Chainsaw Bench

Photo: Horizontal Chainsaw Bench

Here is my chainsaw bench. It is heavy and built like a tank!

I use it to saw up all of my logs before turning them. This is like the 3rd or 4th generation design. I really like it.

I like to think of it as my SAFETY bench. It has lots of features designed it to make things safer.

Hint: Click here or on the photo for a PDF with out the blue background for printing.

Introduction

Photo: Features and Use Video Features and Use Video

I talk about the features of my chainsaw bench and show how I use it in this video.

I personally tend to skip videos. This is one that you should watch because I talk about some things not discussed below.

Photo: Chainsaw Bench Chainsaw Bench

Here is a photo of my chainsaw bench in my sawing area. There is a enough room all the way around the bench for me to handle a chainsaw safely.

I originally built the bench for safety reasons. I was tired of my logs moving around while I was trying to cut them up. It was not safe.

My chainsaw is a Stihl MS391 with the standard 20" bar and anti kickback chain. I really like this saw.

Photo: Cross Cut Cross Cut

This photo shows a cross cut. The log is fully supported. The part, I am cutting off is not going to drop off the end and hit me in the foot, etc.

The chainsaw bar is going to drop into the slot in the middle of my bench. Thus I can handle or avoid pinching the saw. The 2×8's under the 2×6's make it real hard (if not impossible) for the saw to drop thru and cut my leg or foot.

If a log is really long, I still may need to hang it off the end and cut it off the end. But, I really try to avoid that, because I find cutting in the middle is a lot safer.

See "Features and Use Video" for more info.

Photo: Rip Cut Rip Cut

This photo shows a rip cut. The log is fully supported. The chainsaw bar is going to drop into the long slot in the middle of the bench. The 2×8 cross members on the bench legs make it real hard (if not impossible) for the saw to drop thru and cut my leg or foot.

When I finish the cut, each half of the log may or may not drop off to the side. If they do drop off the chances of them hitting me or my feet are small.

I always cross cut BEFORE I rip cut to minimize the length of rip cut. Rip cuts require lots of saw power.

See "Features and Use Video" for more info.

Photo: Old Fashion Cross Buck Old Fashion Cross Buck

This photo shows an old fashion cross buck. My chainsaw bench is sort of a modern version of this that is designed to be use with a chainsaw rather than a buck saw or 2 man cross cut saw. My bench is also designed to safely handle rip cuts with a chainsaw.

I used one of these in high school to cut up railroad ties with a 2 man cross cut saw. The height and wide stance of this cross buck is perfect for a 2 man saw. The wide stance is not good with a chainsaw. You have to reach out to far with the saw. It is also to tall for one man use. I would not be able to lift a big heavy log up and over the 4x4s that stick up. It is a thing of great beauty but not what I need.

Photo: Early Model Early Model

I am currently on the 3rd or 4th generation of my chainsaw bench design. The photo shows an earlier version near the end of it's life.

Note how the 2x6s on top are all torn up from accidental chainsaw cuts and need to be replaced. The 2x6s on the bottom are not tall enough. They have almost been cut all the way thru. On next version I used 2x8s on the bottom.

Photo: The Latest and Greatest The Latest and Greatest

Here is my latest generation chainsaw bench. You can see I have made some improvements. See "Features and Use Video" for more info.

Photo: The Plan The Plan

Here is the plan for my latest generation chainsaw bench. Click here or on the photo for a PDF with out the blue background for printing.

Some details are below. See the plain for more info.

Overall my chainsaw bench is 33" long. 25" tall. With a 2" center gap between the 2×6's. 24" wide at the bottom of the feet.

I am 5' 5" tall. The bench was sized to fit me. The height is low so I don't have to lift a heavy log to high. But, not to low. I don't want to kill my back when using my chainsaw. The height is also low for stability. If you decide to make a taller bench then you will probably need to increase the leg footprint to improve stability.

I knew I wanted a bench that was more than 24" wide. 48" would be nice. Then I decided 8' is 96". 96 / 3 is 33". Thus I decided to make the bench 33" wide so I can cut it out of 8' stock with no waste.

I built the early versions out of scrap wood or wood I had on hand. I knew the bench would get beat up, wear out, and need to replaced by a better model in 10 years or less. Thus, no need to waste time and money with pressure treated lumber, etc.

I was fresh out of scrap wood when I built the latest chainsaw bench. Thus I had to purchase some lumber. I decided I only needed pressure treated for the 2×4 legs because they contact the ground.

I made the bench out of:

– 2 of 2" x 4" x 8' Pressure Treated.
– 3 of 2" x 6" x 8' Douglas Fir
– 2 of 2" x 8" x 8' Douglas Fir

– 1 tube of Loctite PL Construction Adhesive.
– 1 small box of 3" Scorpion Type XT Ceramic Coated Deck Screws
– 1 small box of 4" Scorpion Type XT Ceramic Coated Deck Screws

Note: Any brand of Deck Scews will do. I like the Scorpion brand. Any brand of Exterior Construction Adhesive will do. I like the PL stuff.

Building Tips and Details

Photo: Line Up The Legs Line Up The Legs

The 2×8 that is standing up in the photo represents the ground. It allows me to line up the bottom of the legs.

I started by lining up the legs. I glued them with construction adhesive. Then I used one 3" long screw in each to temporarily hold the legs.

Photo: Attach 2nd 2x8 Attach 2nd 2×8

Attach the 2nd 2×8 with glue and three 3" long screws per leg. Then go back and add some more 3" screws to the first 2×8.

