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How to Cut Large Blocks of Ice

Hi. I'm a glaciologist and I wondering what's the best way to collect ice samples for my research. I'm collecting 1ft by 1ft square blocks of ice from the glacier surface. The surface is completely ice and relatively flat. I need a way of cutting into the ice and removing a block about 6 inches deep in a fairly precise way (without just chipping away at the ice) so that the bottom of the block is also flat. I was thinking of potentially using a handheld, battery-powered circular saw to cut the edges and then using a regular hand saw to cut the bottom off. The tools I use have to be completely waterproof and as safe as possible to avoid injury. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
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Posted 2016-05-10T21:17:50+0000  by SashaZL SashaZL
I've never been on a glacier but I've been to several ice carving competitions and everyone make their rough cuts with a chain saw.  Certainly in the days before small gasoline engines ice was harvested with handsaws.  I would imagine what works on wood would work on ice too but I'm thinking a saw with teeth designed for ripping would be a better choice. 
Posted 2016-05-11T01:00:30+0000  by Adam444


Greetings SashaZL,

I do not have any experience with ice block cutting, but I do remember hearing stories about George Washington harvesting ice from the Potomac River for his ice cellar back in the day…so if it was possible then, we must have some great ingenuity now…I was originally thinking a rubber mallet and scoring the ice with a heated wood chisel but I have found a couple of links that may help with your process and research!!!

So exciting to hear from a glacier, how close is the nearest Home Depot?  I am sure we have tools to help!  

Best of luck, and happy harvesting!   Maureen

We would love to see some pictures!

Posted 2016-05-12T13:56:39+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS
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