Centurion Folding Pruning Saw: Product Review
A middle of the road folding pruning saw that gets the job done.
Available on Amazon
Centurion® Garden and Outdoor Living, a company started by a former Fiskars executive, kindly sent us a sample of their folding pruning saw to review.
It’s the time of year to prune. Many plants that need attention are far too large for hand pruners or even a 2-inch-capacity lopper. You want something portable that will fit into your pocket. A folding pruning saw is the perfect tool for the job.
As a side note, this is the third saw that Centurion® sent me to review. The first saw contained defective cutting blade teeth. The second saw included a defective thumb lever mechanism, and the saw’s cutting performance only marginally improved compared with the first, defective saw. The third saw had slightly better cutting performance than the second and stayed locked in the open position (Read more on this below).
- Adjustable Tightness of Blade to Handle: Yes (either with a Phillips or straight bladed screwdriver)
- Special Features: Lanyard or hook hole at end of the handle
- Cutting Direction: Pull stroke
- Blade to Handle Tolerances: Loose
- Blade Locking Mechanism: Thumb lever
- Overall Length: 15-3/4 inches
- Folded Length: 9 inches
- Blade Material: High carbon steel
- Blade Plating: Chrome plated
- Curved or Straight Blade: Straight
- Blade Teeth Design: Triple grind geometry (Centurion® calls it DoublekutTM)
- Replaceable Blade: No
- Weight: 8 – 3/8 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 Jack’s thoughts on the Centurion Folding Pruning Saw in the video below. He goes over details like the locking mechanism, the handle grip, and the blade. He also shows the folding saw in use and gives his opinion on its cutting performance. Note that the video shows the second saw that we tested – the third saw cut marginally better.
Most foldable pruning saws have very similar packaging and the Centurion® is no exception. A clear plastic front with a cardboard back includes a hole stamped through the package so that it can be hung on a pegboard.
BLADE TO HANDLE TOLERANCES & BLADE LOCKING MECHANISM
The majority of folding saws possess some up and down, as well as side-to-side, wiggle – known as “play” – when the saw blade is open. I found the play in the Centurion® saw fairly typical compared to other saws that I have tested. The play fell in the acceptable range, so I did not mark off for it. I did find the side-to-side play loose but fixable (more below).
The blade locking mechanism is a thumb lever. It is one of the easiest to operate (lowest thumb pressure) of any of the saws I have reviewed.
A fair bit of side-to-side play occurred when I first took the saw out of the package. I eliminated the play by tightening the adjustment bolt that runs through the handles and blade. I appreciated that Centurion® used a standard bolt that could be tightened or loosened using either a Phillips or flathead screwdriver.
Being a licensed arborist, I know the timing, practices, and techniques for proper pruning. Most homeowners need good information on proper pruning. Compared to other saws I tested, Centurion® provided some of the best pruning tips on where, when, and how to prune correctly. (The pruning guide is printed on the back side of the cardboard packaging). I really appreciate the information the company shared. So much of a tree or shrub’s health and vigor depends on correct pruning. If pruned incorrectly, deadly pathogens and other diseases can enter a plant.
BLADE LOCKING AT A STRANGE ANGLE
Of all the folding hand saw that I’ve reviewed, I’ve never seen a saw where the blade locks at a strange angle (something like 45 degrees) before it is fully closed. Come to find out, this is apparently an overseas requirement of folding hand saws. It is an effort to prevent hand cuts when closing the blade into the handle. Also, if the locking mechanism that holds the blade in the open position fails and the blade starts to snap shut, this angle lock will help prevent injury. In order to release the blade from this angle all I had to do was press on the thumb lever and close the blade into the handle.
THUMB LEVER PROBLEMS (second saw reviewed)
With the second saw I received, the thumb lever did not lock the blade in the open position. With light pressure on top of the blade, it would fold over and lock into the strange angle (mentioned above). The thumb lever did lock the blade into the handle when closed. I found that the inability to lock the blade into the open position presents a safety hazard.
I tested a third saw and this one stayed locked in the open position.
CUTTING PERFORMANCE (saw one/saw two/saw three)
- Ease of Cutting: Poor/Moderate/Moderately better than saw two
- How Clean Is the Cut: Low quality/Medium quality/Moderately better than saw two
- Cutting Speed: Very slow/Slow/Moderately better than saw two
The first saw that I tested offered a very poor cutting performance (middle picture – below). Right away, I saw and felt that the saw teeth were not as sharp as the top-rated competitive model (top saw pictured – below). When I tested the second saw with the sharper teeth (bottom saw pictured – below), I found it’s cutting speed still slow. The replacement saw cut faster than the first saw–but only marginally. The third saw I received cut slightly better than the first two, but not anywhere near the top rated saw.
WHY IS HIGH CARBON STEEL USED FOR FOLDING SAW BLADES?
Think of carbon as the material that makes steel hard. The more carbon in the steel, the harder it is. High carbon steel is the preferred material used in folding pruning saw blades because of its level of hardness. Consequently, the blade stays sharp for a long time through many hundreds or thousands of cuts. Centurion® uses high carbon steel in the saws I reviewed.
NICE RUBBERIZED GRIP
The Centurion® Folding Hand Saw includes rubberized grips on either side of the handle. The comfortable handle with a curved end (opposite the blade) helps prevent the user’s hand from slipping off the end while sawing on the pull stroke.
EASY TO CARRY
When folded, the saw is only 9 inches long. I found it easy to carry the saw in my hip pocket. I also carried the saw in my back pocket, but it did not feel as secure as my hip pocket. My back pockets are shallower than my hip pockets, and carrying the saw in my hip pocket offered better comfort, especially when sitting.
The saw blade’s chrome plating should inhibit rust formation, as well as the buildup of sap and wood resins. Chrome plating provides a bonus, but it is not bulletproof. The plating can wear off after extended use, especially around the cutting teeth, and then the blade usually dulls in color. Without the chrome, the saw rusts.
A light oiling of the blade offers good prevention. Add a squirt of lubricant in the area where the bolt goes through the blade and handle, along with the locking mechanism, and you’ll keep the saw in tip-top shape and prevent rust. My favorite lubricant is Tri-Flow®. Also, don’t leave your saw out overnight (where it’ll get covered in morning dew) or, obviously, in the rain.
Wear eye protection. Safety glasses help prevent sawdust from falling into your eyes when cutting on a windy day or over your head. They also protect you from flying metal in the event that a saw blade snaps. (Blades bent at extreme angles may break.) We recommend Wiley-X for your eye protection. Also, wear a good pair of gloves. One slip of an extremely sharp blade, and you might need a few stitches or worse. Full leather gloves give you the best protection. Be safe.
Centurion® Garden & Outdoor Living offers a limited lifetime warranty that their products are free from defects in materials and workmanship.
Finally after testing a third saw, the Centurion® folding hand saw improved its marks by one star. The first saw had major cutting problems. The second saw’s cutting performance improved slightly, but it performance didn’t match up with its higher end straight bladed competitors. Also, the second saw’s inability to stay locked in the open position causes concerns about safety. The third saw cut better than the first two and the locking mechanism worked fine. The third’s cutting ability was slightly better than the second saws. Overall, based on the slight improvements of the third saw, we gave it an extra star in all three of the judging criteria.
WHERE TO BUY
Last update on 2020-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Enjoyed This Review?
If you liked this review, please sign up for our email updates with reviews, how-to articles and gardening videos!