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    Default LAFD Firefighter Develops Superior Axe

    Been meaning to post this for a while, hope you enjoy....Bou




    Written by Erica Oblea, Special to the San Fernando Sun
    Wednesday, 03 June 2009

    Photo courtesy of Jason Knight.

    When Granada Hills firefighter Jason Knight started crafting his own version of an antique firefighter axe almost a decade ago, he never imagined that he was molding the official axe for the Los Angeles Fire Department. Nor could he ever anticipate that he was shaping a tool that would save the lives of two train engineers trapped in southern California's worst train wreck in recent times.

    On that fateful September afternoon last year, a Metrolink commuter train headed toward Moorpark slammed into a freight train in Chatsworth, trapping its 225 passengers in a cloud of fire, overturned seats, and mangled steel. At the end of the day, 17 people were killed and more than 135 injured.

    As rescuers rushed to the devastation, firefighters from Station 87 in Granada Hills were among the many rescuers who responded to the call.

    Two train engineers, suffocating from the smoke accumulating in their enclosed compartment, were among the many trapped in the destruction from the train wreck.

    Using Knight's axe, two Granada Hills firefighters easily and effectively punctured a small hole into the bulletproof windows.

    According to Knight, any other axe would not have been able to penetrate the glass because the train windows are constructed to withstand thrown rocks and other hazards. He said that his axe was able to puncture the glass because it has a pick twice as long as other axes and is made with handmade materials.

    "[The axe] is handmade. It's a strong piece of metal," Knight said. "It's like buying a Porsche as compared to a Volkswagon bug. It's a better product."

    With the hole in place, the engineers then squeezed their mouths through the opening to breathe while the firefighters continued to hack away at another section of the window. A few swings later, the window was completely shattered, and the two engineers were safely removed from the burning train compartment.

    Firefighters from Granada Hills to Harbor City began using Knight's axe when the LosAngeles Fire Department adopted the tool as their official axe in 2000.

    Knight became interested in creating his axe when he wanted to own a version of the pickhead axe that was used by firefighters in the 1900s. When he could only find expensive versions of the antique axe online, he decided he would simply have to make his own.

    "I liked the old axe and you couldn't find them anywhere, so I just made one," he said.

    Using the metallurgy skills he learned in high school, Knight got to work casting his axe. His finished project ended up being an axe with a five-inch pick end made from steel and a wooden handle composed of hickory.

    However, what originally began as a backyard project soon blossomed into a full-pledged business. After firefighters at work became interested in his axe, Knight founded the company, Fire Axe Inc. which now sells Knight's upgraded pickhead axe along with other types of axes online.

    "I just made [the pickhead axe] for myself, and then one guy at work saw it and wanted one and then everyone said 'I want one, I want one.'Overnight I had like 80 orders," Knight said. "Soon, I had to become incorporated, get liability insurance and everything."

    Knight ships around 500 axes a month from his small warehouse in Canyon Country and has vendors scattered throughout the United States.

    Although fire departments in Los Angeles, Detroit and Boston have already adopted Knight's axe, Knight said that he hopes to expand his business overseas because he believes a good axe is crucial to any firefighter's job.

    "It's kind of one of the things firefighters always keeps with themselves," he said. "It's a personal pride for any firefighter."

    http://www.sanfernandosun.com/sanfer...=3689&Itemid=2

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    Thumbs up

    I have one and love it.

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    Bou,I can't BELIEVE YOU posted that background,hehe T.C.

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    I have one and it is great. I am trying to get our whole Dept to switch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Bou,I can't BELIEVE YOU posted that background,hehe T.C.

    Huh...What do you mean?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    According to Knight, any other axe would not have been able to penetrate the glass because the train windows are constructed to withstand thrown rocks and other hazards. He said that his axe was able to puncture the glass because it has a pick twice as long as other axes and is made with handmade materials.
    Any axe with a pick should not be called "superior". More power to FF Knight, but I'm wondering about the above statement? A typical pick axe is not strong enough to break a commuter train window? Or is it the narrower sharper pick that gives it the ability to penetrate the windows? And how does the pick open the window to a point that it's a benefit? Not trying to bust ball here, but I'm not grasping this? The part about handmade materials (?) implies that a FFer could break the pick of a typical axe attempting to break out these windows? Seems a little far fetched to me. As for a better design, that I don't doubt, but some of the claims...

    Bou: TC's offended by the ALF tiller as he's jealous cause his truck was made be the sound of poor ***** wiping!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Bou: TC's offended by the ALF tiller as he's jealous cause his truck was made be the sound of poor ***** wiping!
    Ohhh...The LaChance Truck. Good call on that one. Even LA CITY goes low bid once in awhile.

    What can I say, good pick and you got me there.

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    I have always liked a flat headed axe over the pick headed. I saw that he makes one. Anyone out there using it? And if you which do you like better? I am thinking about buying one. Thanks in advance.

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    Adam;And YOU drive a? Oh yeah,UNSUPPORTED platform.How's that TP lookin' now? hehe T.C.

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    Who uses an axe on Plexiglass anyway. That's what the Bullet is for! Gas axe! T.C.

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    what makes the axe so special?

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    how do you force a door with a pick head axe? Sounds like its no where near as useful as an axe and halligan.

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    Nameless,It's got a long p**ker,hehe T.C.

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    IMHO I think the pick head axe is the most useless tool on the fireground next to the white coats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    how do you force a door with a pick head axe? Sounds like its no where near as useful as an axe and halligan.
    Probably similar to the "baseball swing" technique when you sink the pick of the halligan into a wooden jam and lever the door in. Quick way to get in as long as there are no obstructions.
    I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

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    It is nice and shiny. If the guy can make a few bucks by reinventing the wheel good for him.

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    the pickhead axe has uses, it's a bit unfair to compare a single tool to a set of two tools.

    I like the pick for certain applications, can be very useful.

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    Thumbs up Well...................

    Goin' to the Roof, I'll take a Pick Head Axe over anything else.......... However, as others have said on these pages before "It's only one tool in the toolbox"..............
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Goin' to the Roof, I'll take a Pick Head Axe over anything else.......... However, as others have said on these pages before "It's only one tool in the toolbox"..............
    Harve there is a video out there of a ff venting a roof with a pick head axe vs the flat axe. I wish I could find it because the flat head was a HELL lot faster. When I was in the academy we tried the same experiment with the same outcome. BUT to each his own... I'll try and find it though.

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    To be honest, I have not tried this axe yet, but a lot of CA brothers seem to like it.

    If the LAFD gave it a green light, I am down.

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    Why would you buy your own tools for work? When they break or go 'missing' then what? I mean this is not a 12 dollar craftsman screwdriver we are talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    Why would you buy your own tools for work? When they break or go 'missing' then what? I mean this is not a 12 dollar craftsman screwdriver we are talking about.
    We have seen eye to eye on this in the past. I will reiterate my point on this matter. You should NEVER buy your own tools. When you do so you set a bad precedence. The next time you ask the city for new axe's, they will say, "Well you bought them last time, buy them again." And it will grow from there like a wildfire throughout the department. Before you know it you will be paying for fuel to put in the trucks.

    That, and, you will be liable for anything that happens when you use a "non department issued" item.

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    MassFireGuy i don't think this is the video your talking about but it does show how the flat head can get the job done
    The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men. ~Henry David Thoreau

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    That wouldnt work on just about ANY roof in my local. Unless of course you can pound thru 3 layers of tar and tin and roof board and etc...
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    Why would you buy your own tools for work? When they break or go 'missing' then what? I mean this is not a 12 dollar craftsman screwdriver we are talking about.
    What about if the stuff my dept buys is crap? I am thinking about buying my own pro bar like you guys use in the FDNY b/c all my dept buys is the stupid cheap pinned hooligan bars. I see where you and Massfireguy are coming from and you have good points. But if your dept won't buy it and you really want something to make you job easier I don't see a problem if somebody wants to buy a personal tool.

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