Is Silky Gomboy 240 A Good Folding Saw? The Short Answer Is Go Buy One Now!

If you’ve ever looked for a quality folding saw to take backpacking and camping, then you’ve probably noticed that there aren’t a lot of options. At least there aren’t a lot of good options. Most folding saws that are small enough to take into the backcountry are cheap, flimsy, and cut wood about as well as your average serrated steak knife.

To say that the Silky Gomboy 240 folding saw is in a different league would be an understatement. It’s the ultimate survival saw. I bought one because I was tired of lugging a heavy bowsaw out into the woods every time I went camping, and was blown away.

Silky is a Japanese company, and their pioneering line of folding saws has earned a reputation as the best in the business. They’re brilliantly designed and consistently made using top-notch materials. I know folks who work on tree farms and trail maintenance crews who flat-out refuse to carry any other hand saw.

Gomboy 240: First Impressions

Right out of the box, this is a pretty formidable-looking hand saw. I’ll get into blade details shortly, but you can tell right away that it’s made of quality steel, and that the teeth are uniquely designed for cutting. The blade folds in and out of the handle smoothly, and locks firmly in place when fully extended. The handle is comfortable in the hand, and has a non-slip rubber grip.

The Silky Gomboy 240 has some good heft to it, but it’s pretty lightweight for its size. The saw weighs 9.6 oz. (12.8 oz. if you include the plastic carrying case). Not exactly ultralight, but worth every ounce.

About the carrying case: I’m probably not going to use it much. The saw comes in a case made of hard, clear plastic, and I suppose if you’re going to store the saw somewhere you might as well keep it in the case. But the Gomboy is lighter and takes up less space in my pack without it, so I don’t expect to ever bring the case into the bush.

Silky makes their Gomboy line of folding saws in several sizes, and the number in the name refers to the length of the blade in millimeters. Thus, the Gomboy 240 has a 240mm blade (that’s just under 9.5 inches).

Blade Design and Construction

Ultimately it’s the blade that makes the Gomboy special. The blade is taper ground, which means it’s narrower at the tip than it is near the handle. But more importantly, it’s wider at the teeth than at the spine. This allows the teeth to bite through the wood on the pull-stroke while keeping the blade from binding and getting stuck in the wood.

The blade is chrome-plated, which gives it excellent corrosion resistance. I’m not sure exactly what type of steel it’s made out of—seemingly a proprietary alloy that the folks at Silky keep
pretty close to the vest—but it’s clearly a hardened steel with reasonably high carbon content. That gives the blade strength and helps the teeth stay sharp longer.

On the subject of teeth, the Gomboy 240 has 10 teeth per 30mm (about 8.5 teeth per inch). Each tooth is precision-ground and impulse hardened. Impulse hardening is a process that involves heating and cooling at rapid intervals while using high frequency currents to harden the steel, resulting in an extraordinarily hard, strong edge.

Every other tooth is beveled in the opposite direction, a patented design that prevents the saw from binding and allows it to eat through wood at an almost shocking rate with little added force from the user.

Silky makes Gomboy blades with a variety of tooth sizes. Medium teeth come standard on the Gomboy 240, and I would say that they’re probably the most versatile size, ideal for most bushcraft tasks. If you prefer finer teeth for precision cutting or larger teeth for bigger jobs, the blades are removable and replaceable, making it easy to buy multiple blades and switch it up as needed.

Lock and Handle

The Silky Gomboy 240 has a back lock to keep the blade secure while in the open position. It feels very stable and has a simple press-to-unlock feature that can be operated with the thumb of the sawing hand. It’s possible for other non-locking saws to close up on the user’s hand, so a lock like this is an absolute must-have for me.

The lock also offers two blade positions—straight and slightly upturned—a feature I didn’t even know was there until about a week after I’d started using the saw. The upturned position gives you a better cutting angle if you’re cutting something high up off the ground (i.e. tree limbs above eye level).
The handle has a very grippy rubber latex coating that is molded onto the steel underneath. It’s strong, durable, and resists slipping even in wet conditions. There’s a lanyard hole at the end of the handle that’s just the right size for paracord.

Saw Smarter, Not Harder

There’s only one complaint I occasionally hear about Gomboy saws: that the blades are fragile and prone to breaking. To be perfectly frank, I think that if you break your blade prematurely, it’s probably because you’re using it wrong.

The alternating beveled teeth on the Gomboy folding saw are designed to cut through wood like butter, and to do so without any added pressure from the user. The teeth essentially propel the saw through the wood. You don’t have to force it. In fact, don’t force it, because those aggressive push-cuts are how you break blades. The saw does most of the work for you if you let it.

Again, I don’t know the exact composition of the steel alloy used to make the blades, but it clearly has high tensile strength and is malleable enough to flex when it needs to. I consider it to be just the right balance of hardness and flexibility.

Silky Gomboy 240: Final Thoughts

The only people I can imagine not liking the Gomboy are ultralight hikers. And fair enough; it’s a little heavy. If you’re looking for something lighter and don’t need to cut through any big tree limbs, consider the Silky Pocketboy 130, which is essentially a scaled-down version that weighs just 5.9 oz. including the case it comes in.

As a folding saw for camping and bushcraft, I can’t recommend the Silky Gomboy 240 highly enough. I’ve found countless opportunities to use it around my backyard and in the woods—everything from pruning small branches to sawing up 6-inch thick limbs for firewood—and don’t expect its usefulness to wear out any time soon.