New Plymouth-based Ayla Hutchinson was just 13-years-old when the idea for the Kindling Cracker was born.
She watched her Mum cut her finger while chopping firewood into kindling with a hatchet and was inspired to find a safer method of doing an age-old job.
Though Mum’s cut was unlucky, it prompted Hutchinson to come up with what is now dubbed the Kindling Cracker for a science project.
The Cracker is made of cast iron and has a built-in blade and safety cage, which eliminates the need for an axe – and any pesky fingers getting in the way.
The feat earned her a slew of awards, including Young Inventor of the Year at the 2013 Mystery Creek Fieldays event, the James and Wells IP award and the ITL award.
But since its creation three years ago, Hutchinson has found there’s a demand for a bigger version of the cracker that is able to handle larger pieces of wood.
She began work on a bigger version that has the original design from the first Cracker, but with a new look.
Weta Workshop was brought on board to create the design for the tool, while Australian foundry company Intercast and Forge provided the finishing touches.
The finished model has a Middle Earth feel to it, with a crisscross, Elf-like design embossed on it.
Hutchinson says Weta Workshop’s attention to detail has been “out of this world”.
“It’s an amazing thing when art meets engineering,” she says.
As well as its brand-new design, the bigger Cracker is 10 inches wide by 17 inches high and weighs 9.4kg.
Hutchinson is now hoping to crowdfund $60,000 to get the product off the ground. Just shy of $22,000 has been raised so far.
The project closes February 19. Check out the Kickstarter here.