A Tale of Two Sawbucks: Designs for Firewood Cutting Racks

Two readers share their designs for stands that make cutting firewood go more smoothly: the folding wood rack and the log rollway.

| November/December 1989

  • Folding Wood Cutting Rack
    "Using the rack, I can convert half a dozen or so 8' timbers to stove length in a matter of minutes."
  • Log Rollway
    Canadian reader Harvey Mitchell prefers his rollway setup because it can be put together quickly, using indigenous materials.
  • Log Rollway Wood Cutting Rack
    "Some of the pieces were rather large to try to heft into the kind of vertical rack recommended by Ole Wik, so I devised a much simpler temporary version."
  • Folding Wood Rack 2
    Milo Lamphier's pivoting rack can stand at a steep or shallow angle and still be used comfortably.

  • Folding Wood Cutting Rack
  • Log Rollway
  • Log Rollway Wood Cutting Rack
  • Folding Wood Rack 2

Just over a year ago we featured an Alaskan firewood cutting rack designed by longtime homesteader and contributor Ole Wik. Plagued by the familiar problems of pinched chain bars, precariously stacked timbers, and sawteeth dulled by contact with the frozen earth, Ole poked two lines of saplings into the ground, stacked full lengths of narrow logs between them, and tied the tops of the saplings together so they wouldn't splay open.

His vertical rack allowed him to turn about two dozen small-diameter logs into firewood in less than 15 minutes—without the worry of dancing over tumbling rounds or the waste of wrestling a large piece into place while the saw idled.

Yet what's good for the goose may not be so for the gander—at least not according to Milo Lamphier, a woodcutting Montanan who submitted his design just after we'd accepted Ole Wik's. Milo may have been disappointed when his submission was returned, but he was confounded when he saw the setup that was published and promptly resubmitted his offering with a challenge to compare the two sawbucks.

But the story doesn't end there: Not too long afterward, another wood burner, Canadian Harvey Mitchell, mailed us his description of a simplified bucking rack—one that he'd built in about 10 minutes using some of the timbers waiting to be cut. It was, he wrote, the perfect solution to a temporary log surplus.

We're thankful for all this correspondence. Cutting firewood is enough of a chore; if committed wood burners among MOTHER's readers have a tool or technique that makes their woodcutting hours go more smoothly, we're happy to share it!

The Folding Wood Rack

By Milo Lamphier  



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