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Ultralight Saws
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Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
10.5 Pruning Blade on 11/25/2013 12:26:39 MST Print View

David,

Do you mind if I ask which pruning saw from which the 10.5 blade came from? Do you have any plans to sell any of these?

Thanks

Derrick

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: 10.5 Pruning Blade on 11/25/2013 12:36:47 MST Print View

Derrick,

I got the 10.5" saw blade from a generic hand-held pruning saw at Orchard Supply Hardware. The 15" blade I'm waiting to receive is a replacement blade Fiskars 9333 that I ordered from Amazon for $10.55.

I do think I will sell the saws, once I have perfected them. The lightening holes are a PITA to drill, and dull even cobalt bits after just a few holes, but I have Drill Doctor on the way to resharpen the bits frequently. I also intend to try grinding slots with a small abrasive wheel, perhaps a Dremel, since the blade steel is so hard.

In the spirit of multiple uses, I will also sharpen the back edge of the blade to make a knife out of it too.

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: 10.5 Pruning Blade on 11/25/2013 12:43:06 MST Print View

I'd like to see them for sale ;-)

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: saws straws on 11/25/2013 13:42:16 MST Print View

"Are wire saws any good?"

None that I have tried. :-(

What I have purchased and used is the Pocket Chainsaw.

http://www.campingsurvival.com/pochsawofacu.html

Pocket Chainsaw in a screw top tin

It weighs 5 ounces in the can so it is a bit heavy compared to the "straight" saws. Substituting another container could save some weight.

I used it to clear out a small tree stump next to my fence at home and was impressed at how well it worked. I used some small pieces of 1/2" PVC pipe inserted through the rings as handles. I also dual used it as a "rock" in my bear bag throw line pouch on my last hike which kind of abused the container. ;-)

FWIW The only real use that I had for my saw was as a throw weight. I was able to process my firewood using my hands and leverage between two small trees growing close to each other. Splitting wood could easily be accomplished by batoning with my knife. But I also never really needed to split my firewood either.

Party On,

Newton ;-)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: saws straws on 11/25/2013 18:29:31 MST Print View

"FWIW The only real use that I had for my saw was as a throw weight. I was able to process my firewood using my hands and leverage between two small trees growing close to each other. Splitting wood could easily be accomplished by batoning with my knife. But I also never really needed to split my firewood either."

In my experience, the wood that you can break through leverage is usually older and cracked which allows moisture to get in it. I usually go for wood that hasn't been dead for too long, standing or pieces propped up vertical to find dry wood. That stuff you can't break by hand easily. Pretty much the only time I carry a saw backpacking is in wet weather where I don't want to mess around. It makes things much easier and faster, just cut and split, cut and split instead of messing around with damp twigs.

Edited by justin_baker on 11/25/2013 18:31:21 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Drill Doctor on 11/25/2013 20:26:40 MST Print View

> I have Drill Doctor on the way to resharpen the bits frequently

Keep in mind the DD requires a diamond grinding wheel, which needs replacing more often than you'd think...ask me how I know...so factor that into the price!

On hardened steel, try to grind if possible, rather than drill (and keep the heat down).

Edited by Bolster on 11/25/2013 20:28:07 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: saws straws on 11/25/2013 20:57:56 MST Print View

Some hikers have adopted a method of starting campfires with the use of stove fuels such as Esbit tabs or alcohol.

When we did make a campfire my hiking partner and I used some of our alcohol stove fuel. The result was a campfire fueled by decently sized pieces of broken and un-split firewood. It was wet and rainy during the majority of our trip.

YMMV

Party On,

Newton ;-)

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Drill Doctor on 11/25/2013 21:26:01 MST Print View

"On hardened steel, try to grind if possible, rather than drill"

But how do you grind a hole or slot in the middle of something? Wish I knew how to do it. All my grinding experience has been grinding around the edges of the piece being worked on.

I was thinking maybe a tungsten carbide drill bit might work. $30 for a single 5/16" bit. Ouch.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 05:22:30 MST Print View

Well, you covered most of the high-lights.

