Hello to all. I've been lurking around the forums here for a few weeks and thought it a good place to share some of my ideas. To be honest, I've never done any backpacking, but I have always loved to hike and take long walks. I intend to take up more serious hiking and backpacking, hopefully in the near future.
This is a prototype knife/saw combo I made from a sawzall blade I found on one of my walks. The handle halves are some fiberboard from old cabinet backing. Probably not a terribly novel idea, but it's a new one for me. Inspiration for the knife part came from the 'dollar survival knife' page on m4040.com.
The little pins at top of handle keep the saw edge from going any further when using the knife. At first the saw didn't want to close all the way because of the angle of the saw teeth relative to the pin placement, but the pins wore down enough so that now the saw locks with a nice 'click'. The knife doesn't need a locking mechanism because the hand keeps it in place, and the saw is stopped by a pin (near the pivot). The saw swings downward freely in use, but that's not much of an issue with a draw cut.
The only thing I did to the recipro blade (other than the knife shaping) was cut a few millimeters off of the little end protrusion so the saw could open farther. I tried putting the stopper pin in a place where it wouldn't interfere with the protrusion, but the saw handle would have had to be more angled. This seems to be a good angle for sawing.
I'm pleased with the knife's edge-holding ability. I used it to drill/carve a one-inch hole through a two-inch stick and the edge and tip held up great. (The wood was admittedly pretty soft, but still..) It sharpens easily, too. The saw teeth are much harder than the rest of the steel, so I used a dremel to sharpen the little upper edge (didn't want to ruin my files).
The saw is pretty nifty for smaller branches, though this prototype is not the comfiest. The next handle will be a bit longer and more hand-filling. I thought that thin handles on knives were cool, but this project has convinced me otherwise.