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Coming Soon: UltraLite 15" Buck Saw, less than 4.5 oz
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Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
UltraLite 15" Buck Saw -- only 4 oz !! -- the "Little Buck" on 05/27/2011 13:30:07 MDT Print View

I designed this saw in my head as I was hiking on the AT last month. Since coming back I have been working on prototypes and it looks like a winner. This saw will be useful for BPLers who like to make a fire in an existing fire ring with downed wood that is too big to break by hand. For me, living in the Northeastern US, this would certainly be a woods tool I would use in the Winter, late Fall, and early Spring.

Little Buck Saw

These are the specs:

* Weight: an unbelievable 4.00 oz
* Blade length: 15"
* Shape: tubes have "H" shape when assembled
* Cutting depth: up to 6", but will work best on 3" to 5" diameter wood
* Assembly: less than 60 seconds without tools; can assemble wearing gloves
* Disassembly: takes less than 10 seconds; makes a 15" by 1.25" bundle
* Materials: high quality 15" wood blade; special order aluminum alloy tubes; tensioning using braided Spectra cord tightened with a small twig or peg (no knots to tie or untie)

Saw weight

My plan is that this will be a second product line to add to my Big Dig and Original titanium trowels.

I'm thinking I'll call it the "Little Buck". The price is likely to be around $50-$55. I'm waiting for components to be delivered; I'll post here when I'm ready to go into production and the final price. If anyone is eager to be first in line, I will accept $49 preorder payments by PayPal to robkelly54 at gmail dot com

Edited by QiWiz on 05/27/2011 19:30:49 MDT.

Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
Interested... on 05/27/2011 14:04:56 MDT Print View

I would like to see pictures of this product seeing as I do trail work as a volunteer for the forest service. I am currently looking at The Silky Big Boy 2000 which is 1 lb collapsible saw seen here

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Coming Soon: UltraLite 15" Buck Saw, less than 4.5 oz on 05/27/2011 14:12:00 MDT Print View

A major question will be if the blade can be resharpened by a resharpening shop or will it have to be replaced because of the tooth design, hardness , etc. ?

Edited by Meander on 05/27/2011 14:21:55 MDT.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
UL 15" Saw on 05/27/2011 14:14:45 MDT Print View

I have a 15" Sven saw that weighs 10.6 ounces...I don't carry it but I usually hike with some diehard firebuilders who are willing to carry the extra weight.

I'm looking forward to photos - especially one showing how the blade is protected so I don't have to worry about it ripping holes in my pack while I'm carrying it.

Thanks for the development effort!

Al Nichols
(everready) - F

Locale: Sh!^^% Ohio
Whatever happened to LNT? on 05/27/2011 15:04:14 MDT Print View

I can see using a saw when doing trail work but, I've always used the old "if it's bigger than your wrist, it's too big to burn" approach. I just don't like it when folks take these kind of tools into the wilds because, sooner or later, someone will be cutting something they have no business cutting.

Oh, P.S. Flame away........

Edited by everready on 05/27/2011 15:05:38 MDT.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Answers to questions on 05/27/2011 15:19:34 MDT Print View

I think the Little Buck may be as functional as the Silky model you are considering (since they both have a 15 inch blade), though I have no personal experience with the Silky and have only looked at the pictures on the web you pointed me to. If you are doing trail maintenance and clearing blowdowns and such, you may want a larger bow or buck saw with a longer blade length than either the Silky or the Little Buck.

I'm not sure about the resharpening question. I do not personally have any experience resharpening saw blades. I'm going to be using Sawvivor 15" blades in my saws. I've tested them and they cut well, even on seasoned bone dry hardwood. I believe these blades have hardened teeth, and I don't know if that would make them more difficult to resharpen, though they may not get dull as fast either. You can get a new one for $10-$13.

I will be shipping the saws in 16" by 1.5" cardboard tubes with plastic end caps. These are on order, but I have not yet weighed them. These will be one option to transport the disassembled saw and spare your pack, though with a yet-to-be-measured weight penalty. A lighter way to transport the saw would be to wrap the blade in a bit of tyvek, nylon fabric, or plastic; if you use a rolled or folded CCF pad, the saw could also be carried inside that. The other saw components should not be damaging to a pack. A Tyvek blade wrap would be very light, probably on the order of 0.1 oz.

