Silky – Gomtaro Saw

Silky Gomtaro and Sheath

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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  • Joe

    That does look like a great saw, but is it fair to compare a new £33 quid saw with an old B&Q saw that cost four quid, ten years ago, and has been rusting in the back of a shed ever since?

    • A fair point Joe, but I pondered this and decided that the cheapy saw was most likely to be the kind of thing that the average camper had available to them. Sure, some people will have pruning saws, hatchets or something more dedicated for firewood chopping, but I wanted to give a comparison to something that any given reader would own – a common denominator if you will.

      • Joe

        You should have compared it to a pot-noodle then. Every camper has one of those 🙂

        • I’ll make a note to do a Noodle vs Saw review some time soon…

  • Big T

    Comparing a Silky saw to any other saw on the market is a little unfair.

    I have owned the same Silky Gomtaro for 4 years and have cut down about 10 whole trees and subsequently cut up those trees for firewood with just the Silky.

    The only saw that could have made life easier was a chainsaw.

    In between garden work I have also used it to cut timber for various projects due to its very clean cut.

    Once you buy one you will never want to go back to an ordinary saw!

  • Will

    If you want a slightly more portable version you can have a look at some of the folding saws… Very handy indeed and still savage!