5-season sleeping bags, merino wool base layers and silly Peruvian hats aside, the best way to keep warm and social when winter camping is with a good old campfire. And when there’s a chance for a chap to pretend he’s Bear Grylls or Ray Mears (depending on his girth and fondness for eating poo), there’s nothing so satisfying as chopping down your own firewood. And if you’re as ham-fisted as me, you’ll trust yourself more readily with a saw than an axe.
A woodsmith friend of mine introduced me to his Gomtaro some time ago, and in the manner of Gollum I coveted it. He warned me, rightly, not to do that blokey thing where you run your fingers over the blade to see how sharp it is. It would have had my whole arm off like a ninja in a bad mood.
It’s the kind of saw that you pull out at campsites when your friend is trying to chop through a branch and say, to paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, “That’s not a saw… THIS is a saw!”. I mean, heck, it comes in a very serious plastic scabbard for crying out loud.
In real terms (see video below), the Silky Gomtaro cuts through dry wood, wet wood and planks in half the time of a traditional British handsaw. And because it’s Japanese, the cutting action is done as you pull the saw towards you, not when you push it away, which I find much easier to control.
At £33, this isn’t the cheapest saw you can buy by a very long way indeed. But with a comfortable rubber handle, hardened saw teeth and a coated (rust-resistant) blade, this beasty will last you longer and make sure you use less effort than a lesser alternative.
I need to give this thing back now though, I’ve cut myself twice today just finding things around the garden that ‘need’ sawing (I don’t think the Wife will notice that the garden chairs are a couple of CMs shorter than they were last Summer) but I can see myself buying one for this year’s camping season.
SUMMARY: The Silky Gomtaro would chop your arm off if you looked at it in the wrong way. And it wouldn’t break a sweat doing so. It’s a ninja, and make no mistake, when it chooses to come out from its sheath, it will cut through anything faster than your puny English saws. Mwahahaha.
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