Folding saw versus manual survival chain saw

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by maximus83, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. maximus83

    maximus83 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Curious if anyone who has tried both has a sense of what type of saw is most effective for backpacking: a folding saw, or one of those newer chain saws like the Chainmate or the SaberCut survival saw?

    In the past, those wire-type survival saws stunk, didn't get very good results, so I ignored them and stuck with my Silky folding saw. Lately, I've been seeing these new chain saws and some folks I respect, like Doug Ritter, are saying they're worth considering. Supposedly, the quality ones have several advantages: they are very fast, they can cut larger diameter wood, and they are more flexible (for instance, you can attach paracord to the handles, loop the chain saw over a high branch, and saw it off from the ground). One disadvantage of the chain saws is that you could not operate them with one hand, if you happened to injure yourself.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  2. sicily02


    Nov 23, 2005
    I have tried both and I will take a folding saw over the chain type any day of the week. Not that the chain saw does not work but it is just that real WORK lol. I hated it. A folding saw will cut so much faster and with less real work involved.
    that is what I found out when I used both.

  3. maximus83

    maximus83 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Good point. I suppose ultimately the best way is to just try them side-by-side and find out. I already have a great Silky Saw, the Topgun model with the 9" blade, and it works great. I'll probably just order one of those Chainmate 36" chain saws and test it out against the Silky, see how much effort and time it takes to go through a 6" diameter branch.
  4. SleepyBadger

    SleepyBadger Gold Member Gold Member

    May 24, 2011
    I love a folding saw, bahco laplander, paired with a bk9 or hatchet. If i remember correctly, chain saws are quite a workout and somewhat unruly. Let us know the results of your comparison test. I would be interested as I have not used one in a while.
  5. rocketbomb


    Apr 25, 2007
    Even the good chain saws are hard to control and are a lot of work. A folding saw or collapsible bow saw is a much better option in my experience.
  6. GRIM 62

    GRIM 62

    Mar 29, 2009
    For home use,the chainsaw rules.For woods bumming the folding saw,hands down.
  7. fmajor007


    Apr 1, 2010
    Uhhh - Grim 62, i think the OP's talking about a *non*-motorized chainsaw... :D lol!!!
  8. maximus83

    maximus83 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    That's correct. My bad, I should have clarified and said something like "HAND chainsaw" or "SURVIVAL chainsaw" in the OP. Update the subject line in the OP.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  9. maximus83

    maximus83 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    I just ordered a Chainmate 36" from an online retailer. They (and the 24" model) get outstanding user reviews from a lot of users, but sometimes you don't know the caliber and experience of the people doing the reviews. I'll try them out against my Silky and if I remember, I'll post back to this forum on what I find.
  10. Quirt


    Oct 10, 2005
    Outside of play - for serious survival one needs to produce the greatest amount of output with the least amount of calories burnt. The folding saw meets this criteria whereas the chain does not.
  11. Will


    Jan 4, 2003
    I have the Sven folding bow saw, Bacho Laplander and the Pocket Chain Saw. The Laplander is my pick by a fair margin. The Pocket Chainsaw is small, light (5 oz.) and compact, takes a few seconds to get out of the little tin, but is more of a a pain to clean and put away. It is really fast at sawing and can tackle big stuff. You have to use two hands, and if you are not careful can really hurt yourself if your hands get too close together while sawing. The Sven is the biggest of the bunch (14 oz. for the 21"), takes a a few more seconds to put together and take down, but less of a pain than the Pocket Chainsaw. It cuts fast, but the blade can tend to stick in the wood. The Laplander is light (6-7 oz.) and compact, simple to open and close, easy to clean, and cuts like mad, and the blade doesn't get stuck in the wood. All three cut very well, I can't say which is fastest, but the Laplander wins for overall efficiency.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  12. cramsey3006

    cramsey3006 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    I've tried a couple of the chainsaw type and I'll take a good folding saw over them any day of the week.
  13. mr.trooper


    Dec 5, 2005
    I too have used both, and I could not have said it better.

    I like to pair an Opinel Folding saw with a #12 knife.
  14. lambertiana

    lambertiana Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    For smaller wood, the folding saws are easier to use. But on larger wood (6" or more diameter) the manual chain saw does a much better job. It takes more effort, but you are cutting big wood pretty fast.
  15. fmajor007


    Apr 1, 2010
    I sure wish i had the same experience you've had with these types of saws. The concept seems great - light-weight, can cut bigger logs/branches, can cut in places where it's more difficult to reach w/a folding hand-saw and easy to store/carry. I've just not had success using them - even on smaller branches, the cutting action just wasn't as smooth - even when i established a cut-path for the saw, the cutting was "jerky"..... Probably user error!!!

    For me, a folding hand-saw is awesome, but is limited to smaller logs (max., for me is about 6") unless i get 'creative' in making a wider saw-blade pathway (cutting a second groove parallel to my 1st cut and removing the wood in between - 2x the work, but possible) and even then, large logs just are too much for folding hand saws. This is where compact, buck-saws really shine.

    I'm thinking those compact buck-saws like the Bob Dustrude's "Quick Buck Saw", Trail Blazer "Sawvivor" or Sven-Saw or similar designs (can be DIY too).
  16. KuRUpTD


    Aug 5, 2008
    The bad thing about pocket chainsaws is that they tend to bind while in use - I'll stick to either my Bahco folding saw or Trailblazer buck saw.
  17. 16VGTIDave


    Mar 12, 2011
    I've found the manual chainsaws to be exhausting to use. And I think I figured out why while sitting on my arse, panting and dripping sweat. There was a pile of saw dust on the ground. A large pile actually.

    The chainsaw is wide, out of necessity due to its design. Therefore, one has to cut more wood as compared to using a thin bladed saw, when cutting the same lumber. And that makes for a lot more effort to achieve the same result.

    My "pocket chainsaw" was retired 2 days after I bought it. Years ago...

  18. crossada

    crossada Gold Member Gold Member

    May 16, 2004
    Quoting for truth! I got one for a birthday present years ago and only took it out once. I go to the woods to relax not workout.
  19. l2lku2

    l2lku2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Here is a thread about the pocket chainsaw. For those who have not seen a pocket chainsaw at work, I posted some videos cutting with one as well as a folding saw.

    In my experience there is nothing that makes it through thick wood faster than the pocket chainsaw. I am not saying it is better for all applications, but it is much faster.

    I have only used the SaberCut saw, that cuts in both directions.
  20. mr.trooper


    Dec 5, 2005
    Why on earth would you need to be cutting 'rounds' off of 6"+ diameter logs in either a camping trip or a survival situation?

    Are you constructing a log cabin for your shelter? Are you building a replica of the Mayflower for your raft? Are you warming yourself with a 30 ft high bonfire?

    If that be the case, then you should preferably be packing in a motorized chainsaw, or at the least the largest bow-saw you can find. A few collapsible saw horses wouldn't hurt either.

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