- Jan 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm #3377539
I was searching something cheap and effective to replace my 220 gram foldable wood saw that is often in my backpack. In a bricolage shop I was first looking for small pruning non-foldable saw, bat they all were too big for my needs (I was searching something with a 15-20cm blade).
At the end I bought a cheap, 3$ china-made drywall saw, as the blade was so similar to wood blades, just to give it a try:
It weighted only 71 grams, one third of my 210 grams foldable saw, and the blade have similar length.
In the afternood I tried it in the backyard:
And it proved to be effective, nearly as the foldable saw that, I think, it will replace!
What are your experiences? Have someone already considered/tried this type of saw for UL backpacking?Jan 23, 2016 at 6:03 pm #3377544James LBPL Member
Well, if its a fixed blade saw, you will need a sheath for it. That’s more weight..Jan 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm #3377548Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
.Jan 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm #3377562
Here’s a folding saw, 10.5″ when open, for $6.88, free shipping from the US, on eBay. That’s going to be a similar weight to the drywall saw, but has a more comfortable grip and probably cuts faster. I’ve tried some of these cheap folding saws and they’re okay. Nothing like a Felco, Fiskars or Corona pruning saw, but far cheaper and lighter.
I’m not finding it now, maybe it was on Gearbest, but I got one folding saw that was even smaller, lighter and cheaper. Like 2 oz and $3.Jan 23, 2016 at 8:38 pm #3377570rick .BPL Member
@overheadviewLocale: Charlotte, NC
You can figure out if it cuts both ways (like in the store, or from a photograph) by understanding how a saw works. Cutters and rakers. The cutter (sharp) scores a line, and the raker (flat) removes the material. If you look closely you can tell if it cuts both ways if the cutters are sharp on both sides. Image of cutters / rakers
Drywall saws are typically just jagged metal teeth designed to cut the powdery board on the push stroke only. This looks like a better option, but I’ve never seen one like this used by a drywall crew.
A light, usable, saw is good for a trip where you expect to rely on fires a lot. But to earn it’s keep, it needs to cut larger limbs than you can snap. Otherwise it’s more of a camp chore at home in car camping.Jan 23, 2016 at 8:57 pm #3377573
“it needs to cut larger limbs than you can snap”
Maybe not. I can snap a dry, 1-1.5″ spruce branch, easily, if it is 2 or 3 feet long.
But for feeding a lot of wood-burning BPing stoves and hot-tent stoves, you want 3″ to 6″ stuff. That’s so short as to be very hard to snap.
I trim dead branches from standing trees (there’s a lot of beetle-killed conifers in my area). I find it easiest to cut when it is still on the tree – put a little tension on the branch and cut off a few inches at a time.Jan 24, 2016 at 1:09 am #3377605
@James: Yes, it require a sheath but I already have some ideas about how to build some few-grams sheath
@David: Can you give me the exact weight of the first foldable saw you posted? In my experience these saws with that plastic and rubber handle aren’t very light.
@Rick: This is the blade shape:
It is very similar to the shape of a lot of wood foldable blade, but it is push-only instead of pull-only.Jan 24, 2016 at 9:33 am #3377642Michael PBPL Member
@m-mLocale: Central Florida
Nice find, Paiolo! Looking on Amazon there are a lot of options. One thing I did notice is that most brands have a tipped point (for initial entry into the drywall) and yours does not. Do you know the brand or model of the saw you bought?Jan 24, 2016 at 10:38 am #3377651
If you look at the first photo, you’ll note that it initially had a (really dangerous) “fork” tip… After the tests, I decided to cut it away with an iron saw and then I smothed it with a (big) file… an easy 2-minutes work. And now it is a lot safer to use!
