A few months ago, we created a poll that asked what cutting tool (or tools) you carry on your outdoor adventures: axe, saw, or knife? Unsurprisingly, most of you carry at least two of these items. Here's a more precise breakdown of our poll responses:

  • 98% carry a knife
  • 71% carry an axe
  • 60% carry a saw

Poll knife saw or axe cutting tool wood 1

While we're not shocked by these results, we've often wondered why such a relatively small number of survivalists carry saws. Some of this is likely due to surrounding environments — you probably won't need a saw (or an axe) in areas where trees are sparse, such as arid desert or arctic tundra. However, some survivalists may also overlook the importance and value of a good-quality saw, or might not know how to find a saw that fits their needs. It's not quite as straightforward as picking a good camp knife.

Like the grind of a knife blade, saw tooth patterns can make a huge difference in cutting performance.

In the 36-minute video below, Michael of MCQBushcraft takes on the “Bushcraft Basics” of saws. He starts with some terminology, such as kerf, rake, set, gullet, and fleam. He also discusses what makes a saw ideal for bushcraft purposes. Unlike in carpentry, you won't be cutting dry, clean wood — you'll be working on wood that's often green, moist, and full of sap. There are other considerations, such as the balance between speed and precision, and the type of cuts you'll be performing.

MCQbushcraft choosing saw tool teeth wood tree 02

As Michael admits, there's a lot of information to take in if you're not familiar with saws. However, if you're patient enough to watch the whole video, you'll learn quite a bit about how to choose a bushcraft saw. Michael carries a small Bahco folding saw, but it's not the only tool he relies on for cutting wood in the forest.

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