Thanks for the positive comments!
Now, to answer a few questions.
Excellent questions - I found the axe to swing better then the old version. You can see this in the profile of the head and the angle of the adze, but I have limited use of each one, so I can't make a solid comparison quite yet. Like the Helix, all the weight is in the head, which will help somewhat with penetrating harder surfaces, but it will have limitations. The titanium is stronger then the steel heads out there, so you can really give it a heavy beating without worrying. As for strapping bottles to the side of the head, it may be possible - but I'll leave that option for you to explore. :)
I haven't used, held, or even seen(except on the net) the Helix, so I can't comment on it's strength. If someone has one they don't want ;), send it to me and I'll test it with the same tests. The problem with just calculating it's strength is that carbon fiber is a finicky material. Everyone makes it differently, with the various wraps and fibers, so it's tough to compare with just geometry.
The carbon insert is a good idea and would most likely work, but it would be smarter to just go up on the outer diameter of the shaft. Increasing wall thickness (which is really what we would be doing), while keeping the outer diameter the same, is bad bang for the buck. Of course, then we add weight...at some point we will be darn close to the 8 oz mark - and Camp has an 8oz B-rated axe. :(
Regarding cost savings, no one was more surprised then I! Not only did the majority of shops come back with 'no quotes', the ones that did come back were astronomically high. Titanium is very hard to machine, especially in a high production enviroment. The chips can actually catch fire (I have first hand experience with this) so lots of places won't go near the stuff. To get the proper bonding between the Ti and Carbon fiber, there are some high tolerances which have to be met. Buying a stock tube wouldn't cut it, and the bonding is something I want to be very careful with. But, you are correct, there should be a cheaper way to do this.
Increasing batch size is the only way I can even offer these. The 26th axe won't be much cheaper, but the 500th will be! ;)