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What is a Bucksaw?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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A bucksaw is a manual hand tool used to cut logs or wood. It gets its name from the term bucking, which is a traditional term that refers to cutting logs into short lengths for use as firewood. The bucksaw features an H-shaped handle, and is designed for use by two people, or by a single person using two hands to hold the saw at either end. This type of tool may also be referred to as a bow or swede saw in some parts of the world.

People use bucksaws in a variety of applications to cut logs, fell small trees, or chop firewood. These saws are highly portable compared to similar cutting tools, making them a popular choice for backpackers and campers. They may also be used for small land clearing projects, and are often kept on hand at farms for quick cutting jobs. Traditional or green woodworkers also rely on these tools to create wood crafts and furnishings.

Each bucksaw is designed with a wood or metal frame, which is shaped like the letter “H,” or in a curved bow shape. The difference between these two designs has little impact on the saw's operation, and is largely a result of regional differences in tool manufacturing over time. The frame is designed to fold down into a convenient and portable wooden rod, and the blade can be removed and replaced as needed. The ability to remove the blade also makes it easy to replace blades that have been damaged or worn out by heavy use.

Standard bucksaw blades feature very coarse, wide teeth that allows them to cut through large logs and lumber. These saws are designed for cross-cutting, or cutting across the grain of the wood. The standard blade may be replaced with slightly more refined blades when working on crafts or furnishings. These blades feature smaller teeth placed closer together to create smoother, cleaner cuts in wood. Very fine blades can even be used with a bucksaw to cut metal or plastic piping.

One of the primary advantages to using a bucksaw is its portability and convenience. While these hand tools may not offer the cutting power of an electric saw, they also eliminate the need for power cords. Bucksaws are also fairly inexpensive and can be easily replaced if lost or damaged. These tools allow users to make rough cuts in wood or lumber with ease, and are a convenient option for cutting firewood quickly with minimal hassle.

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