How to make a buck saw


I’ve written about bow saws previously and discussed their benefits and drawbacks, one of which is portability.  One solution to this portability issue is to make your own bow saw as you go, often refered to as a buck saw.  Here’s a method to make your own buck saw.  It involves some knife work so have a look at this post on knife safety and this one on knife strokes.

I’ve used green hazel about 3cm diameter to make the buck saw in this post, but you could equally use ash, sycamore, birch, willow or sweet chestnut.  I’ve also used a greenwood blade.  Note that I didn’t have a tape measure with me so measurements are approximate.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

You’ll need about 2m of green, straight, knot free hazel or similar.

Cut off 2 lengths at about 18 inches/45cm.

Cut down on one end of both of these pieces; make the cut straight and down the centre.  I used a folding saw to make these cuts.

how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

And deep enough for the blade to sit in.  I’ve used a couple of small rings to hold the blade in the cut, but you could easily make a wooden toggle to do this.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Next you need to cut 2 diagonal braces, leave them a little longer than needed.  Lay them across the uprights so that the ends are half way up one upright and a third on the other,  I used a piece of paracord to find these points.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Mark where the braces will go on the uprights.how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Next you need to cut notches in the uprights for the diagonal braces to sit in.  It’s very important at this stage that you cut the notches in the right place; they must be at right angles to the cut you made earlier for the blade to sit in.  Make stop cuts on the lines with a folding saw and then cut into them with a knife.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Make sure that the notches are square.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Now offer up the diagonal braces, mark them and cut to size.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

On each of the uprights, cut a small notch in the opposite end to where the blade sits.  This is to tie some cord around.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Wrap some cord around a couple of times so that it’s reasonably tight.
how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

Pop a small stick in and turn to increase the tension on the string.  how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | LondonAnd there it is, your very own buck saw.

how to make a buck saw | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

We make buck saws on our Applied Bushcraft course as well as on our 5 Day Bushcraft Course.  You can see photos on our Facebook page and here on our own website.


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About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

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