Thick bladed pruning saws don't work that well. Any saw needs a stiff blade to cut effectively. A single mounting point means a thick, stiff blade cutting away large amounts of wood. Generally wasteful of energy when cutting to make two pieces.

A bow saw is normally used to lengthen the metal in the blade 3-5 times with the bow providing a fair bit of tension on the blade to stiffen it. The body of wider blades can bind easily in rough cuts due to the wood fibers rubbing on it. So a thin blade is needed with a fairly wide kerf. But, more body is needed to keep tension on the thin blade and to provide clearance around the piece being cut (6-8".)

From an engineering standpoint, the a partial bow saw, a triangle shape as you have designed, is the best for form stability and strength. The pieces are not independent of each other, hence are locked in a bit better. This is the old SVEN saw design, too.

A full bow saw is three pieces plus the blade in a rectangular arrangement. However, it lacks any inherrant stability, but provides greater clearance.

The average cut stroke for an adult male is about 20". Some more, some less. So a blade of 21" (counting the dead area near the attachments) plus mounting points gives about 23". I think the Sven saw is a bit short at 21". A carpenters saw is a bit to long at 32". But, a lot is what you can get used to.

The tubular design is good, but it is too narrow to hold the pressures need for good strength. Idealy, both the pull, and push stroke should be used for more efficient cutting. The push will increass the tension needed on the blade to prevent blade flutter (and binding on the wood.) Pulling will increase the tension on the the other end. There is a LOT of pressure needed to remove the blade flutter and compensate for the dynamic stresses. I would guess around 200-300 pounds of static pressure to hold a blade to a few thousands of an inch of blade kerf while cutting a piece with a constant 15 pounds of force. This is where the smaller 1/2" diameter tubes fail. You will get a lot of blade flutter and binding, unless you drop the force to 4-5 pounds. You won't cut very fast with it.

Most blades today are electro tempered, meaning only the teeth, often only the tips, are hardened. This lets the body stay softer and they can be drilled for attachment pins. Of course, some tensioning mechanism is needed. The SVEN saw uses a wing nut and a longer bolt as a blade mount on one end.

The aluminum, frame can be made from 2, flat, 1/16" thick pieces of aluminum and one 1/8" piece with a couple rivets around the blade mount, all about an inch wide. A couple pieces of aluminum can be added above to allow the body pieses to lock against when tensioning the blade. Better is a hollow tube, flattened, like the SVEN saw, though the "u" shaped channel is functionally equivalent to two pieces... Since most of the strength is in the inside corners(compression) and outside corners(tension,) the handle/body pieces can be drilled out, reducing the weight by 25-30%.

You could make a bow saw. or, simply buy the SVEN saw and modify it. In colder months, I usually just bring a modded version of this saw. With mods, these weigh around 10oz.

Since there is a lot of pines up where I go, I usually open the kerf a bit and keep the blade sharp, though a grinder is needed for the hardened teeth.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 12:17:59 MST Print View

James,

Thanks for your comments and insights.

Do you have any pictures of your modified Sven? I would be interested in seeing what you did to it.

I can get about 75 lbs. of tension with my bow saw. We'll see if it's enough.

I'm very interested in comparing cut speeds with modified pruning saw vs. bow saw. I'll need to make a 12" bow saw so I can compare it to the 12" pruning saw I am currently working on. Will try to get them both below 4 ounces.

FWIW the pruning saws can be sharpened on the back edge so they can be multi-used as a knife too. Some other advantages of the modified pruning saws are that no assembly is required, they are very compact, and they're virtually indestructible. But if you're cutting a lot of wood that may not be enough to favor them over bow or buck saws.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 12:21:16 MST Print View

David, have you considered making a traditional style buck saw (with the cross bar and tensioning line/stick)?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 13:01:40 MST Print View

Sorry, David. It never occured to me to take pictures of such a simple way to lighten the saw. I picked up the camera to get a couple, but it is dead...ahh well. I have a new battery on order for Christmas (it was going last fall.)

