Lightweight Wood Saws for Backpacking
Jul 22, 2020 at 9:42 am #3665836Backpacking LightAdmin
@backpackinglightLocale: Rocky MountainsJul 22, 2020 at 11:41 am #3665845David HosmerBPL Member
Thanks for the great article Ryan!
I’ve been wondering about lightweight cutting tools so this article is really timely. I’ll be giving the Bahco Laplander a closer look.Jul 22, 2020 at 3:23 pm #3665867Steven EvansBPL Member
Hi Ryan, thanks for the review, I appreciate the opportunity to have one of my products featured on BPL. For others reading, Ryan did reach out to me beforehand about the possible limitation when used on wet, hard wood, on the Uki Bucksaw. I have researched and purchased a number of saw blades and haven’t noticed a difference, so let’s try something different…if someone can recommend a blade that works in all conditions, I will redesign the Uki Bucksaw to accept the new blade and send it back for testing. So let’s hear some recommendations!Jul 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm #3665878Paul LeavittBPL Member
Hi Ryan: I have been using a Little Buck Saw ( http://www.qiwiz.net/saws.html ) 4 ounce saw for the last 4 years. I have been able to cut wood wet or dry with this little saw up to 4 inch diameters. It takes about 2 minutes to assemble for use and packs in a Tyvek envelope.Jul 22, 2020 at 4:36 pm #3665881Jul 22, 2020 at 4:39 pm #3665882Michael GillenwaterBPL Member
@mwgillenwaterLocale: Seattle area
Curious to hear about thoughts regarding converted lightweight Japanese wood saws. I picked up one of these in the past, and there are several forum posts on similar. They cut nicely for the limited situations I have used one.Jul 22, 2020 at 9:23 pm #3665920Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Interesting article. I wish the trapezoidal saws one sees in say, the Piragis Northwoods Catalog, were also included as they are the most efficient folding saws.
I’ve owned a SVEN SAW for decades as well as a Gerber SwitchBlade wood and bone saw (2 different blades, thus the name)
I see wood “bow”, trapezoid or triangular take-down saws as good for canoe and car camping or with a hunting group where community property is distributed among campers/hunters.
The “wire” and “chain” type saws are more work than they are worth, from my own experience.Jul 23, 2020 at 8:39 am #3665951
I have always found that Silky saws cut way better than the Bahco. You do need to have the Large or XL tooth blade though. The finer tooth sizes are for carpentry work. The Silky saws have a double row of teeth that only cut on the pull stroke, and have quite fine blades so your cutting style must adapt to this technique to get the best from the saws. I have a Gomboy210 for summer canoe trips and a Bigboy360 for winter use.
The Suluk saw has a thinner blade because it is held in tension by the frame. It is a blade with raker teeth, designed to clear wet sawdust from the cut as the blade moves through. It should have cut wet wood fine. This is the style of blade you’ll see on the movies of old lumberjacks felling and bucking timber. You can also buy these blades without raker teeth for use on dry wood. The cutting teeth should protude slightly on alternating sides of the blade (looking edge on), it’s designed to cut pushing forward. If left tensioned in the frame the blade can lose this set. You can bend them back out again with pliers or a special tool but better to store the blade loose. Good buck saw blades are hard to find nowadays, many don’t come with enough set in the first place.
If you are relying on wood for heat it really is a case of the longer the better when it comes to saws. I’ll generally use a 18″ fixed blade pruning saw for felling standing dead timber and then a 20″ Irwin 9TPI tooth panel saw or 21″ Dustrude folding bucksaw for turning that into firewood. When the temperatures are below -25 and the light is fading you don’t mess around with small saws!Jul 23, 2020 at 9:17 am #3665956Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
The main issue with the Uki blade doesn’t seem to be that it’s a raker blade, but that it’s only 0.7mm thin. So the cut isn’t wide, and when wet wood swells during the cut, there may not be enough cut width to continue accommodating the blade’s free movement.
Silky Saws have excellent blades, for sure.Jul 23, 2020 at 10:40 am #3665969
If the teeth are set properly on a buck saw blade they will make a cut that is substantially wider than the blade.Jul 23, 2020 at 10:53 am #3665972Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
In over 50+ years of backpacking I have never needed a saw. What am I missing?Jul 23, 2020 at 1:58 pm #3665987David GardnerBPL Member
@gearmakerLocale: Northern California
Aw heck Ryan, you left me out! I’m still selling these:
15.5″ blade carved from Corona pruning saw, ultralight at 4.6 oz., unlimited depth of cut, extremely rugged, incredibly fast cutting (7 sec. through douglas fir 2×2), great for any kind of wood, and compared to a bow saw very compact and no assembly required.
10.5″ blade carved from Corona pruning saw, ultralight at 3.1 oz., unlimited depth of cut, extremely rugged, very fast cutting (11 sec. through douglas fir 2×2), great for any kind of wood, and compared to a bow saw very compact and no assembly required.
8″ blade cut from Japanese nokigiri pull saw, super ultralight at 1.9 oz., unlimited depth of cut, no assembly required, good for smaller branches and great for bone and antlers.
