To begin, I have no affiliation with either company. I heard about Silky saws on the BCUSA forum and the Sierra saw I picked up at China-Mart. I should clarify here that the Sierra saw featured is not mine; it belongs to L.J., my nephew (he also took all of the photos for this particular article). I bought two last year and gave one to L.J. and the other I lost. Bummer. That's why I bought "the-saw-which-we-no-longer- speak-of", which, ultimately brought me to buying the Silky saw. China-Mart no longer sells the Sierra saw, but from what I understand, it is actually made by Coghlan's.
Here they are. Silky on the left, Sierra on the right.
Sierra saw - $7.00. Overall, the handle feels pretty cheap. It is hard plastic with no rubber for grip. It has a locking latch on the top of the saw that also feels cheap and loose. However, the blade feels razor sharp out of the package. L.J. and I have both used this saw a lot and the sharpness has lasted through use and abuse.
Silky - F-180 - $25.00. I was reluctant to spend 25 bones on a saw, sight unseen. $25.00 on my budget is a lot of money most days. Mrs. Hotel gave me a budget for Christmas and this is one of the items I purchased. The handle is made of plastic, but it isn't cheap plastic. The grip is rubber. I like that. It prevents slippage and makes the saw comfortable to hold. The saw itself was also very sharp out of the package.
You can see the locking mechanism on the top of the Sierra. It is flimsy, but does the job.
Basically, I decided to cut the same tree with both saws and make the cuts close to each other. I did this so that both saws would be cutting the same (or close to the same) diameter. I took full, even strokes. Here is the Sierra in action.
A little blurry, but this was the final product. Not a bad cut at all!
Here is the F-180. It has a plastic button on the top that controls the lock. It feels pretty durable.
Beyond that, it has two locking positions. This is position #1.
Here is position #2. I'm sure it has a use, but I haven't run into that problem yet.
I know, I should have gloves on. But I don't. It is all fun and games until someone loses a thumb. This is stroke #5.
It only took ten strokes. The cut at the end was also very clean.
Here they are folded. The blade on the F-180 fits nicely in the slot. It doesn't rattle loose. I can't say the same about the Sierra.
L.J. doesn't worry much about it, though. When I first started working with leather I made him this bandoleer and sheath. I'll probably make a carrying case for the silky, but it will likely be of thicker leather that hangs from the belt.
Overall, I can't rank one saw over the other. If you're on a tight budget, the Sierra saw is worth more than they charge for it. While I'm not impressed with the overall construction of the saw, the blade is really sharp. If you were a DIY guy, you could buy a saw like the Sierra and make a handle to your own specs.
This is not to say that I'm disappointed in the Silky at all. The finish and quality is great and the price tag isn't that bad, either. I think I'm really going to enjoy it on the trail. There are websites that sell replacement blades for a little over half of the cost of a full saw. Again, you could buy the blade and make your own handle and sheath. From what I understand, the Silky brand has quite a following with the arborist crowd.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,
Mike, Oscar, Hotel......out.