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PROOF of Life Axe
"Proof of Life" is something a hostage negotiator asks for before negotiating the return of a kidnap victim.
I chose the name for two reasons: First, this is a collaboration with PROOF Research! And second, this axe absolutely has a lot of life in it!
We took a very unique approach to this collaboration. PROOF Research supplied me with mountains of information on carbon fiber, and the carbon fiber itself – for the handles – and I came up with the overall design and machined the axes.
(By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with PROOF Research, their Barrels and Rifles are the utmost in light weight, strength, and accuracy. They sell exceptional products!)
Uni-directional carbon fiber, UD tape laminate, a very expensive IM fiber, and a toughened 350F aerospace resin system. Fully 3D-machined to give not only texture but structure to the handles. Direction of the fiber runs parallel with the handle of the axe to aid in structural integrity and reduce harmonics transferred to the hand.
Take a 1/3rd tomahawk, 1/3rd crash axe, and a 1/3rd ultralight and mix them together with a pinch of hate and a few drops of blood and you get this monstrosity that is only 1lb 2oz!! It will eat anything you can throw at it since it’s over ¼ inch of S7 tool steel.
I didn’t just toss a cool look onto my computer and machine it out. I designed every detail to a “T.”
Scalloped bevels aid in forced cutting direction, which means no more glancing blows that slide off-target and hamstring you (because everyone would laugh at you) so you can comfortably take a very manly swing! The ridges (scallops) are meant to drive the blade deeper into the object.
While we talk about the bevels, take a closer look at the top front bevel compared to the bottom… The top one is at a steeper angle so that it has more meat behind the edge. The bottom line is that the top edge is meant for abuse and the bottom edge for the finer cutting. Wait… hold the phone, you mean someone actually took the time to look at how the tool cuts and improve the geometry to create a tool that has better performance, that’s balderdash!!! Why not just make it all the same and hawk (pun intended) it to the masses. Hmm, might make me more money in the long run. It does take more time, but that’s what we do!
Again, no compromise. Angles are set to aid in quick positive cutting action and reduce shock to the hand/arm. No hot spots for your hands to get blisters.
Just like all of my folders and fixed blades, a lot of thought goes into the lightening of anything. You can’t just remove material, because chances are you will compromise the structural integrity of the item. So I’ll tell you that I left all the good stuff and removed all the stuff that didn’t matter. All corners have at least a 1/8th radius, and I left internal webbing inside the handle to keep flexure to a minimum. So at the end of the day you have an axe that weighs 1lb 2oz and has all the strength of an axe that weighs 2lbs.
The balance is right at the topmost handle bolt. I designed this tool to be light and fast… It’s not a camp hawk or a bearded axe for hewing logs, it’s meant for professionals who need a tool that can actually be carried and used, instead of left in a gear locker because it’s too heavy and unwieldy to carry. Balance is very important for swinging things, I don’t want all the weight to be at the head because it would not allow for a quick withdrawal – or if it’s too heavy forward it could allow too much over-swing, which is dangerous. People who use tools like this need to be fast and controlled. Good balance and light weight equal control.
I decided that I really hate having to use two tools to undo a handle, so I designed the handle bolts to use the pivots from my folders. The head is cammed so it cannot rotate once properly locked into place on the handle. Then all it takes is one 3/32nd hex key to unscrew it and remove the handles.