5 Best Bushcraft Saws
For years we have been using silky saws in the field and they have performed exceptionally well. So this list will heavy on the silkies, but we will cover some other saws as well. There is a ton of different saws out there on the market to choose from, the options can be overwhelming to a newbie. So we have tried everything out there and narrowed it down to a handful of saws for you that will work best for bushcrafters and outdoorsman. All of this equipment has been in use by SIGMA 3 Survival Instructors for years, since it is one of the single most important survival tools we bring to work. Our day job consists of showing up in the woods with a knife, saw, axe, and nothing else. That is what we teach with for most classes, so we use them a LOT!
What to look for?
Folding saws are the best option. Pack-ability is always a concern when carrying woodworking tools. You can only carry so much and you want it to be lightweight, durable, and very efficient at cutting small to medium-sized logs. As well as being able to take something larger down if need be. You’d be surprised how large of a tree you can take down in a short amount of time with a mid sized saw. Well over 12″ trees are possible and as a survivalist, you really shouldn’t have a need to take anything larger down. But if you do, then plan on carrying an axe. Our favorite axe at the moment is the Hults Bruk Akka Forest Axe. You can take down anything you need with an axe this big, and the head is light enough you can choke up on the handle and do light cutting work.
Why a folding saw over a buck saw?
The problem with bucksaws is that the depth of your saw will determine how large of trees you can cut. Which can be a problem if you’re carrying a big clunky buck saw, and it won’t even cut large logs if needed. They tend to be heavier and much bulkier, which makes them an issue to carry in backpacks. Whereas a folding saw can cut larger logs and will slide right into one of your pockets. The Silky Ultra Accel actually fits perfectly into the upper left cargo pocket of the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants (My favorite outdoor pants of all time).
Some things only a saw can do:
- straight cuts for notching, survival traps, shelter building, and much more
- Faster cutting and less work than axes. It takes about 1/3 the effort to use a saw versus an axe.
- Fit into small pockets.
- Cut quickly in confined areas.
- Strap it to a pole and cut limbs way out of your normal reach.
Why does a survivalist need a saw more than an axe?
People who travel in the woods often, tend to try and do it lightweight. Tool heavy yes, but as light as they can go to get the job done. Why carry a big 3 lb axe if you don’t need it? I primarily carry an axe for winter trips in colder climates and in places you need to chop lots of standing dead wood to burn. Unless I have to process and split a lot of wood, I don’t really need an axe for most 3 season trips. The saw can do anything I need and then some. Plus it fits in your pocket and the only survival tools that matter are the ones you’ll actually carry regularly.
There issues with almost every folding saw on the market. It isn’t designed to necessarily replace an ax, it should be paired with one. Because of the two items, the axe is far more durable, even though it’s not as efficient. I typically carry both and end up using my saw 80% of the time. Remember that your wood working tools are your survival tools, because they can help you construct items for your longer-term survival. Not to mention a fire is pivotal to survive in any environment and you want a few tools at hand to process wood.
Silky Issues- This saw has the hardest steel by far, meaning it holds an edge much much longer. But the harder a steel, the more brittle it is. The only issue people have with silky’s ever is that if you abuse the blade it will break. You have to use it properly and never force it through wood or allow the blade to bind. If done right it will fly through the wood with very little effort on your arms. The silky also has a very wide kerf (thickness at cutting edge), meaning it binds the least of all the saws. This is a professional tree trimming saw and is by far and away the fastest cutter. Just be careful when using the blade so as not to break it. I’ve never personally broken one after years of use, but I have seen it happen.
Corona Issues- This saw has a thinner kerf and will bind a little more than the silky’s. It also has an issue with the bolt loosening and once you lose the bolt, the saw is almost worthless. The blade is also softer so the edge won’t last as long. And it’s more likely to bend than the silky saws. That being said, it’s durable enough that you can straighten bends in the blade. All in all, this a fantastic saw for the money. It was my go to saw before finding the silky ultra accel.
Bahco Issues- This saw is the slowest cutter of all the saws by far. But it is probably the most popular bushcraft saw in the world. Not sure why they are so popular other than the durability of the blade, which is why it made the top 5 list. You can literally bend the bushcraft saw blade at a 90-degree angle, and then bang it out straight with a log. Its an amazingly tough blade, but it has some drawbacks. The kerf on the saw is very thin, meaning the blade binds a lot. It is also a small saw, and can only process small limbs. You can’t cut even half as large of trees with this bushcraft saw, as you can the silky or corona. You also have to be careful the bolt doesn’t fall out on this saw. It has to have loctite added to the threading or it will come loose in the woods and be rendered useless.
Top 5 Bushcraft Saws:
- Silky Ultra Accel (All time favorite saw)
- Silky Pocket Boy (Best Pocket Sized Saw)
- Corona Clipper 10-inch Curved Blade Folding Razor Tooth Saw RS 7265
- Silky Big Boy (Largest bushcraft saw in class)
- Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 7-1/2 -Inch Blade, 7 TPI
Just a couple of good buck saws: