The other day I got stuck in the YouTube black hole, checking out all sorts of things related to prepping when I came upon the concept of the pocket chainsaw. Essentially it’s a chainsaw chain with handles on it which allows one to (very efficiently) saw through pretty large pieces of wood if in a pinch. The fact that these things are pretty small and much more efficient than say…a hatchet, had me shopping around online for a good one. I NEEDED to have one for my bugout bag! Most were priced out around $25 plus shipping and while I could have gone that route I figured why not give it a go and make one myself. After all how hard could it really be?
I consulted with our resident expert, The Maj, and then set off to Lowes to gather the necessary materials. An 8″ pole chain was the most expensive component at $12, I also picked up a dowel rod which brought the total with tax to around $15. Keep in mind the overall cost listed in the title is me making the assumption that you have tools similar to what I use in this DIY, a Dremel with cutting disc in addition to some 550 paracord laying around the garage. Here is the chain in all its glory with the Dremel standing by ready to put in work.
Here’s the cutting disc that I used with the dremel in order to grind down the rivets on the chain.
What, you thought I couldn’t grind AND take a picture at the same time? You were wrong! The chain was secured in a bench vice and eye protection was worn (of course).
Once the surface of the link was flat (rivets ground down to nothing) I was able to snap the chain in half with my hands with very little effort. The holes which were left on either side is what I would use to secure my handles to.
Next step was to attach the handles to the chain, but I needed handles first! That’s where the wooden dowel rods come into play, I measured them out at 2 inches each. After cutting them to length I drilled out holes in the center so I could route wire through them.
Once the handles were complete it was time for safety wire and safety wire pliers. I wired both the chain end and handle end and then covered it with “gutted” 550 paracord.
Here is what the completed project looked like.
Obviously the next step was NOT to throw it in my Bugout Bag, but to TEST it to make sure it actually worked. I took my dog and walked down to the river to find a suitable tree to test it on. I found a decent one which was already dead so I didn’t feel bad attempting to cut it down.
Here’s exactly how this went. I started sawing back and forth…5 to 10 seconds of “wow this is awesome!” And then….SNAP.
My safety wire had snapped like it was made of rice paper. What a disappointment! Back to the drawing board, where I decided to exclusively use 550 paracord held to the chain with key chain rings. If you try this method make sure to burn the end of the paracord with a lighter or it will fray like crazy.
I widened the hole on the handle and ran the paracord through it, tied a simple knot on the end to keep it from coming back through the hole and called it good.
Next step was to walk back out to the tree and give it another go. Once I had everything set up and starting sawing away, it probably took around 30 seconds to take it down.
So there you have it, the pocket chainsaw in all it’s glory. Spend around $15 and you can DIY in around 30 minutes. The lesson learned here is that you should always test your gear because the last thing you want to do is find out something doesn’t work when it really counts.
One final note, the chainsaw fits nicely into the same plastic case that it came in. I made sure to spray a little oil on there to keep it from rusting (thanks for the tip Maj!). Next stop…Bugout Bag.