Best Bow Saw For Survival & Other Uses

Whether it’s trimming dead branches, pruning your fruit tree or cutting a Christmas tree or getting woods for survival there is a lot a bow saw can do for you. And I bet you own one or have thought of owning one. If you belong to the latter category of people, then this article is for you.

There are hundreds, nay thousands of bow saw models out there each advertised as the best bow saw around. However, contrary to what advertisers would have you believe not every bow saw is right for you.

Before jumping into the market for your first bow saw or a replacement there a few things you need to know. First is what you need to consider when shopping for a bow saw. Just because a saw looks fancy does not mean it’s worth your time.

On the other hand just because a saw has a low market price does not make it inferior to pricier ones. In simple terms, a well-informed customer is able to figure out which saw is right for them. Towards this end here is a list of six bow saws that you should consider.

But first here is a buyer’s guide to help you know what things to pay close attention to as you shop for your next bow saw.


How To Buy Bow Saw


Bow saws are used as survival tools as well as woodworking. The reason being their versatility. They are probably the most versatile types of saws available. Meaning that one saw might be useful to one person and be inefficient to another.

Here are some of the things you should consider.

The Blades

As with any other cutting instrument, the most important part of a bow saw is the blade. There are two types of blades common in bow saws, raker tooth, and peg tooth blades. Raker tooth blades are ideal for cutting through wet, green wood.

Peg tooth blades are designed for cutting dry wood. The type of blade that will suit you will depend on what you will be doing with the saw. For survivalists who are likely to spend their time outside in the elements, raker tooth blades are suitable.

saw blades

For purely woodworking purposes the peg tooth blades are sufficient. However, while they can cut almost anything for cutting larger trees consider getting the best chainsaw under 200. Also, some woodworking tasks may require the best table saw for a beginner.

Tension adjustment

Bow saws are able to cut through wood efficiently largely due to the tension of the saw. If the saw becomes loose cutting becomes almost impossible. Unfortunately, with time heat and humidity can affect the tension of the saw.

Moreover, the tension of the saw decreases with time and use. To correct this, modern bow saws come fitted with a tension adjuster. This helps you keep your bow saw tight and cutting properly. Thus it is an important feature to consider.

Ergonomics

The bow saw is one of those tools that are operated 100% manually by hand. It can, therefore, get tiresome. Which is why you need to consider the design of the handle. This is the part that will be in contact with your hands.

Modern bow saws are designed to be ergonomic and thus comfortable to use for longer periods. Test the comfort of the handle by holding it in your hand first before buying.

Protective sheath

Even the best professional bow saw is vulnerable to wear and tear as well as to the elements. Furthermore, it is unlikely that you will be using your bow saw 24/7. How you store your saw when not in use will have an impact on its life span.

It is therefore wise to look for bow saws that come with protective sheaths. The sheath protects the blade from the elements when not in use.


Reviews Of The Best Bow Saws


Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw

Camping season is first approaching, and there is no better way to prepare than to get your hands on a nice bow saw. Introducing the BOREAL 21 folding bow saw from Agawa Canyon. A nifty piece of engineering, this folding bow saw is awesome.

21-inch bow saw

When fully folded it measures 21 inches. I love the folding mechanism which snaps the saw open in one motion. No parts to attach or tighten the saw snaps into place when you ratchet the lever the hides the blade when it’s folded.

Top quality construction

One area where this saw truly excels is in its construction. The frame is made of extruded aluminum while the handle is made of nylon. As for the blade it’s made of stainless steel. The nylon handle feels nice to the touch and is weather resistant.

Protective sheath

It becomes a slender stick that can slide into a pack when folded. This combined with the protective sheath it comes with makes it a safe bet for campers. The sheath itself is pretty well made and comes in a number of color variants.

Pros

  • Easily folds into a slender portable stick
  • Comes with a protective sheath
  • You have a variety of blade options to choose from
  • Is made from high-quality materials
  • Weighing about 18 ounces it is very portable

Cons

  • The saw costs almost double the price of a hardware store saw
  • With its hefty price tag, the stock blade needs improving

Verdict

This saw started out as a Kickstarter project before it became available commercially. Obviously, it hasn’t done too badly for itself and its manufacturer. You may have to cough up more than you would for a traditional bow saw, but it's well worth it.


Truper 30255 Steel Handle Bow Saw

While it isn’t as fancy as our number one choice, the Truper 30255 steel handle bow saw is still a worthwhile investment. A handy option for garden use, it comes in three size variants, a 21, 24 and 30 inch.

I own the 21-inch version of this bow, which I use on branches in hard to reach areas. Here is my Truper 30255 bow saw review.

Cam-level tension system

A cam lever tension system keeps the blade nice and tight. There is no need for manual adjustment, which I really love as it leaves very small margins for errors. The blade does not drop in tension.

The blade

Speaking of the blade, the verdict is still out on it. Some have complained of it being flimsy and incapable of cutting wood. However, while it does struggle against larger trunks, for the most part, is useful for cutting branches.

Weather resistant frame

The frame of this saw has a bright orange outer paint. This helps you easily find it when you drop it in the undergrowth. However, its main purpose is to help against rust.

