Just for Fun... #84: Square Wood from Round Branches...

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Blog entry by littlecope posted 06-26-2014 02:57 AM 2238 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 83: Where did all the Fun go? Part 84 of Just for Fun... series Part 85: Plotting and Scheming... »

This has been a perplexing enigma to me for many years!

The old-timers would just split it (roughly square) and then square it up with progressively finer Tools… And that works very well, but there’s a lot of time spent doing it!
I’ve had a Bandsaw now for over a year, and it’s supposed to have this capability all of its own… With the right kind of set-up…
So, in the back of my mind, I’ve been pondering what kind of Sled was needed to do this… I have, of course, seen a few of them on these very pages… Some simple, some more complex, some that were downright ingenious!
Today, I made one that suits my needs, quick and simple…
I began by planing down a length of Maple that was kicking around until it slid freely in the miter slots of the Bandsaw, then cutting a narrow strip of it to use as a rider on the bottom of a scrap of plywood…

After that was secured with screws, it was cut to width with the Bandsaw…

It’s actually operational as is; i.e., I could screw up, into the wood, from the bottom of the sled and saw away…
But I don’t like the idea of the screw holes in the wood that would result… My idea (and I wasn’t sure if it would even work) was to incorporate hold-down clamps into the Sled design…
All it took, was a quick trip to the Hardware Store to procure a couple of 8” Carriage Bolts (and corresponding nuts and washers)
Holes were then drilled, countersunk, and squared in the Sled to accept the Bolts…

A couple of quick Jaws were fashioned out of Bubinga scraps… First, two 3/8” holes were drilled…

Then a slot was made by cutting away between the holes with the Scroll Saw…

And It’s ready to use now! Spacer Blocks were cut out of scrap to match the height of the Log and (with more than a little enjoyment!) I squared up the first side of the piece…

Later on, I may make a couple of stepped Spacers (incremented every 1/2”), but for the time being I cut two more spacers to match the height after the log was rolled onto its new, flat side…
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I humbly submit my first-ever sawn piece of Lumber from a Log…

To avoid ‘Squeeze-out’ of the work from the Jaws, I lastly put a “Retractable Tooth” on each Jaw, in the form of a screw that can be tightened or loosened…

Yeah, I know… You folks that have done this a thousand times are probably saying “Big Deal!”
But this is something I’ve wanted to do pretty much my whole life, and it was a pretty cool thing to have it work so well…
I’m smiling still… :)

25 June 2014

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

15 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18387 posts in 3873 days

#1 posted 06-26-2014 03:22 AM

Nice job Mike. I haven’t tried it yet. You give me great encouragement and motgiovation ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View robscastle's profile


5435 posts in 2401 days

#2 posted 06-26-2014 06:13 AM

Hey thats pretty neat well done!

It looks like a minature version of the real McCoy.

Hey we could call it the “LittleCope saw mill works”

Keep on smiling

-- Regards Rob

View Woodwrecker's profile


4200 posts in 3772 days

#3 posted 06-26-2014 08:46 AM

The results speak for themselves !
I see some nice projects coming out of the new Sled.
Good job brother.

View stefang's profile


16123 posts in 3531 days

#4 posted 06-26-2014 11:09 AM

I think you aced it with this one Mike. The hold downs are very cleverly designed and do exactly what they are supposed to do. Once you get two adjacent sides cut you can take it off the jig and just run one of the cut sides against the bandsaw fence and the other cut side on the table, Brilliant!.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3538 days

#5 posted 06-26-2014 11:17 AM

another innovative work from you michael
maybe little in size
but not in scope – cope

got the same to do myself
but with two 8’ logs

when i get some better blades
the ones i have a finer teeth
not good for re-sawing

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21712 posts in 3302 days

#6 posted 06-26-2014 11:47 AM

Nice solution to the holding on the sled.Iit looks like it works just great!..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Shanem's profile


130 posts in 2663 days

#7 posted 06-26-2014 12:12 PM

Now you’ll be looking for logs everywhere you go.

Little Tip. After you make your first pass, joint it and put that face down. Then you’ll have 3 sides square. all you need to do then is run it through the table saw to the width you want.

View Porchfish's profile


847 posts in 2729 days

#8 posted 06-26-2014 12:55 PM

Hey that’s a winner Mike ! I may have used a similar jig in the past with bolts and washers but I never thought about your “Tooth”...very nice simple addition that will save the creation of many many unacceptable phrases shouted in frustration due to a little slippage ! Very Nice !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3699 days

#9 posted 06-26-2014 01:29 PM

Thanks my Friends…
This one is a sort of ‘working prototype’ (had to see whether it would work) and it was made small, or size appropriate, to the small Pear branches that are on hand… Obviously, I won’t be making any boxes out of the Pear (unless they’re awfully small!), but I was greedy to recover some of it to make Hinges and Handles out of…
For that purpose, this is going to work great…
But it was also made to be able to cut up any firewood that piques my interest too! I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to be able to do that! :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2811 days

#10 posted 06-26-2014 02:01 PM

Micheal i’ve wanted to do the same for a while , looks like it worked really well , thanks for sharing one day im going to try iy got some pecan that just waiting ,and it is a big deal great job and design

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View lew's profile


12421 posts in 3952 days

#11 posted 06-26-2014 03:40 PM

Really neat, Mike! I may have to “borrow” this idea!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2887 days

#12 posted 06-27-2014 12:44 AM

Uh Oh Mike, That’s how I started and now I have a sawmill and 2 barns full of lumber! Just warnin ya!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3699 days

#13 posted 06-27-2014 12:51 PM

Eddie: I actually had the desire to do this bequeathed to me… My Dad tried, a number of times, to mill Lumber back in the early 1980’s…

His results were… less than satisfactory…
He would have got a kick out of seeing this Sled!
Lew: Have at it Lew… I’m flattered, that you think the idea good enough to borrow!
Andy: There’s no danger of that my Friend… I don’t have access to very much wood to begin with, and I certainly don’t have two Barns to fill!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3001 days

#14 posted 06-28-2014 09:16 PM

Very kool Mike. I’ve got some Honey Locust that I’m going to do the same thing with, as soon as I can get to it.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3053 days

#15 posted 07-02-2014 05:54 PM

Mike that is way neat
I often cut wee logs fae the firewood pile
Just to see the grain


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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