy to remove and re-install. Once installed the handles held firmly in place.



Jab saw and screwdriver head

The slim handle has a 3" jaw saw and a 1/4" hex driver handle with a magnetic tip. The jab saw is best used for drywall, on which it works very well. The teeth aren't sharp enough to use for cutting wood. The blade, at 5/64" thick, is stout and doesn't flex in use. The magnet in the drive is strong enough to hold bits securely. A convenient feature is that you can leave a bit stored on the driver holder.

Extending either the saw or driver is quick and easy. However, closing them isn't so easy. Once opened, the accessories lock into place. To close them you need to depress a spring loaded slider on top of the handle. I found the level difficult to move with thumb pressure, requiring me to grasp the slider very tightly with thumb and forefinger to pull it backwards. There are a series of raised ridges on the slider against which you can push with a thumbnail, though I found this didn't work any better.


(A) blade lock button; (B) lock lever

The other handle houses the retractable blade utility knife. It's about 5" long, and has three blade extensions enabling you to expose from 1/2" to 1-1/8" of blade. Lifting a small lock lever enables you extract the blade, and I found changing blades to be quick and easy. When the blade is fully retracted I found the blade lock button a tad stiff to move, requiring that I fiddle with it several times before I could move it forward. 

I've only been using the Groundbreaker for a couple of weeks, but I'm quite taken with the big fellow. It's not too heavy, so I don't mind toting it around on a belt, and it has a good assortment of functional tool features. While primarily marketed to the electrical trades, it's a tool that will appeal to renovators, service technicians, and avid DIYers.


5/8" x 2-3/4" x 9"
420J2 stainless steel
Spring-loaded pliers with replaceable serrated jaws and hammer tip
Wire strippers (10-20 AWG)
Large and small looping/bending holes
Wire/cable cutter
Bolt shearing/re-threading holes (8-32 & 6-32)
Insulated and non-insulated terminal crimper
Locking dry wall saw/magnetic bit driver
Retractable utility knife
12.8 ounce weight (tool alone)
Includes: Nylon sheath, 6 utility blades, 6 drive bits, bit holder
Lifetime warranty

SOURCE:Locate a Retailer
Carl Duguay, January, 2013
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