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Hand saw

Hand saws are among the most common tool we use to cut invasives when they are too big or difficult to remove via hand-pulling or extractor tool.

Most of the saws we use are crosscuts that cut on the pull. They are extremely sharp and designed to tear through wood. They will tear through your skin even when they are dull. So be very, very careful when using a saw.

Usage Tips
  • Let the saw do as much of the work as possible: take long, slow strokes, using the full length of the blade, applying just enough pressure for the teeth to engage and cut.
  • Buy a saw with a replaceable blade.
  • If your saw is sharp, it should move smoothly and quickly through the wood. If the teeth of the saw are not catching into the wood, you should replace the blade (or notify your
    group leader and ask for a different saw).
  • Cut as horizontally as you can and as low to the ground as you can. This will allow the herbicide to have maximum impact.
  • Do not lift or twist the blade as you pull it. It needs to stay parallel to the cut in the wood or it will bind.
  • If the blade binds, look at the wood you are cutting. Is it leaning towards the side you are cutting from? Then it is pressing on the blade and making it harder to pull. Either remove pressure by pulling the trunk in the direction away from the blade, or move your blade around so you are cutting on the other side.
  • Is the tree standing free, or is it held in place by another tree or vine? In other words, when you cut through the tree will it "snap" and possibly hit you in the face? If so,
    be very careful when you are almost through, and then position yourself (or secure the tree)
    so that you will not be injured.
  • Slow down when you have almost cut all the way through. We tend to hurry up (been sawing for a while, getting tired, want to be done with this one) and saw harder, but then the saw blade can clear suddenly and bang against your leg or arm. Not good. So slow down when you get to the last bit and ease the saw blade through.
  • Note that saws can bind with vines like wisteria and bittersweet in precisely the opposite way from trees. Because they hang "loose", it might be leaning to the left but up higher pulls back to the right. So you might want to cut on the same side it is leaning.
More Information
Recommendation for Occasional Use

If you are only going to be doing some occasional sawing, then you probably will find it difficult to justify spending $100 and up on a top-quality saw (though if you can afford it, go for it!).

There are many options for less expensive (but usually less efficient) saws. I suggest you visit Forestry Suppliers (link below) and take a look around.

I've been impressed by EZ Kut saws, and also the Fanno saws (I really like their wooden handles).

You might also want to consider a folding saw, as they are easy to carry around and can still handle substantial branches or trunks. In which case, I'd check out the Silky folding saws.

Recommendation for Intensive Use

If you plan to be cutting lots of trees with a handsaw, and you have the funds, then I strongly recommend you invest in a top-quality saw with a replaceable blade.

My overall favorite is the Ibuki 390 saw from Silky. Silky, a Japanese company, makes some of the finest arborist saws you can buy.

I've been using the Ibuki 390 since 2011. When it's got a brand new blade, it can cut big trees almost as fast a chainsaw. It's got a super comfortable grip.

And if you plan to take down some really big trees, and don't want to hassle with a chainsaw, you really must check out the Silky Katanaboy saws!