Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Trail Maintenance Saw Review - New Contender

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,829

    Trail Maintenance Saw Review - New Contender

    I carry a folding hand saw pretty well on every hike for cutting blowdowns that I encounter on the trail. If they are an easy step over or step under I usually leave them but if they are at mid level and if I am not on tight schedule I usually stop and cut them out. Long ago I settled on the bucksaw type format versus the folding blade type or the popular Sven saw which I found had less effective blade travel on a large diameter blowdown. My go to saw is the Sawvivor that is long out of production but I found it had a fast cut and fit in my packs (they do pop up on ebay on rare occasions . It was offered with both a bone saw and wood saw blade and I managed to pick up a few spare wood blades at the Beans factory outlet to cover me. The original blades had a reasonable amount of set to them which is sometimes an issue with hand saws. The Sawvivor is in the center of the three in the photo. The blade tension wingnut snapped off but it was modified allen head screw so a hex key works fine. About 2 years ago I misplaced the Sawvivor and went on a quest to replace it (It eventually reappeared in a pack). There were not a lot of options but I did find the Gerber saw on the right. It looked real slick but the slightly shorter blade and the narrower gap on one end limited the diameter of the tree more than I would have thought. I could have lived with it but far worse is the blades have minimal if any set to them. Sure I might be able to bend the tree under tension to keep the kerf open but as delivered, it would get stuck in most green wood unless I pretensioned it. Might be okay for dry firewood or rotten fir/spruce but definitely not a replacement. Recently I came across the larger Spring Creek Saw. I am impressed, US built, looks fairly rugged and the blade has reasonable set. The only down side is the handle end is 1-1/4" by 1-3/4"., Its square and not cushioned. Someone with small hands might not like it. The black plastic part of the handle is part of the tensioning so the handle could not just be wrapped unless the saw is left open. Its taller and sticks out of my pack. The big plus is boy can it cut wood, the blade has a good set and the extra blade length really speeds up a cut. I was helping the Franconia Brook Trail adopter and was cutting some pretty large blowdowns, i did few that were quite large just out of general principle. Between the two of us we cut out quite few blowdowns from the start of the trail to Twin Brook just short of the falls.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1010294.jpg 
Views:	132 
Size:	90.8 KB 
ID:	6669


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1010295.jpg 
Views:	120 
Size:	90.8 KB 
ID:	6668

    Weights were 16.7 ounces for the Spring Creek (left) 10.3 for the Sawvivor (center) and 14.8 for the Gerber.

    IMHO, the Berber may look slick but not a great option. The Sawvivor will still be my go to for normal hikes but the Spring Creek will be for planned trail maintenance. Spring Creek makes longer versions but they would not fit well in a pack but might be a nice canoe camping option. The blade does rattle a bit when stowed but by stuffing the end down in the pack it was not annoying.

    BTW, no saw will cut wood that is under compression, the blades will bind up and get caught, the wood has be neutral or under tension so that the cut stays open. Over the years I have seen small plastic wedges used in various places and need to find a set to see if driving a thing wedge into the cut would speed things up.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-07-2021 at 11:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Верхоянский хребет
    Posts
    1,157
    Hey -- thanks for this. I'm the market for a decent pack-able saw for trail work.

    About the Spring Creek model, am I correct in reading the length at about 20-21 inches?

    Is there a model number/name for this one?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,829
    Folded length end to end is 23.5 inches , blade length (pivot to pivot is 20"), effective tooth length 18"

    Here is Link to their website https://www.springcreek.com/product/...tuff-camp-saw/ (Amazon also has them to save shipping) I bought the shortest version that I believe is the 21". My saw does not have any part numbers on it but the folded length seems to line up. They also sell a case but there really is no need for one as the blade is fully protected

    There is near identical version sold with the exception of wood handle by a different firm. I cant currently find a link to it.

    One saw that may be worth looking at is Boreal 21", I havent tried one but the size seems to be similar https://www.amazon.com/Agawa-Canyon-.../dp/B01LWZ4ZLA

  4. #4
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Верхоянский хребет
    Posts
    1,157
    Thanks -- I'll take a look at both the Spring Creek and the Boreal models; if I buy the latter, I'll follow-up with my assessment.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,829
    The Boreal looks like a slick rig, I am surprised it did not pop up when I was shopping last year. Then again it could turn out to be like the Gerber with a blade not well suited for cutting. Probably a good buy through Amazon so you have the guaranteed return with no questions if when it arrives, it ends up being poorly suited for actual field work.

  6. #6
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    357
    Those plastic wedges might be shims that are meant for outdoor applications? Sold at lumber yards, etc. I usually have a few in my garage. Very handy.

    The Boreal has two replacement blades. One for green wood and one for dry. Interesting.
    Miehoff

    Proud board member of the Cohos Trail Association

    https://www.cohostrail.org/

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,829
    My guess is the green wood has more "set" on the teeth. The trade off is more set means a wider kerf and slower cut.

    I guess I need to check out home depot and lowes for wedges next time I am in one of the stores for plastic wedges. They could really help as I normally have to do multiple cuts to avoid pinching.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Верхоянский хребет
    Posts
    1,157
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    My guess is the green wood has more "set" on the teeth. The trade off is more set means a wider kerf and slower cut.

    I guess I need to check out home depot and lowes for wedges next time I am in one of the stores for plastic wedges. They could really help as I normally have to do multiple cuts to avoid pinching.
    Or, you could buy them from Amazon when you buy your Boreal saw?

  9. #9
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    357
    Quote Originally Posted by Barkingcat View Post
    Or, you could buy them from Amazon when you buy your Boreal saw?
    Less aggressive and cheaper, similar idea:

    https://www.amazon.com/Multi-Purpose...3336823&sr=8-3
    Miehoff

    Proud board member of the Cohos Trail Association

    https://www.cohostrail.org/

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,829
    I think Miehoffs suggestion is the size I am looking for. All I need is something about the size of matchbook to keep the saw kerf open.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Верхоянский хребет
    Posts
    1,157
    Quote Originally Posted by miehoff View Post
    Less aggressive and cheaper, similar idea:

    https://www.amazon.com/Multi-Purpose...3336823&sr=8-3
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I think Miehoffs suggestion is the size I am looking for. All I need is something about the size of matchbook to keep the saw kerf open.
    Perfect -- that's what I'm looking for, as well.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Steve-o's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Acton Massachusetts Avatar : Baxter Peak
    Posts
    667
    Thanks for the info Peakbagger.

    I have been using the sawvivor for the last 25 years but, it was time for an upgrade.
    I bought the spring creek tuff camp saw 21"
    A little pricy at $ 67.95 after shipping but, had a chance to use it today on my local trails on Wachusett Mtn and it seems like a pretty quality item.

    Can't wait to get up to the sandwich range in the next week or so as, i hear Black Mountain Pond Trail needs a little love.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,829
    My guess is the Spring Creek product costs more as its US built in relatively low volume. It seems to be a durable product. I ordered a spare blade as my experience is the saw frame will last longer than being able to find replacement blades. The internet economy helps finding them but finding quality is a lot tougher.

    Luckily my Sawvivor is still functional but the foam grip is in pretty sad shape. When Beans in North Conway was the only outlet, I picked up the saw and then a few years later they had the saw blades for cheap so I stocked up. I havent used the bone blade that came with it. The plastic screw to tighten the blade broke off but a hex key works. As for the grip, I have wrap on neoprene pipe insulation that I use for sea kayak hatch gaskets that may end up replacing the original foam

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •