The Cole-Bar Hammer is a multi-functional tool that was at the center of a 2014 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
The Cole-Bar hammer was designed to be used as a single tool, or broken down into two parts, with one half featuring a strike face and ratchet head, and the other half with a prying and nail-pulling claw.
The ratchet head was also tied into the pivoting mechanism, with users being able to use the tool in compact or full-extension mode.
It was also designed to be used at intermediate angles, such as 90° for checking board surfaces.
In mid-2015, a Kickstarter update read “We Can’t Build the Cole-Bar Hammer.” Details of the update were only available to backers of the project, but I was later informed that the company behind the Cole-Bar was looking for new American manufacturing partners to work with.
That was 6 years ago.
Cole-Bar’s website says that something is “coming in 2021,” and a Kickstarter update 3 months ago shared additional details.
The company reports that they have made progress with the tool design, saying that solved a torque issue with the gear/pawl.
They documented production delays in sourcing components for the tool.
There’s also talk about new investors, which is good to hear.
The 7th generation prototype is shown off in a new demo video by RTE, their manufacturing partner:
The April 2021 update adds that they’re getting ready to move the Cole-Bar into pre-production, and that the company has a clear path to manufacturing.
The company will be working with RTE, which looks to be their current prototyping and machine shop partner, for assembly, warehousing, and shipping. They are also securing quotes with USA=based forging facilities.
It sounds like some of the components, namely the gears and pawls, might have to be outsourced, but the Cole-Bar crew should be applauded for striving to have as much of the tool manufactured buy USA partners as they are.
With their April posting, the Cole-Bar team has posted 92 updates to their Kickstarter campaign.
I’m still not convinced about the design, but I’m glad to see that even after 7-1/2 years the Cole-Bar team hasn’t given up.
My last sentence would have been:
“I’m still not convinced about the design, but I’m sad to see that even after 7-1/2 years the Cole-Bar team hasn’t shipped anything.”
I think you are being pretty easy on them. 7.5 years of nothing when they were supposed to have a working design prior to the campaign.
I was hard enough on them when the design was announced, saying:
I take no joy in being right about this.
I didn’t post about the product during the Kickstarter campaign at all, and only during the preorder stage.
I also expressed plenty of criticism here: https://toolguyd.com/cole-bar-hammer-multi-tool-failure-to-launch/
With how much time has passed, that they’re still communicating with backers and working towards an actual product is a good thing. They could have given up and walked away from the project.
Not to be overly cynical but it could also less of a desire to make things right than a desire to keep the money coming in. I would hope that they are trying to make things right by the people who are already invested but it just does not feel like they are trying very hard given the timeline.
Yeah…..how much weed does one have to smoke to think this something a pro might use. Also what project would this be for? Deck building? In 1985? Ripper and a ratchet? Eh?
while interesting why so many prototypes? adding other features or are they just not working right.
I can get something prototyped in 4 – 6 months without a lot of effort so I would think they should already have setup something for production by now.
eitherway what’s the market for this. general contractors – demolition crews, ?
Koko The Talking Ape
Really? That’s interesting!
I always wondered how they try out new tool designs. The prototypes have to be in steel, to at least get the weight right. But different fabrication methods affect strength and durability. Forged steel is tougher than cast, for example. So how do you forge a single hammer for testing?
You could do what’s called “near-net forging”, where you forge your blank before machining.
Starting this way, you could drop forge a billet that’s a tough shape about 20% bigger than your finished piece, and then machine to final design. This gives you leeway in being able to test different final shapes all from a single forging die.
It’s not as strong as true forging where the piece only needs some final clean up after time in the press(es), but eliminates a lot of guess work from dealing with cast designs which typically aren’t that good for striking and prying tools anyway.
Koko The Talking Ape
I didn’t know that! Thanks!
getting a single forging isn’t that hard but what I am seeing is more of a milled casting. with all those triangle holes in the handle/beams.
Koko The Talking Ape
So you build the tooling for a run of just a dozen or so? That must be very, very expensive.
