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Chainsaw jig, your options. Tips from a professional

If you have a lot of cutting to do, chainsaws make your life a lot easier. But cutting logs into similarly sized pieces can still be a challenge. The use of simple jigs can be a great help for this. A chainsaw jig is a great tool in your workshop and can be used for various tasks, from cutting small pieces of wood to shaping larger pieces. There are a few different chainsaw jigs, each with unique features. So, which one is right for you?

Chainsaw jig, your options

Chainsaw jigs are necessary when cutting many logs into smaller pieces. More simple jigs can be made yourself from wood easily. The x-shaped sawbuck is one of the more popular choices. If you require a more complex jig, there is a wide range of metal or plastic factory-made jigs. Different types of jigs can work with both electric and gas-powered chainsaws.

Jigs help guide your chainsaw to ensure that you make exact, error-free cuts. This article explains the various types of chainsaw jigs and how they can help improve your woodwork.

Chainsaw jig for cutting firewood

Chopping firewood into similarly sized portions can be challenging, especially if you have a lot of logs to cut. This also applies if you want specific lengths and sizes of wood for your wood-burning stove. A jig will be a great help to make the firewood cutting easier.

You can create a simple but effective jig from wood and other items you can find around your house. The jig, also known as the sawhorse, is a stand that allows users to cut large amounts of rough wood into suitable portions at similar lengths.

Metal sawbucks can be purchased from many locations or online. But building one from wood yourself is not hard. Here I will show the most popular one.

● How to make an “X” shaped sawbuck

This design is for the “X” shaped sawbuck, but many other designs also exist. Use the following steps to build it:

– Step 1: Use four or more wooden planks

Get four or more wooden planks to serve as the vertical side of the device and four or more to serve as the horizontal part of the sawbuck. The longer you want your sawbuck to be is, the more vertical planks you should use in its construction.

– Step 2: Create an X shape

Place two planks together to form an “X” shape, and screw/nail them together. Please place them in an upright position. Repeat the process with as many vertical X’s as you desire.

– Step 3: Connect the legs

Link the lower upside-down V’s of the X shapes with two planks laid horizontally across them on either side. Ensure that the space between two vertical X’s is the length you desire to cut your firewood. Screw/nail them together.

You just made yourself a firewood-cutting jig!

Your final result should look like the one below

Note: Several designs exist for this. No problem getting creative with your construction.

Chainsaw sawmill for cutting logs

After felling a tree, the logs need to be cut into smaller, more manageable portions for your woodwork projects. You can achieve this through the use of chainsaw mills.

While numerous designs and types of homemade mills exist, I prefer using factory-made sawmills to chop my logs. I find them much more accurate and precise. It is important to consider the following when choosing a chainsaw mill.

● What type of chainsaw do I need for a sawmill

Most chainsaw mill types consume a lot of energy during operation. Different mills may require your chainsaw to have anywhere from 45cc to 85cc or more displacement to be operational. Some companies recommend using larger, more powerful saws to cut bigger logs and the reverse for dealing with smaller logs. You may need to have several chainsaws of varying capacities.

Using a high-powered, professional-level chainsaw is best if you wish to mill regularly for an extended period. A good two-stroke gas-powered chainsaw is your best bet for chainsaw milling, as its strong engine meets the high-energy requirements of most chainsaw mills.

Chainsaw sawmill Bar width and depth of cuts

The chainsaw bar determines how big the pieces of lumber you cut can be. Chainsaw mill bar widths can range from 26 inches (ca. 66 cm) or less for cutting smaller-sized logs to 36 and 48 inches (ca. 122 cm) for dealing with comparatively larger logs. Make your choice based on the size of the logs you intend to work with. Cutting depths are mainly adjustable from ½ to 12 inches (ca. 30 cm) on most chainsaw mills, though this can go up to 13 inches (ca. 33 cm) on some.

Chainsaw sawmill Features

While some mills need additional drilling to be mounted onto the chainsaw bar, others can be attached without drilling. Be sure to find out whether your chainsaw mill package has all the necessary accessories, such as guide rails, ladders, or bolts.

If they do not, you must build these parts yourself or source them from hardware stores. If you are left-handed, consider purchasing a chainsaw mill that is adaptable both for left-handed and right-handed use, as most chainsaw mills are built primarily with right-handed users in mind.