Anyway it is a series of 1/2" holes drilled in the handle and 3/8" holes drilled into the bar.

I just drilled another hole about a 1/4" closer in the end of the blade for more tension, almost warping the bar. I stripped the first wing nut, but got another at a hardware store. Takes about 5 minutes to sharpen it with a dremel tool, though. It cuts a 5" oak log in about a minute. An 6" pine long takes slighty longer. In a half hour I have more than enough for a night and mornings fire. 6-7 good logs and a good pile of smaller 2-4" stuff. Worth having in colder weather. I often set up the tarp near the fire to keep condensation down. Easy to do in most of the ADK's.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 13:11:25 MST Print View

Justin, you asked "...have you considered making a traditional style buck saw..."


You mean like this -

LittleBuck

- The Little Buck, with a 15" blade, 4.5 ounces.

Edited by greg23 on 11/26/2013 13:22:40 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 13:19:53 MST Print View

Yeah I knew someone somewhere had made an ultralight bucksaw, that's what made me think of it. Thanks for reminding with the link.

By the way, while the difference between a bow saw and buck saw is well established when using traditional materials (wood), the difference seems to be obscured with modern materials and tightening systems. Is the sven saw a triangle saw? Is the sawvivor really a buck saw without a support rod and cord tightening system, how is the sawvivor different from a bowsaw other than the shape?

Edited by justin_baker on 11/26/2013 13:22:47 MST.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Sawvivor - No more? on 11/26/2013 14:12:25 MST Print View

I understand Trailblazer, the manufacturer of the Sawvivor has ceased operations. Too bad as one of the rivets recently failed on mine and I wanted to replace it. It is guaranteed for life, which is now effectively the life of the company. Smiles.

Would still like to get my hands on one. Does anyone know where there any still for sale - preferably in Canada to avoid custom charges but would buy international if no other options.

Derrick

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultralight Saws on 11/26/2013 14:14:49 MST Print View

Justin, I'm considering a buck saw right now. Have some ideas I'd like to try out. It will have to wait until I finish the bow saw though.

D S
(smoke) - F
Drilling Holes in Saw Blades on 11/26/2013 14:38:08 MST Print View

For you guys trying to drill holes in saw blades, there's a technique called "spot annealing". You soften the metal by heating it until it turns "blue" ONLY in the spot where the hole is to be drilled. There are several methods - pencil torch, drill press with nail or rod, soldering iron. Google it up and decide what works best for you. Saves a lot on drill bits, sharpening, and the whole gammut.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Drilling Holes in Saw Blades on 11/26/2013 14:59:16 MST Print View

"spot annealing ", that's a good tip. if you are troll such as i, the drill bit sort of does that as it gets dull : )

i will try it when i get to drill'n 2" blades.

cheers,
v.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: drilling hardened stel on 11/26/2013 20:14:35 MST Print View

> The lightening holes are a PITA to drill, and dull even cobalt bits after just a
> few holes, but I have Drill Doctor on the way to resharpen the bits frequently.

Go down to hardware store and buy a carbide-tipped masonary drill. Using a diamond sharpening wheel in your Drill Doctor, sharpen the carbide tip as you would sharpen an ordinary HSS drill. Note that any other sort of grinding wheel is probably not going to work (except for what is called a 'green' wheel).

Then drill the holes with the steel sitting on a hard base and using a carefully aggressive feed and a LOW spin speed. Drill press, not hand-held. Do NOT let the drill bit 'rub' - keep it cutting. Some light oil would help. The forces (and maybe noise) will be fairly high!

Trying to make the back edge of the blade into a knife is doomed to failure in most cases. Only the teeth are really hardened; the rest of the blade is relatively soft. This is deliberate and good blade design. So any edge you grind will die quickly.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 11/26/2013 20:16:33 MST.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: drilling hardened stel on 11/26/2013 20:30:56 MST Print View

Roger, you should write a book of tips someday, both backpacking and not related.