Yes, this particular tool looks machined, but I was thinking of the prototyping process in general. It’s easy to make a single machined tool, and maybe a cast tool can be made in sand or something. But a single forged tool? (Or a few dozen, for testing.)
I think the problem was in getting the ratcheting mechanism designed in a way to be strong enough to both function as a ratchet and to serve as the adjustable pivot hinge.
It seems that engineering for production and finding toolmakers that could make it happen were the biggest challenges.
That shit is stupid.
I can think of basically zero times I’ve needed a ratchet along with a nail pry at or hammer.
But how could there possibly be an issue getting parts for the ratchet head considering so many companies are able to produce high quality cheap ratchets with ease? Are they just differing from industry size standards? At the very least – size the head to house some existing ratchet’s guts.
Gimmick tools rarely pan out to every day use tools.
It seems like this would suffer profoundly from vibration issues, affecting the pawl and, more importantly, the user. They could use titanium to cut down on the effects, but it would be extremely expensive to do so. It seems like an interesting idea, and there’s good aspects of it, but I don’t think it’ll have much of a market. Maybe the military could use it for a high function, limited usage time tool. It may not withstand that kind of use though. Someone more educated in military specifications can speak more on that. The inventors are definitely hanging in there with the prototypes and manufacturing! Hopefully they find at least a few takers.
15 years ago this would have been perfect for Sears at Christmas time. It’s the kind of thing no tool guy would buy themselves, but their wives and children sure will!
I think that’s the only conceivable market for this thing. They better get that price down to 49.95 though..,
Koko The Talking Ape
Why would you ever, ever need to separate the claw from the striking face? Why wouldn’t you just use two hammers? They aren’t expensive.
And that handle looks hideously uncomfortable.
They’re saying that right now it looks like it will cost between 80 and 90 bucks, which is actually less than I expected. But for that money, you can get a good ratchet and two excellent hammers, or more.
it would be easier to ditch the ratchet bit and ditch the angles preset for the bar and just have it full open at 180 degrees. so it is the hammer or the pry bar, crow bar. bam done.
might be worth having a lock on there so you could use it as an extra long arm hammer maybe.
but the other features make it a mess. I do like the idea of the pry bar crow bar aspect.
Someone should invent a hammer that’s all one piece and has a built-in prying claw, and no gears or bearings to fail after a few months of hitting things. I’d buy one of those.
Tool imitates art
…Still not entirely convinced… Especially since there’s 3 standard Ratchet sizes… Will they have 3 sizes of this hammer-based tool as well? Are they banking on the heavier lock at 180 will turn the hammer head, or crow/demolition bar end into a two-handed high-power version of the tool? That would be a very small sledge/demo hammer, and a remarkably awkward claw tool.
the 90 degree right-angle lock is a nice feature, if a little obvious for such a tool as this. More like an afterthought than a design feature. Many of these set angle locks seem… off somehow.
Now… as a Hammer… I… No… I got nothing… To almost directly quote Adam Savage, and his book of the same name here… Every Tool’s a Hammer. What are they going for? Framing? Demo? Homeowner? Sledge? 7 years, and it’s still the same design… On their down time waiting to solve problems… couldn’t they have iterated the hammer head and other features to find a design where they could get backing from a powerhouse company? This level of just… Settling in on that one design… that’s not good for any inventor.
By the design shapes alone, they probably could’ve sold some variation of this to Martinez Tools by now, and skipped the Kickstarter. Talk about “Iterations”… Martinez is a known, trusted name in the industry, and do manufacture locally. Plus the dude is brilliant at solving problems real pro tool users encounter… And he works in Titanium all the time… This may end up being a $300 hammer design, with customized components for each customer, but Martinez customers are very accustomed to that price point being entirely worth the investment. With the name alone, the Cole Hammer by Martinez Tools would be able to pull in enough funding to get the parts they needed to manufacture each component part they needed for this item.
All 3 ratchet heads, done. Martinez would probably come up with some bolt-in method where you customize which of the three sizes yours has. Or lock (no pun intended) three different bar sizes to a specific size of ratchet, and have the hammer and claw separate, replaceable combos that bolt down to the bars.
