About this project
KLAX Reviews & Testing Videos
We have two independent testers who have the KLAX right now. One is a writer for a major magazine and he will be reviewing it and will be writing up an article for publication in that magazine. That will hit the store shelves later this summer. The KLAX will also be featured in the Blade Show edition of Blade Magazine because of the award that it won.
Our other tester is a husband/wife team in New Hampshire who have agreed to test out the KLAX and report back to their subscribers how the KLAX performs. Below is a link to "Kaila" who just uploaded the first test video today even though she and Doug have been testing it almost daily since getting back from Atlanta. Please subscribe to her channel if you'd like to get the updates on the testing as she posts them. I think she said that she and Doug are going to be doing a number of tests over the next week or two.
Okay so I'm not the best videographer, but here is one of my testing videos that I made of me using the KLAX Woodsman. This tree was about 4" in diameter.
The KLAX Team
I'm Glenn and together with my son Nathan, we like to invent things to help people in the outdoors. My background in inventing and the design of knives and multi-tools. We are hoping to bring my first solo multi-tool invention "The KLAX" to life through Kickstarter.
The KLAX is a multi-tool built into the head of an ax. It allows you to attach the ax head to a handle quickly in the field. It uses the nested clamping system shown here. The clamps rotate out from the handle for use.
Here you can see the handle going into the clamps. The notches on the sides of the handle make sure it will stay secure when clamped. See our FAQ section if you have questions about the Clamp System.
This is what it looks like using a stick from the wood to be the handle. This took about five minutes to make and mount.
When it's not being used as an ax, it also includes a number of other very helpful tools including hammer, bottle opener, wrench and scraper, which provide a lot of versatility in a lightweight and compact package.
The Four KLAX Models
KLAX-Lumberjack Our high-end stainless steel model with the most features. The first three models are all made from heat treated SUS420J2 stainless steel which is perfectly balanced for keeping an edge and maintaining strength.
KLAX - Woodsman Our mid-level stainless steel model with just the more useful features.
KLAX - Feller This is our more rustic model with just the basic features you need in the outdoors.
Ti-KLAX is a Titanium version of the KLAX – Lumberjack and comes with all the same features, but because it is made from more expensive Titanium, it weighs only half as much as the Feller and is stronger than steel. The Ti-4452813 titanium is also anodized to provide some eye catching highlights.
Below are the traditional Curved Handle and the Basic Handle.
Who's it for?
The KLAX is great for all of these these activities
Hiking Climbing Camping Bush Craft
Survival Trucker Prepper Aviator
Auto Emergency Kit Bug Out Bag
The KLAX is cut from a piece of 5/16" thick steel plate (or titanium) with a water jet and then machined to add the side bevels, the caribiner pocket and the cutting edges on axe blade. The clamps are also cut from the same material and then drilled and tapped. After heat treating, the head and clamps are cleaned up and deburred. Adding a few more parts and a spring is all it takes to complete the KLAX.
The reason that we are bringing this to you, the kickstarter community, is that we are very excited about the KLAX and would to take our own first multi-tool design all the way to production. We have seen Kickstarter work well in most of the campaigns we have backed. We hope that we will be able to generate enough interest from backers like you to help make that first big order and get this handy and fun gadget into your hands for that next big trek to the outdoors.
“KLAX – More than an Ax”
Thanks to you we are fully funded and can now look toward stretch goals. The number one response was to get a free wood handle with your KLAX.
Stretch Goal #1 - If you selected any of the four models of the KLAX tool then you will get a free wooden handle if we reach this stretch goal.
Stretch Goal #2 - All tool rewards will now receive a Paracord Bracelet.
Stretch Goal #3 - Just confirmed. If we beat our $50K stretch goal then all KLAX reward levels will recieve a free custom made kydex sheath from Blade-Tech (www.blade-tech.com). Check them out, they make awesome sheaths and holsters.
Risks and challenges
The design is progressing very well so far and we anticipate completing any potential modifications by the end of June, around the time the campaign will hopefully fund. While we had a blast doing the prototypes, large volumes are not something we can do in our small town. I have lined up an excellent manufacturing resource who has worked through the design with me and helped to nail down the pricing for each model and what the approximate delivery time would be. We are shooting for September for the stainless steel versions (October for the Titanium).
The handle is under review also by my vendor. Right now, the more basic round handle is possible, but the curved one shown in many of the pictures is not yet confirmed although it is anticipated.
Aside from these things, I do not expect any major issues, but we will keep you up to speed on every step along the way. Right now we hope to place our first order at the end of June.
If you have any questions about the use, design, development, or manufacturing process, please let me know and I will answer you as best I can.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The material is 420J2 stainless steel. It is a medium-high carbon stainless steel. The material is heat treated to a level that balances the need for strength and the need for holding an edge. If it was too soft then the tool would deform eventually. If it was too hard, then it would be too brittle. We are heat treating it to a point that provides a good balance between the two.
The hardness will be somewhere around 48-52 HRc. The purpose of this hardness level is to give it the strength it needs to work as an ax but keep it from being too hard. If it is as hard like a knife would normally be (HRc 55-60), then it would be much more brittle. The range we have chosen gives us a good balance of strength and hardness for the scraper edge.
