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Knife chat: Leatherman Juice B2

At SHOT show 2017, Leatherman announced the small range of tools they had developed that were intended to extend their popular mid-size Juice series. And these would not have pliers.

The Leatherman Juice B2 is a handsome knife, but is it any good?
The Leatherman Juice B2 is a handsome knife, but is it any good?

The Leatherman Juice B2 is effectively half of a full size Juice multi-tool. However the Juice B2 comes with just two blades- B2 = Blades Two, clever naming, huh? OK, perhaps not. One is a straight forward folding fine edge blade, the other a serrated edge blade. The other model announced at the same time was the airline friendly (no blade) CS2 with bottle opener, corkscrew and scissors. However, with that toolset the CS2 is of extremely limited practical use to the backpacker so I will not cover that here.

Leatherman Juice B2 comes with two blades
Leatherman Juice B2 comes with two blades, and nothing else

Features:

  • Length: 82mm, width: 12.10mm across the pivots or 9.95mm across the scales, depth: 15.30mm (max)
  • Fine edge drop point blade
  • Serrated blade, chisel grind
  • Anodised aluminum scales on stainless steel frame, slip joints
  • Weight: 42.3g

As you can see, there isn’t a great deal to this knife- two different types of blade folding out from attractive anodised aluminum handle scales that are built over a steel frame, that is about it. It can be seen that the blade when folded does not fill all of the space available to it. The blade lengths in the Juice range had been slightly shortened by Leatherman in a second generation so as to make the range compliant with stringent knife laws worldwide and, particularly, to comply with what were thought at the time, would be the future TSA blade requirements.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security and had announced that they would again allow airline passengers to carry pocket knives with blades up to 60mm (2.36″) long on board commercial flights. These had been banned following the 11th September 2001 terrorist attacks. That decision was subsequently reversed but the shorter blade lengths remained.

Fine edge blade on Juice B2 is of usable length for cooking duties while camping, especially if you choke right up on the blade
Fine edge blade on Juice B2 is of usable length for cooking duties while camping, especially if you choke right up on the blade
It is clear how the blade length has been shortened

The fine edge blade on the B2 has a 65mm length of which only 55mm is actual cutting edge. The difference being the unsharpened ricasso.This is made of a general purpose 420HC stainless steel, a typical mid-range steel for Leatherman products. The HC stands for High Carbon content which aids in edge retention. This steel also sharpens easily when required. The blade has a slightly odd shape- an arcing back to the spine ending at a drop point. The edge comes sharp out of the box and the blade is hollowground, the hollow extending to within 2mm of the 2.20mm thick spine. So it cuts and slices well and has barely any sideways flex. Both fine edge and serrated blades are slip joints so this little knife happily falls within UK permissable carry law.

Serrated blade on Juice B2
Serrated blade on Juice B2

The serrated blade is made from the same steel as the fine edge. It is actually a millimetre longer overall and has a 58mm long cutting edge with blunt tip. The chisel cut serrated blade has jimping on the spine so it is possible to choke right up on the serrated blade with the fingers while cutting or sawing. In fact there is a minimal choil on both blades so it is possible to fold an entire hand around the 82mm long handle, extending the forward finger on to the unsharpened part of whatever blade is being used. The curved spine of both blades matches the curved profile of the handles when folded.

Left side of knife in use, serrated blade is chisel cut
Left side of knife in use, serrated blade is chisel cut

The slip joints are very good, both blades open with a satifying and solid click and there is quite a deal of resistance before a blade folds. The gently curved frame itself is attractive and is comfortable in the hand. The knife shown here is in Cinnabar Orange, which is more red than anything else, but it was also available in Columbia Blue and Granite Gray (sic).

This is not a large tool. All of the Juice line-up were ‘mid-size’ Leathermans and are of a size that is far less noticable and bulky than any full size multi-tool yet provides a good degree of robustness over the smaller keychain sized offerings. This ‘half-Juice’ is even less conspicuous than any full size Juice. The inner frame is skeletonised to reduce weight. Obviously a successful practice, this does also mean that pocket fluff and debris can easily collect in the inner hole cut-outs and can be difficult to dislodge. However a periodic swish around in soapy water, followed by thorough drying out on a radiator and oiling would mostly sort that.

Internal skeletonised steel frame of Juice B2
Internal skeletonised steel frame of Juice B2

Following the Juice B2 hitting the market place summer 2017, it wasn’t long before the great majority of the Juice range was discontinued. It is possible that this was a straight forward commercial decision due to most buyers looking at purchasing either a full size and well equipped multi-tool and/or a small keychain tool, eschewing the mid-sized range. But the Juice series has a dedicated and appreciative following (Three Points of the Compass amongst them) so it is more likely that Leatherman were simply clearing the decks in preparation for their new FREE series. As this post is published (October 2020), the Juice B2 still appears on both Leatherman’s UK and US website pages, and on the latter is at a reduced price, so it looks as though this variant of the original and now extinct Juice line-up may go the same way as the others. I am sure there will be plenty sitting in stock held by secondary retailers for some time yet however.

There isn’t a lot else to say about this simple tool. Both blades cut well. It is a comfortable to use tool with a decent blade length that will handle just about any outdoors food preparation task. The serrated blade will also cut cordage, cordura, leather etc and will saw though modest wood thicknesses. There is no keyring or pocket clip so it will have to be pocket carried or sit in the pack. I think it would be the better tool if it comprised of a knife blade and folding scissors, particularly as the famed 84mm Victorinox scissors are no more, but that isn’t the case.

The Leatherman Juice B2 easily lies on an open hand. The modest dimensions belie its equally modest practicality
The Leatherman Juice B2 easily lies on an open hand. Its heritage and modest dimensions belie its equally modest practicality

Conclusion

The Leatherman Juice B2 is an aesthetically pleasing, small and reasonably lightweight pocket knife for those who want two blades of decent length- one fine, one serrated, from a reputable manufacturer with a reputation for excellent build quality and long warranty. Three Points of the Compass is not convinced that the outdoors community is the market for this particular tool. That said, if you prepare a lot of food stuffs, slicing, chopping, carving etc. and you want dedicated blades for specific tasks or perhaps a spare in case of damage, then this could be just what you want. It would make a superb entry into a small kitchen set-up for cooking while car camping for example.

Three Points of the Compass has looked at quite a few knives and multi-tools that may, or may not, be suitable for backpacking, day treks or Every Day Carry. Links to these can be found here.

Small, good looking, comfortable in the pocket, in the hand and to use, just not for backpacking with
Small, good looking, comfortable in both the pocket and in the hand, just not for taking backpacking

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