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#227414 - 07/07/11 03:51 PM Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
I was browsing through the Gerber site and noticed there is a recall for their Gator Combo Ax; this is the hatchet with a small, fixed blade knife in the handle. The knife is held in place with a magnet which, it turns out, isn't a foolproof retention method. From the recall notice:

"The knife in the axe handle can come out of the axe handle when the axe is used for chopping or hammering, posing a laceration hazard to the user ... Gerber has received five reports of laceration injuries. All required stitches."

They have a form for owners to fill out and they will send out a retrofit kit including "a Handle Cap, instructions for installing the Handle Cap, and a warning label for the knife-in-handle Combo Axe."

By the sounds of it, the retrofit is only for travel & storage and they recommend removal of the knife before actually using the hatchet (I'm assuming this is what the warning label will say).

Personally, I do own and like this hatchet; I find it works good and have never had any issues. However, since the I've never actually used the knife, it is more of a back-up, I am thinking either leaving it at home or finding a way to more securely retain it during use may be a good idea. I don't really like the idea of having to leave an unsheathed knife lying around when ever I need to prepare some wood or hammer some tent pegs.
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Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#227416 - 07/07/11 04:37 PM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Denis]
Paul810 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
I own one as well (I keep it in my snowmobile), but I never did trust the magnet retention system. Therefore, I always took/take the knife out of the handle while using the hatchet. Probably a good thing that I did. smile

I've never been a huge fan of Gerbers/Fiskars larger axes, preferring a true axe from Snow and Nealley or Gransfors Bruks. However, I do love their little hatchet. The small size, reasonable price, and low maintenance requirement (stainless head with a fiberglass shaft) means they seem to find their way into a bunch of my kits and vehicles. I've used my original Back Paxe to build quite a few improvised shelters and accompanying fires, and, so far, it has never let me down.

I also own a Gerber Brush Thinner, which I really like. I find it to be more effective than a traditional machete.

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#227446 - 07/08/11 03:23 AM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Denis]
speedemon Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 98
They just now figured this out?

Buddy of mine got one a couple years ago, and we figured that out on the first camping trip. Still handy to keep around though, and so long as your not chopping on stuff, the knife stays in there.

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#227603 - 07/11/11 01:19 AM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Denis]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Thanks Denis. I was going to buy one but got a plain old wooden handled hatchet with a leather sheath instead.
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#227604 - 07/11/11 01:39 AM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: bacpacjac]
haertig Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2005
Loc: Colorado
That has got to be the stupidest design I've ever seen. Well, maybe the "Johnny Invisible" all black kids Halloween costume was worse when the little buggers crossed the street.

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#228625 - 07/27/11 03:47 AM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Denis]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
I received the recall kit in the mail today; as expected it contained a cap to secure the knife, instructions and a little warning sticker. The cap is basically made out of rubber with a strap that runs through the lanyard hole.

Here's a picture of what I recieved with the cap installed:



Here's a close up (but unfortunately not great quality) picture of the rubber cap:

_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#228629 - 07/27/11 10:01 AM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Denis]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1160
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
Looks like it would cause a blister on the heel of your hand if used for chopping.
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#228669 - 07/27/11 05:47 PM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: Byrd_Huntr
Looks like it would cause a blister on the heel of your hand if used for chopping.

The manufacturer's recommendation is to remove the knife before chopping or hammering with the hatchet. When that's done it should be possible to keep the cap out of the way.

In theory at least smile.

I'll be using it this weekend so I should know more next week.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#228683 - 07/27/11 07:20 PM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: Denis]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Denis
Originally Posted By: Byrd_Huntr
Looks like it would cause a blister on the heel of your hand if used for chopping.

The manufacturer's recommendation is to remove the knife before chopping or hammering with the hatchet. When that's done it should be possible to keep the cap out of the way.


That brings us back to having an unsheathed knife lying around.
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#228693 - 07/27/11 09:18 PM Re: Gerber Gator Combo Ax recall [Re: bacpacjac]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
That brings us back to having an unsheathed knife lying around.

True ... I am thinking the new set-up *should* be safe enough to operate as-is being as how it has 2 methods securing the knife now, but I am not sure (plus that's going against Gerber's recommendations).

Might have to play this one by ear and see how things feel when I'm using it. I'm actually tempted just to throw some duct tape on the set-up to keep everything in place and keep the knife as a true back-up.

Of course then I'd be back to wondering about comfort & blisters smile.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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