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First bow saw experience

 
pioneer
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This doesn't fill the criteria for and of the round wood working BBs, so i had no idea where to put it.  Just some observations about using a bow saw.

Not to long ago, I was at an auction and bought two Fiskars bow saws.  $1 each. A friend asked me if I could remove a large snowball bush from her yard.  It seemed like a good opportunity to try out a bow saw. Chain saws can be a little more dangerous cutting bushes with their many flexible trunks,  it was a nice cool day outside,  and i wanted to get a little quiet exercise and contemplate my little world 😊  The bush was approximately 14 feet tall when I started.

I was pleasantly surprised that the blades on the saws were like new.  The largest trunk I had to cut though was maybe 3 or 4 inches across.  That cut took about a minute or minute and a half i would guess. I cut 21 or 22 trunks with the bow saw,  and I would estimate I made 2 or 3 times as many cuts to get them all down to the level you can see in the picture.  It took me just over an hour to cut the tree with my friend hauling away the pieces.  

Cutting with the bow saw was quiet, pleasurable "work". I quickly found that smaller pieces,  say an inch or so across,  are best cut with pruners.  You can cut them fairly easily with the saw if you hold them still with one hand,  but when you get most of the way through,  the small pieces twist and turn with the blade movement and it is hard to finish the cut.

I don't usually wear gloves when working because they tend to slip and I have better control without them,  so my hands are pretty tough.  If yours are not and you use a saw like this,  you will almost certainly get a blister on the web between thumb and index finger.

Once i got all the trunks cut of to a manageable level, i finished taking the bush to near- ground level with a chain saw.  Cutting all the way across the trunks at that level with the awkward position, i would estimate would take 30 to 45 minutes.  It was getting late and  we wanted to get the truck unloaded before dark,  so the chainsaw finished the job in about 3 minutes.

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Dollar bow saw
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Twisted together mess
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Largest trunk
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After bow saw work
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After chain saw
 
Posts: 499
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
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We also use bow saws for small cuts. They're quite efficient because they cut pushing and pulling. We also just got a Japanese silky saw and haven't used it yet. It cuts only on the pull stroke like a pole saw. One advantage is it can fit into a back pack.

 
pollinator
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Very nice score, Trace.  I've got a few bow saws, one from the mid 50's and I've got a saw similar to the one Greg posted for camping that cuts anything 4" and under very quickly.  I also use it for tight spaces and it's perfect for that.
 
Trace Oswald
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I've been looking at the katana boys saws (I think that is what they are called). They look great and would have been really helpful cutting this bush out. I had to make any extra cuts because there were places I just couldn't get the saw in. I just haven't wanted to bite the bullet for the cost.
 
master pollinator
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When I was a kid there was an old woman (80's or 90's) who was into Permiculture long before it was cool, and she required a cord of "Biscuit Wood" to heat and cook with on her old kitchen wood stove. Here "Biscuit Wood" is alder bushes since they burn so hot. We were too young to use chainsaws, so we cut her that 1 cord of alder wood every year using bow saws, me and my brother splitting the $35 we got for that cord of wood.

With a bow saw it was hard work, but small enough to be manageable, the agreed upon price being a full cord of wood. 4' long pieces stacked into a 4' high by 8 foot long pile. When the "trees" you are cutting are 2 inches in diameter, you have to cut A LOT of them to make a cord.

It was good memories though.


 
pollinator
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A useful bow saw safety tip...

If you hold the work with your left hand, and saw with the right, then the saw can jump and mangle the back of your left hand. You can totally prevent this by reaching  OVER or THROUGH the bow with your left hand and hold the piece of wood on the other side of the blade. The work is stabilised, but if the saw jumps it safely bounces the blunt side of the blade against your forearm, instead of the back of your hand. It takes a bit of getting used to, but for most jobs is just as convenient as the conventional grip. I do the same with my folding silky saw.
 
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