Home / Product Reviews / Silky Saw’s BIGBOY Folding Saw for Trail Maintenance

Silky Saw’s BIGBOY Folding Saw for Trail Maintenance

manufacturer by Silky Saw:
SectionHiker.com
Version:
1
Price:
43.90

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On March 25, 2015
Last modified:October 14, 2015

Summary:

While the Silky BIGBOY, with extra large teeth is a ferocious cutting tool, it is still much safer than using a chain saw and provides fine control over the placement of cuts. Available for around $50, it’s also an excellent economic alternative for volunteer trail maintainers, requiring very little extra training to use safely.

A comparison between the smaller Silky 9 inch Gomboy Saw and the Silky 14 inch Bigboy Saw
A comparison between the smaller Silky 9 inch GOMBOY Saw and the Silky 14 inch BIGBOY Saw

Saws are an amazingly versatile tool for a backpacker or camper to carry in woodland terrain, both for trail maintenance and for cutting firewood, provided it’s done in accordance with Leave No Trace Principles and local fire regulations.

Note: Leave No Trace is not against fires in the backcountry, Leave No Trace recommends the responsible use of campfires, so people can enjoy them and to minimize campfire impacts, such as scorched ground, partially burned wood, the construction of new campfire rings, and branches cut or broken off of live trees instead of wood that is dead and on the ground. 

After experimenting this winter with the smaller Silk GOMBOY, which is quite lightweight and suitable for backpacking, I recently acquired the larger Silky BIGBOY folding saw, for cutting up larger blow downs  on trail maintenance patrols. A full 14 an 1/15th inches in length, but weighing less than a pound, the BIGBOY is the largest saw manufactured by Silky and well suited for larger blow-down removal, particularly in Wilderness Areas where the use of motorized tools such as chain saws are prohibited.

The highly portable Silky BIGBOY Saw is capable of cutting quite large blowdowns with ease.
The highly portable Silky BIGBOY Saw is capable of cutting quite large blow downs with ease.

While the Silky BIGBOY is lightweight enough to bring on backpacking trips, the smaller Silky GOMBOY is a better choice for cutting up dead firewood (up to the diameter of your wrist), which you can split further using a knife and will burn completely to ash. Cutting larger logs for firewood would require an axe and be too heavy to carry for recreational use.

Moreover, the Silky BIGBOY is downright dangerous in the hands of an amateur who doesn’t have experience cutting larger diameter wood, especially trees knocked over by heavy snow or wind (blow-downs). Cutting blow downs is dangerous because they can fall on you if you cut them in the wrong place, and you can easily trap a saw blade in a cut, which is preventable with basic sawyer training.

Silky Saw tucked away on an early spring trail patrol. Not ehow the teeth are still visible even when th eblade is folded fully into the handle.
Silky BIGBOY Saw tucked away on an early spring trail patrol. Note how the cutting teeth are still visible even when the blade is folded into the handle.

Care must also be taken in handling the BIGBOY, even when folded because the teeth in the blade remain partially exposed. This isn’t an issue with the Silky GOMBOY folding saw where the saw blade folds completely into the handle.

Despite these safety issues, the flexibility of the Silky BIGBOY, with its 14″ blade is quite impressive, making it possible to reach places that would be impossible to cut with a non-folding saw, including cuts above your head.

The BIGBOY makes fast work of a blowdown blocking the trail
The BIGBOY makes fast work of a blow down blocking the trail

While the Silky BIGBOY, with extra-large teeth is a ferocious cutting tool, it is still much safer than using a chain saw and provides fine control over the placement of cuts. Available for around $50, it’s an excellent and economic option for volunteer trail maintainers, requiring very little extra training to use safely.

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15 comments

  1. I far prefer the classic Sven Saw. The 21″ saw cuts very fast removing blow downs and downed wood. I have removed up to 12″ trees on the trail with it. Larger is certainly possible (as when a windstorm knocked a tree down across an access road) by cutting two notches, then finishing the cut.

