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a good cross cut saw for firewood

Post in 'The Gear' started by johnlvs2run, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    I'm looking for a good cross cut saw, for cutting 1/2 to 1 cord of firewood a year.

    I split rounds from a neighborhood tree last year, but finding more rounds this year has been scarce.
    How difficult would it be to cut the rounds myself, compared to splitting them (which is easy)?

    There is a vintage 36" cross cut on Ebay but it's $180 so far, which might be out of my price range.
    However, cutting my own rounds for 2 years would pay for the saw.

    Otherwise there are 32" crosscuts with regular blades for $75-90, or with a tuttle blade for $160.
    How much of a difference does a tuttle blade with rakers make to a regular blade?

    [​IMG]

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  2. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Does any body else here cut with a manual cross-cut saw? I think 99% of us are chainsaw guys. The chainsaw makes cutting your rounds just as easy as splitting them.
  3. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    Thanks much for your quick response.

    Maybe I'm asking the wrong place. Chainsaws freak me out.

    I'm fine with getting the exercise, as long as it's not too difficult (i.e. impossible) for the return involved.
  4. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    If you're gonna go that route,tuttle tooth is preferred.Especially with you living in the western US with mostly coniferous trees like Doug Fir,Western White/Lodgepole/other Pines,Western Red Cedar etc.Tuttle does a better job of clearing the resinous sawdust from the kerf,cuts faster too.Lance Perforated is similar,a bit more aggressive still.Should be quite a few decent ones still around your area at a fair price,though the supply is dwindling.

    Look around for local farm/estate sales,auctions, or even the occasional garage sale/flea market,you might get lucky.Some are great,other saws were used to death & only good as a wall hanger over the mantel or behind the bar though.

    I got lucky here in 2009,its 1930's NOS 2-man crosscut 4 1/2 footer,from old rural hardware store in upper NY state.Never touched wood,still has parts of the protective wax/cosmoline,long since dried.

    Not for sale,sorry. ;-)

    Attached Files:

  5. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I have the same idea. Been bucking some of my wood with a bow saw and it goes pretty good. Looking for something better I found the same saw you did and I'm betting you can go through 10-12" pieces pretty quick. Mainly want to use it to get scrounge wood to managable size to get home then cut to stove size with chain saw. If you get one please post your experience with it.
  6. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    Jatoxico, what a coincidence we've been looking at the same saw on ebay. The seller has another
    for a better price, that doesn't look in as good of condition and apparently has a less desirable tooth pattern.
    My idea is the same as yours, to cut scrounge wood to managable size, then cut it up smaller at home.

    Thistle, thanks very much for your detailed reply. Is your saw is a regular cut?

    I found these photos of 36" tuttle and lance tooth designs ($160 + shipping),
    which help my understanding of them. According to them the tuttle is most versatile for all types of wood.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  7. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    There were two main types of tooth pattern/design that I saw. One was better for soft woods (tuttle like thistle said?) and another for hardwoods (Lance?). I found new versions of these are still available through the following: http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/products.asp?dept=306 Less expensive than buying a period saw.

    American, German and some nice Japanese saws as well.

    Two man versions as well, maybe I can get the wife out there...then again.
  8. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    This other site says the tuttle is better for hardwoods.

    "Crosscut Saws come in two tooth styles - Tuttle (Champion) with two cutting teeth to each raker tooth, and Perforated Lance with four cutting teeth to each raker tooth. It is most common, from our experience, to use the Tuttle Tooth style for hardwoods, and the Perforated Lance Tooth style for cutting softwoods. However, many have used each interchangeably throughout history."

    Beware of their shipping though, $50 for each saw, way too much for me.

    How does this one look on ebay? It looks in terrible condition to me.
    I wouldn't mind working on one, as long as it could be brought back to a good performance.
  9. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Surface rust or even very light pitting is OK,that can be cleaned up fairly easily.But I'd avoid any larger saws with broken teeth.Too much effort and/or expense cutting in & reshaping new ones.Much more difficult than replacing fine teeth on a cabinetmaker's or carpenter's hand/mitre saws.

    I prefer the darker patina that saws & other edge tools get with use/age.Just long as not severely rust/pitted.Some tools were just used more than others,and either used incorrectly/abused also.It happens.
  10. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Good catch. That's how they getcha! Must be other dealers around. The steel on the older saws can be quite good from what I have heard but the broken handle on that one would worry a bit. It is going to cause the top to have to bear a lot of stress during use. Maybe that can be replaced reasonably.

    As far as an older saw I did not want to have to sharpen one up right away but I guess you will be sharpening it eventually if you use it. These older saws are out there, keep your eyes open.
  11. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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  12. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    The USDA Forest Service Crosscut Saw Manual has several pages of how to sharpen. It is free on their site.
  13. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Wow, surprised to see that anybody actually wants to use these. I've inherited three or so one man saws, and a two man saw, never used a single one. I'll have to try it out for fun sometime.
  14. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    My brother and I hand cut with a two man cross cut years ago when we were teens.
    You can actually move right along, especially with green wood.


    I'll do some cutting with a hand saw with a pull back fiskars pruning saw on a green tree working on small branches and will cut by hand until cutting through takes more than ten pulls each, then I'll switch to the saw. After that I'd want something bigger.

    I don't mind hand cutting as long as it's a good saw. It can be surprising sometimes just how much you can accomplish.
    I wish I had more time for it.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I think at those prices being posted I would just pony up a little more money for a half decent chainsaw . . . any tool used incorrectly, used without focusing on the task at hand or without safety equipment can be a hazard . . . trust me . . . I've pounded more than one finger or thumb when I was tired or just not thinking.
  16. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I have 6 or 7 of these from 4' to 6', on e and two man. I used to use several on large trees that my little chainsaw would not cut (14" bar). Whit two of us on the larger saw it really was pretty darn quick and quiet cutting. I never tried to drop any trees with one, but they are fine for cross cutting. I like to wear some type of gloves when sharpening.... Lest I spring a leak.

