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MYOG UL saw. Cheap.
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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
MYOG UL wood saw. Cheap. on 01/25/2012 16:13:55 MST Print View

I jumped on someone else's idea about a Japanese-style pullsaw as a BP saw and liked what I came up with. But they are $15 at the garden center and I can't find any at my latittude. So I wondered about bandsaw blades. Compared to a pruning pullsaw, they are cheaper, thicker, have more side cut but each tooth isn't as sharp.

I bought a 93" bandsaw for $11. I got the thickest gauge (0.025) and width (1/2") that I could find. 4 teeth per inch seems about right. Maybe 6 TPI is good, too. Any finer is too fine. Here is the blade's specs and weight (tared to eliminate box weight) of 1.4 grams per inch:Blade weight

I tried a 12" length as a pullsaw but didn't use the last few inches, so I went to 9.5" by cutting the blade with tin snips. Then I rounded the end and ground in finger grooves on a belt sander. Most of them I dipped in Plasti Drip to cushion the grip and make them easier to see.dipping upright

I used fine emery clothe to sand the handles and then dipped them every 30 minutes, 3 times each, and let them dry overnight. Uncoated they weighed 12 grams each. Coated, they weighed 14 grams each. I was going to offer you guys and gals some of each, but the coated ones are SO much better - because the friction is greater, you don't have to grip them so tightly to saw wood - that I've now coated all of them.coated and uncoated blades

When I tested them, they work much better on wet and wet&frozen wood than the Japanese pull saw. You cut on the pull only, they aren't stiff enough to push much so the teeth are set towards the handle. They work nicely on 1" stuff and are workable on 2" branches. In a pitch, you could saw 3" diameter or a 2x4, but I'd wear a sock as a glove to do that. For me, up here amongst all the dead and dying spruce with those dead branches low on the trunk, I'll mostly use my Japanese pullsaw (19 grams with coated handle) although I've got $15 into it. For the price, these bandsaw blades are sweet and better in wet wood and bigger stuff because they have side cut and leave a wider cut. $1.25 of materials and a bit lighter at 14 grams.

I did offer to send the 7 extra ones to members/non-members for free. I've got 7 requests now. JohnN, JimD, CullenS, BrentD, TadE, GabeP are addressed and ready to go. MikeS: Yes. Send me an Irish address.

Editted to rotate images. And then to retract the offer because they're all spoken for.

Happy Trails. Flame on.


Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/25/2012 17:35:49 MST.

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
MYOG UL saw. Cheap on 01/25/2012 16:28:12 MST Print View

Ingenious! --Mike

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: MYOG UL wood saw. Cheap. on 01/25/2012 16:35:08 MST Print View

Looks awesome David. simple, light and probably pretty effective for what most folks need.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: MYOG UL wood saw. Cheap. on 01/25/2012 16:35:39 MST Print View


You're awesome. Not just for this post/offer but for all of your other posts over the past month or so.

By the way, how did you end up going from Berkeley to Kenai?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: MYOG UL wood saw. Cheap. on 01/25/2012 17:00:56 MST Print View



>"how did you end up going from Berkeley to Kenai?"

It involved backpacking. I was BPing, hiking, and caving with the UCB Hiking Club, CHAOS (Cal Hiking And Outdoor Society), which included a physics grad student* (who went on to become the first person to entangle more than 2 photons AND found an exception to the Heisenberg Uncertainity Principle, either of which are potential Nobel stuff depending on how technology pans out) and he invited his sister, a med student at UCSF on the semi-annual Gourmet Backpacking Trip. She brought chocolate fondue, I brought ice cream sundaes for 20. And a hot tub.

*The "man who killed Pluto", Mike Brown, was also there when I met Kristin. No shortage of geeks on a Berkeley backpacking trip!

She hooked up with a different David on that trip, but 2 years later called me for directions to the 104F tidepool south of Stinson Beach. I jumped on that, fell head over heels and gave up my 5th Gen SF bragging rights to follow her to Seattle for her medical residency.

Three years later were married with dog and ready for an adventure. 3 smart internal medicine docs in Soldotna were looking for a fourth and we moved to Alaska in 1998. Kids in 2000, 2002, 2004 and we're still here.

Kenai is VERY different than where I (in 1979), my sister, my father, my uncles, and my grandmother (in 1917) all took Chemistry from the same professor, but it seems like, on balance, the best fit for us.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: MYOG UL wood saw. Cheap. on 01/26/2012 07:44:53 MST Print View

I think this is really cool. Congrats on a great project. Love how you posted how it was made so others could do the same.

