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No saw wood processing

 
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One of my main reasons for getting off grid is escaping the noise,  i have a Chainsaw, i dont want to use it unless i absolutely positively must,  i dont want to hear it,  i dont want to smell it , i dont want to refill it with oils and fuels etc.  I am looking at getting a Crosscut handsaw to replace the gas saw so i am A.  Looking for recomendations on a good hand saw that will last me.  And B.  I sparked my curiosity.... What if i had no saw? How would one go about proccessing fire wood without one? Would you section them with the axe and then just change the way you split it(no flat ends without saw)? Sorry if all of this has been discussed before,  i used the search and uncovered very little related material.  Thank you.
 
pollinator
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Well most likely there would be movement in two directions:

1. Having a woodstove/Fireplace that accepted big. long wood so that less cutting and splitting would have to be done. Splitting, only because the longer a stick of wood is, the harder it is to split.

2. Utilizing smaller wood.

The first is pretty self explanatory, but the second means doing things unconventionally. A lot of people do not realize that and axe can cut fairly big wood IF you cut DIAGONAL to the wood being cut. For instance, if you try to one chop a 3 inch stick of wood perpendicular to the wood, you will never cut through the wood, but by turning the wood 45 degrees, and placing it so it overhangs the chopping block, it can be lobbed right off. So I think smaller wood would be used, just because it would be easier and faster to cut smaller wood, then bigger wood with a crosscut saw.

Not that I am against cross cut saws: I have my share.

They have many different varieties and no one style works for it all. I have a cross cut saw that bucks up hardwood, and a cross cut saw that rips hardwood...and several in between!

Of course if you are off-grid, you could always recharge a cordless reciprocating saw (Sawzall) and use that for your sawing needs as well.
 
master pollinator
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I've cut a whole lot of firewood with hand saws.  I've used a bowsaw, pruning saw, and woodworkers cross-cut saw, but I'm afraid I can't say which is best.  The wonderful thing about working in woodland with hand tools is the wild animals don't mind you.  Sometimes they will approach (especially birds) to see what you're doing.

 
steward
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I think cordless chainsaws have gotten good enough that they could fill a niche.  

There's a youtube channel called Skillcult where he did a cordwood challenge.  The idea was to cut a year's worth of firewood with an axe.  Fell tree and cut to length with axes.  He has several videos of axe sharpening, wood chopping and related topics.  Caveat - He lives in California so a year's worth of firewood isn't as much as in Minnesota...  

If I was to cut wood with hand tools, I'd get a good one-man cross cut saw for most of the work, an axe for cutting the notch and a small axe or hatchet for limbing.
 
pollinator
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I like my Oregon 40v.  I like the idea of handsaws if you have the time and are fit enough.
 
pollinator
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<<< if you have the time and are fit enough>>> Bingo! You've hit the nail on the head!

When I started my homestead at 55, I quickly became fit enough. Plus I had the time back then. I found myself doing most everything by hand or hand tools. I can say that things took me many times longer doing them this way. For instance, going in and harvesting 100 guava poles by hand would take several hours. I now use a sawsall that takes me 1/10th the time plus does not hurt my body nearly as much.

Cutting a year's supply of firewood using non-motorized hand tools is of course possible. Using just an axe is of course possible. It just takes a lot more time, a lot more work, and poses its own set of dangers. Personally, I'd be looking at a battery operated chainsaw (I love mine) and a battery operated sawsall. They surely cut down on the noise and smell, plus they are lightweight. Not as hard on my arms, shoulders, and back.

Having said all this, I do indeed use small wood for hearing and cooking. I call it "squaw wood". Most people throw aside the stuff that Paul calls junk poles. To me they are perfect sized firewood for cooking and daytime heating. I even use smaller sized wood and twigs. No chainsaw is needed to process this stuff into firewood. I don't need much in the way of firewood heat nowadays, but I use to live with cold winters and heated our house with wood. I burned the small stuff during the days when I was at home, and reserved the logs to when I wasn't, and for over night.
 