    The USFS sharpening manual is a good one.

    Enjoy,
    Mike
  17. bpirger

    bpirger Minister of Fire

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    I'm one of those guys who if I could, I think I'd go back in time 400 years and try and live in that period. Of course, I'd want to take my educated brain back with me so I could "invent" things like running water in the home....And the one thing I'd want to have is a chainsaw for all my bucking and building work. To hear folks who want to use the crosscut saws for firewood, today, my hat comes off and I take a bow. Even the cheapest saw, a craftsman for $150, will produce firewood, I'd think, much faster than the hand cut way. I don't feel scared at all running a chainsaw....the tablesaw scares me way more. As long as your footing is secure, I think chainsaws are very safe. Now, if you don't pay attention and give respect, that can all change in a hurry.

    Most of the saws I've seen along these lines I've always thought were to hang on the wall. I'd love to have one for just that pruposes....along with the 3' diameter sawmill blade.

    Have you ever run a chainsaw? I haven't operated a cross cut saw....maybe they are faster then I'd think. I know it takes quite a bit of work to drop a christmas tree with a bow saw...I can't imagine cutting through a 20" trunk of any tree....20 times....to get that amount of firewood. I think the work may be zen like and enjoyable, but it seems like the sun would set before a face cord was sitting in rounds.
  18. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    Thank you for that recommendation.
    The US forest service crosscut saw manual arrived Thursday in the mail, is very nice and in detail.

    The saw arrived today, in an interesting package contructed of wood scraps. The saw looks in good condition from the little that I know and considering the price. The saw is straight, none of the teeth are bent, and the gullets are much deeper than they appeared to be from the photos. I am quite pleased with getting this saw for the price, and hope to give it a test by the end of next week.

    The saw was covered in a layer of corrosion and rust, but this did not appear to be significant. I did a preliminary cleaning with water, 150 grit sandpaper, and a rag; dried the saw, then rubbed the blade with a cotton sock and mineral oil. I removed the post, and removed 2 of the bolts from the handle, but the 3rd one keeps going in circles. It looks like the handle has not been removed before, as there is a thick layer of rust underneath.

    Does anyone have a suggestion for removing the 3rd bolt connection, in lieu of using a drill?
  19. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    Hold the bolt head on the other side with a needle nose pliers while using a screwdriver on the first side. Or wedge a couple of small screwdrivers around the bolt head to keep it from spinning.
  20. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    My first experience with a 2-man crosscut ("misery whip" to early chain-sawyers) was this year, as a volunteer clearing large windfall on a nearby preserve that mandates hand tools. Chips really fly when you get in sync. Of course, we gave the cutters & rakers a little hand-dressing.

    I can see how it could be fun. Just like with chainsaws, you've got to stay clear of the teeth.

    You might find useful saw(s) and info at crosscutsaw dot com, in Seneca Falls, NY.
  21. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    Thanks for your response. Nothing was working, so I held the drill bit at an angle on the middle of the cap,
    which eventually wore through, the cap popped off, and I knocked the rest of the screw through the middle.
  22. ATsawyer

    ATsawyer Member

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    For green wood, a good taper or crescent-ground western saw will get through big wood if filed properly. Note that any "new" saws purchased commercially will NOT be filed well. Half the investment in a good crosscut saw will be finding someone who knows how to sharpen it properly. For the do-it-your-selfer, watch this video:

    [youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrYsFlx3OSY[/youtube]

    Once filed, a good saw will stay sharp for a long time if you keep it out of the dirt. Attached pic is a red oak single-bucked with a good saw:



    This is my first post. Not sure if these attachments will work..............

    Attached Files:

  23. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run New Member

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    Thank you for posting. How long did it take to saw through each one of those logs? How do you saw them on the ground?

    That's a nice video, however it looks way too complicated for me to sharpen a saw in that manner.
    It would help to see someone sharpening a crosscut saw by only using a file, if that is possible.

    I'm planning to cut some smaller olive logs in a few days, which will be my first test of using a bucking saw.
    One of the logs is off the ground on two others. The others are on the ground. I will try to lift them.

    A hardware store had no bolts that would work well with the handle, so I'm going to look on the net.
  24. ATsawyer

    ATsawyer Member

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    I can single buck an oak log that size in less than ten minutes with a good saw. Not timbersports speed, but with a second person it's much faster.

    Each tool in the video has a purpose - jointer, raker gauge, dial gauge, etc. For a crosscut saw to cut properly, the teeth need to be filed and set exactly. No different from a chainsaw in that a properly filed chain will cut much better than one with variable-length cutters and depth gauges.

    Cutting into the ground will dull your teeth, so you want to avoid that at all costs.

    1/4" T-nuts are functional though not as visually clean as the old-timey brass screws.
    [​IMG]

    Screws spin around when the bolt is loose in the handle. Put the flat bolt side on a piece of 100 grit sandpaper and push down hard on the screw head side. The sandpaper will usually hold the bolt head. If not, try a double-cut flat file in the same way.
  25. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    One correction: A 5 foot saw will cut though a 4 foot diameter log as long as you have clearance to 'rock' the saw. It is hard if the log is on the ground flat and can not be rolled. That is rare though.

    I really don't feel limited with the two man saws and don't own a bar over 20" for this reason.

    A friend and I bucked the entire trung a a 5' diameter Red Oak with a 6' saw. The sledging and wedging the rounds for loading was worse than the cutting.

    Enjoy!
    Mike

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