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Old 02-23-2010, 11:20 AM
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Varmit Varmit is offline
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Default Bow Saws Versus Cross Cut Saws



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There's a current thread in the DIY forum on hand tools to have as preps,
but it seems more focused on shop tools, so I didn't want to thread-jack
that discussion. I'll start this new one:

Anyone got any opinions on Bow Saws versus the older style cross cut saws?

Bow Saw:

One-Man Cross Cut Saw:
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...sscut-Saw.aspx

I know, tough to beat a gas powered chain saw, but in the realm of hand
powered tools, are the Cross Cut Saws obsolete technology, or do they
still have their uses?

They're sure a heck of a lot more expensive than a bow saw. $6 to $15
for a bow saw, and $2 to $3 for replacement blades. $75 for a one-man
cross cut saw.

The bow saw blades come rippin'-sharp, and if you jack up a blade, toss
it and snap in a replacement. I'm not entirely clear if the cross cut saws
even come sharpened. That seems to be a bit of an art-form in itself.
I've done some reading on it, but "reading" doesn't always translate well into "doing".

I do notice that my bow saw cuts tend to always curve off to the right
as I cut downward. Try to make too deep of a cut and I'm almost down
to cutting sideways. No doubt poor technique on my part, but I haven't
yet figured out what I'm doing wrong. Increasing the tension on the bow
saw blade seems to help, but not entirely solve, the problem. The taller
blade of the cross cut saw would dramatically reduce that issue.

From the looks and cost, it appears that a cross cut saw is a sturdy,
well built tool. The bow saws are generally cheap imported junk.
(But cheap lets you buy a few spares without breaking the bank.)

What say you? Are the bow saws and some spare blades good enough for
some basic lumber cutting if I can't get gas for my chain saw, or is a
cross cut saw also a recommened investment for long-term SHTF?

(Currently armed with two 24" bow saws and 6 replacement blades.
Considering the addition of a cross cut saw, depending on your feedback.)
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:29 AM
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Get a good, not made in china crosscut saw, and a small asst of file which fit the blade. Believe it or not, they aren't all the same. Learn to sharpen it and use it and you will love it
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:44 AM
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I have both, but I personally prefer bow saws. I have one that folds up and has multiple blades in it (metal, wood, lumber).
A good cross cut saw provides cleaner cuts, and many times faster cuts, not to mention durability. They can also be sharpened over and over again for a time when blades are not readily available.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:48 AM
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There is a possibility that your blade was poorly sharpened from the factory. An improper lead edge on the teeth can make a saw turn like that.

I have both, and the both have their uses, though I tend towards the cross cut, as the bowsaw is too easily tweaked. About six months ago, my friend and I felled, limbed and shaved a dozen 24 foot lodge poles from 30-40 foot doug firs. We were dedicated to using NO power tools, and the hatchet and cross cut were left doing all the work after the bow saw's nut stripped leaving us with a limp noodle piece of metal.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:13 PM
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Default I got my stuff from here.

http://www.crosscutsaw.com/
They sell all the tools to maintain them too. Very low-tec web site, but they are fairly old school. Out here in the wild wild west there are times when you can only go in the woods and cut/log with stuff like this.

Here is another link to a different place, but I don't know about their quality or have any expirence with their products.
http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com...p/cPath/36_306
They weren't around? Who knows.
Ordered their catalog, they are in Richardson TX. Do Texans know about logging or cutting wood? Better ask Kev.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenixdadeadhead View Post
A good cross cut saw provides cleaner cuts, and many times faster cuts, not to mention durability.
When you maintain them and with a little practice you'll be way faster than a chain saw. They are easier to maintain than a chain saw as well. Oh they work with out gas too, no more mixing! Show up to the woods with your old truck, flannel, and corks, and these bad boys and they will know your a real bad a$$ logger and way old school to boot! Heck you can probably get there later and leave earlier with the same cordage as the guys with the power saws!
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:17 AM
PrincessKraken PrincessKraken is offline
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The best saw is a Japanese Saw.


Instead of cutting on the push it cuts on the pull making an extremely accurate cut, in very short time. Without using 1/2 as much energy, the saw literally cuts the wood for you.

Plus most are double sided either with 2 different sets of teeth, or the same set of teeth depending on what you want out of it.
Old 02-24-2010, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmit View Post
Anyone got any opinions on Bow Saws versus the older style cross cut saws?
(Currently armed with two 24" bow saws and 6 replacement blades.
Considering the addition of a cross cut saw, depending on your feedback.)
Both would be and is, my choice.

Antique shops are a great resource for crosscut saws, I got a 36" with "champion" style teeth that looked unused for $40. It cuts very well. I would hate to have to cut a 24" oak log with a bow saw, though it can be done the crosscut does it much easier.

There are also alternatives for the bow saw blades. There are many how-to posts on creating a saw with wood, in the woods. From very elegant saws http://userdata.acd.net/chesbrog/bowsaw/bowsaw.htm to rough made on demand saws http://www.instructables.com/id/How-...able-Buck-Saw/

Get more "disposable" blades for your collection. When I get non-powered hand tools I try to get unough supplies/accessories/consumables for a lifetime of use.

Good Post
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessKraken View Post
The best saw is a Japanese Saw.

Amazon.com: Shark Corp 10-2440 Fine Cut Saw: Home Improvement

Instead of cutting on the push it cuts on the pull making an extremely accurate cut, in very short time. Without using 1/2 as much energy, the saw literally cuts the wood for you.

