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Hand saw instead of chainsaw

Post in 'The Gear' started by area_man, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. area_man

    area_man Member

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    I need to cut a bunch of limbs and a bit of trunk that I recently scrounged. Due to budgetary issues, I'm thinking about using a hand saw to do the job. The thickest pieces I have are 24" so I would probably need something fairly big to get it done.

    I'm a noob, never worked with a saw other than to make a pinewood derby car (2nd place). I don't pretend to know anything. What should I look for? Is this a dumb idea? Part of the reason I got into scrounging was for the exercise, so it doesn't matter much to me if this is going to take a lot of hours to do the work. I just wonder if I'm going to dull a saw blade in a few hours and then have to sharpen for an hour before I can get back to cutting.

    Thank you for any ideas.

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  2. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Is $150 out of the question? $150 will buy a Stihl MS170 (almost) or a Poulan Wild Thing.
  3. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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  4. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    I have a bow saw that I would use on smaller stuff (3 inces).....but 24 inches ????....God Bless ya for having that kind of determination, I would't even attempt it.
    raybonz and firefighterjake like this.
  5. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Brutal for any more than a few cuts - to get enough wood to heat your home with this method would catipult you to "man of the year" on Hearth for sure.

    X2 on Thistle's post - folding or scabbard style pruning saws are fast on small branches that are just too big for loppers. I use them all the time for bowhunting.
    raybonz likes this.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    24 inchs with a hand saw is going to cost more than a chainsaw. (If you in want to get through it)
  7. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I have a 6' "misery whip" in the basement that I plan on cleaning up and hanging on one of the barn beams in our living room remodel. I'd like to sharpen it up and give it a go sometime (if I could sucker someone else into working the other end!)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  9. ColdNH

    ColdNH Minister of Fire

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    I have one of those i carry on my snowmobile if i ever need to clear a trail or sapplings or branches, one time i got a ski stuck under a 8"ish diameter log and used it to cut the log out. worked ok, but cant imagine doing it for firewood on 24" logs!

    like the other posters have said, save up and get an older saw off craigslist or something.

    I justified the purchase of my brand new saw based on the amount of money i could save by scrounging firewood vs. buying cord wood. THEN factor in the savings of Burning FREE firewood vs. burning the oil furnace! saw paid for itself in NO TIME!
    ScotO likes this.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I would put this in the "not very realistic" category. Sure it can be done, a hundred years ago, that is exactly how they did it. But they would dedicate weeks, often of a small crew to get the job done.

    If the funds don't allow the purchase of a new saw, consider the used market. Just make sure it is a runner before you throw down the cash. My first 5 years of serious burning was from wood that was cut using a used homey240 that I bought for $20. It is a toy compared to my Stihl, but it would still outproduce a hand saw by leaps and bounds.

    And there is plenty of exercise left in the wood burning cycle - even when using a chainsaw.;)
    raybonz and Backwoods Savage like this.
  11. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Growing up I cut a lot of wood with a bow saw.
    You can work from both side & cut a pretty big diameter log. :)

    I like the "knuckle saver" feature on this saw ;)
    I didn't have this feature.

    Bow-Saw.jpg
    raybonz and TreePointer like this.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Then welcome to the world of wood cutting. Believe me, if you cut up just one cord of wood by hand, you will then know the true value of a chain saw! I used to use one like Kaptjaq pictured when cutting with a brother or father and we also had a one man saw which is just a little shorter. It took a long, long time to buck up much wood at all.

    As for the cost, earlier this year I finally broke down and bought a Stihl 180. Bought it mainly for limbing but have found that I use it much more than the larger saw. It is super lightweight and has a 16" bar. There is no problem cutting a 24" diameter tree with a 16" bar and that is what is on the 180. If it is oak, then it will make the little saw work for sure but no doubt all your wood will not be that large and if you don't have several years worth of wood on hand, you should not be cutting oak anyway!

    btw, I did cut some oak with the little 180 and although it was not as fast as the larger saw, it really surprised me how quickly it went through this oak. So there is no doubt about it, the little saw has now become my favorite.
    raybonz likes this.
  13. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    This sounds crazy.........beg, borrow or save for a chainsaw.
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  14. paul bunion

    paul bunion Minister of Fire

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    A bow saw definitely can be used on the smaller diameter wood. If your cutting is just occasional it is preferable to having some old mix sitting in a gas can or a saw with 1/2 a tank of old gas in it. As for the bigger stuff, you can get a 40" crosscut saw. I bought one a while ago. For a couple of cuts one can be fun to use. If the wood isn't petrified they cut well (no dry white oak). You get into a rhythm and they sing through a log. If all you want to do is go out and get some exercise it is viable. If you want to turn a grapple load of logs into firewood length pieces you are not going to enjoy it. As for maintenance, you'll spend time sharpening a crosscut saw, but chainsaws need maintenance too. You do need a special tool to set the kerf.
  15. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And just wait until that hand saw needs sharpening....
  17. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    http://www.vminnovations.com/search...sort=titleaz&gclid=CIzzjJuWxrYCFUWK4AodMEMAxQ
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    That explains why you have no knuckles! All this time I thought it was from dragging your knuckles on the ground lol :)

    Ray
  19. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Maybe Arthritis too ;) I'd guess several cords cut with it. I have the saw, used for christmas trees now . Strange how Dad got a chainsaw & riding mower when I left for the military :zip:
    nate379, Thistle and raybonz like this.
  20. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I know what you mean Dave! I left for the Navy and the entire bathroom gets renovated! My only option was a bath in a ball & claw tub!
  21. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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  22. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    You had a tub.
    Round galvanized metal wash tub & Mom heated water on the coal stove to give us a bath .
    Memories :)
    raybonz likes this.

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