Verify beforehand if the chainsaw mill you wish to buy needs special chains, such as a ripping chain. And ensure that your chainsaw mill is built from good-quality aluminum or stainless steel to be durable. I also recommend getting a chainsaw mill with an anti-corrosion powder coat.

Chainsaw sawmill Compatibility

Different models of chainsaw mills are built for various chainsaw sizes. It may be hard to find an appropriate chainsaw mill for you, as most mills are designed for mid to large-size chainsaws. I recommend always verifying if the chainsaw mill you choose is compatible with your chainsaw.

Chainsaw sawmill ease of assembly and operation

Some chainsaw mills are pretty complicated machinery and may require expert assistance to set them up. Although instructions on assembling and running a chainsaw mill are generally included in the user manual, I speak with too many woodworkers that complain that some of these instructions are vague and difficult to understand.

If you have rudimentary knowledge of the workings of chainsaw mills, I recommend going for less complex models that you can set up in about 20-30 minutes or less. Of course, you can also ask a professional for help.

Chainsaw sawmill Portability

Many users of chainsaw mills want to mill their logs where the tree fell, making transporting lumber much easier and more convenient. If this is important for you, I recommend choosing a more portable chainsaw mill model. The more portable ones are also generally lighter, weighing around 16 pounds (ca. 7 kilograms). Heavier models could weigh more than 20 pounds (ca. 9 kg).

Chainsaw jig for cutting boards

To cut boards from logs, you need a chainsaw mill. With a chainsaw mill, you can produce boards of regular thickness easily. Your chainsaw mill’s cutting depth determines the size of your boards. This depth is adjustable, as mentioned above, on most chainsaws, from ½ inch to 12 inches (ca. 30 cm).

If you wish to make boards from huge logs, it is advisable to go for a chainsaw mill that has a cutting depth adjustable up to 13 inches (ca. 33 cm). Make sure you use a high-powered chainsaw for this.

Chainsaw mills also vary by price. While vertical cutting mills are generally cheaper and can be purchased for 30 dollars, horizontal cutting jigs are mostly more expensive and can set you back around 100 dollars or more.

Chainsaw Jigs for cutting beams

A chainsaw beam attachment or beam cutter is the best choice for producing straight and evenly sized beams from logs. They are attached to the chainsaw using blade clamps or through drilled holes. Be sure to verify the maximum log diameter your beam attachment can operate on before purchase, as this varies from model to model.

Beam attachments require the use of guide beams along which the cuts are made. They are universally applicable to most chainsaw sizes and types.

Chainsaw jig for cutting lumber

One can use chainsaw jigs to process timber into beams and planks. Though many designs for homemade lumber jigs exist, I prefer to use portable chainsaw mills to cut my lumber.

Common types of chainsaw mills include:

Edge mills

With an edge mill, the chainsaw moves along the length of the log, guided by a special guide log or beam. This guide beam can either be homemade and tailored to the user’s specifications or purchased from a shop.

Horizontal mills

Horizontal mills help people slice logs into regular board thicknesses. Attached to the log is a jog in the form of guide rails. This guide rail can be made from wood, angles, screws, and glue. But you can also purchase one where the rails are made from metal or aluminum.

Wedges hold the log in place, and the log is cut along the line of the guide rail. After the first three cuts around the log to make the outside even, the log is sliced horizontally into the required plank thickness. Portable sawmills usually feature dimension plates or other mechanisms allowing users to select their desired thickness.

Chainsaw jig for cutting slabs

For cutting slabs, you need a chainsaw a powerful chainsaw. I recommend one with at least 50cc.

The size and type of chains are essential in determining your slabs’ size and thickness. Ripping chains are the best applicable for cutting slabs as they allow for a smoother surface finish. Chainsaw mills come in a variety of specifications and models. While the vertical type is suitable for smaller logs, you should use horizontal chainsaw mills if you wish to work with larger logs.

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  1. Hector Jimenez says:

    Do I need a special type of chainsaw blade for cutting with jigs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      For cutting with jigs, using a chainsaw blade with a lower profile and smaller cutting teeth can be ideal. This will help ensure more precise and controlled cuts.

  2. Enrique Patterson says:

    The section on cutting firewood using a chainsaw jig was particularly helpful for me.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Enrique! I’m glad you found the information on using chainsaw jigs helpful for cutting firewood. Happy woodworking!

