Ultralight Saw Experiments

I have not been completely happy with a DIY saw which weighs around an ounce for making my Ultralight Tent Poles when I am up the bush. Seems like I ought to be able to save around 20 grams on that – so here is my first effort which weighs exactly half that at 14 grams. My goal is sub 10 grams.

If I use 1cm x 1mm aluminium (this is 2mm) it will save  3.325 grams. If I cut off the ends of the bolts (1.5 grams) it will come in at under 10 grams (4.08 = 3.325 + 1.8 = 9.205). “It’s all downhill from there”.

This blade is a 10S Makita brand ‘U Shank With Hole’ jig saw blade. I bought these from Sydney Tools in Traralgon. Pack of five A$8.80. Each A$1.76. Weighs 4.08 grams. The Lenox T Shanks (with hole) below weigh 7.5 grams.

It should neatly snick off a <1″ (tent) pole in 10 seconds or less. Cuts on the downstroke so the blade will not break.

Ultralight Saw

Ultralight Saw

It folds up like so. To be 3 1/4″ x 1/2″ (85mm x 10 mm).

Ultralight Saw

Ultralight Saw

Ultralight Saw

Most blades nowadays are T Shank. Some also have a hole which can be enlarged to 3mm or 1/8″ to fit a 3mm bolt.

I can ultilise either of these. The ‘T shanks are slightly (1 gram) heavier but have 1/2″ more saw blade.

Ultralight Saw

I have devised a couple of other strategies. That is a length of 1cm x 1cm x 1mm U channel. Could also be used as a handle in a single blade saw.

I can also use a spare blade as the handle

Ultralight Saw

Or like this with the U Shank

Ultralight Saw

The U Shank one folds

Ultralight Saw

Ultralight Saw

PS: You can see I am still ill from our Nepal trip (three weeks now) or I would be doing some real work around the farm!

Another (single blade) model utilising the 1cm u channel and the T shank (with enlarged hole to 3mm) . This one would be foldable. There is still some ‘meat’ to cut off this one – at least a gram.

I suspect there is a T Shank with hole type blade which weighs under 5 grams. I have a Bosch one without a hole which does. If so I can make the above saw at under 10 grams! It is quite solid and usable.

Ultralight Saw

PPS: They may not be as light as Embryo Wire but more convenient.

At least they are cheap enough (at a couple of dollars each) that I can include one in each tent’s peg bag so I never have to worry about whether I have a tent pole (or not) again.

Ultralight Pruning Saw:

Here I have utilised a piece of 16 x 12 x 1.6mm aluminium channel as the handle – which fits perfectly this type of (demo) saw blade.

Ultralight Saw

The other side.

Ultralight Saw

With the handle trimmed a bit – a one ounce pruning saw.

Ultralight Saw

And folded to fit in the peg bag. It is exactly 6″ (15cm) folded.

Ultralight Saw

PS: If you can’t/won’t make your own I see that Litesmith will sell you one. Theirs weighs 21 grams and will set you back US$23.95. Theirs appears to use a Bosch T shank jig saw blade.

See Also:

One Ounce DIY Saw

Ultralight Tent Poles

Ultralight Saws

100+ DIY Hiking Ideas


2 thoughts on “Ultralight Saw Experiments”

  1. Does there come a point were a simple multitool begins to both weigh less, with similar functions to several DIY tools? After copying the reciprocating blade, I found it was too coarse to safely and comfortably use, and have settled on a trimmed down blade from a folding trojan saw from bunnings, that is 40g with a fixed, ergonomic handle and blade cover. The cutting length of 160mm is long enough to do a heap of shelter/firewood/bushcraft duties and is silky smooth to use, so I can cut a lot of timber without issue.

    Writing this made me wonder, could you use a leatherman-type tool, remove the pliers and a handle, then carry one handle loaded with just the tools you want? One handles weight shared for knives/saw/scissors/file? Solid construction, no bolts/nuts to lose, blades covered and locking tools. I imagine this would tear down easier than a swiss army knife.

    1. Just depends on what tools you need I guess which is an individual thing. I always carry a fixed blade knife because it is needed for splitting wood. A folder is unsuitable because it might break. Mine weighs about an ounce. My main use for a saw is to cut tent poles rather than carrying them. Such a tiny saw saves me a lot of weight in poles particularly as my latest tent design envisages being able to add extra poles as needed in windy conditions. I also have extra stuff sacks to use as tent anchors if they are needed in loose soil, sand, snow etc. The size of Leatherman you describe would be pretty heavy I suppose. Cheers, Steve.

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