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MadRiver
11-17-2005, 12:12 PM
I'm in the market for a new handsaw, and given the number of blow downs everyone has been encountering lately, I need a good one. Any thoughts?

percious
11-17-2005, 12:16 PM
Last year at thebackpacker.com's FYAO I used a sven saw, and some other folding contraption. The sven saw cut like butter, and the fact that I don't recall the name of the other saw says something about it...

-percious

Jay H
11-17-2005, 12:28 PM
I have an 8" Gerber saw with two blades on it. Comes in a it's own case and I use it for Trail Maintenance in the catskills.

It was $25 at EMS... Works great on anything smaller than 4 or 5" in diameter.

EMS Link (http://www.ems.com/products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444214 9673&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=282574489160644&fromTemplate=search%2Fresults.jsp&bmUID=1132254475240)

Jay

Neil
11-17-2005, 12:28 PM
Are you thinking of a saw for your car or your backpack? I bought a Sawvivor but then a member here posted that it was not very good and recommended the Sven Saw. For the car I would recommend a big bucksaw and some rope! :)

Pete_Hickey
11-17-2005, 12:34 PM
Picture is a bit out of focus, but you can get an idea from:

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/sawman.jpg

What do you want in a saw? One that is good for blowdown, or one that is small and you hardly notice that you're carrying it. What thickness wood are you talking about. In general, the better a saw is, the tougher it is to carry, unless you're talking about small things. Things like loppers or an axe may be better as well.

DougPaul
11-17-2005, 12:42 PM
I have used a 21in sven saw for trail maintenence for several years--works great. (There is also a 15in model--haven't tried it.) Also tried a sawvivor--poor (flimsy frame flexes and blade binds)--returned it immediately.

I have tried the Gerber folding saw at home--looks like it has potential. Probably not as good as the Sven saw, but smaller and lighter.
BTW, only $15.95 at REI (wood blade only).
BTW2, I have also tried a friend's look-alike--didn't cut nearly as well.

There is also a "bicycle chain" saw which can be useful for a log on the ground that you cannot cut all the way through from the top with a regular saw. Looks like a piece of bicycle chain with teeth on one side. Can be theaded under a log and used to cut from the bottom. A specialty item--I wouldn't carry it on a normal hike.
http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?memberId=12500226&productId=13553

I have also used a 3ft 2-person saw. Worked nicely for big stuff, but I wouldn't want to carry it on a hike. (Like Pete's saw, only shorter...)

Doug

MadRiver
11-17-2005, 12:44 PM
When I do trail maintenance on my trail (Webster Cliff), I usually carry my loppers and a handsaw from the AMCs tool cache. As of late Ive been thinking of carry a folding saw for my winter hikes when I encounter a pesky blow down or for some other annoying obstruction that I might happen upon. Nothing too large, but large enough to saw through a few irritating branches.

giggy
11-17-2005, 01:24 PM
Picture is a bit out of focus, but you can get an idea from:

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/sawman.jpg

What do you want in a saw? One that is good for blowdown, or one that is small and you hardly notice that you're carrying it. What thickness wood are you talking about. In general, the better a saw is, the tougher it is to carry, unless you're talking about small things. Things like loppers or an axe may be better as well.

now how did I know this was going to be an interesting pic! nice one!

Vermonster
11-17-2005, 01:31 PM
I've got a Silky Gomtaro I really like. Not too expensive at ~$40. They make many other models, including some that fold. Price around on the web, good deals come up from time to time.
http://www.silkysaws.com/images/gomtaro210lt.jpg

http://wesspur.com/saws/silky-hand-saws.html

VT

Quack
11-17-2005, 01:34 PM
One more vote for the Sven Saw.

carole
11-17-2005, 01:36 PM
I posted awhile back about my saw (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6791&highlight=tools). I have used it quite a bit this year and am still very pleased with it. It can handle 6"-8" or more with no problem. I have it protected with a folded piece of leftover house siding when I'm carrying it in.

Quietman
11-17-2005, 02:09 PM
I always carry this one on hikes.
Hiking saw (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?memberId=12500226&productId=13494)
Cheap, fairly strong and light. Hasn't let me down yet

jbrown
11-17-2005, 02:54 PM
Quietman: I always carry this one on hikes.

I used to carry that one, I got it as a well intentioned birthday present. First hike out I hardly got to cut anything before it bound up and the el-cheapo blade snapped off in the time it took me to blink. I think the problem was that it had hardly any spring to it, i.e. much too brittle. Hopefully they've improved the blades in the interim.