Plus most are double sided either with 2 different sets of teeth, or the same set of teeth depending on what you want out of it.
These are awesome for finish work and the design is better than a traditional "back" saw.
This design also comes JUMBO size for the big jobs.
http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com...oducts_id/3541
Old 02-24-2010, 03:24 PM
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Cross Cut saws tend to bend while sawing. Especially as they get warmer.

Bow saws don't and I think they are easier to control but they can limit you on the thickness of what you are cutting.

So, it would be best to have both.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmit View Post

snip

I do notice that my bow saw cuts tend to always curve off to the right
as I cut downward. Try to make too deep of a cut and I'm almost down
to cutting sideways. No doubt poor technique on my part, but I haven't
yet figured out what I'm doing wrong. Increasing the tension on the bow
saw blade seems to help, but not entirely solve, the problem. The taller
blade of the cross cut saw would dramatically reduce that issue.
Sounds like a problem with either the set or sharness of the blade or, as you mentioned, your technique.

Let the saw do the cutting, push it out as oppossed to down; don't force it.

This happens to me when my blade gets dull, like part way down the middle of a pig when butchering.

As mentioned above: junk/antique shops yeild better quality tools at a cheaper price than the Chinese stuff the hardware store.

Don't forget the garage sales either.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:14 PM
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Just a tiny word here to add. If your having the saw bind or "bend" while felling . use a plastic wedge and the back of an axe. Also ya might slow down the pace a bit and allow the blade to cool. Believe it or not , if your working at a fair pace the amount of heat is amazing. Not that the blade has expanded, but the wood and water is reacting. Esp with hard woods.
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:08 PM
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What good is a saw 3 years from SHTF and you can't get blades for it no more.

Spend the money on the better tool ... and learn to sharpen it.

When SHTF and after ... the man who can fix shoes ... and correctly sharpen stuff ... will be a VERY valuable man indeed.

oddshot
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:17 PM
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Awesome thread, keep it coming
Old 03-04-2010, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
Cross Cut saws tend to bend while sawing. Especially as they get warmer.

Bow saws don't and I think they are easier to control but they can limit you on the thickness of what you are cutting.

So, it would be best to have both.
It's all about knowledge and practice.

It's important to master good technique with any saw you have. A good saw isn't going to get bent with an experienced cutter.

Here's a good intro to cross cut saws: http://www.pcta.org/pdf/STUCHAP4_web.pdf
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beefalumpalo View Post
It's all about knowledge and practice.

It's important to master good technique with any saw you have. A good saw isn't going to get bent with an experienced cutter.

Here's a good intro to cross cut saws: http://www.pcta.org/pdf/STUCHAP4_web.pdf
I agree with you but practicing my sawing technique isn't exactly at the top of my survival list. Thanks for the video, maybe I can still learn a few things before I need it.
Old 01-03-2014, 01:54 PM
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Default Bow Saw vs. Cross Cut Saw

Up to the time my sons went off to college, 1979, we cut all our firewood with a 2-man cross cut. Without them it was difficult for one guy to use the 2-man, so I went to a noisy, smoky, vibrating thing called a chain saw. After using it for a couple years it became emergency use only and a got a bow saw. It was handy for small stuff but I needed something bigger. I now have four bow saws, each bigger than the last and have started looking for a one-man cross cut. I know, from the old two-man cross cut, it is not hard to sharpen or set the teeth. Look at the angle of the tooth and follow it with a 3 corner file (triangle file). You actually sharpen one side of two different teeth at the same time. A friend of mine said he had 10 gallons of chain saw gas set back for when the SHTF. I ask him what will happen if it goes stale before you use it? He is now looking for a one-man cross cut.
In my mind the cross cut is the only way to go. They cut fast & the blade is wide enough to keep the cut straight. If you get into a tree with a lot of sap, like pine, get a gallon can with some diesel in it & a paint brush. Brush a little on each side of the blade and keep cutting. I personally stay away from pine except as an emergency fire starter. It gets soot all over your cooking gear and burns to fast for a good heating fire.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:11 PM
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My father was a farmer, and being practical, crosscut saws, axes, mauls and wedges were
"charactor builders" I have a big selection of both, and some of the japanese saws above
for woodworking. A sawset, a saw vise, and proper files are part of the package. You clean
and maintain your guns, right? Handtools are no different. That is why a 75 year old brace
and bit works like it was made yesterday. I use a bar of soap as lube on my sawblades. I rub
woodscrews like this too when I am working in hardwood. Learning to do stuff by hand means
that you can always do it. It is harder, and it takes more time, but it still gets done...

Old 01-03-2014, 02:58 PM
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google "how to sharpen a crosscut saw"

The 4 one down is a link to a pdf from the forest service. by w. miller 1977
http://www.fs.fed.us/eng/pubs/pdfpub...i72.pdf‎ this is below the link in google that actually works.

How to sharpen a crosscut saw. Once you run a properly pointed, sharpened and set you will understand how much less work is required to cut. Well worth the effort to obtain the proper tools to keep the saw running smooth.
Old 01-03-2014, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemeyer007 View Post
http://www.fs.fed.us/eng/pubs/pdfpub...i72.pdf‎

How to sharpen a crosscut saw. Once you run a properly pointed, sharpened and set you will understand how much less work is required to cut. Well worth the effort to obtain the proper tools to keep the saw running smooth.
Check out the video in the link I posted, Charlie!! You will love the guy setting
teeth and sharpening up this old beater of a crosscut... anal isn't even close!!
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