Offered in Gear DealsJul 23, 2020 at 2:26 pm #3665988Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
In over 50+ years of backpacking I have never needed a saw. What am I missing?
Maybe trail maintenance? Otherwise, I can’t imagine.Jul 23, 2020 at 5:21 pm #3666009John S.BPL Member
needed for bonfire backpacking..lolJul 23, 2020 at 6:25 pm #3666017David GardnerBPL Member
@gearmakerLocale: Northern California
Actually, I’ve sold a fair number of saws for trail maintenance to UL types, but many more to hunters, bushcrafters, preppers and UL people who camp where they are allowed to gather and burn deadwood.Jul 23, 2020 at 7:47 pm #3666033
For thisJul 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm #3666036Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak AlaskaJul 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm #3666045Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Some people backpack in the winter… not just ‘camping season’ as if there is such a thing.
Suggesting that You can’t have a normal size fire, or that all fires are bonfires is the kind of hyperbole that is ruining the world anyway.Jul 23, 2020 at 9:21 pm #3666054
>”I have never needed a saw. What am I missing?” -Nick
Not all of us do our hiking in the desert.
I agree, in my 4+ decades of backpacking, I’ve never NEEDED a saw. I’ve used a saw to make nice, pretty firewood (which then got burned up). I’ve made clothes- and dish-drying racks from cut branches. I once even made a replacement knight for a chess set in a USFS cabin. It looked like a horse. Had little ears. Mostly, I’ve brought a pull saw along on my SECOND hike on a trail, when I knew of brush, downed small trees or low-hanging branches I wanted to clear during some pirate trail maintenance efforts.
I have brought a Sven saw on a 20-mile river canoeing trip and it was handy to clear downed trees so we didn’t have to portage the canoe around them, but that was probably a wash, effort-wise. It felt like the right thing to do, like clearing a trail, to leave it better for the next group.Jul 23, 2020 at 10:08 pm #3666062
That Nordic Pocket Saw? Forty nine Yankee dollars! For half of a chainsaw blade. Which are $12 (for a whole one) at Walmart. And there’s not even a half twist in the flat nylon wrist straps like proper ski-pole / trekking-pole straps have so they lie flat all around your wrist.Jul 23, 2020 at 10:14 pm #3666063Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
Maybe they reverse half the cutting teeth so it works on both pulls? Hard to see from the lousy pic on the website, but that would set it apart from a normal chainsaw chain.
Agreed on the dumb straps.Jul 24, 2020 at 3:04 am #3666075Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I was just being a little bit contrarian. I haven’t built a fire on a solo trip in almost 5 decades when I stopped cooking all my meals over a fire.
I do enjoy sitting around a campfire on the rare occasions I hike with others. Last fall an ember burnt a small hole in my Montbell UL Down Jacket even though I was wearing my Houdini to protect it.
I do hike in forests and in high mountains in winter too :-)Jul 25, 2020 at 12:21 am #3666204Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
WAIT! How about a snow saw? Used for avalanche snow testing to cut blocks for strength and to find unstable sections like hoar frost layers.
Sadly they won’t do very well cutting wood, with the possible exception of balsa wood. ;o)
It is the only saw in many decades I’ve carried in the winter and then only after a bug snow dump when I’m back country skiing. It’s part of my snow safety kit.Aug 1, 2020 at 4:35 pm #3667941
What about having a really UL saw in the mix? Saws weighing 11, 3, 5, 7, and 5 ounces were reviewed and 3 ounce one was crap. While I carry that Bahco Laplander when I expect to do some trail work, the most I carry otherwise is the 1.5-ounce / 42-gram Coghlan’s Sierra Saw ($7 to $9, available at Walmart). Be careful if ordering online – there’s a much larger “Sierra Saw” by Coghlan’s for $10.
I used it yesterday to remove an overhanging 2.5″ branch on my way to the beach because it’s enough of scramble coming back up with my 12-foot net and a few salmon in a bucket in my backpack.
I brought it along 2 weeks ago on a 4-day BPing trip for gathering dead spruce branches for a warming fire.
In a National Forest, where wood gathering is allowed, you could avoid the weight of tent/tarp poles by cutting two branches to the desired lengths. 1.5 ounces is less than 10-16 ounces of trekking poles.
I’ve made some 11 to 17 grams SUL saws from bandsaw blades (ground in finger grooves and applied PlastiDip as a handle) and they work fine for making a few cuts, but are tedious, slow and uncomfortable if you have to cut a lot of wood.
If I used a twig stove, I wouldn’t want the larger saws – their larger teeth are hard to use on the 0.5″ to 1.5″ diameter branches I’d be cutting and the smaller teeth of the Sierra Saw do really well on those.Aug 1, 2020 at 5:12 pm #3667950Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Corona folding saw. 6 inch blade. 5.5 ounces.
Here in pnw we have trees that fall across trail. Saw useful for that.
Winter – nice to have fire.
Last few trips I didn’t make one fire. Pretty warm, fire would make it worse
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