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Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills The Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills forum is for discussion (on-site content) that directly relates to ancient and/or primitive style bushcraft/wilderness skills (e.g. firecraft, foraging, natural material construction, modern/primitive tools, long-term wilderness survival,...).


View Poll Results: If I could have only one, I'd choose
a saw 11 52.38%
a hatchet 10 47.62%
Voters: 21. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06-03-2013, 03:18 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Saw vs Hatchet

If you could only have either a saw or a hatchet (small hand ax), which one would you choose for a long period of time [you define] in the forest?

I believe for many the choice is a hatchet, based on versatility. However, there are some (potential) benefits of a saw that might be overlooked: less weight, could be safer than swinging a hatchet, somewhat quieter, and in some cases it requires less energy to use.

Reality
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2013, 04:05 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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Have you ever tried to split wood with a saw?

Actually, I use both and add a husky knife, too. It's not ultralight but a saw works better at cutting wood to length (for a stove, for instance) while a hatchet or axe is needed for splitting. For a base camp or when canoeing a full complement of tools is always useful in the bush.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2013, 05:05 PM
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Kylemeister Kylemeister is offline
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Man, that's tough. A saw is more efficient and lighter, but long-term it dulls. A hatchet is easier to resharpen in the field, but potentially more dangerous to use.

I met some teens while backpacking,probably 8 miles from the closest trailhead. Their car was about 12 miles the other direction. One of them had some pieces of debris hit him in the eye while he was chopping with a hatchet. Fortunately he didn't have a serious injury.

Given how much Señor Murphy likes me, I vote saw.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:35 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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I vote for a saw as long as I can still bring a batoning-worthy hunting knife. Something along the lines of a Buck Special.

I carried a hatchet for a while (Estwing at first, then a worthless back packing hatchet). The sven saw I finally got really let me cut some wood up efficiently - especially the dry hard 2" dia. branches that can't be chopped or broken and burn great!

But for the last 40 years I haven't spent a long enough time in the forest to need to pack in either the batoning knife or the saw. Tho I long to . But I digress - this thread is about saw vs. hatchet.

Of course I have all that stuff in my little SUV parked at the trailhead .
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2013, 06:29 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph
Have you ever tried to split wood with a saw?
Yes. I've done it successfully on a few occasions. If you're unfamiliar with the method, let me know and I'll post some info.

UPDATE/EDIT
: Here's an example (to save me time posting my similar example):



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kylemeister
Man, that's tough. A saw is more efficient and lighter, but long-term it dulls. A hatchet is easier to resharpen in the field, but potentially more dangerous to use.
That's a great point, regarding the saw blades.

Reality
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2013, 09:14 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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i'd rather a hatchet, myself. one can break down wood to length with an axe-type tool very easily.

and it's deucedly hard to skin game with a saw.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2013, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsuursoo
i
and it's deucedly hard to skin game with a saw.
I'd use a knife for that.

Reality
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  #8  
Old 06-04-2013, 12:37 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality
I'd use a knife for that.

Reality

i would rather use a knife too, but if i didn't have a knife, a hatchet/axe/tomahawk IS a lot more versatile than a saw, and can actually do the tasks a knife can do(most of them).
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2013, 01:26 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsuursoo
i would rather use a knife too, but if i didn't have a knife, a hatchet/axe/tomahawk IS a lot more versatile than a saw, and can actually do the tasks a knife can do(most of them).
I agree. I'd rather skin with an ax than a saw.

This is just a choice between a saw and an axe, considering that other standard gear is carried.

It's likely that many will opt for the ax.

Reality
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2013, 08:06 AM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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The possibility of splinters or chips getting into the eye is real. In my case it is a non-problem. My aging eyes need glasses so when I had mine made I went the whole 9 yards and got them progressive (lenses vary with distance) transitioning (automatically darken) and coated with triple-thick polycarbonate to serve as safety/shooting glasses.

While helping a friend clear some grape vines from a fence I made a mistake and had a vine tip whack me in the eye, scratching the inside of the lower lid. It took a rather miserable three days to heal. Fortunately, my friend was an RN/EMT who knew how to treat it. Had I been alone, and miles back it would have been a VERY serious problem. Avoid it if you can.

Yes, I do know how to split wood with a saw, but an axe is better - handled carefully.
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