Hoback Teams Up with PROOF Research for Ultralight Axe

Jake Hoback is teaming up with custom rifle barrel manufacturer PROOF Research for the PROOF of Life axe. Hoback and PROOF leveraged advanced machining and material science to produce a high-tech, lightweight tool that covers all the bases from tactical to practical.

“The purpose was to make an ultralight, very, very strong axe,” says Hoback. Other axes in this size class hit the two-pound weight range. For the PROOF of Life, Hoback starts with two pounds of S7 tool steel, but whittles it down to less than 50% of its original weight. “By the time I’m done machining the axe itself, without handles, it’s under a pound,” he tells us. Computer analysis helped identify where steel could be removed without impacting the axe’s structural integrity. This results in a heavily-skeletonized tool that retains 95% of its original strength. Fully assembled with hardware and handle slabs, the PROOF of Life weighs a mere 18 oz.

The PROOF of Life remains small enough to be used as a fighting axe but robust enough for breaching and outdoor chores. Its 4.8-inch main blade consists of two edge bevels. A thinner bottom edge does the detail cutting, and a thicker upper edge takes the brunt of impact tasks. “When you’re swinging to obliterate things, you typically hit with the tip,” Hoback says.

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PROOF Research is known for their carbon fiber guns and gun parts. They supplied Hoback with high-temperature resin, unidirectional carbon fiber. Despite many makers utilizing carbon fiber, not all versions of the material are created equal. Hoback discovered the carbon fiber from PROOF offers advantages for an axe. “I found it had the most vibration-dampening properties in this role,” he explains.

According to Hoback, the surprising success of the limited edition PROOF of Life has encouraged him to develop more axes of his own. “I’m trying to figure out where I can squeeze some more in.” He also expects to roll out another batch of the PROOF of Life itself. That will be a full-size production run of somewhere between 150-300 axes.

The PROOF of Life is now available on the Hoback Knives website.

Knife featured in image: Hoback Knives PROOF Research PROOF of Life

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