The KLAX will be made in China if we can fund. I made my prototypes in the US and got pricing for larger quantities before getting really discouraged. The price to manufacture them in the US was over four times the cost in China. The final price would have been too high for people to afford them.
Things are going well and upon reaching our first stretch goal, everyone will automatically get a hard wood handle with their KLAX Tool reward. If you would like another one or for some reason we don't reach that goal then you can add a handle when we send out the surveys at the end of the campaign.
This is not going to work out although there is a Metric Ti-KLAX.
The clamps are centered on a 1/4"-28 threaded bolt shaft which requires over 1000 lbs of load to shear it, so it is very stout.
The clamps themselves are 5/16" thick and are extremely stout as well. Like the head, the clamps are heat treated in order to increase their strength considerably.
The "front" clamp is threaded and rides along the threaded section of the bolt shaft. It is removed from its stowed position by rotating the knob at the back. When the head is inserted into the handle, it is clamped in place by further turning the knob.
The "rear" clamp rotates out of the handle and is spring loaded to drop into a notch specially shaped to hold it in place. Once the clamp is tightened, it cannot be turned, bent, or otherwise moved until you loosen the system with the Knob.
See the FAQ on "Seating the Clamp" next.
The KLAX is not the tool for you if any of the following applies...
- I want to build a log cabin in the woods
- I want to cut up a chord of firewood
- I want to split logs full of knots
- I want to do any job that you would normally use a full sized ax instead of a hatchet
If you have the ability and/or means to carry along full sized dedicated tools with you on the road or in the woods, then you should do that instead as those tools will better serve you if you run into trouble,
But, if you can't carry all that or you want to be ready to tackle unexpected problems even when you can't take your big tools, then you should consider a KLAX.
The KLAX is designed to be a short term solution to many of the problems that you could face either planned or unexpected. It will help you to get through situations where carrying a full set of dedicated tools is just not possible or realistic. Here are a few examples...
- stuck on the roadside in the backwoods and need to build a lean-to for shelter
- injured hiker needs an impromptu travois (stretcher) to be carried to safety
- hiking and need enough wood for a small cooking fire
- hunting and want to make small game traps
- forgot the hammer and need to pound in the tent pegs
- starting the split on a small log without many knots
- need to dig a hole (let's see your multi-tool do that)
Bottom Line: If you think it is trying to replace your full-sized dedicated tools for everyday use, you won't be happy with the KLAX.
The notches in the handle are the location where the clamps will grab onto the handle to ensure that even if the clamps start to loosen, that it will be unable to come off of the handle. See "how do you know if the clamps are working correctly?"
In the case of making a field expedient handle, we recommend ALWAYS cutting similar notches into your rough handle to ensure that the clamps are captured inside the handle like with our handle design.
The clamps are working correctly when they are seated in the handle notches and have been fully "seated". To seat the clamps into the handle, the first few times you use it, you should tighten the clamps as tight as you can by hand. Then, tap the hammer head squarely on the top of a log or stump a few times and re-tighten the knob. Once you've done that, hit the handle more firmly to seat it further and repeat the tightening process until you cannot tighten it anymore. Be sure to check the head periodically and re-tighten. Typically it will no longer loosen after about five minutes of use, but make sure to check it anyway.
Is the wood being damaged? The hardwood handle is extremely tough and can handle having a small portion crushed. Typically, it will be easier each time you re-install the head on the handle because you have compressed the hardwood a small amount. If you make a handle in the woods, be sure it is of suitable handle material (FAQ coming on this), make sure to add notches. It is not recommended to re-use any field handles.
The prototype handles that we made for our testing and for our video were created by using an off-the-shelf hickory ax handle that was shortened to the right length. As such, we took material out of the middle to make room for the head. To compensate for the material we removed, the final handle design will be much thicker, but still made of hickory which is a hardwood traditionally used for axes. The final handles will be much more sturdy than our prototypes. Note that none of our prototypes has had an issue in all of our testing in spite of being much thinner.
After we completed our testing and consulted with those who were doing their own independent testing, we collected the results and compiled them. While we were in Atlanta, we talked to a number of experts from the outdoor industry and went through that list. From those discussions, we made up a list of changes that we are going to implement into the design.
#1 - Note that we did not have a single failure in any of the models. The changes that we are implementing are primarily to improve the user experience.
#2 - List of modifications
- Deburring around the perimeter more than before.
- Adding notches for the paracord to nest.
- Making the knob wider (easier to turn)
- Making the handle thicker (we had used and off-the-shelf handle for testing). New handle is about 50% thicker at the head.
- Moving the caribiner forward slightly to add metal to hammer area.
- reducing number of ruler lines to 1/4" increments instead of 1/8"
- Adding a washer behind the knob for smoother turning.
- Rounding the two corners of the hammer where they would bite into your palm.
The answer is, "you wouldn't". The bottom line is that the KLAX is designed to give you a very useful tool to use in a pinch. It will do a good job at a lot of small tasks, but it will not replace a full sized dedicated tool if you have one handy.
Yes. We are going to carrying the KLAX on our website in case you missed the Kickstater campaign. We will be ordering some extras so that once the campaign finishes and we fulfill all of the rewards, we can start to offer them on our website.
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