Pros

  • Has a great overall design
  • The tension system does a great job of keeping the blade tight
  • Comes with a knuckle guard on the handle that is appropriately sized
  • The handle feels comfortable
  • Is great for cutting wood

Cons

  • The protective sheath is not all that great
  • The blade is not the strongest out there

Verdict

Sure the Truper 30255 is not without its flaws, but for the most part, it does what it is designed to do. It may struggle to cut larger trunks of dry wood, but there is always the other options. In a nutshell, this is a good saw that will not disappoint.


Bahco 10-24-23 Bow Saw with Ergo Handle

A little costlier than the Truper 302555, the Bahco 10-24-23 Bow saw has some interesting features. However, looking at it you wouldn’t think there is anything special about it. It has the design of a basic bow saw.

Lightweight frame

It is when you look past the basic design that you realize just how special it is. The tubular frame is made from heavy-duty steel. On top, it has a layer of coating that protects it from rust and corrosion.

Ergonomic handle

One of the areas where this saw edges out the competition is in the handling department. It has one of the most ergonomic handles I have ever seen on a bow saw. Black in color, the handle features a knuckle guard that is pretty impressive.

Tensioning mechanism

The tensioning mechanism is another decent feature that puts this saw in a league above some of its competitors. It works really well and helps keep the tension of the blade.

Pros

  • There are both raker tooth and peg tooth replacement blades available
  • Has a pointed nose for reaching hard to access areas
  • Cuts on both push and pull strokes
  • Has a very ergonomic handle design
  • It is long enough for cutting large trunks

Cons

  • Can be a bit unwieldy in close quarters
  • The tensioning mechanism doesn’t come with a manual and it’s possible to over-tighten

Verdict

For what you are getting this is one of the cheapest bow saws out there. It is no doubt one of the best bows saw for cutting logs. In addition, there are a number of replacement blades so you can use it for longer.


BAHCO 332-21-51 21 Inch Pointed Nose Bow Saw

BAHCO seems to have a knack for making ergonomic saws capable of reaching hard to reach spaces. The company’s 332-21-51 21 inches pointed bow saw is one example of this. With its pointed design, it’s nice for reaching hard to reach places.

Dual tension control

No saw would be dubbed the woodworking bow saw without a tension system. This is one area where this bow saw excels. A wing nut is included to allow for precise tightening of the blade.

Steel construction

Apart from having a great tensioning mechanism it is also very well made. It boasts a steel tubular frame that is both tough and durable. Similar to the other BAHCO entries on the list has a brightly colored orange coating.

Ergonomic handle

The ergonomic handle with a knuckle guard makes a comeback on this bow saw. This black colored handle has been a favorite of mine since I held my first BAHCO saw. It is comfortable and makes work easier.

Pros

  • Has excellent build quality
  • The saw is very durable and lightweight
  • The blade tensioning system is easy to use
  • Comes with a pointy nose for hard to reach areas
  • Has an ergonomic handle design

Cons

  • It is not ideal for heavy duty cutting
  • The stock blade is not the best

Verdict

This is not the ideal saw for heavy duty cutting. It is more suited to pruning and light roofing tasks. Its pointed nose design, in particular, makes it ideal for roofing as it is able to reach those tight corners.


Bahco® Bow Saw #9 All Purpose – 3/4" x 36" blade

The second priciest bow saw on the list and a true heavy duty, the Bahco all-purpose saw is a beast. It has a beastly 36-inch blade. Overall it measures 39 inches long and 10 inches tall. Due to its size, it might be limited in terms of application.

Heavy duty construction

To ensure it leaves up to its all-purpose heavy-duty designation it is crafted from steel. This combined with its size makes it ideal for heavy duty construction work. It will also come in handy on the farm.

Tension lever

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a tension lever. It uses the same tension mechanism that all other BAHCO saws use. This means you can expect the same quality we have come to expect from BAHCO.

Ergonomic handle

Similar to the tension lever, the bow has the same ergonomic handle found on all other BAHCO bow saws. In this model, the ergonomic handle is of special importance as it makes work much easier. And given the kind of work the saw is designed for the handle is of great benefit.

Pros

  • Has a big 36-inch blade ideal for big sawing jobs
  • The blade is made of hardened steel and requires little to no sharpening
  • Comes with an ergonomic handle with a knuckle guard
  • Is offered with a blade sheath
  • Has a tubular steel frame

Cons

  • Its big size means it is not ideal for small projects especially in hard to reach places
  • The handguard might come off when changing the blades.

Verdict

This is one of the biggest bow saws out there and is the biggest on the list. While its size can work to its disadvantage, when used properly it is a delight. This is a heavy duty bow saw that excels at what it is designed for.


Conclusion


Bow saws are in plenty on the market and it is unlikely you won’t find one to suit your needs. Obviously, you will need to do some digging before settling on one. The above bow saws are suited to different tasks.

In the article, I have included saws for different purposes from small bow saw to a large bow saw. It is my hope that you have an easier time choosing your next bow saw.

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