Log Holder for Hand Sawing




Introduction: Log Holder for Hand Sawing

About: Growing up in a rural area in the East of England I've always been interested in nature and trees and eventually found myself building things from the wood I could find. This has led me to follow my passion ...

This is simply a convenient and easy to build jig that can help to hold logs whilst you saw them. I always found that when I clamped logs down to my bench for sawing that they always wriggled loose due to the fact that they're round. With this very simple device you can slip the log inside and get instant clamping pressure for a fiddle free cut!

The video above shows the general steps of the build and the holder in use but as always I'll go into more detail of the build below.

I hope you enjoy it!

Step 1: Tools and Materials


- Square and pencil

- Hand saw

- Wood chisel

- Mallet

- Screwdriver and 8 screws

- Drill and bit for pilot holes

- Clamps (optional)


- 1.95m (6' 4 3/4") of wood (at least 6cm X 4cm (2 3/8" X 1 9/16"))

- Wood glue

Step 2: Measuring and Marking the Wood

I made the two legs 65cm (25 9/16") long each and then laid the first straight piece along them where I wanted it to be joined. The angle of the legs is entirely up to you though I think making them angled too far out would make your log closer to the ground and so there'd be less room for your saw to move. On the other hand making the legs too close to each other will make the device less stable, so you have to find a middle ground there. I'm sure there's many different designs to look at though.

The top straight piece was 6cm (2 3/8") down from the top of the inside of the legs, the space between the two straight parts is 12cm (4 3/4"), this is where the log will sit. Once you have those roughly in place you then have to measure down each leg to make sure the straight parts are an even distance from each other,

When everything is lined up, all that's needs to be done is mark on the legs where the straight parts will sit. After that you take the legs and draw the lap joints half way down the side of each of the legs as seen in the photos.

Step 3: Cutting the Joints

Cutting lap joints is a fairly simple process, after you've marked them out you need to make your first two saw cuts down the side of each joint. After that it's advisable to make 3 cuts parallel to the outer cuts. This helps the wood chip out easier when you start to use the chisel and helps to prevent too much wood breaking away inside the joint. It's best to start your chisel a bit up from your cut line and to angle it upwards as seen in the photo, taking away a little at a time. Try not to break through to the other side of the joint, when you're ready to chip out the other side, turn the wood around in the vice and start from the other side. This also prevents too much break out.

Once you've cut the lap joints in the legs you can then sit the straight pieces inside and mark where the lap joints will go as seen in the pic above. After that you just need to repeat the process of making the joints and then sit them inside each other. At this point I didn't know whether or not I was going to keep the straight parts longer as I thought it may add more rigidity to the piece, I did however in the end decide to cut them flush with the legs. It may be easier in the long run to cut them flush with the legs before cutting the joints, I was just making it as I went along.

Step 4: Drilling, Gluing and Screwing

So the frame is all cut up and ready to assemble. I decided to clamp the pieces down whilst I drilled the pilot holes for the 8 screws, 2 screws in each joint. After the pilot holes were drilled I screwed the screws in part way, put glue on the joints and then screwed the pieces together. I always like to get the screws ready before getting the glue on, it just seems to make the process more relaxed and less panicky.

Step 5: Saw a Log!

It'd probably be advisable to let it dry for one day but I decided to try it straight away! All you have to do is slide your log through the hole and angle the legs so the log clamps inside the top and bottom straight pieces of the holder. Put your foot on the part of the log the other side of the holder to create pressure and keep the log in place, then cut away to your hearts content.

Hopefully you'll have better technique than I do though!

Thanks a lot for viewing this Instructable, if you'd like to check out the other things I get up to and see some interesting articles/videos I find online from time to time then have a gander at my Facebook page.



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    15 Discussions

    Golden old y for me!

    My granddad was an iron worker and an woodworker.

    He used this A-Frame already when i was in diapers.

    This a frame as he cold it is not so strange for me, the only difference's he made was in the a where you put the wood for sawing, make it inside a bit rounder so that the log is even being grip't more.

    And i can tell you all, never, i really mean this, never use an Chainsaw on this A-frame when it kicks back, you can, and maybe lose something, that you never wanted to lose.

    2 replies

    That's a very good idea, I can see how the curved inside would grip the log even more. I've also seen people suggest putting rubber or sandpaper inside to grip the wood further. I just wanted to make an incredibly simple one to see if it worked.

    I would never dream of using a chainsaw with this, luckily I'm a hand tool guy anyway!

    Glad I read this about chain saws, I may have tried it otherwise.

    I've used a number of different things to cut firewood and this is one of the simplest and ingenious ideas I have seen in a while. Up size it and maybe add diagonal cross piece for the log to sit in possibly a piece across bottom of the legs for stability. A very useful idea, easily transported and light. A great instructable.

    1 reply

    Thank you very much. I honestly only learnt of this idea recently and I wish I could take credit for it but in reality its an old idea. It is my own design but the concept is as old as the hills I'd say.

    Do you know of something similar that you can use with a chainsaw? We cut a lot of wood, and I end up holding the log for my husband.

    3 replies

    For use with a chainsaw you typically use a sawbuck. There are a few flavors but here is one:


    Ah thank you, I was hoping someone would save the day there!

    I'm not experienced with chainsaws at all and so I think you'd be best to look on Amazon or something similar for a highly rated log sawhorse. There's quite a few on there including this one


    I've added a pic of it here though as I say I don't really know much about chainsaws so I think it would be dangerous for me to recommend anything that you could build yourself.


    Good idea.

    I see a problem after a few cuts. the back part of the log will be sticking up and will be difficult to cut. what if you added more cross bars to accommodated shorter lengths?

    1 reply

    I like that idea! Would be very simple to add those extra rungs on too, think I might just do that, thank you.

    This is a genius creation! Do you happen to know if it would work on very large logs as well of not?

    1 reply

    You know I think it could work on a very large log but of course you'd need some large beams to make it out of I reckon. Luckily its not the hardest thing to make so you could always try it out and just see what happens, I'd be interested to see that!

    But you didn't think of building a HUGE 20" bench vise!

    This is a very simple alternative :)

    1 reply

    Haha oh how did I not think of that! I missed a trick there haha.