This is the first review from Dave and Amy Freeman, who are spending a full year living in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. Here, they review a critical piece of gear for their endeavor, the Silky Big Boy camp saw.
My wife and I are spending a year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, living in an eight-man Seek Outside Tipi tent with a collapsible titanium woodstove, which we use to heat our tent and cook most of our food. Thus, a compact, efficient saw is something that we rely on heavily.
As the temperature this fall drops and the days get shorter, gathering firewood is part of our daily routine. We use our Silky Big Boy folding saw to process all the wood we need.
In the fall, winter, and spring, being able to dry out, cook, and relax in a heated tent adds a world of comfort to our lives. Our stove box is only 14 inches long, so we have to cut the wood that we gather into small pieces.
Silky Big Boy Saw Review
The Silky Big Boy saw is the smoothest cutting handsaw that I have used. It is a Japanese style saw that cuts on the pull and it slices through logs with relative ease.
We always gather our firewood far away from our campsite. Usually we paddle the canoe a short distance and walk back in the woods to look for wood, which is easy to find and plentiful. In the BWCA, it is much easier to find good firewood if you paddle a short distance from camp.
Plus, when people gather firewood near campsites, it can cause the campsites to expand and trails to form.
The pay off for our work gathering and processing firewood is that we get to enjoy heat of the stove and the relaxing crackle of the fire when we wake up in the morning, and while we relax in the evening.
Silky Big Boy Folding Saw, Available Now ($85)
Where To Test It: The Big Boy Saw is perfect for camping in forested areas where you plan to gather firewood for cooking, heating, or just for the enjoyment of sitting around a campfire.
This saw is also great for trimming trees, doing general yard work at home, or moderate trail clearing. I recently had a climbing friend try our saw and he talked about getting one for clearing trees off of overgrown climbing routes that he is working on in Oregon.
Who’s It For: Anyone who is looking for a portable saw that is great for harvesting firewood that is 2 to 8 inches in diameter, and folks clearing trails in places where chainsaws don’t make sense.
Nuts and Bolts: When not in use the saw blade folds into the handle, which makes the saw easy to carry and protects the blade. When you are ready to use the saw you unfold it, and a locking mechanism can lock it in one of two slightly different positions. When you are done you press on the locking mechanism and fold the blade back into the handle.
Replacement blades are available for about half the price of the saw, and blades with several different size teeth can be used on the Big Boy. Two large screw drivers are needed to replace the blade, but in the field you could probably use two coins or similar flat metal objects to swap the blades.
- Price: $85
- Blade: 14-1/5-inch blade length, 6 teeth per inch teeth configuration
- Weight: 1 pound
- Storage: Comes in a blister pack
- Product applications: Firewood collection, pruning, trimming, lawn & garden
- Limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship
Flaw: The Silky Big Boy Saw is a quality product, but it comes with a high price tag. It is also extremely sharp and could do some serious damage if you are not careful. This type of saw is different than a bow saw and takes time to master. You have to be careful not to bend the blade, especially when you are first getting the hang of it.
Over time, the hinge has gotten stiff and harder to close. Unscrewing the hinge and cleaning it after a month of heavy use fixed it and only took a couple minutes.
Final Thoughts: I had heard about these saws for a while, but their price tag made me shy away. After using the Silky Big Boy almost daily for the last five weeks I wish I would have purchased one a long time ago.
I have used several similar saws that are cheaper, as well as lots of bow saws. But the Silky brand is the best that I have found and in my opinion is worth the extra money.
—Dave Freeman and his wife Amy are spending a year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in an effort to protect the Boundary Waters from a series of sulfide-ore copper mines that are proposed along the edge of our nation’s most popular Wilderness. Throughout their “Year in the Wilderness” they are sharing regular reviews on GearJunkie.com. Dave and Amy were named National Geographic Adventurers of the Year in 2014.