In hostage negotiations and kidnapping scenarios, investigators often ask for evidence that the captive is alive and unharmed, hence the term “proof of life”. In the case of a new axe design from Jake Hoback Knives, the name PROOF of Life has a secondary meaning — this project is a collaboration between Hoback and PROOF Research, the manufacturer of high-end carbon composite rifle barrels and stocks.
The Hoback Knives PROOF of Life axe incorporates aerospace-grade carbon fiber from PROOF Research into its handle scales. According to Hoback's site, these scales utilize “uni-directional [UD] carbon fiber, UD tape laminate, a very expensive IM [intermediate modulus] fiber, and a toughened 350°F aerospace resin system.” The fiber grain direction is also parallel to the handle, which Hoback states will “aid in structural integrity and reduce harmonics transferred to the hand [while chopping].”
Putting aside these fancy handles, the PROOF of Life axe carries the same attention to detail into its metal frame. This axe is intricately CNC-machined from a piece of solid S7 tool steel, with an overall thickness of more than 1/4 inch. Hoback calls his design 1/3 tomahawk, 1/3 crash axe, and 1/3 ultralight axe.
Speaking of weight, the PROOF of Life axe features numerous recesses and skeletonized cutouts to reduce the weight to just over 1 pound — it's 18 ounces, to be exact. However, Hoback says the internal structural webbing and radiused corners keep the design strong enough for heavy use.
Scalloped channels in the head bevels are said to help guide the axe into the target and reduce the risk of glancing blows. The edge geometry is also set up for specific uses. The top front bevel uses a steeper angle for hard chopping, while the bottom edge on the beard is a shallower grind for precise slicing and detail work.
The Hoback Knives PROOF of Life axe will be available in September 2017, but Hoback is taking pre-orders now. MSRP is $750.