I am a strong LNT advocate. I personally never build a fire (other than a pan or mound fire) outside of an existing fire ring. I personally never cut standing wood. I am more flexible on the size of wood that is burned. This saw will be perfect for downed wood that is not a big log, but just a bit too big to break by hand.
I can certainly understand and respect those who never saw wood to make a fire, and/or never make a fire, never need to get warm by a fire, and/or don't mind waiting in the dark or by headlamp/lantern light for hours after dark before bedtime. This saw is not for everyone.

Edited by QiWiz on 05/27/2011 19:51:10 MDT.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Little Buck update on 05/27/2011 15:31:56 MDT Print View

Have added pictures to post and am very pleased that the weight comes in at 4 ounces. I expect that I'll have what I need to start making these by the end of next week unless there is some kind of delay from a supplier. The first run will be a dozen saws. If there is a lot of interest, I should be able to get more components as I go forward. Stay tuned . . .

Edited by QiWiz on 05/27/2011 19:38:49 MDT.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts) - F

Locale: Nashville
Nice saw! on 05/27/2011 22:19:57 MDT Print View


This is very interesting to me. I hike with some friends that have to bring a saw as well. I own the saw so I usually end up carrying it. I have the sawvivor that weighs 9.1 oz with blade so this could save some weight. How's the durability so far? It appears to use plastic zip ties to connect the horizontal to vertical poles so I was just wondering if this was holding up well.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
More construction details on 05/28/2011 07:02:51 MDT Print View

Heath -

You have a good eye for detail. For prototyping, I tried quite a few methods of assembling the saw, always looking for lighter, stronger, and simpler. I also wanted to minimize or eliminate any small things that could easily be dropped/lost/misplaced.

In the pictures I have posted above, I have used nylon zip ties in three places on each vertical tube. One to hold the blade in its slot at bottom of tube; one in middle of tube to anchor the Spectra cord and make it simple to put the spreader tube in the right place every time (and prevent slippage as saw is tensioned); one at the top of the tube to hold the Spectra cord loop at the top end. These are tough and light and work well, but the lowest one that anchors the blade is showing some wear. In the final version of the saw, this lowest loop will be replaced with a metal ring. The other two will remain zip ties.

A virtue of the ties is that they are easy to replace. I will be shipping some extra ties with each saw just in case.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
OK on 05/31/2011 14:44:33 MDT Print View

Alright, pre-order done. If it's the first, I'd like it signed a la cathole trowel!

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: OK on 05/31/2011 15:46:37 MDT Print View

Hmmmm....why wouldn't you just buy a Gerber Sportsman's wood saw for $10.00? Weighs 3.4 oz.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
re: why not the Gerber on 05/31/2011 16:08:22 MDT Print View

IMO, the Gerber is a decent saw and packs well but its blade length is less than 7" which limits its use, especially when compared to the above saw with a 15" blade length (and a total weight of only .6oz more). Granted, at $10 the price point is more initially attractive.

Supporting the little guy, even it takes a bit more cash, is often a good thing.

This is good and fun thinking, Robert.
I also appreciate your careful consideration of how you worded your first post above ("...useful for BPLers who like to make a fire in an existing fire ring with downed wood that is too big to break by hand...").

BTW, I rather enjoy your Little Dig trowel - it's a neat little conversation piece when it gets pulled out of the pack.

Edited by AaronMB on 05/31/2011 16:13:51 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Gerber on 05/31/2011 16:32:23 MDT Print View

The gerber is a great saw.

I was at my parents house a while back and cut and cleaned up a huge amount of low hanging limbs only with that saw.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Little Buck vs the competition on 05/31/2011 19:17:56 MDT Print View

In my view, small saws like the Gerber and others may meet the needs of some, but have shorter blade lengths. They are often thought of as "pruning saws". Some are very high quality. I personally find that what dry down wood I can cut easily with a pruning saw, I can generally break by hand or foot without a saw.

IMO, the closest commercially available saws to compare to my Little Buck are the 15" Sawvivor and the Sven. The Sven with its triangular shape has less useable blade length (bad). The Sven is also the heaviest of the three (bad). The Sawvivor and the Little Buck allow the use of the full 15" of their blades (good). The Sawvivor weighs more than twice what the Little Buck weighs (bad). Both the Sven and the Sawvivor cost three times the price quoted for the Gerber, but somewhat less than the likely final price of the Little Buck.

If you want the lightest 15" buck or bow saw on the planet, you'll just have to get the Little Buck. Its not for everyone, but it is for those who dare to challenge conventional assumptions about what a functional saw has to weigh. Looks like Ed has stepped up to get the first one. He has the first of the Original ti trowels, which was signed and numbered. Happy to do the same for his saw.