In 2015 I had an idea for what I believed could be a very useful tool. After the first prototype was a success, I decided to bring it to market. The goal for this tool was to incorporate as many useful features as possible, without compromising the usability of those features. After making many improvements to the design, the Jack is ready for production.
The Jack makes an excellent camp and survival knife. It has a 6" cutting edge excellent for chopping, batoning, and general purpose cutting. Its edges are radiused to lessen abrasion on hands and lashing cord. The large choil makes finer cutting tasks easy. The Jack has a sharpened 90-degree spine excellent for scraping and use with a fire steel. It also features a dimple in the handle for use with a bow-drill.
Baton the knife into the end of a stick, wrap paracord through the lashing holes, and you have a powerful chopping tool. This benefits the user by making chopping faster, and easier. It will also reduce fatigue by spreading the work to more muscle groups.
The Jack includes a Blade Tech Tek-Lok belt clip. These are extremely versatile, secure, and durable. They are adjustable to fit nearly any belt. They can also be fastened to MOLLE webbing on a bag or vest.
Lash the knife’s handle to a stick to provide a 6" cutting edge for lighter cutting tasks. This makes the Jack function similarly to a machete. This is excellent for cutting smaller branches, brush and vines.
Use this attachment method in conjunction with the saw adapter and you can use it as a pole saw. This will allow you to cut branches that are normally out of reach. Using the strength of both arms makes sawing easier and more efficient.
Another benefit of the unique blade shape of the Jack is the ability to chisel with the front cutting edge.
At Home In Any Environment
Hot, humid environments can begin to rust non-stainless steel in just hours. 440c is one of the most corrosion resistant knife steels. This means less maintenance, and less worry.
The saw has multiple positions, when not in use, the saw can stay in its retracted position. This makes a compact package that won't easily snag on brush. To make it easier to access the knife, just press inwards on the saw and slide it down so it's out of the way. The saw also detaches easily; simply slide it until the studs line up with the detachment holes and the saw can be removed.
There are springs on both attachment studs to hold the saw in the upper or lower detent positions. They also keep tension on the saw to keep it quiet. The retention cord holds the blades in securely and quietly. It also fits over the adapter, to make extra sure it won't unscrew and fall out. The saw comes with one 12" pruning blade, saw adapter, retention cord, and hardware to attach it to the Jack's sheath.
- CNC Machined .187" thick, 440c Stainless steel
- 59 Rockwell, cryogenically treated
- 6" main cutting edge, 2" front cutting edge
- Dimensions: 1.875" x 11.875"
- CNC machined Kydex plastic
- Weight for knife, sheath and paracord: 17 oz
- CNC machined stainless steel
- All hardware is stainless steel
- CNC machined 6061 aluminum w/ matte black anodized finish
- All hardware is stainless steel
- Weight with adapter, 12" pruning saw, and retention cord 7oz
The Production Version
The product you receive will have a few improvements over the prototypes. I want to outline the changes to each part for you.
- The knife will likely be a brighter finish because it will be stainless steel. It will still be a matte, tumbled finish.
- The videos show a version with 6 lashing holes. I decided that the two extra holes weren't worth the compromise of strength.
- The sheath is shown with larger slots near the top and bottom. On the final version all the slots will be the same size. This change was made for safety reasons.
- Although not shown, the retaining washer that holds in the thumb screw, now fits into a recess in the adapter. This ensures the retaining washer cannot be crushed by over tightening.
- The most noticeable change will be the color. The final version will be a matte black anodized finish.
- The saw now has holes in the height adjustment slots. This allows you to easily remove the saw for use, without any tools.
Machining is very expensive; to keep the price of the Jack reasonable and avoid manufacturing our product outside of the U.S., I am going to make the Jack myself. It will also allow me full control over quality. I will be machining all the Jack's parts, with the exception of the screws, springs, washers, belt clip and saw blade. With the funds from the Kickstarter I will purchase a CNC milling machine capable of making all the various parts.
Risks and challenges
In short, the process of perfecting the manufacturing process could take longer than anticipated. I have a nice rent-free facility ready to receive the CNC milling machine needed to make my product. I have nearly all of the other assorted tools that I will need to manufacture the Jack. I will do everything I can to make sure my backers get their rewards in a timely manner.
For those interested in more technical details I want to more clearly define the specific challenges that I'm concerned about.
The biggest concern is machining time, and getting products shipped in a timely manner. All the CAD / CAM for each part is finished. Using feeds, speeds and tooling that are well suited to each material used. According to machining time calculations, there should be plenty of time to finish all the parts in time. I will be posting updates frequently to keep everyone informed on progress.
The next biggest concern is the finish quality of the machining. The most difficult machining will be the bevel of the knife. The machining strategy I'll try first is using coated stub length endmills, with MQL lubrication, and climb cutting. The feeds and speeds will take some trial and error to get the best results, and I've factored in the cost of tooling. I will be purchasing an industrial tumbler to get consistent and smooth finish on all the knives. If needed, I can use my 2"x72" belt sander to help smooth out small finish problems.
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