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Project by Kelly posted 11-15-2015 07:09 AM 6136 views 29 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Log Cutting Jig Using a Harbor Freight or Pony Bar Clamp

A friend bought a riser block for my band saw. Too, I acquired some logs sections that would allow me to take advantage of the increased capability of the saw. The sled I built a few years back wouldn’t handle the wood, so I needed to build a new log cutting sled.

I was in a hurry, and I didn’t want to consume a lot of materials merely because I built in haste. On a whim, I decided to see if I could just use a bar clamp to clamp a fence directly to the log, to give it a flat surface to run on the table and against the fence.

To build the prototype jig, I grabbed a piece of scrap 3/4 ply (okay, it was that 23/32 crap they’re pushing on us now days) and cut it into a couple pieces about four inches wide. Both pieces were a little over a couple feet long. Just a little longer than the clamp I needed for the logs I was going to work.

My intention was to secure the clamp to the pieces of plywood. To do this, I cut some notches in the one I was going to lay the clamp on, so the bar could rest flat on the edge of the plywood and the clamping portions could sit in to it. As well, a longer notch allowed the sliding part to still move.

After notching the plywood, I drilled a couple holes in the clamp, for the screws that would screw it to the plywood.

A second piece, which would laminate to the first, made the jig wide enough the clamp would not contact the fence and prohibit the jig from pressing flat against it.

I cut notches in the second piece of plywood also, to allow the back of the clamping portion of the clamp to set into the wood, and to let the sliding part move back and forth.

The jig has worked so well, I’m waiting for another, longer piece of scrap plywood so I can make a longer version for logs up three or four feet long.

Before using the jig, I, roughly, square the log ends, so the clamp can grab VERY tightly.

When using the jig, I try to find the “sweet spot” to position the log in for cutting. That is, the position it is least inclined to want to roll, as the blade moves through it.

After the first cut is made and the log can rest flat on the table, the jig is even easier to use for the second cut.

Keep in mind, the logs always wants to roll when there is no support on the bottom, at the point where the blade comes out of the wood. If the log does turn, it can be more than a little exciting. It, certainly, would be the end of a blade, at the least. How much the log wants to roll depends on factors like the sharpness of your blade, the size of the log and how well the log rides on the table.

Because of the tendency of the log to want to roll, I make sure the clamp is tight. That, the portion of the log riding on the table, and holding the jig down to the table has worked on several rather gnarly logs and I haven’t had to work too hard at it. However, having run the band saw and learned, first hand, about the hazards of cutting round things through the blade, I am always aware of how easy it would be to spin the log, so I keep my hands away from the danger area, or what would be, if the log spun.

Sleds solve the problem of the log twisting. Some by use of a clamp, others just screw the wood to the sled. With a true sled, there is less likelihood of the log rolling. With this jib, you are the other part of the sled responsible for holding the wood flat to the table. Keep these things in mind.

Keep in mind, if your blade starts running through the wood at an angle, it’s time to stop and tweak the machine, be it by way of a blade change, positioning of the blade so the gullet runs at center on the upper tire, tension or other. A blade running through the wood at an angle is going to pull on the wood and that pull will increase with the angle.

Obviously, the larger the log, the harder you’re going to work. If using this jig, you might want to run a few smaller logs to get the feel of running it.

You’ll find that having the jig clamped to the log is, essentially, just giving the log a straight edge to work with. With it clamped, you could free hand (run without a fence). You’d just have to take care to avoid getting your latest favorite blade near the jig.

If free handing, the closer you get to the center of the log, the less inclination there will be for the log to roll, since there is less gap at the bottom.