7 1/2 years though? In all this time, they couldn’t have figured out what so many of us are commenting on in the, what? 5 minutes it took to read this thread? That’s pretty nonsensical to me. It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in their customer service skills, or their problem solving skills, as a whole. Which is a shame, because… there’s some actual potential to this design… If, and only if, they can problem solve effectively.
“Boy, I sure wish this hammer had a ratchet on it.”
Said nobody, ever.
If a campaign isn’t from someone with a proven track record I don’t bother. Got bit too many times.
Hoo, boy. Anyone else have a fundamental problem with using your layout square to do demo work?! How about hammering away with a two-piece swing apart hammer?! And then bizarrely mixing in a ratchet for some reason. Reminds me of those brass-handled tools where a bunch of unusable screwdrivers screw together to make a tiny unusable hammer. It’s been 7 years, just stop.
Know wonder there’s no money to produce it… who would want it? Pretty much NO ONE.
To save the project they should add a drill, pliers, and a beer bottle opener. Then sell it on Hammacher Schlemmer for the Holidays
And bluetooth with an app. Gotta have bluetooth, because future tech and stuff.
Bluetooth to tell you if the ratchet is at 89° or 91°. Perfecto.
if u want a hammer/wrench/prybay why not get a Stanley Tools – Fatmax Demolition Wrench? (https://toolguyd.com/stanley-adjustable-demo-wrench/) that way you dont have to carry around sockets as well. it seems like the only use for this type of tool is a trunk tool for “just in case” or a junk drawer tool, again for just in case. and in either scenario an adjustable wrench seems more useful than having to need a set of sockets. ESPECIALLY considering most socket sets you could buy come with a ratchet anyway.
I was thinking “maybe you could throw it in the car for camping or road trips if you don’t have room for a tool box.”
But then you already have a tire iron for lugs, and how much room does a small tool box with a ratchet set, a few screw drivers, pliers and a hammer actually take up?
In any case, you’d still need to drag along sockets, screw drivers and pliers with this tool.
I hope they eventually pull this off, but I have zero faith in Kickstarter projects as anything other than a source material for great MDE bits.
A solution in search of a non-existent problem.
Sometimes I think Stuart posts these kickstarter tools so we can have a little laugh. While this tool looks like a total gimmick, I’m sure whoever came up with it though it was very clever. Some years ago there used to be a tv show called Everyday Edisons where people would develop their inventions from concept to production. One of the things I remember about that invention process was that inventors have to learn to be open to changes to their invention in order to be more successful. Whether that is to make it easier to market, or manufacture or easier to use, etc. it is helpful to have a different view to help refine an invention. I don’t see that as having happened here. On a side note- I sometimes come up with an idea for an invention that would certainly make millions but I don’t even know how to get started! Let’s say I had an idea for a phone accessory or exercise equipment. I’m sure prototypes or proof of concepts will be needed but then what? Who makes the plastic bits or how do I get to someone to put the nuts and bolts together? And ultimately, how do I get it marketed/sold? I know Kickstarter helps with the raising of capital but then what happens? The sourcing of materials and manufacturing is all up to you? I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’ve seen commercials for “invention help” but I’m sure those companies take a steep cut for those services. Anyone have any ideas on how to go about this?
I’m not sure the inventors being receptive to feedback would have made a difference in this case. There’s no real fundamental concept that makes any sense in this tool. The combination of tools fits no real world application, and especially not one that would benefit from the compactness of having them all in one tool.
The only thing I could see being at all successful would be to sell it as one of those ‘survival’ tools, since there’s a big market for them and the people buying them don’t need the tools to actually work so much as look cool and badass.
That looks a tool I’d carry in my truck. Yessiree, Bob. Then, when the AAA tow truck arrives, I’d show him the amazing multi-tool, my polyester tie, my USB coffee cup warmer, three ceramic ashtrays, and a battery-powered nose-hair trimmer. New in box.
Then, I’d ask him to take it all away and say they were destroyed during a horrible flat tire incident.
Maybe they should Kickstart a 48” level with a screwdriver in it? Or maybe a handsaw with some pliers attached?