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Sunday, 07 May 2023 09:12

Roxon Flash

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The Flash is the latest member of the Roxon multi-tool family. It is also the most recent addition to the small family of outdoors-oriented multi-tools. Let's see what it is all about.

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The tool comes in a cardboard box, which fits in a cardboard half-box. Included are a nylon sheath, T8 L-wrench, an extra pair of wire-cutters and T8 screws, and instructions.


Right off the bat, presentation was obviously important. The artwork looks very professional, with few colors that compliment each other well, and information about the tool; branding, materials, implement list, specifications, contact information. The box displays everything users need to know cleanly, in a very organized manner. It is also practical, as it is as big as it needs to be, with no wasteful bulk. Should the tool be intended as a gift, it is already in a presentable gift box.


The set is also very thorough. In addition to a sheath, you have a spare pair of wire-cutters and screws, as well as a wrench that fits them and the handle screws.

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The tool fits in the sheath nice and snug. The sheath is single-stitched, closes with a snap-button, and offers both horizontal and vertical carry.

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Ready to use with no opening required is the metric scale. It measures 9 centimeters and is flawlessly engraved on the handle. Thanks to the flatness of the handle, the scale can be placed against surfaces for measuring or drawing lines. The pin that holds the detent arm of the small implements protrudes very slightly and does not hinder usage of the scale all that much.

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The blade sinks completely into the handle when folded. The thumb-slit is at the perfect position and properly ground for one-handed deployment. The action is butter-smooth. The teflon washers really work here. The liner-lock engages at 35%. Rock solid lock-up, with plenty of room for wear. It is a plain-edge drop-point, and the sharpening is precise, consistent, and keen.

The blade can handle a variety of materials quite convincingly. The straight section carves and peels well. There is a little belly for slicing. The tip is robust, and can puncture if needed. 5cr15Mov is perfectly adequate for a multi-tool blade. It sharpens easily and takes a nice edge. There is also a helpful sharpening choil, to make things easier. The drop-point shape is an all-around good profile, and will handle cutting tasks with no issues.The ergonomics are great. All tools are countersunk into the frame. The edges of the handles are rounded off. The whistle even has some jimping to provide traction.


Thanks to the low weight and good ergonomics, using the blade was effective, efficient, and effortless.

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The saw has bronze washers on top of teflon ones, and is undoubtedly the smoothest saw that ever unfolded out of a multi-tool handle. It is accessible with either a thumb-slit (which works with either hand), or a nail-catch at the tip. It is a pull-saw, with sharply defined teeth. The spine is half the thickness of the teeth, making for a great cutter that does not bind.


The spine is also able to strike the ferrocerium rod, or scrape wood shavings. Ergonomics and lock-up are also excellent.

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The three shorter implements are a double opener with flathead tip, a Phillips driver, and a reamerpunch. All sit flush into the handle and are controlled by a patented two-way switch, first introduced in the Phantom. Pushing the switch forward partly deploys the implements, and it is very easy to unfold the one you want. To unlock the implement, pull the switch back. Operation is one-handed, with either hand.

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The can opener worked well. It engages the can properly and pierced through the lid effortlessly. Tracing around the lid was easy once I had found the perfect rhythm of operation. The cutting edge is shorter than the average quarter-circle can opener, so each individual cut will be shorter than with other tools. It never slipped off the rim, it never jammed, it did not create metal splinters. Ergonomics are quite good. The edges are chamfered and nothing protrudes from the frame.

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The bottle opener works great. It hooked onto the bottle cap well, and removed it after two tries. Not too shabby.
The flathead fits small screws and is solid enough to turn them.

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The Phillips driver offers great reach, and engages properly in #2 screws. It will also turn #1 screws, but does not engage as deeply in those. It is the flattened style of driver, so it may have difficulty with rusted, overtightened screws.Resizer 168355123188221

The reamerpunch is nicely sharpened, pointy, and properly robust. It drilled through wood very easily. It will also scrape if the need arises, and it even has a sewing eye should one be needed.

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In the other handle, we have the whistle. It is held in place by two detent nubs, and retention is excellent. There was never any concern that it might fall out. It can be removed by pulling the top end at an angle, as illustrated on the handle.

The ferro rod has to be removed in order for the whistle to work properly. To remove the ferro rod, just unscrew it. The whistle produces a very sharp, clean sound. By sliding the ferro rod in and out, the pitch can be altered, to produce different sounds or act like a slide whistle.

The whistle is the ferro rod handle. Just screw the ferro rod into the end. Using the saw spine or reamerpunch, the ferro rod produces a nice amount of sparks. The whistle is an excellent and very helpful handle. If you strike too many times, the ferro rod may start to unscrew from the whistle.To stow away, just screw the ferro rod back in the whistle, and press the whistle so it snaps into position.

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The pliers open smoothly. They are needle-nose, spring-loaded and the tips meet to a point. The wire-cutters are replaceable, and the tool comes with a replacement pair, as well as extra screws and the wrench that fits them. They handle large zip-ties, cables and steel wire very well, suffering no ill effects.


Ergonomics are wonderful. The edges of the handles are rounded off, the handle splay is normal for the tool's size, and there are jimped ramps at the bottom of each handle to provide additional traction.

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The pocket-clip is among the highlights of the tool. It is rock solid on the handle, with no play whatsoever. It has a great length to offer peace of mind. Retention is also on point. It has enough ramp to accept pockets, and the retention bend rests against the flat handle. The pocket-clip keeps the tool in place, but does not chew through the fabric when going in and out of the pocket. Above all, it exists. It provides the easiest carry option of all, and combined with the light weight of the tool, and the compact, clean frame, carrying the tool is truly a joy.

