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Max The Mini Axe by TOPS Knives

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by mistwalker, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I have been studying various tools that could be used for modern survival...urban/suburban/wilderness... for years now. With my spending several years in the commercial construction industry I have had a lot of time to study and have always kept some interesting tools in my tool box. Now that I am growing older, doing more of other types of work and less construction...and still living in the same risk prone area... I am looking into lighter, more portable tools with an ability to be discrete but still durable and ones that bring a good bit of capability to the table.

    One I have found that I like is Max the Mini Axe from TOPS knives.

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    I like how it will tuck away nicely into a pocket on my pack.

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    It has on over-all length of just over 9 inches a primary cutting edge of 2.75 inches, a secondary cutting edge of 2 inches, made of 1/4" thick 1095 steel, and the handle allows for multiple grips and holds.

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    The micarta handle held is just barely contoured. Enough for easy indexing but not enough to interfere with various grips. I like how the screws on this one are the flat ones.

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    Part 1 of 4

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  2. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Since Autumn is here and I can once again stand being near a fire again fire-crafting tasks were the first tests I put it through. It is just a bit light because of its size, but its shape does lend itself to batoning wood and the 1/4 inch steel handles the abuse well.

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    No, at only nine inches long with a cutting edge of less than 3 inches it is not the world's best chopping tool, but it does chop a lot better than anything else I have in those dimensions. It took about a minute to chop this notch.

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    It also actually handles pretty good when choked up on. Though it is a bit awkward for making actual fuzz sticks the edge did fine at making nice thin curls for tinder.

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    Part 2 of 4

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  3. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    The secondary edge is as sharp as the primary edge could come in handy for a lot of things. It does work well for sparking a firesteel.

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    It did do some damage to the coating...naturally...but it makes a decent hammer in a pinch. I had no trouble driving 8 penny of 16 penny nails into this hard cedar post.

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    The protrusion on the back could also work well breaking out glass or breaking through ice without damaging the primary edge. I think it would do ok at breaking through hollow concrete blocks too but I haven't tried that yet.

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    part 3 of 4

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  4. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Even after the chopping, whittling, and scraping tests the original edge still handles slicing meat just fine. This is good in that in a defensive role it would likely inflict good trauma. Also in a survival role preparing food so it can be cooked quicker using less fuel and be easily portioned among a few other people is a handy ability to have. A durable working edge is always a good thing.

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    All in all I think having it along and teamed up with the right combination of small tools one could have a lot of capabilities without hauling a lot of weight.

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  5. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned

    Jun 24, 2009
    great review mist, i love your clear pics & outdoor settings. a most versatile tool that had considerable thought to produce. thanks
    dennis
     
  6. DeBee

    DeBee

    30
    Oct 15, 2010
    Thoughtful review. Thanks!
     
  7. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks Dennis, glad you enjoyed them. I came to the same conclusion and added it to the kit :)



    Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the review!
     
  8. PatriotDan

    PatriotDan

    904
    Jan 6, 2007
    I have wondered, in your threads you have so many different mostly out-of-the-box-new-looking TOPS knives and tools...do you really buy them yourself or do you get them free for testing and reviewing?


    Sorry for the uncomfortable question :eek:
     
  9. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Not uncomfortable at all. While I buy and trade for most of my knives I have never made it a secret that I do sometimes receive new and prototype knives for tests and eval. from several companies with the agreement that the ones I like and keep...and that live...will at some point get reviewed. As a survival skills writer and teacher, a photographer, a knife designer, and an aspiring knife maker it is a mutually beneficial thing. I get to test tools, edge geometries, and theories and they get photographic explanations of how the knife designs actually do in the field under stress. The ones I don't feel I could work with, think won't live through the testing scenario, or ones that just aren't my style get sent back.

    I am continually testing gear, theories, and ideas. I show the results here in photographic posts in attempts at creating discussions and sharing information. I have bought enough knives now from different companies and talked with the officers of those companies enough times in emails and in person that they know my skills, my styles, and my likes. Sometimes they just want to see what I can do with a specific design. If I like it and it works I use it. If it lives through the testing scenarios I eventually compile those into an actual review here in the review section.

    If you dig back through my older posts you'll see where I have told about knives I have been sent by various companies. You'll see knives I've bought, as well as knives I have designed and been sent prototypes of. Now I just don't bother "flagging" which ones were sent to me and which ones I bought because I treat them all the same, and beat the crap out of all of them...even expensive customs. If I am going to take it into the field and use it as a tool or to teach skills with I have to know how well it will hold up regardless of what I paid for it. I just make a point of studying knives before purchasing. I will however always say if it is my design because then there is obviously a bias on my part.
     
  10. Gunny Bob

    Gunny Bob

    148
    Jan 21, 2006
    As a hatchet aficionado, from mini's to ones more properly referred to as an axe, and passed on this TOPS version because you simply get more bang for the buck from any number of other products. Suggested retail of around $180, with a decent door to door cost of $125, or thereabouts, is asking a lot for what you get.
     
  11. Brennanscott

    Brennanscott

    Jul 8, 2010
    It's going on my Christmas list. Thanks.
     
  12. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    This statement doesn't take into account having gotten exactly what I wanted. It fills a specific niche perfectly for me. I never said chopping wood was a primary consideration...just that it was a consideration. I am quite sure having one made to fill this role would cost me more and would take a lot longer to accomplish.
     
  13. PatriotDan

    PatriotDan

    904
    Jan 6, 2007

    Were cool! :) You share tremendous amount of your results and knowledge here and I really appreciate it :thumbup:
     
  14. Zanuha

    Zanuha

    437
    Sep 27, 2010
    That thing looks weird, but also very useful. I'd love to get one just to play with if I had the cash.
     
  15. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Cool, thanks glad you enjoy the posts :)



    I think it could be very useful in specific situations.
     
  16. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned

    Jun 24, 2009
    hey mist as one whom is'nt a great chopper [myself] does the ergonomics on this baby cause barked knuckles? thanks as always for the great review.
    dennis
     
  17. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007

    I haven't chopped anything big enough to bark my nucles on, and hope I don't have to. However if chopping wood was the primary concern for me I would look at a couple of other TOPS designs instead, some with longer handles.
     
  18. TheGame

    TheGame

    Sep 24, 2008
    Great review Mist. As I've said, it looks a bit weird and awkward, but after reading this I think I understand more of how this can be used. I hope I can test one of these out sometimes. Looks like it may be a great thing to have around the house work.
     
  19. neeman

    neeman Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    As it is an axe, how well does it chop?
    Too small?
     
  20. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Great review....Thanks !
     

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