John Dempsey
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I have also listened to enough electric saws in my life,  it is what inhave done for a living for many many years and i just have to escape it.  Plus,  in a weird way i think it separates me too much from nature,  take that how ya will. I really appreciate all of the advice and recommendations, i watched the cordwood challenge and it sure looks tough, right now i am still young enough with enough vinegar leftbin me that if i have to trade the extra work for the peace and quiet, i will.
 
pollinator
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John - I cut lots of fuelwood around my place with a Silky hand saw. It sees year-round use for pruning, thinning, clearing deadfall, and general tree care. Pretty much everything the size of my arm and smaller gets cut by hand, and larger stuff is usually a coin toss until it reaches thigh diameter. That's when the chainsaw wins.

If I had a large crosscut saw (one or two man) I'd probably use it and retire the chainsaw except for when I'm in a hurry. At least for another five or ten years...by that time I suspect my joints will dictate a power assist of some sort. But my son should be all growed up by then, so maybe that will work....
 
Su Ba
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John, you're young enough and fit, so go for it. There can be a deep satisfaction doing it by hand. I found it to be very emotionally and mentally healing.
 
Travis Johnson
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We have been here for quite awhile, and I have a book that my Great Uncle many times removed wrote, and in 1838 he stated that him and his brother cleared 10 acres one summer and burned the brush. That was before the cross cut saw was used in Maine, so it meant using an axe and oxen. Granted back then the trees were bigger, but not the 300 trees per acre we have now, but still is was quite the undertaking!
 
Travis Johnson
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John Dempsey wrote:I have also listened to enough electric saws in my life,  it is what inhave done for a living for many many years and i just have to escape it.  Plus,  in a weird way i think it separates me too much from nature,  take that how ya will. I really appreciate all of the advice and recommendations, i watched the cordwood challenge and it sure looks tough, right now i am still young enough with enough vinegar leftbin me that if i have to trade the extra work for the peace and quiet, i will.




One great way to ease the burden of using a handsaw is to use paraffin wax on the blade. All the old duffers did this and it makes a HUGE difference. Ivory soap will do wonders as well.
 
gardener
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Dewalt has come out with a terrific cordless system called flexvolt. Anyone who uses cordless tools read the following:

Battery switches from 20v to 60v depending on the tool. Recipro saw, chainsaw, grinder all run at 60v. Power is as good as corded tools in most cases. Drills and most other tools stay at 20v. 20v tools work with the battery. Those dont have to be "flexvolt" tools. This helps with costs to complete a full compliment of tools.

Now that 60v is available, they make a chopsaw and table saw. They run off of 2 60v batteries for 120v used. Brillliant but pricey.

The battery charger holds 4 batteries and charges all 4 at same time. When the batteries are charged, this 4 pack unit is now a power source. You can plug a corded tool into it with the same power as plugging into an outlet at home (120v 15amp).

Between the chainsaw and a pruning blade on the recipro, cutting wood can be very pleasant from a noise and smell standpoint. Its only "running" when trigger is pushed. This doesn't resolve bar and chain oil, but its a great improvement over gas engine. Noise is much lower. No smells or fumes. The biggest i cut is slicing a 14" diameter disk from an oak log. It did well. Most of my needs are that or smaller.

I built my rocket cookstove with the system. This included cutting 1/4" thick 6" round pipe into lengths with the grinder. You couldnt tell me it wasn't cordless.

Cordless just got hardcore.

 
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John Dempsey wrote:.... I am looking at getting a Crosscut handsaw to replace the gas saw .....



Where do you live, what size trees do you plan to cut, single or double bucking? I find that a big one man saw works well for me:

David-s-saw.JPG
[Thumbnail for David-s-saw.JPG]
 
Travis Johnson
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If you want to know more about cross cut saws, the US Forest Service has a 34 Page PDF (or free paper version as soon as the Government shut down is over) for them. It is VERY informative. Considering the price of paper and some ink, I think even printing your own version would be well worth it.

Here is the link to it here...

Cross Cut Saw Manual
 
Travis Johnson
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We were doing a photo shoot one day as me being the logger saving Little Red Ridinghood (my wife) from the Big Bad Wolf, and used one of my cross-cut saws as a prop. You can see from its type of teeth, it was a saw made to cross cut hardwood, and you can see from its rivets it was made between 1898-1920.


