Saturday, April 9, 2016

Gear Review: Bob Dustrude Quick Buck Saw

Due to my affinity for a nice fire and the ability to build some simple camp furniture, I had been looking for a lightweight camp saw that folds down or disassembles into a small package for backpacking and woodcraft. A saw is far more practical for processing smaller firewood and back cutting a tree when felling.

I found that the market was pretty small for such items. Many are of poor quality or too heavy for practical use. After quite a bit of youtube watching and some blade research, I found that the Bob Dustrude Quick Buck Saw carried at Duluth Pack ( seemed to be the best bet for my purposes. It's not cheap, but it's compact and well reviewed. It's only drawback that was apparent was the fact that it required some serious tools to repair if damaged.

I have used the saw many times now and its construction is very simple. 3 Channels of aluminum bracing are cut with the 2 outside "legs" being slightly larger channel to allow them to slide over the top of the center channel. 4 Zinc rivets are used to connect the 3 pieces together and allow them to fold. Each leg has a 1" slit cut in it to hold the blade. The blade is installed by sliding the blade into the channel slit and seating the installed stopper bolt inside the channel while camming the waxed wooden handle into place, tensioning the blade. It's pretty easy to figure out, and the directions are written on the wooden handle. It's also bi-directional so it's impossible to install it backwards. The handle can be installed on either side.

It's pretty easy to use for wood processing and such, but it's a but difficult to make precision cuts. For some reason it likes to drift, no matter who is using it or the grip they use. I believe this has to do with the channel slit not being perfectly tight and causing the blade to twist slightly.

The other drawback is that it's rather loud for a buck saw. Not painfully so, but much louder than any pruning saw or buck saw I've used. These are both minor concerns when you consider it's intended use, but for some, it's a deal breaker. The only other issue I have is the fact that it doesn't have a sheath for it. They are available, but not in any way can you consider them cheap.

The positives far outweigh the issues in this case. This 24" saw weighs 15.9 ounces, which is paltry compared to it's usefulness. It's cutting ability is very good with some practice. The lighter weight takes some getting used to, but with a few minutes of cutting, you forget about it. It uses a standard Bahco blade for wet wood, which is a pruning blade with cutters and rakers. You can buy standard 24" blades from various manufacturers and only need a screwdriver and pair of pliers to change the blade.

The good: Light weight, durable, easy to use.
The bad: loud, cuts drift, no sheath, cannot be fixed in the field
The ugly: none

Overall, this has been a decent purchase for the 70 dollar entry fee. It's perfect for use on extended campouts and for rough cutting when out in the woods. It's not meant for use in heavy or commercial style cutting. It's meant to be used as a backpacking saw for serious adventurers. With it, you can cut down trees with a 15" width without an issue. They also come in a 30" model, but it won't fit on my pack properly. In conjunction with a proper camp axe, you can pretty much build a log cabin or serious shelter without an issue.

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