    I prefer it because the handle is at an angle to the blade allowing me to pull and push on each stroke. Several companies have replacement blades that fit. And, the blade is also easily resharpened with a Dremel tool/tooth setting tool set to about 3-4pt. One of the things I don’t car for on many pull saws is the way they allow sawdust to build up in the kerf, making the saw much harder to use. A wider kerf avoids the problem. Also the narrow blade does not get pinched in the cut as easily as a wide blade. But the downside is the weight, a Sven Saw weighs about 14oz.

    • I haven’t had any problems with sawdust buildup with the BIGBOY but the blade is rather thin. It is also tapered from back to front in terms of metal thickness, with the tip slightly thinner than the back of the blade, which probably helps reduce binding. It is rather amazing what you can cut with this saw and how quickly you can process a rather large tree.

  2. Throwing in another vote for the classic Sven saw. Have you heard anything about the BOREAL21 folding bow saw? http://agawacanyoninc.com/

    It was started on a kickstarter campaign and I’d love to know if it is worth it

  3. I wouldn’t buy this item based on the Saw Blade being exposed when in the closed Position ..It will tear up the Side of your Pack in no time at all..I would hate to see what it would do to items inside your Pack. Poorly designed…I also do not like Plastic Handles of any kind….There are better designed and less expensive models out there..$50 for this little thing? geez. my Pole Saw for trimming Trees with a 15 ft. extension is only $34.00 Nope ain’t happening…

  4. In the past, I’ve carried a 14″ Corona for trail maintenance tasks, but it has the disadvantage of needing a sheath since it doesn’t fold. It has an angled handle, but w/o a back like a Sven saw or bow saw, it can cut deeper into the tree.

    From a comfort standpoint, do you have any observations on the angled-handle vs straight-handle when cutting?

    Also, when searching for the BIGBOY, I note that Silky also makes the KatanaBoy, (19.8″ blade) if you want something even larger….

  5. I’m very happy with my silky ultra accel, it cuts through things very quickly

    http://www.silkysaws.com/Silky_Saws/Folding-Curved_2/Silky-ULTRA-ACCELL-Curved-Blade-240mm-LG-teeth-#sthash.F6MCQNri.dpbs

    I’m sure the blade technology is the same for the BIGBOY

  6. This is a great piece of equipment for trail work! Perhaps it’s a bit of an overkill, but I always wear a pair of lightweight cut-resistant Kevlar gloves when using this saw.

  7. I prefer Bob’s Quick Buck Saws. They come in 21″, 24″, 30″ sizes, set up and break down in seconds, and can cut through large blowdowns easily. Weighing about the same as the BIGBOY and made in Minnesota, USA, not overseas like the BIGBOY. Check them out at Fourdog.com.

  8. Since everyone is chiming in with saws… Bacho Laplander. MEC in Canada has a bright orange version that retails for $17.75 Canadian… So about $15 US. It has quite a following on Youtube and good reviews on Amazon fwiw. 6.6oz. I love mine.

  9. I’ll stick with my Sawvivor as long as I can still find 15″ blades for it. It is a lot like the Bob’s Quick Buck Saw except that it uses a threaded tensioner instead of a cam. Sadly, the saw’s manufacturer is defunct:-(

    I have three new blades on the way here from the UK (reasonably priced, just have to plan and purchase way ahead of need).

    If the day comes that I can’t find blades I’ll have to consider some of the alternatives mentioned here.

  10. Interesting to see that people seem to be just as passionate about their saws as folks are about hiking boots and packs. I wish there were more folks chiming in, as we need more trail maintainers! I am happy with the Coronas I started using through trail work with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, but am always open to new ideas, especially if someone is passionate about the saw and its weight and cost aren’t too much.

  11. I’m interested in the GOMBOY. Which model do you have, medium or large teeth?

  12. not my favorite saw.

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