I could also drill some hole at the bottom of the handle, as there is more plastic than needed, to save some grams.Jan 24, 2016 at 11:57 am #3377665Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Sometimes you can break wood, but breaking it small enough where it’s manageable to baton down into dry kindling is the issue. One thing you can do is cross cut baton at the spot where you want to it to break which weakens the wood so when you try and snap the wood it breaks in that exact spot. A good way to break it is using two trees or limbs as leverage.Jan 25, 2016 at 10:28 pm #3378045Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
If you haven’t broken it or dulled it to uselessness 6 cuts in, your hands will be sore from the lousy handle.A Gerber Sliding Saw is about 5oz and $12 and it will cut circles around your cheapie saw. If your life depends on it, buy something good! If you haven’t broken it or dulled it to uselessness 6 cuts in, your hands will be sore from the lousy handle. Been there!Jan 26, 2016 at 3:05 am #3378063
Well, I’ve already done 6 cuts in my backyard, and saw still works as before, and my hands aren’t sore ;-)
BTW my life don’t depends on this saw, if it doesn’t work I would simply eat a cold dinner and sleep in a less worm place but… not a big problem.Jan 28, 2016 at 5:54 am #3378616
A similar but better alternative to drywall saws could be compass saws: they are similar, but with 3 differences:
– they are pull saw (and not push), ideal with slim and flexible blades
– they have a better, more angled handle
– the blade is specific for wood
If blade is more than 8″ I think the tip could be cutted away to keep only the stronger partJan 28, 2016 at 8:10 am #3378633Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I use Corona saw sometimes. Maybe 5.5 ounces? Cuts big branches pretty easily. This might work better/longer. Nice folding handle. $13.37 plus shipping. You can find them at big box store, although maybe not the smallest size.Nov 4, 2016 at 6:02 am #3434115
Ten months are passed from the last post in this thread: in the meantime, is there someone else that have tried out drywall saws, compass saws or some other lightweight types of non-foldable saws?Nov 4, 2016 at 10:52 am #3434154IanBPL Member
Interesting idea Paiolo although I’d rather have a saw that cuts when pulling, not pushing. I’m in the middle of a fairly substantial house remodel and have done drywall work in the past month, but for the life of me, I can’t remember if my drywall saw is configured to cut during the pull or push.
To be continued…Nov 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #3434166
The drawback of (I think every) drywall saws is that they work on push…not ideal for wood, as with such a thin blade the risk to flex the blade is present. This is the reason why I’m investigating on compass saws, as they should have “pull” blades, the ideal type with thin bladesNov 4, 2016 at 1:07 pm #3434179
I think this is what Paiolo means by a compass saw. I’ve liked other saws in the “Fat Max” line – they do cut faster than traditional saw tooth designs and the handles are comfortable. The Amazon spec says 4.8 ounces. $10.22 and free shipping:
Rather than a sheath, I’ve been using a “U” of plastic from old-style report covers. Sold for $0.39, they are a folded double sheet of clear plastic with a “binding” consisting of a plastic spine (you put 8-12 pages in the plastic sheet and slide the spine on). Cut it to length and it grabs decently over the saw teeth. A sturdy rubber band (found for free around broccoli in the produce section) makes it very secure in my pack. There are so many more options for report covers now, they can be a little hard to find locally, so I order them on line and keep some in stock. Not just for backpacking, but I cover saw blades and knife blades in my tool bag and fillet knives in my tackle box to avoid tool-to-tool damage and slicing my own fingers. Here’s a pic:Nov 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm #3434180
For me, there are three levels of saw requirements:
Just in case: If I need to make a fire and keep it going because I was unexpectedly benighted, or I need to fabricate a toggle on a rope belt or a tent pole for a tarp or a replacement button or a stay/support for a pack frame or a whole new pack frame; you can make a surprising variety of things from a chunk of a wood. Last winter, on the father-son-math-snow camping trip, I fabricated a very passable white knight because the chess set was missing one. Then a $3, 1.5-ounce folding saw or those 11-gram ones I make from a band saw blade suffices.
I plan to burn wood: Then I want a better handle and nice teeth. I’d go to 3-5 ounces with a comfortable handle.
I plan to do trail work: Then it’s a full-sized, name-brand Corona, Fiskars, or Felco. One from the garden shed at home. If I’ll be using it for hours, I want a really nice grip, and a sturdy blade. Although usually when I’m doing trail work, it involved a Husqvarna chainsaw.Nov 5, 2016 at 2:45 am #3434243
Hi David!, The Stanley saw you posted is a drywall (push) saw, look at this detail of the blade:
Compass saws are similar to drywall saws but are for wood, have an angled handle, and are “pull” saw (a lot better than “push” if you have a thin saw blade!)
This is a sample of a compass saw:
Nice your idea for the sheath, I’ll keep it in consideration!
And also nice your classification of saws usages… what I’m searching is a lightweight “second category” (“burn wood”) saw, and I think what I need is at least a 6-8 inch blade with a reasonable handle…Nov 6, 2016 at 7:20 am #3434396bradmacmtBPL Member
IME, if you’re going to burn wood and want to saw it, use something designed to do so. After decades of fiddling with a variety of saws, I eventually migrated to Opinel’s saw. Works as designed, and isn’t especially heavy:Nov 6, 2016 at 7:40 am #3434399John GBPL Member
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
The cheap saw is 2.5 oz. Adding 1.1 oz for a more comfy handle, better blade, and no need for a sheath seems like a decent trade off :)Nov 6, 2016 at 7:59 am #3434403bradmacmtBPL Member
The cheap saw is 2.5 oz. Adding 1.1 oz for a more comfy handle, better blade, and no need for a sheath seems like a decent trade off :)
That was kind of my thinking as well… :)Nov 6, 2016 at 8:09 am #3434405
BTW keep also in account that you are also trading off a 6.5″ blade vs a 5″ blade.
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