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Construction Quality
Early on, Roxon employed industrial level fineblanking for their tools, aiming for comfort, precision, durability, and aesthetics. The Flash is no exception. Surfaces are clean, tolerances are precise, the action is smooth, edges are crisp.


The tool is expertly put together. Everything is solid, and locks firmly. The implements themselves are ground properly. The retention system for the whistle is low profile, but works wonderfully. The whistle snaps in place and will stay there until needed, and the ferro rod screws positively in the whistle.


The shorter implements and blade are polished, with no burrs. The screws are new.
Of course, the two-way switch for the smaller implements has to be acknowledged. First seen on the Phantom, it is a glorious merging of engineering and practical utility. Accessibility, comfort, ease of use, this little switch is a gamechanger.

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Design
Seemingly betraying its own moniker, the Flash appears surprisingly modest. A clean, bare look, with only the essentials breaking out of the grey. Thumb-slits, screws, the scale, the whistle, the switch, the pocket clip.


Should it catch the sun right, the polished short implements will contrast nicely with the dull frame and black accents. Comfort was a major concern. Implements are flush with the frame. The whistle and ramps are notched to provide traction. Edges are chamfered. The switch provides one-handed use of the small implements. The blade and saw pivot as smoothly as ever. The whistle turns into a full sized handle for the ferro rod, allowing users to get the most out of it. The tool has an excellent weight to it, and the pocket-clip offers portability.


Space was used efficiently. The ferro rod tucks into the whistle, which is just as large as it needs to be. As with the Phantom, the Flash looks much simpler than it is. It should be obvious that once again, a lot of thought went into designing this tool.


As for the pictogram with the ferro rod removal instructions, it is there. One might argue it is more intrusive to the design than it is helpful, but then again, people have broken the whistle, not realizing the ferro rod simply unscrews, so maybe instructions are good after all.

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Performance
Despite the emphasis given to comfort, performance did not suffer. On the contrary, it was enhanced. Using the tool was as effective as it was comfortable.


Lock-up, finish, action, accessibility, everything was done professionally.All implements are crisp. The blade was sharpened properly and consistently, and cut wonderfully. The saw laughed at the wood. The reamerpunch is among the best there are. The openers work properly. The ferro rod is of good quality.


The Phillips is long and fits screws well, even though it is a little thin for heavy duty work.
The excellent ergonomics and light weight of the tool are a tremendous help for prolonged use.

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Conclusion
Even though it bears a family resemblance to both the Storm and the Phantom, the Flash is its own design. All implements are unique to this tool, with the exception of the wire-cutters. Roxon designed everything from scratch, and did a fine job of putting everything together. They also managed to strike an impressive balance of design aesthetics, performance, and ergonomics. The tool looks nice, works, and is comfortable to hold.


Being a specialized tool, specifically aimed to outdoor use, the Flash has some familiar features; a pocket-clip, a trimmed weight, a slim body, a woodsaw, a reamerpunch, a can opener, a whistle, and arguably the most interesting, a ferrocerium rod. All are well executed, but this was not enough for Roxon. Accessibility and ease of use were also taken into account. Having the whistle as the handle, the ferro rod is infinitely easier to use, and allows users to scrape the full length for larger sparks. The saw is as good a scraper as it is a cutter. The two-way switch is another welcome feature.

Seeing such commitment to innovation is almost heartwarming. It is clear with a single glance that the Flash is a member of the S800 series by Roxon, and yet, it is different. The Flash is the slimmest in the series, considerably lighter and more compact than the Storm and Phantom, and the only one with a dedicated target user group. Looking at it as an evolution of the series, it is nice to see the things that changed; the tool load-out, the size, the inclusion of the pocket-clip, the specialized purpose. And the things that remained the same; the build quality, the innovation, the elegant design, the value for money.


Once again, Roxon has delivered an excellent product. The Flash is a worthy addition to Roxon's line-up. It is compact, well-made, well-equipped, elegant, and comfortable. It is arguably curious that it is only available in indiegogo as of now. Even people familiar with Roxon may not know of indiegogo. This may hurt the tool's sales, since it is not as readily available as Roxon's other tools. The Flash is every bit as good as the Storm and Phantom, albeit very different, and it would be a shame if it were overlooked. Hopefully it will become available through more vendors soon.

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Pros
-Excellent build quality.
-Comfort/ease of use/portability.
-Excellent value for money; tool, sheath, wrench, extra wire-cutters and even screws.

Cons
-Only available in indiegogo as of now.

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Thoughts
-The cut-out for the nail-catch of the saw is not entirely necessary. It already has a good thumb-slit.
-As good as the whistle retention is, it would be nice if the whistle/ferro rod combo was available separately.
-The tool could come with an extra whistle/ferro rod. Sure, the ferro rod is small and it would be wise to only use it sparingly, but where is the fun in that? Ideally, users would use the ferro rod regularly, practicing with it, getting used to it, so that if it were an emergency, there would be no fumbling.
-It is weird that the Spark is so widely available, but the Flash, which has the same tools but is of better quality, is only available through indiegogo.
-The Flash comes with wire-cutter screws. Nice. The Phantom did not include extra screws.
-It would be nice if the Flash accepted the various blades of the Phantom/Phantasy. It would have to be a little thicker, but still worth it.
-Produced along with the Phantom and the Phantasy, I am glad to see this was not the "Phlash".

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Read 1460 times Last modified on Sunday, 09 July 2023 21:05
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