Quietman
11-17-2005, 03:03 PM
My blade has been bent many times, I just bend or hammer in back into shape. It maybe a different brand.
Actually my favorite saw is the one on my swiss army knife. It's small, but it cuts through a 2x4 like butter.

Trekkin
11-17-2005, 03:55 PM
My fiancee insists on packing her SvenSaw anywhere we go.....be it with the hope of an allowed campfire, or the guise of trail maintenance. ;) When forced to use it myself I've found it more effective than hiking companions alternatives, comparitively speaking.

Rick
11-17-2005, 04:37 PM
I've used a sven saw for many years now and still have the same blade. It works very well and is very light.

BUT more Importantly Why do we ALWAYS get Pictures of PETE HICKEY Shirtless and Brandishing implements of Mass Destruction?????? :D

marty
11-17-2005, 04:46 PM
I agree with Quietman on the Sierra Saw that is for sale at Campmor. It has worked for me for 5 years and the only problem is that it bends, as previously mentioned. It is very sharp and weighs only 5 ounces.

Jay H
11-17-2005, 06:05 PM
BUT more Importantly Why do we ALWAYS get Pictures of PETE HICKEY Shirtless and Brandishing implements of Mass Destruction??????
__________________

Because we don't dare question Pete and his axes... I mean, you HAVE seen his avatar...

Repeat after me:

I have nothing against Pete and his implements of Mass Destruction.... I have nothing against...

:D

Jay

DougPaul
11-17-2005, 06:13 PM
I've used a sven saw for many years now and still have the same blade. It works very well and is very light.
I'm still on my first blade too, but if you need a spare/replacement, REI carries them. (You may have to mail order them.) There are both large and small tooth versions.

Doug

Pete_Hickey
11-17-2005, 07:38 PM
IBUT more Importantly Why do we ALWAYS get Pictures of PETE HICKEY Shirtless and Brandishing implements of Mass Destruction??????

I blame it on my son. Here is a picture of a bunch of his friends (names changed to protect the innocent):

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/axeall.jpg

So, I let the kid take a picture of me. Then Rico talked me into posing for this one:

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/tmp/tw8.jpg

I'm just easily led astray by others.

On the topic of saws, I like tools that will definately do the job. I don'T want to, in order to save weight, take a tool that may not work. If I'm going to take a saw, I'll at least take a bow saw that will cut through something 12 inches. An axe is essential, because a saw can bind. Axes don't bind.

If I have only one thing to take, it will be an axe, not a saw.

Don L
11-17-2005, 08:46 PM
I really like my Sawvivor. It's very light weight and has an agressive blade. It functions like a bow saw and cuts much better than those fold-up saws with the cute curved blade ;) .
Happy Hiking,
Don L

BorealChickadee
11-17-2005, 08:51 PM
This sounds to me like a "bring your saw" to the next gathering so evryone can test them out!

I've got a Sawvivor. No complaints so far, but I've got nothing to compare it to except a full size bow saw. The full size is definitely better, but not easily packable. Hearing all these reports, it would be interesting to try others out.

Rick
11-18-2005, 04:53 AM
Pete, He is Really a chip of the old block (Pun absolutely intended). :D

peakbagger
11-18-2005, 11:03 AM
I have used a Sawvivor for several years with no problems. It has a bit more capacity than a Sven saw. I slacked a section of the AT in Georgia last fall a few days after a hurricane and the saw got used quite often.

sardog1
11-18-2005, 10:07 PM
I have used a 21in sven saw for trail maintenence for several years--works great. (There is also a 15in model--haven't tried it.)


Little guy rides in my pack all winter. His bigger brother is even better on blowdowns but a slight pain (lengthwise) to carry every day. Both of them go through softwoods like the proverbial you-know-what through a goose. Neither of them weighs a whole lot. They last a very long time. And best of all, they spring from the same natal waters at the head of Lake Superior as I do.

Trout
11-19-2005, 06:09 AM
I use/have both the Sawvivor & the Gerber saw. I also usually carry a very small Gerber pack axe. They are all great for small stuff, but the bigger stuff can be much harder to really deal with.

SherpaKroto
11-19-2005, 09:25 AM
Another vote for the Sawvivor. I've never had any issues with it. Small, light, strong, sharp, and the blade is holstered by the saw body during travel. What more could I ask for?.

