Thursday, September 1, 2016
I HAD NEVER HAVE owned a folding saw except, perhaps, a very small one which is hinged along with other micro function tools in my Victorinox Trailmaster. I used it many times in my bushcraft camps and on dayhikes. It had cut through dry and green wood as thick as 3.5 inches, as well as on tough bamboos. It had accomplished its work quite well in a tropical environment and it gave me total satisfaction to own such dependable piece of equipment.
However, my folding saw looks so puny when ranged against larger wood like thicker poles and tree trunks although it is the best of its kind when you talk about multi-tool sets. What could a slender saw that is 11 mm at its widest and 88 mm in length do on thicker wood even if it has a skillful owner? The answer to that, my friend, is you get a bigger one.
For this occasion, I would use my Victorinox Trailmaster for size comparison and as a benchmark only for the cutting jobs that may be undertaken by some of the bigger pocket saws available in the market. Not all are folding saws but, just the same, these are lighter and portable than conventional ones and all can cut wood or flesh if you are careless.
NOTE: Measurements in length, width and thickness were taken with a standard Orion transparent plastic ruler. Thickness are deemed as estimates only since only a Vernier caliper could accomplish such accurate measurements. Weight measurements were done with a small made-in-China spring-loaded gravity weighing scale and are also deemed as estimates only except where it is not indicated.
Primary material for cutting work would be green and dry bamboos, a member of the grass family that is not available on temperate areas where these saws originate or was designed from. These bamboos are of the thorny variety (Local name: kagingkingon) which are known for its hardness. The green one is designated as JOB #2, is about 2.75 inches in diameter and about 0.5 inch thick. Meanwhile, the dry one is about 3.5 inches in diameter and about 0.45 inch thick. This will be JOB #3.
Another material that may make or break its will on the saws would be a hardy star-apple tree trunk (kaimito). It is a misunderstood wood that is exceptionally hard yet it is surprising that it had not been utilized as material for furniture and tool handles. Quite knobby and almost lacking in grains, it will be the proving ground for the pocket saws. The trunk is about 5 inches thick and might be 5.25 inches on some places where there are knobs. This is assigned as JOB #4.
One wood material that is included is a straight branch of a Mexican lilac tree (madre de cacao, kakawate). I selected a green one and its main purpose is for the speed test: How quick can each saw cut green wood? The branch is about 1.88 inches thick and is designated as JOB #1. All of these items are foraged from the ground. Meaning, all are left unused and scattered by local farmers after being cut some days ago.
THE DATE, PLACE AND WEATHER
The field tests were held on June 16, 2016, along a bank of the Sapangdaku Creek, in the mountain village of Sapangdaku, Cebu City, Philippines. Weather was fine with cloudy skies and a bit of shower in the morning. The rest of the day was warm and humid.
HOW THEY FARED?
JOB #1: It took the Victorinox Trailmaster 50 seconds to cut the upper end; the Greenfield 43 seconds; the Creston PSW-508 in 11 seconds; the Stanley AccuScape Pro in 8 seconds; the Opinel No. 12 also in 8 seconds; the Gerber Slide Saw at 18 seconds; the Bahco Laplander in 9 seconds; the Sven-Saw 15UL-3 in 8 seconds; and the UST Sabercut in a whirlwind of 7 seconds.
Although the UST Sabercut cut it quickly in 7 seconds, it left a lot of things to be desired. For one, it resulted to an ugly and brutish look on where the wood was cut. On the other hand, the Stanley AccuScape Pro and the Opinel No. 12, which both made it in 8 seconds, made very clean cuts. The Sven-Saw 15UL-3 also made it in 8 seconds but it was not good to look at. Maybe I was using the wrong blade but since there was only one available, the result reflects its character.
JOB #2: The Victorinox Trailmaster cut a slice of the bamboo in 94 seconds; the Greenfield at 110 seconds; the Creston PSW-508 in 11 seconds; the Stanley AccuScape Pro in a very fast 7 seconds; the Opinel No. 12 in 11 seconds; the Gerber Slide Saw at 24 seconds; the Bahco Laplander in 17 seconds; the Sven-Saw 15UL-3 also in 17 seconds; while the UST Sabercut failed to cut it after getting stuck and going over the 120-second limit.
The Stanley AccuScape Pro made a very outstanding display of cutting virtuosity at 7 seconds. Slower at 11 seconds yet showing smooth finishes, the Opinel No. 12 and Creston PSW-508 made good marks here as also rans.
JOB #3: Another slice fell off after 115 seconds courtesy of the Victorinox Trailmaster; the Greenfield in a slow 145 seconds; the Creston PSW-508 in 16 seconds; the Stanley AccuScape Pro in another searing 12 seconds; the Opinel No. 12 at 18 seconds; the Gerber Slide Saw at 52 seconds; the Bahco Laplander in 25 seconds; the Sven-Saw 15UL-3 in 26 seconds; while the UST Sabercut failed again to cut it after a time limit of 3 minutes.
