Friday, April 22, 2016

Klecker Knives KLAX Multi-Tool Axe Review

Klecker Knives KLAX Multi-Tool Axe Review

At this year’s 2016 SHOT Show, one of the most talked about non-firearm products had to be the KLAX from Klecker Knives. The KLAX is a one of the first multi-tool backup axes which actually delivers some useable tools in one easy packable tool.

Klecker had really great clever marketing which is a rarity in the outdoor industry complete with a KLAX branded log which showcased what the KLAX could deliver. The Klax is for those people who believe it would be highly unlikely that they would need an axe but still want to pack on that will deliver full camp axe functionality should they need it. During my discussions with Klecker, they noted that the Klax was never intended to take the place of a dedicated camp axe. They noted that if you know you need an axe then you should pack on. Instead the KLAX is designed as an “Option B” camp axe option for those people who are traveling extremely light, or those who want to be prepared in case more than a survival knife is required for some camp setup work. Klecker offers the KLAX in clamp on Metric and Inch measurement heads and a lashing only head. I ordered the Klecker Inch clamp model.

The clamp on axe head concept is pretty simple but an elegantly implemented design. The head has two clamp heads which pivot 90-degrees from the body to lock onto whatever handle you have to work with ]while still allowing the option to also lash the head on for extra security.  Obviously this is not a quick attachment process even with the screw tensioned clamping system - it takes about 5-10 minutes to get everything attached and tight enough after a few chops to use just with the optional hardwood handle. Field fabricated handles require a lot of tightening during initial use as you would with any bushcraft axe handle. The clamps need to crush the wood handle to make a secure fit. I found the best method was to give the KLAX a few solid whacks on some wood and then retighten the head.

In theory you can just fashion a KLAX handle from wood you find in the field with just the KLAX as a tool. Some testing with fashioning a handle from downed branches was… not my favorite brushwork chore. I would rather make fifty hunting spears over finding the right workable branch and then crafting said branch into a “working” split head axe handle that does not draw a blister in the first sixty seconds. Fashioning a split head axe handle is both time consuming and frustrating brushwork… if you need an axe like right freaking now. The advantage I see with the KLAX is that the combination of mechanical clamping plus a little strategic lashing delivers a very solid mounted axe head which does not go flying across the camp into your buddies tent. The KLAX does this all without the bulk of a full sized camp axe.

Once mounted, the KLAX does deliver a good working camping axe to chop and hammer with. This brings me to my other little gripe that I have with many axes even including the KLAX. A small camp axe edge grind should be a knife edge sharp and pretty shallow fine convex grind to allow for snap cuts on small limbs and deep bitting cuts on larger timbers without a lot of work. The camp axe head is also traditionally used for a working cutting, skinning and brushwork scraping edge as well.

KLAX features a pretty heavy 30-35-degree edge grind with a sharpness limited by its heavier grind angle. The positives of this grind are that is has a longer working edge life that puts up with getting hammered into the dirty before requiring resharpening. The problem with this heavier edge grind is that it tends to deliver a less efficient rebounding cut on wood and ends up being less effective on smaller saplings used for creating shelter and construction. An hour with a file and whetstone and the KLAX edge was re-tuned for my liking which greatly increased the service and overall usability of the KLAX head both mounted and unmounted.

I do think Klecker missed the mark with the measurements and should have included measurements from the “hammer head” all the way to the cutting edge to provide more than 2-inches of measurement… but I rarely have had to measure anything while working in a survival camping mode. Aside from two fixable gripes, the KLAX multi-tool axe is well executed. The wrench head actually works as a wrench head. The same goes for the integrated bottle opener, lanyard hole, carabiner, seatbelt/gut-hook, and knife.

Actually all the integrated tools work extremely well considering they are forged from a flat piece of SUS420 Stainless Steel. The wrench heads work tightening AR15 scope mounts. The convex ground integrated blade works well and is a wicked sharp usable knife-like cutting instrument which can nearly everything you would with a regular knife.

The KLAX includes a well thought out nylon and Velcro sheath which safely secures the KLAX and all sharp edges for pocket or pack carry.  The fit and finish of the KLAX is top notch and delivers a useable tool which is designed to reduce bulk and weight without sacrificing usability.

A fun side to Klecker knives is that it also offers some kid friendly products including the $10 Floam Klax, and $12-$14 plastic Knife Kits for kids. The knife kits and up being good safety training knifes for kids which could ultimately lead to a real knife for those children who can show responsibility over time. Cool company with some nice high quality products.

Stainless Steel Axe Blade
Patent Pending Clamping System
Ulu Knife Blade
Knife Blade
Hammer Head
Cutting/Gut Hook
Hex Wrench Set (Inches)
1/4” Hex Bit Driver Socket
Bottle Opener
Lanyard Hole
Ruler (Inches)
Comes with Ballistic Nylon Sheath
Does NOT include Optional Handle

KLAX® Lumberjack - Multi-Tool Ax
Length - 6.5” (165mm)
Height - 3.7” (94mm)
Width (Front) - .3” (8mm)
Width (Back) - .5” (13mm)
Blade Length - 1.7   “ (43mm)
Blade Material - SUS420 Stainless Steel
Weight - 14.4 oz (408g)
MSRP $180

KLAX Optional hardwood Handle - $30 MSRP