A.M. Leonard Tri-Edge Folding Saw (A700): Product Review
A curved-blade saw that has a lot to offer and some needed improvements.
Available on Amazon
When it’s time to tackle pruning cuts beyond the capabilities of hand pruners or large 2-inch loppers, what tool do you use?
How about a saw? Not just any saw, but a folding pruning saw – something that fits in your pocket and cuts large branches. We reviewed the A.M. Leonard Tri-Edge Folding Saw (A700) to test its performance.
- Adjustable Tightness of Blade to Handle: Yes (either with Phillips or straight bladed screwdriver)
- Ease of Cutting: Good
- How Clean is the Cut: Clean
- Cutting Speed: Moderate
- Special Features: Lanyard or hook hole at the end of the handle
- Cutting Direction: Pull stroke
- Blade to Handle Tolerances: Very good
- Blade Locking Mechanism: Thumb Lever
- Overall Length: 15 inches
- Folded Length: 9 inches
- Blade Material: High carbon Japanese steel
- Blade Plating: Chrome Plated
- Straight or Curved Blade: Curved
- Blade Teeth Design: Triple grind geometry (AM Leonard calls it their Tri-Edge)
- Replaceable Blade: None found at the time of this review.
- Weight: 6–1/8 oz.
- Can Blade Be Sharpened: Yes, but it is not recommended. Achieving the proper teeth angle is extremely difficult, and improper sharpening will ruin the blade.
See the video review below, where Jack walks you through some of the features of the A.M. Leonard Tri-Edge folding saw, including the Japanese steel blade, the incredibly sharp teeth, and the folding mechanism. He also demonstrates the folding saw in use.
The saw arrived in a cardboard box and survived the trip with no dents or dings. The product packaging is a cardboard placard backing with a plastic, see-through window that slides over the placard.
CURVED HANDLE WITH EXPOSED BLADE WAS NOT FOR ME
Right off the bat, I didn’t particularly like the exposed “Tri-Edge” teeth when the blade was in the closed position. Even with gloves on, the design presents a potential cutting hazard. I actually caught my gloved fingers on the saw blade without even trying. It was especially dangerous when reaching for the saw in my pocket.
Other manufacturers offer the same style of exposed blade with a curved handle. I’m just not a fan of these based on my experience above. I highly recommend wearing a pair of leather gloves when using this saw (or any competitive brands’ saws with exposed blades).
THE SAW OFFERS TIGHT TOLERANCES
One of the things I like is the tight tolerances of the handle to blade interface. This part of the saw is well designed, as is the adjustable tension bolt that holds the saw blade to the handle. I could produce just the right amount of pressure so that the saw blade opened with virtually no “play” (blade wobble in the handle when open). The thumb lever to lock the blade in the open and closed position has a nice, high profile and is easy to activate.
ADJUSTABLE TENSION MADE EASY
A bolt runs through the handle and blade at the blade’s pivot point. I like that the saw blade to handle tension can be adjusted with either a straight bladed or Philips screwdriver. No special tools are required.
RUBBERIZED HANDLE MADE FOR EXCELLENT GRIP
I really like the rubber-like handle. Grooves molded into the handle add to its gripping power, which was a nice touch. Also, the hook at the end of the handle is high enough to get good purchase with my pinky finger – no slipping here. Like all the folding saws I tested, this one has a hole at the back of the handle to place a lanyard or hang it from a hook.
EASY TO CARRY
When folded, the saw is only 9 inches long. It’s easy to carry in my hip pocket. Depending on the depth of your back pockets, the saw may slide around a bit, but I didn’t have any problems with it falling out. However, I prefer the extra security and comfort of carrying it in my front pocket.
HIGH QUALITY JAPANESE HIGH CARBON STEEL MADE FOR A SUPER SHARP BLADE
The Japanese are revered for their superior metallurgy – just think of Samurai swords. A.M. Leonard uses high-quality carbon steel to create their Tri-Edge saw teeth. The Tri-Edge teeth are typical of most high carbon steel folding saw blades on the market. Basically, the teeth are triple ground at precise angles, creating a cutting technology that is twice as fast as a conventional hand saw. The A700 tooth geometry is designed for cutting on the pull stroke.