  3. Kathryn Stanley says:

    Can I use any chainsaw with these jigs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can use any chainsaw with these jigs. Consider the size of the logs you will be cutting to determine the best chainsaw and jig for your needs.

  4. Pedro Hernandez says:

    Thanks for explaining the importance of portability when choosing a chainsaw mill, very insightful.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Pedro! I’m glad you found the information on portability and chainsaw mills insightful. Happy woodworking!

  5. Carl Edwards says:

    What’s the average cost of a factory-made chainsaw jig?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Carl, the average cost of a factory-made chainsaw jig can vary depending on the type and features. You can find them online or at hardware stores. Consider your cutting needs before making a purchase.

  6. Judy Robertson says:

    Do chainsaw jigs work well for cutting curved pieces of wood as well?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Chainsaw jigs work well for cutting curved pieces of wood, providing accuracy and ease. Different jigs are available, so choose one that suits your needs.

  7. Edward Carter says:

    How do I know which size of chainsaw jig to choose for different log sizes?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      For different log sizes, consider building a simple “X” shaped sawbuck. It’s easy to make and effective in guiding your chainsaw cuts. Experiment with different sizes to find the best fit.

  8. Samuel Walker says:

    What’s the best type of wood to use for making a DIY chainsaw jig?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      For a DIY chainsaw jig, a simple X-shaped sawbuck made of wood is an effective choice. Happy woodworking!

  9. Kay Gibson says:

    I appreciate the detailed explanation of how to make an X-shaped sawbuck.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Kay! I’m glad you found the explanation helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions about chainsaw jigs or woodworking projects.

  10. Carolyn Wilson says:

    Very informative article, I never knew there were so many types of chainsaw jigs.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Carolyn! I’m glad you found the article informative. Different types of chainsaw jigs can really make a difference in your woodwork projects. Happy cutting!

  11. Becky Lambert says:

    What’s the maximum thickness of wood that can be cut using these jigs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      The maximum thickness of wood that can be cut using these jigs will vary depending on the specific chainsaw jig you choose. Consider the size of the logs you want to cut when selecting a jig.

  12. Wilma Long says:

    Are there any specific maintenance requirements for chainsaw jigs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Maintenance for chainsaw jigs is crucial for optimal performance. Regularly check for any loose screws or bolts and clean off any debris. Lubricate moving parts as needed to ensure smooth operation.

  13. Allen Jensen says:

    I appreciate the emphasis on safety and proper equipment when using chainsaw jigs.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Allen. Safety and proper equipment are crucial when using chainsaw jigs. It’s essential for accurate and error-free cuts. Stay safe and happy woodworking!

  14. Noelle Watkins says:

    I love how this article breaks down the different types of chainsaw jigs for different purposes.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Noelle! I’m glad you found the breakdown helpful. Chainsaw jigs can really make a difference in woodworking projects.

  15. Julio Wheeler says:

    The video tutorials were very helpful in understanding how to use chainsaw jigs effectively.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Julio! I’m glad the tutorials helped you with using chainsaw jigs effectively. Stay tuned for more useful tips and tricks on woodworking tools and techniques.

  16. Eleanor Meyer says:

    Can a beginner woodworker effectively use chainsaw jigs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, a beginner woodworker can effectively use chainsaw jigs, especially simple homemade ones like the x-shaped sawbuck. They can help guide your cuts for more precise results.

  17. Leah Welch says:

    I never realized the importance of choosing the right chainsaw for different types of jigs.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Leah! I’m glad you found the information on choosing the right chainsaw for jigs helpful. Happy woodworking!

  18. Diane Allen says:

    Great tips on selecting the right chainsaw mill for cutting logs, very useful information.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Diane! I’m glad you found the tips on selecting the right chainsaw mill useful for cutting logs. Happy woodworking!

  19. Layla Barnett says:

    Are there any safety precautions to keep in mind when using these jigs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      When using chainsaw jigs, ensure proper safety gear, secure logs well, and never operate the chainsaw alone. Make precise cuts with care. Enjoy woodworking!

  20. Roberta Murphy says:

    This article has inspired me to try making my own chainsaw jig for woodworking projects.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Roberta! I’m glad you found the article inspiring. Making your own chainsaw jig can be a rewarding project. Best of luck with your woodworking endeavors!