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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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  #11  
Old 06-11-2013, 02:43 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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I don't think of myself as the strongest guy in camp. I tend to think of a hand axe as a tool that takes some strength, energy, and skill to work with well. For me, a saw works better.

I use a bow saw. I try to choose a good, rigid frame as big as will fit in my pack. (If it's the Gregory, that's a pretty big saw frame.) I put the frame in the pack pocket made for hydration pouches. I store the blades off the saw in a tube, stored either in the pack's wand pockets, or inside the pack.

(I use a big knife and batoning for splitting out firewood.)

But the quality of the bow saw frame is a pretty big deal. Get a cheap frame that lets the saw blade twist, and you might well be more energy efficient with a hand axe.

Just my opinion. I'm sure others with plenty of experience will disagree.
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  #12  
Old 08-12-2013, 05:45 PM
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Vagabond Vagabond is offline
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I'll sometimes carry a folding saw, but never carry an axe. The axe is too heavy for the utility provided IMO. The video posted by Reality is great - something I had not seen or heard of before. Encourages me to make the saw a permanent piece in my backpack.

Vagabond
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  #13  
Old 08-12-2013, 09:39 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGervin
I don't think of myself as the strongest guy in camp. I tend to think of a hand axe as a tool that takes some strength, energy, and skill to work with well. For me, a saw works better.


some yes, some no, on that. there is a degree of strength in axe use, but not as much as you'd think. control and finesse are way more important. as with all things, the sharper it is, the less you have to work.

and a saw takes quite a bit of endurance to use, in its own way. it's a lot easier, too, for basic stuff like making firewood. just about anyone can use a saw right away, but an axe takes some time to learn.
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2013, 10:03 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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I feel the best things about an axe (hatchet) are it's ability to be more easily field sharpened and the head (business end) will not break as easily as a saw blade.

A worthy lesson that I learned, when I was young, about using a saw is to "let the saw do the work."

When I let the saw do the work and keep the blade from binding, it takes me less effort than does using an axe (for typical fire craft and common task).

Reality
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2013, 10:45 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsuursoo
some yes, some no, on that. there is a degree of strength in axe use, but not as much as you'd think. control and finesse are way more important. as with all things, the sharper it is, the less you have to work.

and a saw takes quite a bit of endurance to use, in its own way. it's a lot easier, too, for basic stuff like making firewood. just about anyone can use a saw right away, but an axe takes some time to learn.
I do remember my first bow saw (not a good one) going awry and using lots of energy and time.

Unfortunately, I am fairly uncoordinated, and agree completely that finesse and control are very important in axe use. I think I can actually survive using a saw...

I recently read Carl P. Russell's "Firearms, Traps, and Tools of the Mountain Man." Seems to me the hatchet or hand axe has an incredibly long history of very successful use for the purposes discussed here. The saw features some in that history, but not nearly as much as the hand axe. And there's a part of me that really wants a really good hand axe. Just not the part that expects to survive its use... Maybe I shouldn't be admitting this in public?
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2013, 10:01 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGervin
I do remember my first bow saw (not a good one) going awry and using lots of energy and time.

Unfortunately, I am fairly uncoordinated, and agree completely that finesse and control are very important in axe use. I think I can actually survive using a saw...

I recently read Carl P. Russell's "Firearms, Traps, and Tools of the Mountain Man." Seems to me the hatchet or hand axe has an incredibly long history of very successful use for the purposes discussed here. The saw features some in that history, but not nearly as much as the hand axe. And there's a part of me that really wants a really good hand axe. Just not the part that expects to survive its use... Maybe I shouldn't be admitting this in public?

up until recently, saws were incredibly expensive tools compared to axes. they were also a lot heavier than they are now, and tough to carry. an axe was cheap to carry, easy to repair(mostly) and still effective. there's axe-family tools to do nearly any task you can think of, including making boards, shingles, all sorts of stuff.

as far as getting an axe/using one... there's a handful of books on technique, videos etc. it's possible to learn without having anyone by your side. i'd say, start small and work up. maybe not hatchet, small, but a decent tomahawk would be a good place.
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2013, 12:56 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsuursoo
up until recently, saws were incredibly expensive tools compared to axes. they were also a lot heavier than they are now, and tough to carry. an axe was cheap to carry, easy to repair(mostly) and still effective.
For sure. Saws were a pain to pack and carry. The axe has been the standard.

Reality
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  #18  
Old 08-25-2013, 06:09 AM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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Reality's point about "let the saw do the work." is well taken. This is particularly important with the induction hardened Japanese-style pillar blades with the long teeth. Forcing the cut not only takes energy but can break a tooth. (Hard also means more brittle.) Apply slight downward pressure and develop an easy rhythm - a saw cutting properly feels right.
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