Snow Saw
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DANIEL LIM
(girotrekker)

Locale: Northern California
Snow Saw on 02/01/2012 14:59:37 MST Print View

Anyone have a plan for making a snow saw. Want something UL to cut blocks of snow to make igloos.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Snow Saw on 02/01/2012 15:58:52 MST Print View

I would start at the snow saws that come inside snow shovel handles. They aren't heavy and rather small.

One thing about a snow saw, it needs to be fairly rigid and fairly long. Don't think I would over think this one. Make it out of Titanium and call it good. Exact back thickness, well I wouldn't go under a tenth of an inch that is for sure.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Snow Saw on 02/01/2012 16:40:06 MST Print View

Most commercial ones I've seen and used have a constant thickness with the teeth on one edge.

If you're trying to go SUL, then I'd suggest you consider making a spine on the back of it for stiffness. That could be a bend in a single piece of thin sheet metal, hammered flat. Or a U-shaped channel J-B welded onto the main blade could serve as a stiffener. Titanium would be lightest (but most costly) and you'd need a way to carve the teeth.

But for UL ideas, see my thread on MYOG pull saws:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=58657

I really liked how that Plasti-Dip made the handle smoother and much easier to grip (less slippery). For larger objects, you can paint on the material instead of dipping it.

As a starting point, here's a commercial snowsaw:

http://www.rei.com/product/807499/backcountry-access-snow-saw-35cm

$35, 35 cm blade length, 220 grams

But here are some custom bandsaw blades (carbon steel):

http://www.bandsawbladesdirect.com/product_info.php/products_id/36/ft/5/in/0/frac/0/w/42/t/65

I suspect the 1" width and 0.035 gauge would cut snow nicely. It's thicker than what I used in my mini pullsaw (0.025) and wider, so it might not need any stiffening over a 12 to 15" length plus a 4" handle. But maybe it does. Done like a big version of my mini-pullsaw from bandsaw material at 15+4=19", it would come in at about 67 grams. Coated with Plasti-Dip about 75 grams. So that saves 2/3 of the weight of the commercial option.

On cost, the Plasti-Dip is almost nothing per use ($12 per can).

The 5-foot blade, 2 or 3 tpi, 1-inch width and 0.035 thickness is only $16.84. Less than $6 per snowsaw blade.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Going to be someone else to do it. on 02/01/2012 16:46:34 MST Print View

I thought, $25 for 10 feet and I could make 6 snowsaws? Maybe I'll just order one. But that vendor doesn't use USPS, only UPS and there's no cheap UPS to Alaska. They wanted $57 to ship one blade to me. I'll check locally and see if anyone has bigger blades like that. If not, I'll also look when I'm next "Outside", in 3 weeks.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Going to be someone else to do it. on 02/02/2012 21:03:33 MST Print View

While I agree a bandsaw blade makes a good pull saw, said blades make a very poor push saw. At least in my experience one has to push said saw into the snow, thus its needed stiffness, to cut said avalanche testing tap block. I suppose if one could successfully, sic(IMO), with a shovel cut 3 sides back without shattering the block in question because with a bandsaw blade you won't be cutting said block.

Am I wrong here? I have plenty of 1" bandsaw blade and well it sure doesn't push in straight IMO.

Got a technique that I am missing?

I would like to save weight too.

=)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Going to be someone else to do it. on 02/02/2012 21:08:29 MST Print View

>"Got a technique that I am missing?"

I haven't tried it yet. You may well be right.

The manufactured snowsaws I've used cut on the pull and the teeth are angled to dig deeper as you pull.

But maybe we should just stick with sharpened whale ribs? -joke-