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Sawbucks and gang cutting for small wood? Time saver or annoyance?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by scooby074, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Just got a new 8cd load of wood to cut. At first glance it looks like there is a bunch of small stuff in there (6" and under)

    So I got to thinking, if I was to make a sawbuck and pile the small, easily to handle stuff in it, logs 8" and under for example, then gang cut the pile at once, would that be any faster/easier than cutting it one piece at a time? You'd think it would be? OR is it a PITA dragging smaller logs over to the sawbuck as opposed to cutting on the pile?

    What about design?

    The traditional X:
    [​IMG]

    Or the European U design

    [​IMG]

    OldLumberKid and albert1029 like this.

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  2. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    IMO it IS faster to use a sawbuck on smaller stuff from 4" to 9".Especially when you have at least 3-4 wheelbarrow's worth.I had a smaller one over 20 years ago made from non treated spruce or something.That eventually turned to compost.This past July I made a bigger stronger one from SS screws & treated 2 x 4 & 2 x 6 odds & ends from my junk pile.Should be around after I'M compost ;) Smaller stuff from 1 1/4" to 4" or so,that all gets cut to length on older 10" Delta cast-iron miter saw.With 1/8" 40 tooth carbide blade,its much faster than any chainsaw you'll find,because of much thinner kerf from the blade.

    Its much harder as I've gotten older to be constantly bent over cutting all those shorter pieces,then bent over again picking all them up & making 10 times as many trips carrying them to trailer or pickup.

    3 to 9ft poles,haul them in,load sawbuck,cut & repeat. Marks at 16" & 32" with a Sharpie makes things easier.

    Plus sawbuck keeps the tip of the bar outta the dirt,kinda hard to avoid that when bucking small rounds in the field.

    Attached Files:

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  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Most definitely a sawbuck saves a lot of time on the small stuff. I really like to use one when my wife is helping. She takes the real small limbs and stacks maybe 8-10 on the sawbuck at one time. That really helps me a lot and speeds things up. Cutting the small trees and/or limbs is what really robs the time from your cutting and that is one good reason to cutting logs that are say from 20" to 30" or even bigger. Cutting the big stuff makes the wood pile grow a lot faster but if you cut the small in jig and have a helper, it really does speed it up.
  4. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    I know what your saying about cutting the big stuff... I requested "big stuff" and got a mixed bag. Nothing over 20" as far as I can see. Nothing I would call "big". Lots of small, <4" stuff. Some 10-14" .I'm not real happy.

    I got a question, when buying a "Cord" of wood, does it make a practical difference how much actual wood you get when you have large vs. small logs?

    Im thinking you might actually get more wood with smaller logs because it gets packed in tighter on the truck with less wasted space? Does that make sense?
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I would opt for the medium stuff. Like 12-30" logs. Nothing smaller, nothing bigger.
  6. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I made this one up out of 5 8" 2x4. The short leg helps hold things when you have to work on the stubby ones. It folds up too.

    saw buck 3.jpg
  7. AJS56

    AJS56 Member

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    Good question. I'm thinking the opposite. Assuming the logs are fairly straight, it would seem to me that the larger they are the more wood you'd have. Due to the fact that a 30 in round is solid wood with no air space, rather than a bundle of smaller rounds/logs. I know that the larger diameter logs would have some bigger air gaps between them, but I still "think" (with no proof) that bigger = better. ;)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I think bigger diameter logs is more split wood volume. Also bigger logs you get more BTU's (more dense heart wood less sap wood & bark)
    My wood never stacks as tight split compared to rounds, so my stacked splits measure more wood than stacked rounds.
    I think it's more fun to cut & split the bigger stuff, just wish it wasn't so heavy. LOL :)
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  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    My experience, so far, is that the bigger logs tend to have more rot in the middle.
  10. AJS56

    AJS56 Member

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    Well said, Dave.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I watched those Oregon videos. They seem to cut short pieces.
  12. Tinder

    Tinder Member

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    I sure wish I had seen that before I made mine. I just made one quickly last winter and used screws - kind of a PITA to carry around.

