A Wood-Cutting Rack Makes Cutting Wood Easier

This wood-cutting rack makes cutting wood easier, saving time, energy and cutting back on stress. Includes diagram, instructions and wood rack specifications.

| September/October 1988

A super sawbuck for slimmer timbers. This firewood cutting structure is easy to construct and saves time, energy and stress when cutting wood. 

A Wood-Cutting Rack Makes Cutting Wood Easier

OVER THE COURSE OF MY 21 years north of the Arctic Circle in western Alaska, I often envied "outsiders" (people from anywhere but Alaska) their magnificent hardwood forests. My stomping grounds consisted of mostly barren tundra and jumbled mountains, with thin belts of timber fringing the riverbanks. As a result, gathering firewood was often a complicated process.

Most of our fuel-straight, dry spruce logs-came from an old burn six miles down the river. Since there were no roads, we hauled wood during the winter by dog team or snowmobile. Local woodcutters had developed sleds that could snake along the twisty trails carrying logs up to 20 feet long, and nobody bothered to cut wood to stove length until it was safely home.

For 17 of those long, dark winters I cut all of our firewood using an ordinary bow saw. Even after I'd expanded the cabin and our fuel consumption increased, I stuck with the trusty Swede saw because of its quiet simplicity. Once I'd added a workshop (and hence another stove), though, practicality won out over aesthetics; I gave in and bought a chain saw.

However, true to the first law of ecology, "You can't change just one thing," I immediately found myself having to develop a whole new woodcutting routine. I couldn't simply rest the logs on my old sawbuck, because the wood sagged and tended to pinch the bar before the chain could bite through. Then again, the machine did the work so rapidly that I found myself spending most of my time moving logs around while the saw sat idling on the ground, happily gulping down gasoline. And as the cut sections piled up, I began to stumble over them, not at all healthy when you're holding a chain saw. There had to be a better way.

I'd watched my Eskimo friends lay a sledload of logs in a pile and simply cut right through the stack, but I wasn't satisfied with that solution. My chain bar was too short to span a pile in one cut, and I had to continually move sections out of the way to reach the lower logs. Also, I couldn't avoid occasionally biting into the chain-dulling ice and snow below the bottom tier.

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