Fiskars POWER TOOTH® Softgrip® Folding Saw (7″): Product Review
A folding hand saw with unique undercut and push button features, although it’s not designed for left-handed users.
Available on Amazon
You’ve been looking at that limb now for quite some time and know it needs to be pruned. But it is not something small that a pair of hand pruners or even a set of monster 2-inch capacity loppers will handle. You need a hand saw. But you want a completely portable one that will fit in your hip pocket. How about considering a new product from Fiskars – their POWER TOOTH® Softgrip® Folding Saw with a nifty undercut feature.
- Adjustable Tightness of Blade to Handle: Yes (with 6mm Allen wrench)
- Special Features: Lanyard or hook hole at end of the handle. Blade over-center undercut ability
- Cutting Direction: Pull stroke
- Blade Locking Mechanism: Push button
- Overall Length (including blade): 15 – ½ 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 (Fiskars calls it POWER TOOTH®)
- Replaceable Blade: No
- Weight: 8 oz.
- Can Blade Be Sharpened: No (voids warranty)
The folding hand saw was shipped to me from Fiskars in a cardboard box. It made it through the shipping process free of any damage. The saw’s packaging is designed to hang on a pegboard rack. It’s encased in see-through plastic with a cardboard back.
The Fiskars POWER TOOTH® Softgrip® Folding Saw triple-ground teeth was the only folding saw I tested that had an undercutting feature and side push button to open and close the saw. Both proved to have advantages over some of the more conventional saws I tested.
The push button releases the blade and locks it in the open, closed, and over-center positions.
It’s perfectly placed for thumb activation; I found it incredibly easy to hold the saw in my right hand, press the button with my right thumb, and voilà – the saw opened. Similarly, by repeating the process I could easily close the saw and it locked into position. Because of the button’s location, it’s not as easy to press if you’re using the saw with your left hand (more on that below).
With the saw fully open, all I had to do was push the button again and I could over-rotate the blade so that it was closer to my wrist. This feature made it possible to more easily undercut branches. The design is the first of its kind that I’ve run across and the only saw (of all the ones that I’ve tested) that has it. For those gardeners and DIY landscapers who feel uncomfortable flipping a conventional folding hand saw over to make an undercut, this is a great feature of the Fiskars saw.
WHY AN UNDERCUT FOR PRUNING?
So, what’s the big deal about having a folding hand saw that will easily transform into an undercutting tool?
Well, it all has to do with proper pruning technique. If you make an improper pruning cut, a heavy branch can break off at the wrong point and peel the bark down the side of the tree. This damages the tree considerably and creates a wound that attracts pests and diseases which further damage the tree.
With the undercut feature of this saw, along with the excellent pruning guide on the back side of the packaging, you should be able to make proper pruning cuts every time.
- Ease of Cutting: Start of cut is easy. Easy pull stroke
- How Clean is the Cut: Clean
- Cutting Speed: Moderate
Overall, the saw made clean cuts. It was easy to pull through the wood on each cutting stroke. It was not the fastest-cutting saw of the saws reviewed but it performed well in both the straight bladed and undercut positions.
NICE RUBBERIZED GRIP AND HANDLE DESIGN
The saw has a nice rubberized grip (orange color – Fiskars dubs it their Softgrip®) that helps prevent slippage.
It has a slight bend to the handle at the rear of the saw so that your hand is less likely to slip off on the pull stroke. It is not as pronounced as some of the saws I tested (that have more of a “hook” on the back end), but the rubberized grip makes up for this, and the curve at the back of the handle helps too.
SPECIAL WRENCH TO TIGHTEN BLADE TO HANDLE
This particular model requires a metric Allen wrench (6mm) to adjust the blade to handle tension. It required me to carry an extra tool into the field to make any saw adjustments.
I prefer a through-bolt (that goes through the handle and the blade) to be operated by a ubiquitous tool that virtually every household has – a Phillips or straight bladed screwdriver. Not everyone has a set of metric Allen wrenches in their toolbox. If you have one, great. But it may require you to spend extra money to get one, and these types of wrenches almost always come as a set, which makes them more expensive.