On an earlier version of my chainsaw bench I used only one or two 2×6 per side rather than two 2x8s per side. When you cut a slot in the middle you need 2x8s here so there is enough wood left under the slot for strength. 2x6s are not tall enough. You need two 2x8s per side to FULLY support the 2x6s on top.

See "Features and Use Video" for more info.

Photo: Reinforce the Leg Reinforce the Leg

Cut and attach a 2nd 2×4 to each leg with glue and 3" long screws. The extra 2×4 goes on the outside of the bench. It reinforces the 2×8 above it and beefs up the legs. When you drop a heavy log on the bench the outside 2×8 on each side takes a lot of load.

Photo: Two Sides Ready To Go Two Sides Ready To Go

Legs and 2x8s ready to go. Both sides should line up with each other at this point to avoid trouble latter.

Photo: Attach 2x6s Attach 2x6s

Attach the 2x6s to the top of the legs and 2x8s. NO GLUE! Just screws. Just eight 3" long screws, over each leg!

NO SCREWS in the ends or the middle. You don't want to accidentally hit a screw with your chainsaw!

The top 2×6 is back set by a 1/2" inch. See "The Plan" above. When the two sets of legs are joined together the 1/2" back set is needed to create a 2" wide slot between the legs for rip cuts.

NO GLUE! When you muck up the the top layer of 2x6s with accidental chainsaw cuts you want to be able to EASILY replace the 2x6s. If you glue the 2x6s on then replacing them will not be easy! I learned the hard way.

Photo: Back set the 2nd 2x6 Back set the 2nd 2×6

A close up of the 1/2" back set on top 2×6.

On an earlier version of my chainsaw bench I used only one 2×6 on top per side. It was not enough. Two on top per side works a lot better. The top 2×6 can get marred with lots of accidental chainsaw cuts. While the bottom 2×6 keeps the bench sturdy.

Photo: End View of Backset 2x6 End View of Backset 2×6

Another close up of the 1/2" back set on top 2×6.

Photo: Final Assembly Between Fences! Final Assembly Between Fences!

Here is the trick that allows you to get everything lined up before installing the cross members. You need to trap the bottom of the legs between two fences on a flat surface. Then install a 2" wide chunk of scrap wood between the sides and clamp things together.

Photo: 2 2″ Wide Gap Between Sides

A better view of the 2" wide chunk of scrap wood between the sides. It creates the 2" slot between the sides for rip cuts. See "The Plan" above.

Photo: Attach Outside Cross Members Attach Outside Cross Members

The 2×6 outside cross members go up tight against the bottom of the inside 2x8s. See photo on right.

I just hold a 2×6 up in place. Trace the angle with a pencil. Then cut on my bandsaw.

Beware! The 2×6 cross members DO NOT sit flat on 2×4 legs! See next photo. I DO NOT CARE! Cutting lots of complex angles is just not worth the effort. I just screw things together!

Photo: Ignore The Gap on Outside Ignore The Gap on Outside

This photo shows there is a gap that I DO NOT care about between the outside 2×6 cross member and the 2×4 legs. I just ignore it and screw things together. See previous photo description.

Photo: Attach Inside Cross Members Attach Inside Cross Members

Attach the 2×6 inside cross members. Same as outside ones.

Note: The use of 2x6s here is a safety measure. If you get careless while making rip cuts with your chainsaw and the saw drops thru the slot. Then chances are pretty good you are not going to go thru both of 2x6s and cut your foot or leg. On an earlier version of my chainsaw bench I used some 1/2" plywood on just the outside. It was not enough. The bench was to flimsy. I had to go back and add some more on the inside.

Photo: Ignore The Gap on Inside Ignore The Gap on Inside

This photo shows there is a gap that I DO NOT care about between the inside 2×6 cross member and the 2×4 legs. I just ignore it and screw things together.

Photo: Almost Ready To Go Almost Ready To Go

Almost ready to go. We just need to cut the cross cut gap in the middle.

Photo: Almost Ready To Go End View Almost Ready To Go End View

End view.

Photo: Feet Designed to Dig In Feet Designed to Dig In

The bottom of the legs are NOT angled to match the ground. The sharp points are designed to stick into the ground.

Photo: Almost Ready to Go Side View Almost Ready to Go Side View

Here is what the finished bench looks like when sitting on the floor (ground) from the side. Almost ready to go. We just need to cut the cross cut gap.

Photo: Almost Ready to Go Top End View Almost Ready to Go Top End View

Here is what the finished bench looks like when sitting on the floor (ground) from the end.

Photo: Cut Cross Cut Center Gap Cut Cross Cut Center Gap

Cut the center gap with a chainsaw. Knock out the waste with a hammer. See "The Plan" above. I screwed up here. I cut the gap deeper than it really needs to be. Just thru the 2x6s is perfect.

Chainsaw Bench Usage

Photo: Demo Rip Cut Gap Demo Rip Cut Gap

The rip cut gap is already built in.

Photo: Demo Rip Cut Gap Demo Rip Cut Gap

Here is what a rip cut looks like.

Note: I built a new bench to take photos. In the background you can see my old bench. Same model. You can see where I replaced the 2x6s on top. The old 2x6s got to mucked up by accidental chainsaw cuts. The old 2x6s were glued on with construction adhesive. That was a big mistake! Getting them off required the use of a big hammer and ripped up the tops of the 2x8s.

2 thoughts on “Chainsaw Bench”

  1. Hey Carl great saw bench design I’ve tried different kind of saw benches. This one is the best I’ve seen. Thanks

  2. Thanks! Looks like a good design. You just saved me a whole lot of time planning, designing, and drawing, a new bench.

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