While chainsaws aren’t known for their accuracy, you can’t beat them for power and depth of cut. But what could you accomplish if that kind of brawn could be controlled to cut precisely square? Or at specific angles? What if you had a jigsaw large enough to crosscut framing timbers, glulam beams, engineered joists, or gang-cut rafters?
This is the idea behind the Head Cutter, a heavy-duty chainsaw attachment made by Big Foot Tools, a company well-known for its circular saw adaptors (spinning up to a 14-inch blade). The Head Cutter clamps to the bar of any gas or electric chainsaw, acting as a large foot to support your saw square to the wood or at any angle up to 75 degrees.
During my tests sawing multiple 8-by-8s with a 50cc chainsaw, the Head Cutter produced perfectly square cuts every time, as measured with my framing square. For general use crosscutting timbers for framing and landscaping, the Head Cutter yields fairly smooth cut surfaces simply by being guided along freehand. Instead of trying to directly follow a line with the saw chain, I got the best results by aligning the left edge of the Head Cutter with a pencil line off set 4 1/2 inches from the desired cut line. For the smoothest possible cuts, clamp or screw a wooden guide strip to your work piece, then slide the edge of the Head Cutter along it.
With a retail price of about $250, the Head Cutter isn’t the cheapest chainsaw accessory around, but it is exceptionally strong and heavily built. The platform is a full three-sixteenths-inch thick, and the clamping mechanism that holds the chainsaw bar is particularly robust. A fine-threaded, hardened steel locking bolt presses flat steel jaws against the saw bar. Your saw won’t budge.
The Head Cutter is a no-nonsense tool for people who build with big materials and want to harness the power of a chainsaw to get more done in less time, all with a surprising degree of accuracy.
Contributing Editor Steve Maxwell has been helping people renovate, build and maintain their homes for more than two decades. “Canada’s Handiest Man” is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. Contact him by visiting his website and the blog, Maxwell’s House. You also can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and find him on Google+.