As most folks know, there seems to be no shortage of available wilderness trails that need to be cleared every year using people powered equipment.  The standard method of carrying crosscut saws on stock is to carry them on pack animals.  Any method of packing a crosscut saw on a pack animal does take some time and care to install the teeth guard, load and unload.  This can be a real time consuming hassle if you're working your way along a trail with sporadic windfalls.  Everyone that takes part in this form of sadistic recreation, (err rewarding work), does not have a pack animal.  And even if you have pack stock, it is just one more animal to contend with on the trail.  I have had good luck packing up to a seven foot bucking saw and related equipment on my saddle horse.  That is, the horse I ride also packs my saw, handles, axe, wedges, undercutter, kerosene, and lunch.  I normally use a good-sized horse, but smaller horses could easily pack a five or six-foot saw, and some of the other equipment could be shared with others in the work party if necessary.

Many people that pack and use crosscuts for wilderness trail work use falling saws.  The lighter limber falling saws are easier to be bend over a pack or loop and tie on top of a pack.  However, I am a big fan of using the right tool for the job.  If I am going out to buck logs then I take a bucking saw.  Falling saws were designed for falling with two people required and good bucking saws were designed for bucking with one or two people. Good old bucking saws are stiffer and difficult to bend, and the bucking saws that can be purchased new today are simply too stiff to bend hardly at all.  Even with falling saws, bending a saw in a loop will sometimes leave you with a bent saw.  A saw needs to be straight to work correctly and straightening a bent saw may take several hours of precise hammering.  Saws also do occasionally break when bending to load on a pack animal.  My point, to bend a saw when it is not necessary is an abuse of a fine scarce tool.

My saw is packed in an enclosed scabbard that is hung lengthwise just under my calf on one side of the horse and the other equipment is packed on the other side to balance out the load.  I used 3/16” thick high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic to make the saw scabbard.  HDPE is a very tuff lightweight plastic that is used for making many things from cutting boards to Tupperware.  It is easy to work with using wood working tools and is relatively inexpensive.  The 3/16" HDPE is used for the main body of the scabbard as well as the spacers.  The plastic is cut to fit the saw then riveted together.  The saw easily slides into the scabbard from the rear of the horse and is secured with a leather strap on the open rear end of the scabbard.    The copper rivets are counter sunk on the side that goes against the horse.  The front end of the scabbard is totally enclosed  and the spacer on the bottom has several slots to allow for adjustment of the supporting straps.  Depending on the type of hand guard on the handle, the saw can be carried with one handle installed.  I have made several sizes of scabbards for saws from 3-1/2 foot oneman saws up to the seven-foot bucking saws.

I have heard of nasty accidents when loading saws on pack animals.  With the scabbard I use, if the horse were to bolt before the saw was secured the saw should just slide out the rear of the slippery HDPE scabbard.  Now this is not an ideal situation, but it would be much better than a pack animal flying around in circles with one end of a razor sharp saw tied onto the animal.

Keep your saw sharp, your kerfs open and have fun.

Jim Thode
Lewis County BCH