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Thread: crosscut saws

  1. #1
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    Default crosscut saws

    I'm interested in buying a one-man crosscut saw to use for firewood, so I'm not spending money on gasoline to save money on firewood.

    Does anyone know of a source for good saws in AK, Anchorage if possible? I'd prefer a new one, but if anyone knows a place that sells old ones that are in usable shape, that'd work too.

    Ideally, I'd like to buy both a one and a two man saw eventually. I'm looking for regular teeth, but tuttle would work too.

  2. #2

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    Not to hijack your thread, but speaking of cross cut saws, how realistic is it to down enough trees for a small cabin with only a cross cut saw and a few sharp axes? Anyone ever done it? I've cut down plenty of trees with saws and axes, and I can get through a 6-8 in spruce in about 15 minutes, just trying to figure the man hours involved when you do that for 50 trees?

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Man thats a rough way to go army, and bob. I guess I wore myself out on those things when I was a kid. However if you call Samson Hardware in Fairbanks you might find one, they carry all the old stuff. Good luck

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    Thanks for the tip, Rock Skipper. I'll give them a ring.

    Bobble head, at 4 trees an hour, theoretically you could cut all of your trees in about 14 hours, but if you can cut trees by hand for 14 hours, you're way more of a man than me. I'd spread it out and work on other, less strenuous projects in between. Eight hours cutting trees with a chainsaw kicks my butt, so personally, I'd plan for at least a week with saw and axe.

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    Try "The Crosscut Saw Company". I don't know if they have an online store, but think they have a website. You have to order their catalog to buy stuff I think.

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    I have burned a grand total of 2 gallons of gas and cut 7 cords of wood so far this year. A good cross cut saw is going to set you back over $150 plus shipping. That's a lot of gas. www.crosscutsaw.com I admire anyone that has the wherewithal to do it by hand.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I remember when I was a kid. We got to alaska in 64 and were flat broke. Dad brought along on the trip all the old tools that he bought from farm auctions, and that was what we had to use, weather it was a crosscut,( one and two man, or us boys as it was then at that time ) hand drills, hand saws, you get the picture. I think back on those days and start daydreaming. It gives you a peace of mind that you don't see too often these days. I say if you got the will power to use these tools, go for it. I can tell you that you're going to be in pretty good shape by the time you're done. Good luck E.S.

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    I think I will spread it over a week, maybe do some berry picking and glassing for bears in between. I'm still fairly young and in good shape so I'd like to try it while I can.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I think you'll find a good cross cut saw will cost as much as a good used chainsaw. It was a few years ago, but I picked up a huskvarna 181 for $160 from a pawn shop in Wasilla, sticker said $200 and I asked what the least they'd take was, $160. There were smaller saws that could be had for about $100. Just stick with a good brand like husky or stihl if getting an older saw.

    Even with the 81cc engine, you have to do alot of cutting to go through a gallon of gas. To me the big fuel expense is driving to get firewood, not fuel for the saw. You find good deals for spare chains on e-bay.

    I like traditional tools, and split my wood with a maul. But no way would I cut with a crosscut saw.

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    Default good luck with that

    I have to second what Paul said. I cut 18 cords of wood this year to fill up my new wood shed. The amount of gas I used in my chainsaw was so minimal its not even worth consideration. I also split my wood with a maul, and I enjoy it. Trying to cut your year's worth of wood with a crosscut saw, though, is a whole other level of dedication. If you think you're up for it, give it a try. It might be cool to be able to say you did it, but I bet you won't do it a second time. If you're patient, you can probably find a decent old saw at a garage sale. You see them every once in awhile. Most probably haven't been used in 50 years or more, but with a little TLC you could get them in usable shape again.

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    Default good advice

    I'll take the voices of experience at their word. I'm going to keep looking for a decent used saw around town, but I'm going to have a chainsaw as backup!
    I was hoping to get some good exercise out of the crosscut saw, but I can appreciate the practicality of using the gas-powered saw to actually put away some firewood for winter.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Trust me, you'll get plenty of excercise with a chain saw! You still have to limb the trees, (use an ax or gerber brush cutter), and then you have to move the logs onto your truck, then move them off, then split them, and stack them. I find it easier to leave the trunks in 8' sections, and cut them into logs at home.

    The actual cutting is a small part of turning trees into firewood.

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    Default Buy a Chainsaw

    I have used a cross-cut for fitness and it has helped me become 5 time Masters Shotput champ of the NWT. For doing real work though even a small chainsaw allows you to do 5-10x the work. Also a big Swede saw will cut more efficiently than a cross-cut for any normal sized wood.

    This is my favourite cross-cut it's Swedish from a surplus store. Wish I'd bought two!


