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I've picked up a hand chainsaw for the woods as it's cheap and an amazing bit of kit.

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UK law states the legal carry for a knife is less than 3 inches and must be a non-locking folding blade.

Will I be able to take my saw out on public land? I don't believe it meets the definitions of an illegal blade but would appreciate some advice from those who know more - I assume it would still be illegal on an everyday carry but if I have a valid reason (going into the woods to cut dead wood) I should be ok.

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    Although I don't know specifically if a chainsaw falls under those kind of laws, it's normally that you're not allowed to carry those items without a good reason. Eg. It's allowed to carry a long fixed-blade knife if you're a chef on your way to work. What I'm wondering is if it's allowed for you to actually use the saw on pubic land. – Niall Jun 30 '16 at 17:41
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    @Niall It's perfectly legal to cut dead wood in the UK, lots of people still do it for fire wood – Nic Jun 30 '16 at 22:09
  • What do you mean by "UK" law? Would that be Scots Law, or English Law? – Toby Speight Oct 23 at 16:14
  • @Niall, I'd avoid using it on pubic land, for obvious reasons! ;-) It should be legal to use anywhere that you have a right to collect wood (which isn't generally the case on public-accessible land, unless you're a commoner or similar rightsholder), or if you're using it on your own wood that you've taken with you. – Toby Speight Oct 23 at 16:31
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This isn't a knife, it's a saw. So the knife laws don't apply. Anyone can carry a saw (Woodmen, carpenters, etc.). So yes, there should be no problem with carrying a saw in open land.


You state:

UK law states the legal carry for a knife is less than 3 inches and must be a non-locking folding blade.

that's incorrect though, the UK law states:

The laws about buying and carrying a knife depend on the type of knife, your age and your circumstances.

Basic laws on knives

It is illegal to:

  • sell a knife to anyone under 18 (16 to 18 year olds in Scotland can buy cutlery and kitchen knives) unless it’s a knife with a folding
    blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
  • carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)

Lock knives (knives with blades that can be locked when unfolded) are not folding knives, and are illegal to carry in public without good reason.

Source

So:

  1. As stated, I don't believe this would be classed as a knife
  2. It's certainly not on the banned list
  3. You have a good reason (going into the woods to cut dead wood) so even if you were pulled over (and they decided your very unknife looking item) was a knife it shouldn't be a problem.

There is a chance that in the wrong context this could be classed as an offensive weapon (for example, if you're in an inner london housing estate hanging out with a gang with this concealed in a bag then the police may well think that you're up to no good). If you're in a rural area on your way to the woods carrying a saw then no police constable in his right mind would class this as an offensive weapon and even if they did I would like to see them make that stand up in court.

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    I'm fairly sure this is wrong, do you have a reference for this. I think Niall's comment is correct that you have to have a good reason for carrying it. – nivag Jul 12 '16 at 11:33
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    updated @nivag with sources – user2766 Jul 12 '16 at 12:20
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Completely depends on the situation. If you have a reason to be carrying it you won't have a problem. If you're going down to the local Co-op with it handing out your back pocket then you might be pulled up.

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    This is actually the case. Whether something is a weapon or not depends on the situation. If you are carrying a chef's knife, or a baseball bat, in a situation where it is not reasonable to be carrying it for its intended purpose it can be considered a weapon. – DJClayworth Oct 24 at 18:51
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There is nothing to stop you carrying the tools of your trade in a public place (provided you aren’t arsing around).

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    I don't believe this is being asked from a 'workplace' point of view, where yes, a tree surgeon will be expected to have a chainsaw. It is borderline for 'sport' and like most items carried for these reasons, would be up to the officer to decide the outcome. – Aravona Oct 23 at 11:16

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