Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We have answers.

This isn’t really a question that’s frequently asked, but it will help us communicate clearly about the saw.

  • Handle
    the red part
  • Blade
    the sharp part
  • Backbar
    the silver part that hides the blade when it’s closed
  • Wingnut
    the nut with wings that holds it all together
  • Strap
    the leather piece that you can use to hang the saw

All the aluminum used in our saws is extruded into the shapes we need from raw aluminum, then hardened, and then machined so that the pieces fit precisely together.

Why the “patina”:

  • When our hardened aluminum handles are machined, it leaves some burrs and extremely sharp edges. The solution to this has remained the same for many years, and the smoothing-process leaves the handles with a somewhat uniform, worn look — a patina, if you will. Think of it like pre-washed jeans. This is done BEFORE they are anodized red, a process that permanently changes the color of the surface aluminum.
  • The 60th Anniversary saw handle is engraved with the signature of the inventor, Richard E. Swenson. You can clearly see that this exposes the underlying color of the original aluminum.
  • Without this “worn” look, the handle would actually be very slippery if your hands got wet/sweaty.

We are so glad that our most frequently asked question is what to do about a lost wing nut! What a small and easily-solvable problem that one is! Losing the wing nut is the only complaint we repeatedly heard in 50 years, so we now supply you with a second wing nut! If you lose one or both wing nuts, go to your local, independently-owned hardware store and ask for a wing nut (5/16”, course thread) Chances are very good that they carry those wing nuts. It’s that simple.

Problem-Solving for the wing nut:

First, the wing nut is almost always attached to the Sven-Saw®. You do not need to worry about keeping the wing nut anywhere else. When it is collapsed and put away, the wing nut holds the parts together. When you are using it, the wing nut holds the saw in place. The only time you might lose the wing nut is either assembling the saw or putting it away. If you’re still worried about losing it, here are some ideas:

  • Use your favorite bright red nail polish to accent your wing nut. That way, if you drop it anywhere other than red shag carpeting, you’ll find it so easily! (And if you drop it on red shag carpeting, we have to wonder what you were doing with a saw in your living room!)
  • When you’re using the saw, chances are pretty good you’re wearing shorts or pants with pockets. Think about which pocket you’re going to drop that wing nut in, while you move the parts of the saw.
  • Some clever customers have drilled a little hole in the wing part of the nut and threaded fishing line through it. They’ve attached that through the handle hole, so it’s always handy.
  • It can just live on the leather hanging strap, at the ready.
  • If you’re pruning in your yard, it can go in your toolbox.
  • If you’re fishing, it can go in your tackle box.
  • If you’re camping, it can go with the utensils.
  • If you’re hiking, it can go with your toiletries.
  • If you’re kayaking, it can go in your life-vest pocket.
  • If you’re driving, it can go in the glove box.

We recommend holding the Sven-Saw® by the part of the handle that extends below the blade. We have found that people cut much more smoothly if they hold the handle at the bottom end. The blade is aggressive – the higher your hand is on the handle above the blade, the more the blade teeth bite, unless you’re really good. (Your other hand can help guide the saw at the top of the triangle, but it’s very important that you don’t let that top hand cause you to put sideways pressure on the blade. And you may need to be holding the log with that hand, anyway)

The most important thing – for using any saw – is that you want any movement to be directly in line with the blade, back and forth, with no side pressure. J-strokes are for paddling, and they’re really bad for sawing.

Yes, there is! Frost River now makes two sizes of waxed-canvas Sven-Saw Sleeves for us to fit the 15″ and 21″ saws. Sven-Saw® Sleeve

The Sven-Saw® is the original folding saw. The whole point was to conceal the blade safely within the handle. It slides easily in and out of a portage pack while canoeing, which was its first purpose. Many people use much lighter-weight gear now, so we’re having these sleeves made. Like the saw, they’re intended to last a very long time.

Other stores also make saw bags that hold your Sven-Saw. We know of one from Piragis and Duluth Pack.

First, congratulations! You deserve credit for using the saw so much that you actually need to replace the blade! We commonly hear from people who use their Sven-Saw® for 20 to 30 years before they need to replace the blade. When you finally need a new blade you can:

If you have an older Sven-Saw® (and you aren’t likely replacing the blade unless you do), that piece that holds the blade to the backbar may look like a rivet, but it’s a spring-pin, and you can push it through using a hammer and a nail a bit larger than the diameter of the spring-pin. If you stop before it goes all the way through the backbar, you can re-use it easily for the new blade.

Line up the outer hole in the new blade with the hole in the backbar and insert the spring pin through both holes.

To replace the spring pin with the screw and nut we use now, ask your local hardware store for a 10-32 X 5/8 in. pan head screw and locknut.

Image showing how to attach a replacement blade


Line up the outer hole in the new blade with the hole in the backbar and insert the screw through both holes and attach the locknut. Only tighten it until it just touches the backbar. You don’t want to squeeze the backbar.

… either way, make sure you put the new blade in with the teeth facing in the right direction!

Probably. Our goal is to keep every Sven-Saw® in action for the length of its natural life. It is not a throw-away item! Contact us directly and we’ll try to work something out.

We might ask what happened, but we will not judge.

We’ve been making the Sven-Saw ® in Minnesota, USA continuously since Richard Swenson invented it in 1961! We use all local manufacturers. The saws are assembled and shipped from Opportunity Partners, which provides employment to people with disabilities. The only part not made in Minnesota is the blade. Our blades are made of the finest Swedish steel and crafted in Sweden.

Trees, logs, branchesYes
Bones/large animalsYes (and we also sell specific meat blades through the website)
Frozen meat/fishYes
Snow (for igloos)Sure
IceYes, but there’s probably something better.
MetalNo. That’s one thing our blade won’t cut.

We don’t. Most metal cutting is done at home, and you’re better off with a dedicated hack-saw there.