Camping without a campfire is like bike riding without a bike. You can’t cozy up next to a lantern or make S’mores over a flashlight. A camp fire returns the primeval spirit to camping. We get to show off our skills at lighting a fire and our ancient culinary arts by cooking a meal over that fire.
So we need a campfire when we go camping but first we need wood to burn. Many municipalities and campgrounds have been putting an embargo on firewood. Which means you have to buy or gather it where you burn it. This is done to stop the spread of invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer. A small bundle of firewood can cost anywhere from $4.00 to $10.00. You will need several bundles if you plan on keeping a fire burning throughout the evening. Suddenly that campfire becomes expensive.
Another option is to gather the wood from the area surrounding your campsite. Sometimes you will get lucky and there will be enough burnable wood you can use. Most of the time the pieces are too large to fit in your fire pit.
My wife bought me the Black and Decker 18V Cordless Electric Chain Saw as a Father’s Day present. It has become an indispensable part of our camping gear. I now cut my own firewood for our campfires. We have easily paid for the $100.00 saw with the savings realized by not purchasing firewood.
The Black and Decker 18V Cordless Electric Chain Saw comes with one 18V rechargeable battery, charger, blade guard, and a wrench mounted on the saw for chain tensioning. It appears that almost all of Black and Decker’s 18V line of tools comes with at least two batteries and I was surprised that this saw came with just one.
The life of a fully charged battery depends on the size of the wood you are cutting. If you camp without electricity and are unable to recharge the single battery I would suggest purchasing an extra one.
I bought a Black and Decker 18V weed trimmer which came with two batteries for less than the price of those two batteries if I had purchased them separately. Now I have a new weed trimmer and three 18V batteries. A separate 18V battery was priced at $49.99 at Lowes. My weed trimmer cost $89.99.
The Black and Decker 18V Cordless Electric Chain Saw will cut up to an eight inch log. However be careful since this will drain your battery quickly. The saw is most comfortable cutting 2″ to 4″ pieces of wood. One fully charged battery will make about fifty to sixty cuts. Which is plenty of campfire wood for a weekend of camping. If you need more wood simply go out and cut more.
Overall the Black and Decker 18V Cordless Electric Chain Saw operates smoothly and without trouble. It is well balanced and the safety on off switch is easy to use. The saw is light enough that it is easy to trim small branches and leaves off the larger logs you are cutting. The drawbacks are few.
The saw has a small oil reservoir with a thumb operated oiler pump. The oil outlet hole is mounted above the blade but gets clogged easily with sawdust and debris. You either need to hand oil the chain or continuously keep cleaning the oiler for the chain to remain oiled. The chain tightening screw is awkward to reach with the tool supplied. Further, once you loosen the tension on the chain it easily falls off the track and then needs to be put back on. Overall I consider these issues to be minor.
I have used my chain saw for over a year now and am very pleased with it. It does exactly as I intended it to do, cut small loads of fire wood. Today I cut about one-hundred pieces of 3″ to 4″ oak logs into two foot pieces. This took one full and about a half of another battery. The saw performed flawlessly. Aside from the campground my saw has found numerous uses at home as well. It has become trusted tool in my gardening shed.
I recommend the Black and Decker 18V Cordless Electric Chain Saw to anyone who does a lot of camping. It will pay for itself in just a few trips. One word of caution is to check with the local authorities where you are camping to ensure they allow the cutting of wood.