It’s not often that a construction tool can elicit the same level of gadget lust as something like a new flagship smartphone does, but the T1 Tomahawk is a tape measure full of clever digital upgrades that makes me want to line up outside a Home Depot the day it goes on sale.
REEKON Tools isn’t as recognisable name as the likes of Milwaukee, DeWalt, or Makita when it comes to professional construction tools, but with its second product en route, that could change. The brand’s first digital tool, the M1 Calibre, arrived two years ago and was designed to make it much easier to measure lengths of lumber on a table saw. The M1 used a rotating wheel to make measurements as a piece of lumber was pulled through a saw, with the results displayed on an easy-to-read screen.
The brand’s new T1 Tomahawk takes that same technology and makes it portable in the form of a device that can make measurements in the trickiest spots. The T1 still relies on a 7.62 m long retractable metal ruler marked with imperial measurements, but as it’s extended and retracted, the distance is continuously displayed on a high-contrast OLED screen that can be switched to metric measurements as needed. For carpenters who don’t have a pencil handy to jot down a measurement, the T1 can store several of them at the push of a button. The notes are then displayed in a scrollable list on an electronic paper screen on the side. (It’s not specified whether it’s from E Ink or another manufacturer.)
Quite possibly the most useful upgrade on the T1 Tomahawk is a green laser that extends 3.5-inches outwards from either side of the ruler, making it easier to take measurements of things the T1 can’t be easily positioned right up against. Other features include the ability to incorporate the length of the T1 itself when making interior measurements, sharing and storing recorded measurements through a Bluetooth-connected smartphone app, a pencil holder for making cut marks, the ability to zero out the display for making multiple measurements without having to constantly reposition the T1, and a swappable USB-C rechargeable battery good for around 15 hours of use.
As with the M1 Calibre before it, REEKON Tools is using a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to make the T1 Tomahawk available for pre-order. To date, the campaign has raised $US1.14 ($2) million over its $US10,000 ($13,882) funding goal, and the current cheapest way to pre-order one is to make a $US199 ($276) pledge, with delivery anticipated closer to December. The full retail pricing is expected to be closer to $US260 ($361) so backing this Kickstarter could potentially save you quite a few bucks, but in a time when supply chain issues are making it hard for even the largest electronics makers to get products out the door in a timely fashion, it’s probably a smart idea to be prepared for potential delays here, even with REEKON Tools having already successfully Kickstarted a similar product.