WHY IS HIGH CARBON STEEL USED FOR FOLDING SAW BLADES?
Think of carbon as the stuff that makes steel hard. High carbon steel is the preferred material used in triple-edged folding pruning saw blades. Because the material is so hard, the blade stays sharp for a long time. The A700 uses high carbon steel so that the blade stays sharp for hundreds, if not thousands, of cuts.
- Ease of Cutting: Easy
- How Clean is the Cut: Clean
- Cutting Speed: Moderate
This is the second A.M. Leonard Tri-Edge Folding Saw (A700) that I reviewed. The first saw sent to me bound severely in the cutting process. It turns out that the manufacturing lot was bad. A.M. Leonard kindly sent me a replacement saw for testing. It cuts through wood without binding. The cut is clean, but the cutting speed is only moderate compared to some other saws I tested. I’m not sure why this is. To the touch, the teeth are razor sharp. I thought the saw would cut faster than it did.
CURVED BLADE VERSUS. STRAIGHT BLADE
Of all the saws I’ve tested, the A700 is one of two that has a curved blade. (The other saw is the Corona RazorTOOTH 7-inch Folding Pruning Saw.) So, why a curved blade versus a straight blade? Curved blades are designed to cut better when used above your shoulders or below your waist. Straight blades are ideally suited to cut in the torso section of your body.
When trying to cut with a curved blade in the torso section of the body, the blade tends to ride up and down on the limb or branch being cut. In many cases, due to the angle at which you’re pulling the saw, only the front and rear sections of the saw make contact with the wood. The lack of full contact is the result of an unnatural pull of the arm, in a rocking motion versus a straight pull. That said, one’s shoulder mechanics are suited to more of a circular motion when cutting above the head or below the waist. While a curved blade will cut in the torso area of the body, it is not as efficient or effective.
Learn more about curved and straight blades in our Best Pruning Saws Guide.
Both straight and curved blades have their ideal cutting angles (relative to one’s physiology). Choose the blade best for your application.
The saw blade has a chrome plating that should inhibit rust formation, as well as the buildup of sap and wood resins. However, the chrome plating can begin to wear off after extended use, especially around the cutting teeth. Chrome plating is a nice added bonus, but it is not bulletproof.
Keep an eye on the plating. You can tell when the chrome plating begins to wear off. You’ll see a duller blade color compared to the blade’s shiny, brand new color. Once the chrome is gone, the saw will rust.
I like to take care of my tools so that they last longer. A light oiling of the blade and a little a squirt of lubricant in the area where the bolt goes through the blade and handle, along with the locking mechanism, will keep your saw in tip-top shape. My favorite lubricant is Tri-Flow®
Don’t leave your saw out overnight (where it’ll get covered in morning dew) or where it will be exposed to snow or rain.
Wear eye protection. We recommend Wiley-X. Safety glasses help prevent all kinds of eye injuries, including sawdust or sticks in the eye(s). They also protect you from flying metal in the event that a saw blade snaps, which can happen if the blade is bent at an extreme angle. Also, wear a good pair of gloves. These saw blades are extremely sharp. One slip, and you’ll likely be on your way to the hospital. Full leather gloves give you the best protection. Be safe.
AM Leonard offers a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship. They also offer a “30-day complete satisfaction guarantee.”
The AM Leonard Tri-Edge Folding Saw (A700) provides some really nice features, like the excellent handle grip, the adjustable blade tension screw, and the high-profile thumb lever. On the flip side, it needs some work to make it a safer saw. Redesigning the saw so that the blade is fully enclosed inside the handle will prevent possible cuts when the saw is closed.
Based on the superior Japanese high carbon steel, I thought it would make faster cuts. The triple ground teeth feel super sharp to the touch, so I was surprised by its “middle of the road” performance during cutting speed tests.
I’m a real fan of A.M. Leonard. They make excellent tools, and we’ve tested many of them. Unfortunately, I found that this saw didn’t meet the safety and performance standards that I’m used to by a centuries-old company (started in 1885) known for its high-quality products.
WHERE TO BUY
You can buy the AM Leonard Tri-Edge Folding Saw (A700) from Amazon
It is also available from AM Leonard for $32.49 + ($12.99 shipping).
Last update on 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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