I read this statement recently, “The best way to think of firewood is an investment account: Add to it slowly and steadily over a long time to maximize your investment.”
That sounds like good advice, particularly when facing the prospect of having to cut your firewood by hand after a SHTF collapse when your chain saw fuel runs out…
Many northern preppers supplement their home heating with firewood for a wood stove. It’s hard to imagine the hard labor that would be required if we could no longer obtain fuel for our chainsaws to cut our firewood.
So first and foremost, considering how far a gallon of gas goes in a chain saw, we should all be sure to keep enough stabilized gas around to last at least a year. Stabilizers like Stabil or PRI-G added to premium gas will stay ‘good’ for at least a year or more (use good rotation habits).
Not only will you need a good felling axe, and mauls and other gear to accommodate felling and eventually splitting your wood, the most crucial of tools will be an appropriate crosscut saw to cut the logs into usable lengths.
A good crosscut saw and the tools to keep it sharp and trued should be part of every SHTF kit for long term survival.
Be aware — No matter what kind of saw you use, cutting firewood by hand is ALL WORK. The correct saw will make it easier (but it’s still going to be hard work). You will need strength, stamina, and lung capacity to cut through logs of firewood.
For small logs and limbs, say less than about 4″, a bow saw will work. A bow saw is okay for bucking or cutting small pole wood.
If you’re cutting up serious logs, a properly sharpened crosscut saw is the only way to go! A good one-man crosscut saw should be part of every northern prepper’s survival preps. Although this way of cutting logs is going to kick your butt, you would be surprised how a well maintained crosscut saw will cut.
Crosscut Saw For Cutting Logs
Crosscut Saws basically come in two tooth styles for cutting logs…
Tuttle (Champion) with two cutting teeth to each raker tooth.
Perforated Lance with four cutting teeth to each raker tooth.
It is most common to use the Tuttle Tooth style for hardwoods, and the Perforated Lance Tooth style for cutting softwoods. However, many have used each interchangeably throughout history.
You can still find good one man crosscuts for sale used at antique shops or eBay. New German One-Man Crosscut Saw
Here are a few pointers…
Small stoves (requiring smaller pieces) will work you to the bone. Wear gloves always while cutting or handling. Procure or make your own blade protector for safety while not in use. Cut wood as green as you an get (easier). Try to get the logs raised to a comfortable height. Use shims/wedges so the cut doesn’t pinch the saw blade.
You will also want to know how to sharpen the teeth yourself, and have the equipment to do so. You will need a small file (mill Bastard – probably a six inch), a saw set gauge, and a setting hammer.
Download… A crosscut saw manual from the USFS.
If you are planning for long term survival, or survival with a lack of petroleum fuels, you might want to consider how you would replace your existing chain saw with a proper hand tool, albeit very calorie-intensive (rather than gas guzzling).
Either look for a new one-man crosscut saw (there are still a few companies who make them) or look for used at yard/garage/estate sales, or antique shops, or ebay, etc. If you live in warmer climate zones you might not be as concerned about cutting firewood as those who live further north…