Andrew
11-21-2005, 06:21 AM
I have been doing trail maintenance for many years and many miles and have gone through a few hand saws. I was a big fan of the Corona folding saw, but am now more impresed with the Florian folding models. The steel on the replaceable blade is one of the strongest I found (has lasted the longest before I managed to snap it), and they also now offer three sizes. I forget the exact size, but I have the largest one. The advantage being that I can reach higher branches and cut larger diameter blowdowns (as long as they are dead/ soft).

The advantage of a straight folding blade is that you are not limited by a bow frame whilst cutting.

I assume they have a website, the company is out of CT.

darren
11-21-2005, 09:23 AM
Will the 8" Gerber saw that Jay H posted or the Silky saw that Vermonster posted cut through an 8" blowdown ok? Or do you need a Sven saw to get through something like that? If the Sven saw, 15" or 21". What if the blowdown is 10"?

I do a lot of mountain biking locally and the trails do not get much use so they do not get much maintenance. My friends and I always try to move blowdowns off the trails, but in some cases it would be a lot easier to cut through them. I'd like to start carrying a saw when I bike but it would have to fit in a camelbak. I'm not sure how effective a small saw like the 8" Gerber would be.

Thanks

- darren

DougPaul
11-21-2005, 10:13 AM
Will the 8" Gerber saw that Jay H posted or the Silky saw that Vermonster posted cut through an 8" blowdown ok? Or do you need a Sven saw to get through something like that? If the Sven saw, 15" or 21". What if the blowdown is 10"?
Depends on how hard you want to work on it...

The Gerber folding saw only has 6in of exposed blade. If one assumes that you need some stroking length, then it is limited to 3-4in dia logs for a single cut. Probably not too efficient with that short a stroke. By cutting from multiple sides, one might be able to cut a somewhat larger log. (I haven't tested this saw for real trail maintenence yet.)

The 21in Sven saw is 8.5in from the tips of the saw teeth to the apex of the inside triangle so it can cut up to a ~7in log in a simple cut (again requires a rather short stroke). 6in is a more practical max for a simple cut. I have cut up to an 8incher (solid wood) by cutting from several directions. The narrow tip of the Sven can sometimes be helpful when there is rather limited space around the log. One advantage of the Sven (and other band saws) is that the blade is thinner than that of non-band saws, less wood need be removed to make the cut, and thus less effort is required. This saw is my main workhorse for trail clearing.

I haven't used a 15in Sven, but one could multiply the above numbers by 15/21 (=.71) to estimate what it can do.

A 10in log is too big for the above saws. My trail-clearing friend and I generally use her 3ft 2-person saw for that size. A chain saw or an axe are other good options.

Doug

darren
11-21-2005, 10:47 AM
Doug,

Thanks for the info. I know I would have to cut from multiple sides to get through an 8" or bigger tree. I'd like to know if anyone has any experience in doing it and just how hard it would be. I can't carry an axe or a big saw on my bike. The smaller trees I can usually just move aside, but the 8" or 10" trees are just too big to move. I'm willing to do some effort to cut them, but not if it is going to take me an hour to make 2 cuts through an 8" tree. Maybe trail maintenance and bikes just don't mix. So if anyone has estimates on just how much work it would be to cut through an 8 or 10" tree, let me know. I'd rather not buy the saw if I'm not going to get much use out of it.

Thanks

- darren

Jay H
11-21-2005, 11:45 AM
It would be very hard for the Gerber to go on anything larger because of what DougPaul mentions with the blade length. Sure, you could do an 8" log in chunks and pieces but then you could use a toothbrush too. :D

Supposedly, some oil does a bit o wonder too when cutting larger items but so far, I've used it dry so far...

Jay

DougPaul
11-21-2005, 11:49 AM
Thanks for the info. I know I would have to cut from multiple sides to get through an 8" or bigger tree.
OK. Wasn't trying to insult anyone, I just prefer to give extra detail rather than risk someone not understanding.


I'd like to know if anyone has any experience in doing it and just how hard it would be. I can't carry an axe or a big saw on my bike. The smaller trees I can usually just move aside, but the 8" or 10" trees are just too big to move.
You must be stronger than I (not saying all that much...). There have been plenty of 6 inchers that I have had to cut before I can move the pieces.

We tend to only carry light-weight tools unless we know that we will need them. And then we may make a special trip to deal with the problem.


I'm willing to do some effort to cut them, but not if it is going to take me an hour to make 2 cuts through an 8" tree.
For an 8incher with good access, I'd guess 10ish min with the Sven.

