I think it it a good time to blog about pruning saws having recently had my sun glasses knocked off my head by a protruding eye-level branch. I have been carrying one for the past three or four years to lop off offending branches and clear encroaching alder as my contribution to the maintenance of both official and unofficial trails.
If you are going to carry and use a pruning saw regularly it has to be in your pocket rather than in your pack, so has to be lightweight and ergonomically shaped when folded. The one I have weighs 200 g, is 9″ (23 cm) long when folded and has an 18 cm blade. Here are some of the things to look for in a folding pruning saw:
- The blade should lock in place in both the open and closed position.
- The blade should be stiff enough it doesn’t buckle in use.
- The teeth should be coarse set to cut green wood.
- Blades vary from 16 to 22 cm. The longer the blade the thicker branches you can cut—in theory. A lot depends on how the teeth are set.
- Many pruning saws cut on the backstroke, a few cut on both push and pull. If you anticipate cutting larger branches go for a saw that cuts both ways. With my pull-only saw I can lop off half-inch diameter branches with one swift pull.
- The handle should feel comfortable in you hand when the saw is extended and the saw should slide easily into your pocket when folded.
Available locally are:
- Bahco Laplander Folding Saw – 20 cm blade, 180 g, MEC $29.50
- Gerber Sliding Wood Saw – 16.5 cm blade, 145 g, MEC $10
- Gerber Folding Sport Saw – 16 cm blade, 190 g, Canadian Tire, $24.99
- Coghlan’s Sierra Folding Saw – 18 cm blade, 155 g, Canadian Tire, $21.99
- Aluminum Folding Saw – 22.8 cm blade, Lee Valley, $28.50
- Compact Pruning Saw – 18 cm blade, Lee Valley, $17.50