HANDLE TO BLADE TOLERANCES
The overall handle to blade tolerances were good. There was some side-to-side motion of the blade, or”play.” With the 6mm Allen wrench, I was able to tighten the bolt enough to take the side to side play out of the system.
There was also some up and down motion of the blade, but I’ve come to expect this. Most of the folding hand saws I’ve reviewed have some up and down play at the handle to blade interface – it’s just a function of the folding saw design. Unless it affects the saw’s cutting performance (which it didn’t in this case), I don’t subtract marks for it.
Check out this short video to see my initial thoughts on the Fiskars folding saw, as well as to see how the push button works and the undercutting capabilities.
FISKARS USES HIGH CARBON STEEL BLADES
Think of carbon as the stuff that makes steel hard. The more carbon in the steel, the harder it is. High carbon steel is the preferred material used in triple-edged pruning saw blades because it is so durable, and consequently stays sharp for a long time.
To make folding hand saw blades stay sharp through many hundreds if not thousands of cuts, blades are first heat treated and then quenched by lowering the heated metal blade into a bath of oil or water until it cools.
EASY TO CARRY
This saw, when folded, is only 9 inches long. I found it easy to carry in my hip pocket without a problem. Depending on how deep your back pockets are, it may slide around some, but I didn’t have any problems with it falling out. However, I preferred the extra security of carrying it in my front pocket as it’s deeper and just felt more comfortable to carry, particularly when sitting down.
HARD TO OPEN AND CLOSE FOR LEFT HANDED FOLKS
The saw has a lot going for it, but one of the areas that I think needs real improvement is the ability for a left-handed person to easily actuate the push button with their left thumb. In its current configuration, I did not find it easy. If I tipped the saw upside down, I could open the saw using my left thumb. But this was awkward as I had to flip the saw over and hold it by its end (near the button). It was a weird angle, counterintuitive, and had the blade flipping open toward me.
Is the Fiskars POWER TOOTH Softgrip folding saw openable using your left hand? The answer is a qualified “yes, but…”. Basically, I had to either use the index finger of my left hand (which is not as strong as my thumb) or open the saw with my nondominant hand.
The saw works really well for righties but lefties will be challenged with the open/close mechanism.
The saw blade has a chrome plating that should inhibit rust formation, as well as the buildup of sap and wood resins. However, as with all saws I’ve tested, the chrome plating can begin to wear off after extended use, especially around the cutting teeth.
Keep an eye on this. When you notice the blade taking on a duller color, it means the chrome plating is starting to wear off. And once the chrome is gone, the high carbon steel will start to rust. Chrome plating is a nice added bonus to keep the saw blade from rusting or getting covered in sap and wood resins, but it is not bulletproof.
A little regular maintenance will help your saw last longer. I recommend 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. My favorite lubricant is Tri-Flow® And, of course, don’t leave your saw out overnight (where it’ll get covered in morning dew) or use it in the rain.
Wear eye protection, such as safety glasses from Wiley-X (my favorite). Safety glasses help prevent sawdust from falling into your eyes when cutting over your head or on a windy day. They also protect you from flying metal in the event that a saw blade snaps (and they can if bent at extreme angles).
And don’t forget 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 will give you the best protection. Enough said. Be safe.
Fiskars offers a full lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. It’s important to note that Fiskars does not cover sharpening of any of its tools; this will void the warranty.
I like the undercut capability of this saw. It is a unique feature that makes it easier to use for those who are not comfortable with flipping a saw over to make the undercut. I also appreciate the push button design of the blade lock. It works extremely well for a right-handed person although it’s not easy for a lefty. The saw features a sharp POWER TOOTH® saw blade that makes good clean cuts and Softgrip® rubberized areas on the handle which prevent slippage. As an added bonus, the saw comes with excellent pruning instructions (I wish more companies provided this kind of helpful information).
I think a bolt head that accepts a standard Philips or straight screwdriver would be an improvement over a 6mm Allen wrench (I’m just thinking about those folks that don’t own this specialty tool to make adjustments when necessary. Most people have a screwdriver hanging around).
Overall, it’s a good saw for a right-handed person.
WHERE TO BUY
Last update on 2019-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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