BOREAL21 Folding Handsaw

An exceptionally sturdy, functional, and practical stowable folding handsaw.

BOREAL21 Folding Handsaw

BOREAL21 Folding Handsaw

SOURCE:Agawa Canyon
Nominal Size:1" x 1-7/8" x 21-5/8"
Construction:Extruded anodized aluminum (frame), nylon (grip)
Blade:21" all-purpose
  • Weather resistant/stainless steel components
  • Folds for storage/easy transport
  • Automatic blade tensioning
  • 6" diameter cut capacity
Weight:17.9 ounces
Warranty:Limited lifetime
Includes:All-purpose blade; spare-clips
Options:3 additional blade styles; canvas and leather sheaths

One of the most useful tools for felling trees, pruning shrubs and tree branches, and crosscutting stock for kindling, firewood, carving, or turning material, is a bow saw (aka 'bucksaw'). They're pretty simple tools, consisting of a wood or metal frame, a blade, and a few bits of metal to attach the blade to the frame. They come in two basic styles – fixed or folding. Obviously the size of frame and blade you'll need depends on the size of trees you'll be felling. For trees and branches in the 6" to 8" diameter range, an 18" to 24" saw works just fine. If you intend to use the saw for camping or hiking, then a folding model is definitely the way to go.

If you're looking for a premium folding bow saw that will likely last a lifetime, then the Canadian-made BOREAL21 is the ONLY saw you need to consider. There are four colour combinations to choose from: black anodized aluminum frame with green or yellow weather proof nylon grip, and clear aluminum frame with green or yellow nylon grip.

In carry/storage mode the saw measures approximately 1" by 2" by 21" and weighs just under 18 ounces, making it light and compact enough to unobtrusively fit into a backpack or tool bag. You can also purchase a canvas or leather carry sheath with shoulder strap (or make your own sheath). In carry/storage mode the blade teeth are fully protected from damage.

Once you've used the saw half a dozen times you'll find that it only takes about 15 seconds to flip open the blade and lock it into position. Closing the blade is just as quick. It's done tool-free, and there are no parts to tighten or adjust. The saw is self-tensioning. In use, the blade doesn't flex at all. Because the saw is designed to provide optimal blade tension, there's a slight chance you could pinch your fingers, particularly the first few times you open the blade. Once you get the knack though, it shouldn't be an issue.

I find the handle to be very comfortable whether gripping it bare-handed or wearing work gloves.

The saw comes with a Swedish-made 21" all-purpose blade that has four alternating bevel teeth followed by a raker tooth. The teeth are impulse hardened for added durability and long life, but you'll need a diamond abrasive file to touch them up. Fortunately replacement blades only cast $12. Agawa also sells 3 other types of reasonably priced specialty blades.

To replace the blade you can use any flat edge tool or needle nose pliers. Simply push the c-clips off the retaining pin, remove the pin, swap blades, and then re-install the pin and c-clips. Really is a piece of cake.

The BOREAL 21 is a pleasure to use. It's light, very well balanced, has sufficient blade length to make ample power strokes, and the aggressively angled teeth on the blade cut quickly and smoothly. I think you get the best effect if you let the saw do the work, and take measured steady strokes rather than trying to rush the job.

As with any high quality hand tool you'll pay a premium price for the BOREAL21, but considering it's a one-time buy that will last a lifetime – or darn close to it – it's money well spent.


BOREAL 21 in 'storage' mode: Compact, light weight, with blade completely enclosed and protected when stowed.

The saw can be opened or closed in about 15 seconds.

Tension bar (bottom in the photo) clips onto the tail end of the handle, providing optimal blade tension.

BOREAL 21 in 'assembled' mode: Blade is perfectly tensioned, suitable for cuts up to about 6" diameter.

Four blades to choose from, including (top to bottom): Sidney Rancher II, Dry Wood, and All-Purpose (comes standard with saw purchase)

Optimal balance between weight, cut stroke, comfort, and ease of use.

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