Arborists frequently use handsaws while climbing, and a recent accident highlighted the danger of cutting one’s rope with a handsaw. There do not appear to be any robust tests describing the ability of handsaws to cut ropes. The following study attached handsaw blades to a pendulum, which swung into a rope, bringing the blade and rope, which was under tension, into contact. The percent of the rope’s diameter cut by the blade was measured, as well as the percent loss in the rope’s strength after it was cut. Type of blade was a more important factor than type of rope with respect to the percent cut and percent strength loss, and there was a nearly one-to-one relationship between those response variables. The results of this study are discussed in the context of a climber’s safety.
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