21 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

2897 posts in 2487 days


#1 posted 11-15-2015 08:25 AM

I would really like to see some pictures of your jig without the log. Anything that helps like this is interesting

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23199 posts in 2333 days


#2 posted 11-15-2015 02:21 PM

Nice work. It looks like a great way to make use of short logs in the shop. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 643 days


#3 posted 11-15-2015 02:32 PM

Great idea! I will have to keep it in mind for when I do more resawing.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View bushmaster's profile

bushmaster

1369 posts in 1749 days


#4 posted 11-15-2015 02:59 PM

Like you said a sharp blade is a must. I found the sharpest blades are ones I sharpened myself. First time I am able to cut thin cuts perfectly straight through the bandsaw with very little pressure. My last post Was a setup for sharpening the blades. If you haven’t seen it you might want to check it out. HAPPY SAWMILLING.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2801 days


#5 posted 11-15-2015 03:14 PM

Very nice.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View RJ2's profile

RJ2

151 posts in 3252 days


#6 posted 11-15-2015 04:06 PM

Great build

-- RJ, Tampa Fl, RJMETALWOODS.COM

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1114 posts in 2411 days


#7 posted 11-15-2015 06:14 PM

Consider them added (I knew I’d missed the obvious).



I would really like to see some pictures of your jig without the log. Anything that helps like this is interesting

- Hawaiilad


View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1114 posts in 2411 days


#8 posted 11-15-2015 07:48 PM

Looks like we grew up in each other’s front or back yards. I was from the Okanogan area, until the 70’s.

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1667 posts in 2091 days


#9 posted 11-15-2015 08:29 PM

I love your jig. I normally make a log jig on the fly with whatever is laying around and screw the log to the fence. This makes MUCH more sense.
Thanks

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1428 days


#10 posted 11-16-2015 12:21 AM


When using the jig, I try to find the “sweet spot” to position the log in for cutting. That is, the position it is least inclined to want to roll, as the blade moves through it.

After the first cut is made and the log can rest flat on the table, the jig is even easier to use for the second cut.
- Kelly

Great and simple to make jig, nice work. I’m thinking a hatchet and a drawknife could make quick work of putting enough of a flat on one side of the log to make things a little less “exciting”.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1114 posts in 2411 days


#11 posted 11-16-2015 01:27 AM

I just cut a bunch of wood that had a lot of good sized branches coming off it. Because the clamp is quick and easy to use, I was able to roll the log to offer up the branch to the blade and remove it.

If a log had a lot of branches that held the log off the table, the log could rest on, for example, a 1x, with the jig still on the table and against the fence, so there was less tendency for the log to drop when it ran off the table. Of course, that’s the idea of the jig, to keep the log in position, even after the branch as off the table.

When using the jig, I try to find the “sweet spot” to position the log in for cutting. That is, the position it is least inclined to want to roll, as the blade moves through it.

After the first cut is made and the log can rest flat on the table, the jig is even easier to use for the second cut.
- Kelly

Great and simple to make jig, nice work. I m thinking a hatchet and a drawknife could make quick work of putting enough of a flat on one side of the log to make things a little less “exciting”.

- Tim


View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

3928 posts in 3042 days


#12 posted 11-16-2015 03:49 AM

I have to admit, I didn’t read your whole narrative. So if you answered it, disregard.
How do you support the big log when it’s hanging off the bandsaw table?
And, does it make your saw unstable?
Thanks

-- Eric, central Florida

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1114 posts in 2411 days


#13 posted 11-16-2015 06:36 AM


View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1114 posts in 2411 days


#14 posted 11-16-2015 06:41 AM

My saw weighs about three hundred, so small logs, say, forty pounds or so, don’t seem to make it unstable. There is even less a problem with this jig, because it cuts from the left of the blade, unlike sleds that ride in the miter track and are cut from the right and that hang over the side from the get go.

As to logs hanging out the back, you have to have a friend help or set up a support.


I have to admit, I didn t read your whole narrative. So if you answered it, disregard.
How do you support the big log when it s hanging off the bandsaw table?
And, does it make your saw unstable?
Thanks

- Woodwrecker


View RJ2's profile

RJ2

151 posts in 3252 days


#15 posted 11-16-2015 01:07 PM

I have one of my bandsaws idle , a 24” Tannewitz I think I will make a sled similar to yours and start cutting logs about 20” . Wasting to much money buying stock and cutting at 18” by 1” strips anyway to make my threaded dowel rods , for the bar stools . Actually this saw has mucho bulk, think I will weld up metal fence and weld clamp bar to it. When I stopped and actually thought about how I don’t make siding planks , etc, and cutting so much stuff to short lengths , sure makes sense.

-- RJ, Tampa Fl, RJMETALWOODS.COM

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