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How to Build Your Own Survival Buck Saw

Turn a bare blade into a suitable saw for survival situations
saw frame made with sticks
Turn a bare blade into a sturdy survival saw. Tim MacWelch

The metal saw blade is an amazing invention. It dates back to 3000 B.C., when the ancient Egyptians used copper saws to cut wood and other materials. Later saws were made from bronze, then iron and finally steel. Flexible modern steel blades are very efficient, and a great help to anyone caught in the wild. But what if you lack the saw frame to make the tool workable? Then you can hack out your own bucksaw frame from just a few straight sticks, using your knife, two nails, and some 550 paracord. Here’s how.

Gather Your Supplies

It will take a few well-chosen parts to put your survival bucksaw together.

• Knife (for notch carving)

• Saw blade. A bucksaw blade is best because it’s wider and stronger (but a bow saw blade will work, like the 24-inch bow blade shown here).

• Four sticks. Two thicker ones will be your uprights, one will be your crosspiece and one will be your windlass. The lengths will vary, depending on your saw blade.

• 550 paracord (twice the length of your saw blade).

• Two small nails to secure the crosspiece

• Two hardwood pegs (you’ll have to cut these) to go through the holes in the saw blade.

Frame It Out

Use your two stout sticks as the handle pieces. Saw a slot in the bottom of each handle piece to receive the saw blade. You can use your bare blade (carefully) to cut the two slots. Next, you’ll add the crossbar. Start to drive a nail in the center of each handle piece, lining up each nail in the same direction as the saw cuts. Drive the nails until they’re just poking through the handle sticks. Line the nails up with your crosspiece and hammer them into place. Your handle pieces and crosspiece should look like a squatty “H”. Now cut notches at the top and bottom of each handle piece (on the outside of the “H”). Drive the pegs through the holes at each end of the saw blade, and seat the pegs in the bottom notches. Loop the 550 cord around the top notches of the saw handles and start tightening the windlass. Tuck the windlass behind the crosspiece when the blade is nice and tight. Your saw is now complete and ready to use.

Ever made your own bucksaw? Please share your story by leaving a comment.