What is the most accessible sustaining form of energy? Wood! The sun provides heat and electrical energy, (solar panels), but only for 5 hours peak a day with a sunny sky. Also, solar panels are a manufactured product will have a limited duty life to failure. Meaning as solar panels age due to thermal stress, they will decrease in their annual output of energy. This failure rate is nowhere close to the electrical storage medium we choose to use. The common manufacture lead acid batteries are designed to last 4 to 6 years. In a future post, I will cover reconditioning lead acid batteries. The only solid, dependable and renewable form of energy is wood where energy can be stored and released when needed.

Figure 1

One million BTU’s is equal to 90 pounds of coal, 8 gallon of gasoline or 125 pounds of wood. In 1890, the world population of 1.5 billion people, used on average 1 terawatts hours. In 1990, 5.5 billion, now use up to and over 13.5 terawatts hours. [1] Before the 1400s, North American inhabitants used NO power less natural wood burning, BTU’s, and survived for thousands of years. In a time of international crisis we can take away energy sources such as coal, gasoline/oil and nuclear power and only have left is bio-diesel, natural oils, alcohol and wood. None of which can be processed without heat, such as wood that needs no processing. See Figure (1).

Some researches insist that fire was mankind’s greatest innovation.  This may be true since the industrial revolution is vary recent, a sliver in human history. For thousands of years, all mankind survived on was the natural fusion of burning wood to cook with and remain warm in hard winters. Attaining this form of energy is a story in human evolution as well. Europeans, Africans and North Americans, 10,000 years ago, were hunter gathers. We were nomads moving from place to place for better hunting grounds and to “pick up” sticks to burn as we traveled. Mankind had no tools to actually “cut” wood less a stone ax that had little use for falling large trees or for cross cutting large logs since the stone would fracture since it was so brittle. The technique we used to use fall large trees was by burning the trunk until collapse. Most large logs were used to make canoes by burning out a hollow inside core of the log. Not until the discovery of smelting ore and cupper, did we have the ability to process wood for energy. Europe had the metal axes for thousands of years yet the Native Americans only had stone yet survived fine without them for thousands of years.

Back in the 1900’s, logging was becoming the largest industry in North America. There were no chain saws or automated falling machines, just a simple cross cut saw. Sawing compared to chopping was a revolutionary advance for bucking wood of large logs to clear forest on a massive scale. The saws were up to 14 feet long and with large cutting teeth so when conditioned, can last a whole season. They were made hard carbon steel and industrial duty heavy gauge to last a lifetime. The teeth could be re-conditioned every year by a “saw doctor” whose soul trade was saws. These saws were so heavy duty, most still survive today, 100 years later, and still can be used for falling trees and bucking heavy logs or most likely sit on restaurant walls as visual antiques side shows. See figure (2).

Figure 2

In a international crises, a heavy duty industrial saw is a SurvivorDuty must! Without part replacement, 2-cycle oil and gas, a chainsaw is useless. Only a cross cut saw will supply our needs for heating and cooking as well as a host of projects such as baking pottery/bricks, paper making, smelting metal, etc. I cannot imagine surviving without a tool to cut through 2 feet diameter log or tree in minutes for energy then to swing an ax for hours. Luckily, I found four at an antique store and re-conditioned one of them.

My two person Buck Saw post 1920’s reconditioned. New handles handmade. See figure (3).

Figure 3


My two person Ribbon “falling” Saw (not reconditioned). See figure (4).  

Figure 4


Two of my single person buck saws one with a sting handle. Both in authentic condition. See figure (5).

Figure 5



When I first views a real authentic cross cut saw, the tooth that I thought was strange and useless was the dovetailed looking spoke. I could not imagine how this saw could actually cut anything. Later researching the cross cut designs, the “dovetailed” looking tooth, called the raker, is the main component of the saw that actually works as the cutter and is “dovetailed” so to function in both directions. The cutter teeth, that are swedged to either side and pointed, scribe two trenches deep enough so the raker teeth can “chisel” a channel of wood from between the two cuts like a mote. The rakers MUST be slightly lower than the cutters so the cut will have a clean break. If the raker is higher than the cutters, then the raker will rip the wood so the wood chips will look “whiskered” at the ends. This will make sawing difficult, produce more friction, and can bind the saw blade in the cut. For these saws, simply to sharpen the cutters will not produce a clean cut. We would have to set the pitch angle of the cutters, swedge and sharpen the rakers, and check each tooth for proper alignment.  See figure (6).

Figure 6


If you own a large, historic, industry duty buck saw, this YouTube link will demonstrate how to sharpen and set the teeth:


The U.S. Forestry Service offers a free pdf for a “how to” care for historic crosscut saws. They seem to keep this pdf up to date.  See figure (7).

Figure 7

Modern bow saws that are sold at the “Everything” stores use the same cutting technique as the 1900’s lumber saws. See Figure (8). These home saws are designed for light duty and NOT recommended by SurvivalDuty. The “blue” color on the tips are heat treated. They can be sharpened by a file and swedged by pliers but they are designed for blade replacement for they are manufactured for light duty trimming and will fail by teeth chipping.

Figure 8


The bottom line is that if you cannot locate a heavy duty, antique Buck Saw, then there are companies that still hand make them on-line. My suggestion is that if you do buy them new, check the gauage of the saw blade, the taper from the head to the back of the saw, and the grade of steel used. I would also suggest that you custom design the saw if they have riveted handles. Ask the fabricator for a blade without the handle but have the handle punches set in the blade. This way you can purchase your own handle that can be set and removed for sharpening and setting.  See Figure (9).

Read: How to Buy a REAL Bucking Crosscut Saw


Figure 9

Check Out This Demo 


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