I may have to add one of these to my to-do list. Thanks!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Making the fingergrips on 01/28/2012 12:03:26 MST Print View

Added for completeness. And because it's a cool photo.

Once I'd cut the bandsaw blade to length, I rounded the corners on a belt sander and used the curvature of the end of the sander to remove the teeth and make the rounded fingergrips indentations. Don't let it get too hot or you can change the hardness of the steel, but thin pieces like this cool quickly.Beltsander

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
feather saw on 01/31/2012 11:56:04 MST Print View

Thanks a lot David,
I got mine on the mail today. Cant wait to try it out. I can see it being most useful in a tree while hunting. I have always carried a folding saw when climbing a tree or building a blind to clear shooting lanes but this might be a superlight replacement.
Happy Trails

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Thanks on 01/31/2012 12:23:32 MST Print View


Thanks again! I got mine yesterday and I plan to take it out into Dolly Sods this weekend to give it a try. I really appreciate the generosity. It's people like you who make BPL so great.

Edited by Gabe on 01/31/2012 12:24:37 MST.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Thanks on 01/31/2012 12:50:46 MST Print View

David: It came yesterday and looks great. I will be trying it out on a pear with very tough wood. One advantage your saw has over many arborist's saws is that it doesn't have
teeth that are unsharpenable. I found this online and it looks pretty easy.
Welcome to the fun-house. John

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Thanks on 01/31/2012 13:09:42 MST Print View


Clever, generous, creative and interesting (story and saw).

Thanks for the contribution.


Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
MYOG UL wood saw. Cheap. on 02/01/2012 14:52:20 MST Print View

David thanks for the saw-
In keeping with your UL theme, I was trying to think of a way to protect my gear (sharp teeth on the saw) with a UL sheath.
I came up with a Seal-a-Meal plastic sheath. I had to double layer (double bag) it because the teeth could possible poke through a single- I ran my hand down the single sheath while the blade was inside and the blade indented the plastic more than I liked, so I thought a double bag would do the trick.
I tried to "weld" two at the same time but for some reason the outer bag would not weld to the face of the inner bag. I tried a couple of time but it wouldn't weld.
I decided to make two separate bags, one inside the other. The inner being narrower the the outer.
I cut the outer shorter than the inner making it easier to find the opening.
To sealed the two bags together by putting a drop of Zap-a-Gap (super glue) between them, then I put some clear windshield sealant (flowable silicone) between the opening of the outer and inner bag. I smeared the excess over the seam to help keep things from snagging the seam
The finished sheath weighs 2.5 grams
The saw and sheath together weight 16.7 grams, .6 oz

Things to look for the the photo:
The outer bag comes together with the inner just above where the handle (yellow) ends.
I cut a half moon on one side of the opening where the blade goes in to make it easier to put the blade in.
Saw sheath

David, thanks again for a great saw and thinking of the idea in the first place.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/01/2012 14:53:26 MST.

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
MYOG UL saw. Cheap on 02/01/2012 14:58:32 MST Print View


Got the saw today! What a nice surprise. Took only 5 days to get here! Tried it out by cutting some wood for my stove (in the house) and it worked great. Very good of you to make, gift and post the saw. I agree with what others have said: gestures like yours make this site what it is. Many thanks and happy trails to you...will think of you when I use the saw on the trail. Cheers! Mike

Corey Miller
(coreyfmiller) - F

Locale: Eastern Canada
Thank you! on 02/01/2012 21:20:15 MST Print View

Thanks David!,

I've seen a lot of your post and have been amazed. I made my own ultralight saw but it comes in around 1.2 ounces if I remember correctly. Its made out of a pruning blade. This is great and something I can do to give a few friends (that carry way too much) a nice portable gift and introduce them into lightweight a bit more.

No idea how I'm going to get a hold of the sander but I suspect my trusty dremel will eventually do the job.

Cheers and thank you!

Edited by coreyfmiller on 02/01/2012 21:21:20 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
alternate sanders on 02/02/2012 03:20:16 MST Print View

Wow. Thanks everyone for all the kind words, it was a fun project and I felt more productive making a bunch than just one.

Corey: Yes, an abrasive tool on a Dremel would work. So would a cylinder of sand paper on a drill (they are sold that way). Better yet, on a drill press.

A bench grinder would be another way to take off the sawblade teeth and make the finger indents.

Or a good file.

I was in China and my camera charger wouldn't fit in the local plugs. And I wondered how and where could I find a metal file? (Diamond-dust nail files work, but I didn't have one). And I realized I didn't need a great file, just something to wear down the brass prong. I found a rock, rubbed the plug against it for 2 minutes and it was then an international plug.

Sometimes the most appropriate cordless nail gun is a hammer. Or a rock.