I once had to clear a large beech tree that had blocked the trail. 1.5--2 ft diameter at the trunk. Lower top (or upper mid) story across the trail. It took me 3 hrs to disassemble the tree into pieces small enough for me to move. The largest cut was about 8in. My tools were the 21in Sven and a pair of loppers. (A fun puzzle, figuring out how and in what order to take the tree apart.)

Doug

Jay H
11-21-2005, 11:58 AM
Strange that you mention trail maintenance on bike trails. On the trail I take to/from work I have to deal with the occasional blowdown, including some large trees. There was a huge tree across the path once and I actually biked to work with a full sized bow saw (partially sticking out of my pannier) and I was going at it for a bit until a cop showed up and asked what I was doing... Well I kind of BS'ed him a bit saying I was just making it easier for the lunch crew to go to lunch. It was a short cut to the local deli from where I work which is also how I get home. Well, technically it's state property but the cop kind of said it was OK, so long as I knew that if I hacked off an arm or something that the state might be held liable, but he didn't mind it either way as I was in fact, doing the work for them.

I eventually finished clearing off the debre and biked the rest of the way home. Of course, I didn't have one of those folding bow saws, just this plain ole home depot one.

Jay

teejay
11-21-2005, 12:16 PM
I have had a 21" Sven saw for many years and have used it a lot. One thing to look out for is this. After a lot of use the square hole in the handle tends to get elongated a bit and the nubbin on the top bar that stops it in the hole can get worn. It is possible that the top bar can go right through the handle during use. Ask me how I know this. When this happens, your knuckles can plow right into the blade which is buckling in the piece you are cutting. When this first happened to me I was lucky and blood loss was minimal.

I fixed it by assembling the saw normally and drilling a 1/4" hole through the middle of the handle and top bar where they meet. In the other end of the handle I drilled another 1/4" hole near the end and off center. In use a 1/4" bolt and wing nut are used to make sure the handle and top bar stay together as designed and the hole in the other end is used to store the nut and bolt when not in use.

I recently ordered a new blade for mine from Campmor. The tooth pattern on the replacement was different from the original blade and didn't cut as well as the slightly dull original. I swapped the original blade end-for-end and it cuts almost as good as new now. Unlike most saw blades, the Sven blades can cut in either direction.

I would highly recommend the Sven saw in spite of the caution mentioned above. I have not seen a new one recently, so it's possible the manufacturer has made improvements.

teejay

DougPaul
11-21-2005, 12:53 PM
I have had a 21" Sven saw for many years and have used it a lot. One thing to look out for is this. After a lot of use the square hole in the handle tends to get elongated a bit and the nubbin on the top bar that stops it in the hole can get worn. It is possible that the top bar can go right through the handle during use.

I fixed it by assembling the saw normally and drilling a 1/4" hole through the middle of the handle and top bar where they meet. In the other end of the handle I drilled another 1/4" hole near the end and off center. In use a 1/4" bolt and wing nut are used to make sure the handle and top bar stay together as designed and the hole in the other end is used to store the nut and bolt when not in use.
Thanks for the heads-up and fix.

Another fix might be just a bolt or pin through the long frame part to back up the nubbin. (Just a bigger nubbin in a slightly different place.) Still have to find a place to put it when the saw is folded up.

Just checked mine--that nubbin is a little on the small side... (still ok).


I recently ordered a new blade for mine from Campmor. The tooth pattern on the replacement was different from the original blade and didn't cut as well as the slightly dull original. I swapped the original blade end-for-end and it cuts almost as good as new now. Unlike most saw blades, the Sven blades can cut in either direction.
I have seen both big tooth (rip) and small-tooth (cross-cut) versions of the blade. (My guess as to their being intended as rip and cross-cut blades.) I too feel that the rip blade is better than the cross-cut blade for trail work. Nothing about the two blades on their web site.


I would highly recommend the Sven saw in spite of the caution mentioned above. I have not seen a new one recently, so it's possible the manufacturer has made improvements.
Mine is also a bit old (30yrs)--I'll have to take a closer look next time I see one in a store.

Doug

Pete_Hickey
11-21-2005, 01:11 PM
(A fun puzzle, figuring out how and in what order to take the tree apart.)Sometimes you get something that is the opposite. A whole crew can simultaneously work on it.

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/trailwork2005/may14/tw1.jpg

Very efficient use of a crew whan that happens.

Rick
11-21-2005, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the heads-up and fix.
.....Mine is also a bit old (30yrs)--I'll have to take a closer look next time I see one in a store.
Doug
And I thought I had an old one at 14 years old... It is the original blade, though it's greatest workout now is the annual Christmas tree. :)

darren
11-21-2005, 03:28 PM
Anyone know if there are stores in Eastern Mass that sell the Sven saws?

