May 17 2019

Silky saws – injury and reminder on safe use.

In a recent incident a worker suffered a very severe hand injury using a Silky Saw whilst engaged in conservation work for a partner organisation. The injury was caused by the blade jumping out of a pinch when it was pushed and coming into contact with the workers hand.


Woodland Trust staff and volunteers regularly use Silky saws and are reminded of their correct use.


Silky saws are designed to cut on the pull stroke. The thin blades will not bow because they are under tension while being pulled across the surface to be cut. If your saw ever becomes caught in a branch squeeze, DO NOT push hard and NEVER wrench the handle. Always lift the weight off the blade to release the saw.



  • Always hold the branch securely.
  • Start cutting by light dragging the blade across the branch towards you.
  • Slide the blade forward. No cutting takes place on this forward or push stroke.
  • Repeat until branch is cut.
  • Apply light power to the pull stroke and slide the blade forward. Let the teeth do the work.



  • DO NOT PUSH HARD. If the branch moves during cutting, the blade may flex and bend or break. Replacement blades are available.
  • DO NOT PRESS DOWN HARD. Heavy pressure is not necessary and the teeth will only jam in the wood fibre and may break.
  • REMEMBER correct pruning techniques are important. With larger branches, always undercut first. If your saw ever does become caught in a branch squeeze, always take the weight off the blade to free the saw. Never wrench the handle from side to side hoping to release the blade


Impulse hardened blades cannot be re-sharpened by a hand file.

  • Aaron Sheppard

    Thank you. That is good advice. I would also recommend where an individual is working in a group wear protective gloves as it is easy to lose concentration when someone else in the group is talking. Generally wearing gloves is a health and safety regulation.

    May 20, 2019 at 11:39 am
  • RichardLawson

    Yes, always ear gloves – except when using a swing tool such as axe or billhook.

    June 7, 2019 at 3:37 pm

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