Introduction: Workmate Sawbuck
With two simple wooden crosspieces, a Workmate becomes a solid and stable sawbuck.
The jaws of the Workmate clamp and hold the sawbuck vee pieces securely.
These photos show in detail how the Workmate jaws hold the sawbuck pieces. They are gripped from above and below in a wedging manner and 'alternate' in such a way that great lateral stability is realized.
The vees shown here were made from 13" lengths of good 2x4. They are actually "X" shapes with two short legs, the latter being long enough for the Workmate jaws to grip from below as shown in the previous step. The short legs on the prototype shown here are about 1-1/2" long.
The angle between the legs is about 85° which is the largest angle our Workmate jaws would accommodate.
Four 3" deck screws hold each crosspiece together - two from one side and two from the other. A tight clearance hole was drilled through the 'top' piece to preclude splitting which would adversely affect rigidity. Also, waterproof glue was used to ensure absolute rigidity (but mostly because this tinkerer likes to use glue !).
The strength and rigidity of this setup is somewhat amazing. Most of our tree limbs are cut on site to around 4 or 4-1/2 feet in length (to fit into our tractor bucket). That length of a say 10" diameter chunk is pretty heavy for this old guy to set up on a sawbuck, so it only gets up there with several bumps, knocks, and nudges. The Workmate sawbuck has so far taken all that in stride. And once a log is in place on the sawbuck, it is held solidly by the vees. The lateral stability really leaves nothing to be desired and the wide stance of the Workmate is as secure a foundation as any amateur woodcutter would want.
Some rotation will sometimes occur when attacking a smaller diameter log in a wooden sawbuck. We use a bandsaw with a 3TPI blade to cut wood 3" in diameter and under, but if a sawbuck was to be used on a lot of smaller stock, then some 'teeth' could be improvised in the lower part of the vees - say some stout nails driven in and heads clipped off leaving maybe 1/4" high studs.
The vees can be clamped in the Workmate separated by various distances. The placement shown here handles most of our cutting. A long log is first cut in the middle, between the vees, and the two halves fall to the ground. Each piece is then placed in the sawbuck and again cut in half as illustrated here. Our wood burning stove is a small one, so we aim at lengths of 12" to 14" for firewood.
Of course the vees can be set a little farther apart or closer together as shown in the photos here. The sawbuck dutifully held the short chunk of log shown for lengthwise cutting (done just as a fun test of the sawbuck).
This sawbuck can be setup quickly anywhere it is needed and taken down for storage with virtually no more space required than the Workmate itself takes up, which folds up into quite a compact package. Ideal for the weekend woodcutter !