|Project by RichardDePetris||posted 12-11-2013 05:48 PM||3855 views||11 times favorited||7 comments|
Why did I do this?
Over the past few months I picked up the woodworking bug. I am a software engineer by day and a newfangled woodworking by night and weekends. I enjoy woodworking because fits my personality. I am sensitive to aesthetics, enjoy creative problem solving and fascinated by the under appreciated and ubiquitous, like wood. I devised this jig for cutting logs and I want to share it with other lumberjocks as an introduction into this community. I’ve read and enjoyed many articles and the least I can do is return a favor.
I am one of those kids in high school whose eyes lit up when I saw the periodic table and all the bizarre elements. I wanted to know what they looked like and what uses they have. In the same light, I have the same fascination for wood. The vast majority of my encounter with wood is pine. It is abundant, cheap and hackneyed. It is to woodworking what carbon is to chemistry. Boring and takes away too much attention taken away from interesting woods.
Getting your hands on some interesting hardwoods to experiment with is difficult and expensive. The S4S available at your local Borg is prohibitively expensive and lumber stores are way out in the boonies where city folk may be followed by a bunch of good ole’ boys in pickups with rifle racks. Reenacting scenes from Deliverance is not very appealing to me.
The solution for me has been to find logs around my neighborhood. Trees where I live are treated as nuisance. Almost every lightening storm is followed by sounds of chainsaws and chippers the next morning. Most down trees are hauled off by tree removal companies and are either mulched or dumped in a landfill. I’ll be damned if I have to squeal like a pig in Hicksville or pay outrageous prices at the Borg when home owners will happily pay hundreds of dollars to cut down and haul away a fine oak, hickory,or ash tree.
I’ve found tree removal companies are very nice and will allow you to grab as much logs as you want. When I hear a chainsaw, I usually drive towards the direction of the noise. The tree removal companies are more than happy to let you walk away with as much logs as you want. In fact, they encourage you to take more than you can possibly carry or use. Given the interior space limitations of my Corolla, the cutting depth of my Craftsman 12” band saw and my biceps, I can only haul away a few precious logs. Walking away with a couple of logs while the larger logs are loaded on trucks to meet their makers is a sad experience. My car can only hold a few survivors.
Getting Jiggy with It
I designed and built an adjustable band saw log slicing jig to turn urban lumber into usable wood. The design borrows ideas from other designs I’ve seen online. The advantage of this jig is that it can accommodate logs of different lengths, cheap, easy to build, dissemble for easy storage and re-purpose as a jointer sled for a band saw or table saw.
I built mine from a MDF bed frame I picked up from the trash. I used a router with a 1/4” bit to route two slots for the tailstock bolts centered inside another 1/4” deep 3/4” wide slot for the bolts to slide in. I used pocket hole joinery to construct the headstock and tailstock. You only need a saw and a router with a basic set of bits.
How to Use and not Abuse It
Similar to a lathe, the tailstock can be secured anywhere along the length of the bed while the headstock is stationary on one end. There are two long countersunk slots running down the length of the bed. The tailstock is fastened to the bed by inserting a bolt and washer through the slots and tailstock from the bottom of the bed. A nut and washer on the other end tightens the tailstock to the bed. The countersunk slot gives clearance to the bolt when it’s on the bandsaw table.
To operate the jig, lengthwise between the headstock and a tailstock, making sure one end of the log is against the headstock. Push the tailstock firmly against the other end of the log and lightly tighten the bolts. Line up the log so the edge of bed runs parallel to the pith of the log. Firmly tighten the tailstock bolts and drive a long screw through the tailstock and into the end of the log. Do the same for the headstock on the other end of the log.
Carefully lift the log and jig and place it so it rests on the table of the bandsaw. Depending on the log and cut you want to make, you can place the sled on either side of the blade. Inspect the bandsaw and ensure all blade and table adjustments are correct. A heavy log can easily cause the trunions to knock out of alignment.
Support the jig from both sides using infeed and outfeed supports, especially for longer bulkier logs. You don’t want the whole thing to drop off the other side of the table and ruin your saw. If you’re using roller stands, ensure their tightly fastened to the height of the bandsaw table and do a dry run. A heavy log will definitely put it to the test.
To ensure the log is cut straight, use your bandsaw’s fence or make one by clamping a straight edge to the table. Don’t get carried away with making a perfectly accurate and straight cut. This is for creating rough cut lumber, not for making fancy schmacy joinery.
Other Uses and Modifications
You can easily adapt this jig as a jointer for long boards on a table or bandsaw. You can use the bed to secure boards using toggle clamps or by using bolts and pieces of wood. To ensure a straight edge and keep the jig steady, consider adding a t-slot rail on the bottom.
Here are the results. While slicing the logs, I noticed some beautiful spalting along the grain. I was ready to pat myself on the back until I read something about spalting as being a sign of an amateur sawyer. Well, I’ll see in a year how this turns out. Hopefully, I’ll have some nice veneer wood I can use for a humidor or panel.
Until then, I’ll have to look for reclaimed lumber or use pine from the borg. Perhaps, one day I’ll work some courage to drive 50 miles to Hicksville and buy the good stuff.