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    Default cross cut saws vs Buck saw

    Better than a crosscut would be a buck saw, I have used both,( my father had sons that he needed to keep out of trouble).
    A good buck saw will be easier to use and produce more wood in a day than a crosscut. I am not talking about a little one but what was referred as a pulp saw, between 3-4 ft long with a steel frame about 18 inches deep. To maintain, a good 3 cornered file, saw set and a can of diesel and a rag to keep the blade from gumming up. Cutting up fire wood or cabin logs should not be to unreasonable, if you pace yourself and have the time.
    My great uncle used to figure on 5 cords of wood per man a day cut down limbed, yarded with a horse and and piled 4 footed for the pulpmills, that using both a ax and a bucksaw, cutting spruce and fir. For comparison, using chainsaws and cable skidders 10 cord per man a day is figured, we are cutting smaller wood, and yarding it father, which makes for more work, hrs per cord.
    Crosscuts were used for cutting larger trees over 2ft on the stump, most working cross cuts were set up to turn the handles for falling trees, most new saws are not this way, but designed for logging events sawing wood on horses, and not falling trees.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    (My father had sons he needed to keep out of trouble)
    I can relate. Oh the good ol days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by birchhillcamps View Post
    My great uncle used to figure on 5 cords of wood per man a day cut down limbed, yarded with a horse and and piled 4 footed for the pulpmills, that using both a ax and a bucksaw, cutting spruce and fir. For comparison, using chainsaws and cable skidders 10 cord per man a day is figured, we are cutting smaller wood, and yarding it father, which makes for more work, hrs per cord.
    Crosscuts were used for cutting larger trees over 2ft on the stump, most working cross cuts were set up to turn the handles for falling trees, most new saws are not this way, but designed for logging events sawing wood on horses, and not falling trees.
    Man..to do 5 chords per person per day by hand would require a pretty hard man. I am tired just thinking about it.

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    the key to it was having good sharp tools to work with, IMO it is very hard to buy a good chopping ax today, some of the double bitted ones are ok and snow and neally makes a few single bitted axes. I not sure who makes a good buck saw, I know it is about impossible to buy a blade with rakers in it today for a 3ft or longer blade. Their are quite a few used saws both crosscuts and buck saws around here but the get quite a bit for the crosscuts because they paint them up for decorations.
    It really wasn't that long ago that they were still using axes and bucksaws here in the woods, middle 60's I would guess, chainsaws were very heavy and not very dependable, and when you were 100 miles from the shop and broke down, it did not make much sense.
    For cutting up wood many places had a buzsaw, round circular blade run by a motor, I seen where they had them set up to cut 16 ft pieces into 4 ft wood, and they were pretty common around farms for cutting 4 foot wood into stove wood.

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    Bobblehead -

    I've actually done what you asked about. In the late 90's my dad and brothers and I handlogged enough trees with a crosscut saw and ax to build a small bunkhouse. My two brothers and I were teenagers at the time and had plenty of energy to burn. With two people and sharp tools we could fall, limb, and buck a tree in about 30 min. However, when you throw in scouting for straight trees, sharpening, skidding (we used a snowmachine), etc. we were only good for about 3-4 trees a day. Took us two winters and probably about about 3+ weeks of work. If all the trees would have been in one stand and near the cabin location, it would have gone quite a bit faster, but that's rarely the case with cabin grade logs in the high country. Cutting them is the easy part, finding and moving them takes serious time and work.

    For the record, when we actually built the cabin, we used a chainsaw.

    armyjim-

    The last crosscut saw we bought was from lehmans.com and it's pretty decent. They sell both US and German made one man saws and the one my brother got was the US one I believe. However, the best ones are the older saws. Our favorite two man felling saw was a swedish army saw bought at a army surplus store. A very good tool.

    Yk

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    Default 42" bowsaw/swede saw

    A simple bowsaw and some extra blades is very cheap and very efficient, especially if you build a sawhorse to put the lengths on to cut into stove-size pieces.

    Used bowsaws for a long time, built cabins with them etc. It's all about how much time you want to put into it. It's all I carry in winter too at tent camp, though I use a smaller 30" bowsaw. You can't really sharpen the blades, but you can bend the teeth back out with a pair of needle-nosed pliers which gets them "sharp" again.

    Your older crosscut saw like in the pic North61 posted is not nearly as efficient imo as a cheaper bowsaw. A 42" bowsaw can also be used by two people on either end. Only downside to a bowsaw is when the wood is thicker than the bowsaw, but with a 42" bowsaw that doesn't happen very often.

    I use a chainsaw now for winter firewood, but in summer and at winter tent camp all we use is a bowsaw. Not just for gas reasons...just lighter, quieter, etc. Definitely more time-consuming though.

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    Even I want to go primative but I'm not going to be using a crosscut. The gas a chain saw uses is very little compared to the work you will put into axe and crosscut work.

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