The Stanley AccuScape Pro showed consistent results by leading the pack here at 12 seconds. Not to be outdone, the Creston PSW-508 came in at 16 seconds while the Opinel No. 12 breathing close at third at 18 seconds. All made smooth finish on the surfaces.
JOB #4: The Sven-Saw 15UL-3 opened up the last test by cutting the endmost inside of 110 seconds; the Bahco Laplander followed at 165 seconds; the Gerber Slide Saw failed to make the time limit of 300 seconds or 5 minutes; the Opinel No. 12 almost made it but succumbed to time; the Stanley AccuScape Pro produced the day’s best of 100 seconds; the Creston PSW-508 in 216 seconds; and the UST Sabercut failed to make the cut. Likewise, the Greenfield. The Victorinox Trailmaster was not up for this last job since it was just a “guest”.
No doubt about it, the Stanley AccuScape Pro snagged the day’s best here at 100 seconds or a minute and 40 seconds. The Sven-Saw 15UL-3 came in second but it was a far second if you consider the manner of finish on the surfaces it cut. The Bahco Laplander finally made a good account of itself here by making it in 165 seconds while the Creston PSW-508 completed the cast of the only saws who made it in under 5 minutes by cutting through in 216 seconds.
For those that did not made it, the Opinel No. 12 would have cut the trunk if it would have been given 30 seconds more of overtime. Its 124 mm blade length proved to be its undoing but if given the chance to work from its No. 18 big brother, I am sure it would have given the leader a worthy competitor. It had progressed around 90-95% of the job when the 300-second mark came.
The UST Sabercut made some 85-90% progress until it got snagged but it was ugly work. The Gerber Slide Saw crossed the lane for about 40-45% when time expired. The Greenfield did at about 10-15% of work when it was time to drop the mop. There was no timer used. I relied on the second hand of my quartz wristwatch and therefore not accurate but who needs accuracy when you are not in the Olympics? For the speed test, special attention was needed, repeating when I needed to, and I believed I have given justice to all.
Obviously, the Stanley AccuScape Pro came out the winner here. It is designed for any type of cutting work regardless of what material you throw at its teeth at any angle. (Yes, the sawblade can be shifted to a desired angle.) Besides that it is around 178 grams in weight, which is just about okay, and has a respectable blade length of 186 mm to ensure good cutting progress. The handle material is a combination of plastic and rubber, wide at its south end to check slippage. The only drawback is the location of its lock. It is susceptible to being accidentally pressed when in the middle of an intense workout.
The Opinel No. 12 could give the Stanley AccuScape Pro a run for its money if it were only longer in blade length. It is the lightest of them all at an estimated weight of 100 grams owing to the construction of the handle which is made of beech wood that is flared at the endmost to counter slippage. It also has the safest lock design. I would recommend the Opinel No. 12 for outdoor trips and where such cutting work is not that much. If you insist so for hard cutting, try the longer Opinel No. 18.
The Sven-Saw 15UL-3 is supposed to have a set of three different sawblades. For this occasion, I used only one kind. It was perfect on Job #1 and Job #2 but on a dry bamboo, it was not up to it. Barely. On the star-apple trunk, it cut its way almost easily until resistance begins to be felt. The good thing about a framed saw is you can apply weight and pressure on the cutting work and it gets the job done until the blade begins to shake. Ooops! The wing nut got loosened. I believe, this saw could have been flexible if you use the right blade for a certain job. This is good for heavy work, especially on an extended time frame in one place because you will be packing around 245 grams of weight.
I know that the Bahco Laplander is something you desire but when you are up to it, especially in the middle of something where you need the cutting teeth most, that is when you begin to realize that it is not what you really desire. On the first three tests, it did not belong to the top-tier finishers but on the last job, it gave a good account of itself but, just the same, it was not a smooth cut. I gave it two pluses instead owing to its excellent design and look and a very secure lock built on the side for a good feel.
The Universal Survival Technologies Sabercut is a good equipment which would need not less than two people to make good progress. I found out that it cuts better with green limbs in a somewhat brutish manner. Using this by only one person demands an equally brutish strength but very strenuous just the same. When cutting wood or something by yourself especially if its done propped on the ground, special care must be observed on one foot pressed on the material as the sawing action tend to be impulsive and violent when it gets jammed. You need to think it over many times if you really want to acquire this.
I thought it at first that the Creston PSW-508 was a Stanley-inspired product but I beg to disagree. It has the same locking mechanism design as that of the Stanley AccuScape Pro and it stayed breathing down its neck on the first three tests as the sawtooth design is almost similar. But, like I said, the last test would be the proving ground and would separate men from the boys. The Creston PSW-508 did make it but it was a far placing than what it did for the first three tests. Just the same, it is a good pocket saw deserving a second look.
Brand reputation endorsed by survival TV celebrities make this Gerber Camp Sliding Saw a force to reckon with, or should we say, a force to wring out of. At first impression, by its slide design instead of the swivel joint, it would make the owner happy and worth the money acquiring it. For the first three tests, it stayed just ahead of the doormat and on the proving ground it miserably failed. Not worth the money.
What about the Greenfield? Do not ever think about it. It is absolutely crap!
Document done in LibreOffice 5.1