Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Cheapest Lightest Snow Saw?

Last winter was a weird backcountry ski season in the Cascades. Some of the weak layers in the snow got buried under thin but hard ice layers that were hard to cut through cleanly with a pole or ski. I started to feel the need for a snow saw mounted on a pole to do extended column tests when evaluating slopes for avalanche stability.

I have a great G3 Bonesawbut it is a bit heavy so I started to experiment with a 9" Reciprocating Saw Blade. I found that it could be mounted securely with no modification in the flicklock mechanism of a Black Diamond Traverse Ski Poleby clamping the blade in the slot part of the flicklock. Some blades even come with a plastic sheath.

BD has changed the flicklock mechanism for 2012 and I don't know if this will work with the latest poles but the old poles are still available on clearance lots of places.

I only figured this out in the spring so I need to do more field testing and would also like to see how well it works for emergency firewood gathering. If needed, I may strengthen the mount by fabricating something that bolts to the blade and is the diameter of the lower section of pole.

8 comments:

John-Man said...

Did it end up working? I've looked into this approach, but feel the size of the blade and the teeth severely limit the efficiency of each cut. I am interested to know if my assumptions are true or off base.

Richard Majece said...

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John-Man said...

SPAM

Ash green said...

It was really insightful.
Thanks for such a nice content.
Cheers
BTW if anyone interested more have a look sawfinder thanks

Charles Trantham said...

I feel like I could write a spoof of Goldilocks and the Three Bears using snow saws instead of porridge. This one's too heavy; this one's too small; this one's too weak...

But I seem to have found one that is just right. The Brooks Range Scientist 35 is no my go-to saw.

My favorite feature of the saw is that it folds. This gives me a full-sized saw, yet it stows in the pack nicely. I really like this because I don't use a saw on every trip, but when I need it, I want it to work. I actually use its case to carry nearly my entire snow science kit - density gauge, crystal card, thermometers, notebook, loupe, etc. It's a pretty small package.

The downside of the folding feature is that you more than likely have to take your glove off to close it. But, it only takes a second.

The saw is rigid enough to cut straight throw dense snow. You probably wouldn't consider this, until you use a flimsy saw. I point this out, because in photos it looks a lot like those flimsy saws. But it's not. It's made from high-quality, American steel, and will get the job done.

For cutting larger blocks and columns, the saw can be attached to a ski pole by using a ski strap. While this is less-elegant than some other systems, it is more versatile. You can use any pole. This is nice.

Lastly, the saw is laser-etched with a grid so it can be used as a crystal card. This is pretty great because you can just use the saw to pull out grains at suspicious layers - fast! Best Chainsaw For Milling

I see that as I write this review, it's listed at over retail price. Why not by it directly from Brooks Range?

John Walker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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