The REI website lists the saws, but anyone know if the Framingham or Reading stores have them? Or maybe some kind of garden store south of Boston?


Thanks

- darren

post'r boy
11-21-2005, 03:30 PM
Anyone know if there are stores in Eastern Mass that sell the Sven saws?

Thanks

- darren
you might try the natick outdoor store. :D :D :D :D :D

DougPaul
11-21-2005, 03:48 PM
Sometimes you get something that is the opposite. A whole crew can simultaneously work on it.

http://newmud.comm.uottawa.ca/~pete/trailwork2005/may14/tw1.jpg

Very efficient use of a crew whan that happens.
As long as they don't drop a log on someone else's foot...

A crew might have been nice, but my partner had gone ahead to paint blazes and had left me to deal with the tree. But, as noted, it was kind of fun. (As long as I didn't have to do too many of them... :) ) Wish I had pics of before (the debris across the trail was 10ft high) and after, but the best I have is a pic of the remains from a later trip. The cut in the foreground is ~10in (done with 2-person saw--everything else was done with a Sven saw).

Doug

DougPaul
11-21-2005, 03:49 PM
Anyone know if there are stores in Eastern Mass that sell the Sven saws?

The REI website lists the saws, but anyone know if the Framingham or Reading stores have them? Or maybe some kind of garden store south of Boston?
REI Reading has the 15incher in stock (or did on Friday). No 21incher.

Doug

carole
11-21-2005, 04:03 PM
All I know is that if my saw can't cut it (see my previous post), I ain't cuttin it!!! (8-10" with two people takes a couple minutes :) )

Pete_Hickey
11-21-2005, 04:13 PM
A crew might have been nice
One works differently with a crew. A team can move larger hunks out of the way easier. When working alone, more cuts are needed. Sometime, when there are a lot, and not enough people, a single cut, letting it drop so that it's easier to stepover, is sufficient.


But, as noted, it was kind of fun. (As long as I didn't have to do too many of them... :) ) Or as long as the weather is decent. Try it in snow, changing to rain, changing to snow.


Wish I had pics of before (the debris across the trail was 10ft high) I've taken dozens of pictures of that pled-high stuff, but none of them came out. Perspective is all wrong. I'll blame it on the camera, not the photographer.

GlennS
11-21-2005, 05:35 PM
I picked up a 10 inch folding Fiskars saw at Home Depot for $14. It only cuts on the pull stroke. That took a bit of getting used to but it keeps the saw from binding. I've only used it on one trip but it seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.

BrentD22
11-22-2005, 12:50 AM
It's a swedish safety axe. It is good up to 4 - maybe 5 inches. Anything 3 inches or less it cuts throu like butta, if you use it correctly. It packs easy not having to strap it on the outside if you don't wish. Either way it has a leather boot that fits over the blade.

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/images/200/1763_w2.jpg

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=1763

it's also known as a Sandvik.

spider solo
11-22-2005, 09:19 AM
Okay..nothing to kinko here.... hope no one is to disapointed.....that's an old time name for the big old saws like Pete is holding.

When hiking I carry a small folding saw made by Pro Zig, the blade is about 5" long. I keep it in my front pouch for easy access.
This is has a type of blade that you can sharpen with a file. A lot of pruning saws have a multi tooth arangement that have a tendency to gum up and can't be readily sharpend.
This one has a 3 tooth per inch arrangement. Each tooth is 3/16th of an inch with a large space between each tooth. There is no noticeable kerf to the teeth (kerf is the offset of each tooth from each other)
I started using it back when the big ice storm hit the Northeast and Canada.
The blade hasn't rusted, but I see it's time to clean it up a bit and get some of the pitch off it.

So I'm not out cutting big trees with it but you would be surprised how much you can clear with it. I often use it to cut off the broken branches that can poke you in the eyes, gouge your leg, and generally shred you as you try to step over, crawl under, around and through the tangle branches that block the way.
Many times people just break off a branch or two leaving a jagged edge which may be well intentioned but pretty dangerous esp if at eye level.
Sometimes "eye level" varies with the snow depth or what seems okay on the up hill will be exactly at the wrong height when descending.
Usually in the course of a hike there are few minutes here or there to blunt these rough ends. It's the type of thing that is greatly apprecated though often unnoticed.
It's the injuries we don't get that are part of the pleasures of being "on trail".
happy hiking