Wednesday, November 11, 2015

DIY Buck Saw Construction

So for those of you who are minimalist campers and want to cut weight anyway that you can this is one way that I do that during the Spring through Fall. You can simply carry two key rings and a saw blade instead of a full buck or bow saw into the field. I will typically pair this saw blade with a Bacho Laplander on my hip and a multi-tool in my pack. If you are into carrying an 18th century bed roll (check out mine from last year HERE: LINK) if you leave the saw blade in the cardboard sheath it will slide right into the blanket roll. So why choose a buck saw over a bow saw? Initially I would always make a bow saw as it takes less than five minutes to make and gives you a viable saw to craft your buck saw with, make your initial shelter and gather firewood for the first day. Essentially I would get my immediate needs out of the way and then at night by the camp fire spend an hour or two crafting a buck saw (if you don't have much cordage this may not be an option for you). So if the bow saw is faster and will cut essentially the same size material then why waste time and resources to make a buck saw? In my experience, a buck saw has less blade movement is more comfortable, can process more wood faster and the blade will have a longer life.

Buck Saw Instructions In Pictures:
1) So where does one start in making a buck saw? Find a small tree (straight as possible) with a width of roughly three fingers and roughly five foot long. (save a smaller piece of the tree for the tension bar).
2) Get out your saw blade and two key rings as this will be used to measure your saw (cross bar should be the length of the saw and your uprights should be 2/3 the length of the saw or whatever is comfortable for you.
3) Use the blade of your saw (used gloves), baton your belt knife or make a bow saw to make your three longer sections. You want the upright to be the thickest portions of the tree as your will be carving notches in them, the smallest portion for your tension rod and the rest for your cross beam.
4) Baton or cut a slot at the end of uprights slightly deeper than the blade width of your saw blade.
5) Insert your saw blade into the uprights as shown and pull tension on them so that the key ring is tight against the upright. This allows you to measure your cross beam placement. Pick a place around halfway up the upright and score a line for where you will carve your v notch and do the same on the opposite upright.
6) Carve the cross beam into a wedge, start with a wider wedge and work your way in as needed to match the V notch you will be making in your upright.
7) With the V notch in the upright start thinner and you want to end up with the notch being around half way through the upright. You will need to keep adjusting the upright and the cross beam until you have a nearly perfect fit (test by squeezing the uprights together and see if there is sway). After completing this notch move to the outside of the upright and make a very small notch 1/2" from the top to keep the cordage secure.
8) This should leave you with the components below. I noticed I forgot to take a close up of the tension bar but essentially all you have to do is carve a mall notch around the top of the tension bar to hold the cordage in place.
9) Now all you have to do is put the saw together and get to work. Make a loop about 1" longer than needed to wrap around the two uprights. To tension the saw wrap the cordage around the tension bar twice in the groove and then loop it around the uprights. Then simply spin the tension bar until the wood stops creaking and stop before your cordage breaks (bank line can save you here- I over tensioned the bankline the first time to see how much it could take and even after it broke it still held together and I was able to keep using the saw for several hours.

I have a love/hate relationship with DIY buck saws as they take awhile to craft and delay your your ability to cut larger wood. If you carry a bacho laplander into the field then you are golden initially and have time to craft  a saw in your down time. The buck saw saves energy over a bow saw and over a bacho laplander as you're able to cut larger diameter wood with less cutting strokes. While a commercial buck saw like the Stowell Outdoor Solutions buck saw I compare the makeshift saw to in the video is much faster to put into place it is much lighter to carry a saw blade.  If you haven't tried to make one of these DIY buck saws I highly recommend that you get out and practice this skills as the more skills you carry into the woods the less equipment you will have to carry and the more self reliant you will become.

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