DSCN2057.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN2057.JPG]
Logger Saving Little Red Ridinghood
 
Dan Sawyer
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The saw looks pretty worn down, but that may just be the angle at which it's leaning.
 
Travis Johnson
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Dan Sawyer wrote:The saw looks pretty worn down, but that may just be the angle at which it's leaning.



That saw is an enigma. If you open up the picture and zoom in close, you will not that every raker has been deliberately broken off. I am not sure why??? The only possibility is that it might have been used as saw to cut hay??? I know it could not have been a saw for ice because it was two-handled. Generally with ice,they were cut into blocks right in the water body and not cross cut later.

Strange in any case!


 
pollinator
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I've pulled one end of a two man crosscut a lot in my lifetime and used a one man crosscut and a bucksaw a good bit as well.  The question you have to ask yourself is how much of my time am I willing to give up to gather my yearly supply of firewood.  Answering only for myself, I've got way too much other stuff to do to try and cut my 3-5 cords of winters firewood using hand tools only.  I would never get anything else done.  To me the trade off of speed and less wear and tear on my aging body is worth the noise of the chainsaw.  Can it be done?  Certainly as that's how it was done until the early-mid 20th century.  Do I want to do it manually only?  No way.  I do enjoy cutting one or two the old way occasionally, but I thank God for the modern convenience of Stihl chainsaws.
 
pollinator
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Anybody  who uses hand saws regular sharpens them regular - or knows somebody who does. At least I sure hope they  do, for their sake!

Rufus
 
Travis Johnson
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When I used to do woodworking, I went backwards. I started out using power tools, and then as I got better and better, started giving up more and more machines. Granted I am a minimalist by nature, but I found using hand tools just more relaxing, and slower paced, and with that came more control and much, much better work.

Before I got sick, I actually thought there might be a market for hand cut wood. You see this all the time, woodworking furnature that says "hand tool only", but when you pry, you find out that it is not the case at all. At some point the tree was felled, hauled out, and sawn into boards by some form of power tool. Woodworkers are not going to have the time to do this, but a homesteader or landowner with a woodlot could get a lot of value-added money from their wood by doing this work. In that way, they sell it to a woodworker who does only hand tool work, and so from stump to living room, the furnature is all hand-done. There are consumers who would pay for that.
 
Dan Sawyer
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The most efficient way to process firewood with a hand saw is to have two sawyers using a properly filed crosscut saw that's long enough to let them to take a full stroke (~6') and to buck up the wood when it's still green. Going it alone with a small dull saw in seasoned dry hardwood is torture at best and a slow way to fill the woodbox.
 
pioneer
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Add me to the list of people in favor of the electric chainsaw.  I use mine almost exclusively now.  No stink of exhaust,  no trouble starting,  no gas/ oil mix to be kept around. The electric saw is much quieter and less obnoxious.  If i need to cut down a larger tree,  or need to cut all day,  I'll get out the Stihl. Otherwise,  the Ego electric is the way to go.
 
Dan Sawyer
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I believe that electric chainsaws are the future for most homeowner uses. Note that unlike gas powered chainsaws though, the high torque motors in the latest battery-powered saws may not be stopped by today's chaps. The USFS has warned about this issue and is conducting safety tests on various chap/saw combinations.
 
pollinator
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I have a battery electric saw and love it. I get a good 30 minutes of cutting time from it, and can process pretty big jobs with a single charge. It is lighter, has less vibration and quiet enough to use in the garden without disturbing neighbours.
 
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Phil Stevens wrote:John - I cut lots of fuelwood around my place with a Silky hand saw. It sees year-round use for pruning, thinning, clearing deadfall, and general tree care. Pretty much everything the size of my arm and smaller gets cut by hand, and larger stuff is usually a coin toss until it reaches thigh diameter. That's when the chainsaw wins.



I second Phil's suggestion of the Silky saw. Just bought a Kantanaboy 500 recently. Amazing performance. Takes a bit to learn the technique since it is a pull saw and only cut on the pull stroke.
 
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