    IMO it's faster to use a sawbuck for <6" stuff, but I also made mine a bit deeper than some of these pictured so I can stack up 4-8 logs/branches at a time and cut through them all together.
  13. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I made a cutting box that I can load a bunch of pieces into and get two cuts out of it. I made it so I get cuts that are 17 inches. It's made out of scraps and not pretty but does the job I want. I also use a sawbuck when I only have one or two longer pieces to shorten.

    Attached Files:

  14. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Yes they do, Remember its a European model, so they do the European method that many do. They cut (and split) their logs in 1m lengths for storage/drying either in NA style stacks or round bundles, then cut them to stove length once dry. They even have dedicated machines that will automatically cut the 1m long dry splits to stove length

    Its an interesting system and Ive more than once thought about trying it, but nobody in North America seems to know anything about it. All I know about the system is what ive gathered from youtube videos. Heres but a few if your interested

    1metre splits.





    Automatic cut to stove length




    Gang cutting with a huge bar
    albert1029 likes this.
  15. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Based on the comments here Im going to build a sawbuck when I got a chance..

    Question now is U or X style?

    Any links to build threads or plans? I think I want a larger (wider) X so i can stack more sticks before I have to cut.
  16. bubba3228

    bubba3228 Member

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    I have built this and it is very stable and a one man operation. IM000926.JPG IM000927.JPG
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  17. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    That is basically the same set up that I am using. Kind of a warped H-Frame. Mine is getting pretty haggard after three hard years of cutting but since it is basically composed of scrap 2x4's I think I got my money's worth out of it :0

    You can process a pretty good amount of wood on these things. I usually load it up by grabbing a good sized limb every time I take the dog for a walk. It adds up quick!
  18. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    Here it is, the H style can't be beat for small stuff and you never have to worry about nicking that sawbuck.

    Attached Files:

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  19. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    So, whats the general consensus, U or X style? Any designs or build threads that are particularly good?

    Im leaning towards X because it can be folded up for storage, but U looks like i could pile more stuff in there per cut?
  20. bubba3228

    bubba3228 Member

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    I have used both. U holds the wood better when cutting. X has a tendency for the rounds to roll up if not held in place with another person or a strap.
  21. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    As listed at the top you can buy an H style that folds up very small. In my opinion there is no comparison the H is the way to go. The way I built mine you can cut straight down with no fear of hitting the sawbuck and it will hold alot more.
  22. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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    I borrowed a grapple bucket once and stacked a huge pile in front my garage and lined up the ends even and climbed the stack and went at it for a week straight. Worked pretty slick.

    I built a cutting box that is near my spilt pile, works good to resize longer pieces or multiple branch wood pieces.

    I try my best to handle the firewood as few times as possible. =)

    Like all the different jigs you guys have made!
  23. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    No plan links?
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    For those who load their lengths on a trailer, haul it to the wood pile, then unload it & cut it up or load into a sawbuck & cut - I'd suggest incorporating some tall wood bunks into the bed of your trailer & just cutting/junking while the wood is on the trailer. Think of it as a sawbuck on wheels. Likely, the more 'bare skeleton' your trailer is, the better - would make for a cheaper trailer build too if you wanted to try to make something.

    Load it long lengths, drive to where you pile, cut it, pile it.

    One thing I'm always trying to think about is how to reduce wood handling - anything to help extend the useful life of my back.
  25. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    I built a 48"Lx18" Wx40"H "U" style today. Only cost like $12! I havent painted it yet (plan on using used oil) but tried loading it up. I think Im going to save a bunch of time. Only thing is I hope my 18" bar will cut all the way through... If not, I guess I'll upgrade to a 20" which is something I kinda want to do anyways.

    Will post pics when I try it out.

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