Demystifying Saw Blades

Silky Saws Apr 25th 2023

There are a number of factors that make a saw good for one job and sub-optimal for another. Here we dive into the basics to help you hone in on which saw is right for you.

1. Fixed vs. Folding Saw

Image of Zubat fixed blade saw and Gomboy folded blade saw

A fixed blade saw stores in a scabbard, while a folding blade folds with the handle covering the teeth. Arborists prefer fixed blades — there’s no wrestling a blade open while in a tree. A scabbard straps to an arborist’s lower leg where it’s easy to reach. For trail work and pursuits where it makes the most sense to carry the saw in a pack, a folding saw is ideal.

2. Straight vs. Curved Blades

Image of Tsurugi straight blade saw and Tsurugi Curve (curved blade) saw

A straight blade makes a more precise cut, while a curved blade makes a faster cut. A straight-blade saw will have less contact with a curved branch than a curved-blade saw, which makes it easier to execute a careful linear cut. A curved blade saw cuts fast because it’s cutting on more sides of the wood–there are more contact points between the saw teeth and the wood.

3. Fine Teeth vs. Large Teeth

The difference in saw blade teeth is measured by the depth of the teeth, which is called the well. Larger tooth saws clear more material, while finer teeth saws clear less material. For arborists working on live trees, a fine-tooth saw allows for a more precise cut, one that’s less likely to damage the tree’s trunk bark. If you’re working on dead wood or tree removal, a saw with larger teeth will be quick and efficient.

4. Pointed vs. Blunt Saw Blade Tip

Close-up of tip of a saw blade with a pointed tip
Close-up of tip of a saw blade with a round, blunt tip

A blunt-tipped saw helps an arborist prevent damage to tree trunk bark. A pointed-blade saw is good for any cut where the saw blade won’t be coming near the tree trunk. Trees can’t heal wounds, they are only able to compartmentalize them, so any cuts to the tree’s bark will remain.

5. Blade Length for Intended Use

Image of Zubat 240mm saw and Zubat 390mm saw

For coarse pruning, a 300-330mm blade with large or XL teeth will be efficient and effective. For shrubbery and decorative pruning, choose a 210-270mm blade with fine teeth. And for demolition, choose a curved blade with XL teeth in whatever size is appropriate for the project. A smaller saw with a thinner blade will be easier to maneuver in tight spaces. A longer saw will be faster cutting, but less precise.

Content provided Silky Saws

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