Sawbuck Plans


This is a sawbuck that I built from plans in Chainsaw Savvy by Neil Soderstrom.

I use my sawbuck to hold wood that I am cutting with the chainsaw. The wood braces are spaced to match my wood stove. I can place a log on top and with 3 or 4 cuts, I can have 3 to 4 pieces of wood, cut to the proper length.

Read through this entire project before starting. Cut 3 pairs of 2x4s. Two pair (4 total) should be 36″ and one pair (2 boards) should be 42″. I left out photos of the 1x6s You will want to cut four 1x6s, 2″ LESS than the length of your stove. You will need two 1x6s that are 7 1/2″ LESS than TWO times the stove length. So if your stove is 18″, you need four 16″ boards and two 28 1/2″ boards.

We will use a large dowel to form hinges. Mark all 3 pairs 28″ from one end. The book gives inconsistent instructions for this measurement! Mark all your boards the same and you won’t go wrong.Drill the holes for the dowel with a drill press and drill the boards in pairs. It is important to have properly aligned holes for the hinges to work. I used a 1 1/4″ bit for 1 1/4″ dowel.
Glue the dowel into ONE 2×4 from each pair. The dowel should be about 3 5/8″, long, enough to go through two 2x4s and a bit more. Use an outdoor grade glue. Wait for the glue to dry!
I put cardboard between the 2×4 pairs during assembly, so there will be a gap when complete. Look at the next two photos to see how the 1×6 boards go on. Screws do NOT go into every 2×4. If you number the 2x4s from left to right (1 through 6), screws go into 1, 4 and 5 on one side, and when you flip the saw buck over, they go into 2, 3 and 6.
Note that there are longer 2x4s are in the middle. Additional parts can be added so you can have a board that holds down the log you are cutting. See the book Chainsaw Savvy for details.
The top edge of the top 1×6 is 1 1/2″ less than the center of the dowel or 26 1/2″ from the bottom.Now you are done.

You can click here for some additional photos .

If you are looking for something smaller, I have plans for a mini sawbuck here.

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28 thoughts on “Sawbuck Plans”

  1. Thanks for the plans. I just finished up two sawbucks with only minor modifications. Mine don’t seem to look as pretty though.

  2. great plans, thanks. i was looking for ideas for making one, this is perfect. one question though, why have longer boards in the middle?

  3. Aaron:

    You are welcome. You asked a great question. The middle boards are longer so that by adding a few more pieces, you can make a foot lever that holds the logs down. I haven’t built it yet, and may never. “Chainsaw Savvy” details the steps needed.

  4. Hi
    I built the sawbuck and, my, is it chunky!
    This is the first piece of woodwork I have built – so I am stupidly proud of it!
    I can’t find a copy of Chainsaw Savvy anywhere-so would you PLEASE outline what are the additions that need to be made to keep the logs in place….

  5. That’s great Ted. I borrowed a copy from the library. I’ll check and see if they still have it and see what I can do.


  6. Hi Eric!
    Many thanks.
    Treated the wood today with a low odour
    (US-odor!)Universal Woodtreatment containing Permethrin and Propriconazole- it was colourless (U.S. colorless!!)- OK I’ll stop now. As the wood seemed a little pale I mixed in some wood dye as it was miscible, so it doesn’t look so anaemic now.
    I’ll see if I can get a photo of “Buck” on my website for my cottage in France because that’s where he’s ending up.
    When I took my new, but second-hand chainsaw into the ironmongers today, the guy there told me that the chain had been fitted the wrong way round!
    He sharpened it for me and let me watch as he did it,instructed me along the way and sold me some file- Top Man!
    All the best

  7. Hi
    I took a quick look at your sawbuck and went out to the barn to build my own…I forgot to pay attention to the fact that the top cross bars act as a stop when opening the sawbuck…since mine were lower the feet could actually kick out when a log was put in…(I figured this out before actually attempting!) so I got busy and made a modification…I put a heavy screw hook at the lowest end of each foot and used chain link to tie between…when a log is put in the chains tighten and prevent the feet from kicking out…I found this mod to be helpful in that I can easily change the length of the chain by simply rehooking to a different link…doing this allows for different sized V opening at the tops which in turn accomodates bigger or smaller branches and logs. also I made made the distance from the dowel to the top longer…this seems to feel safer and reassues that a branch will not jump up and out….lastly I used carrige bolts washers and wing nuts rather than dowels…I did have to counter sink the hole on the cutting side as to not hit bolt with chain saw blade…
    happy sawing buck !

  8. He Eric,
    I have often needed a sawbuck, but made do with whatever was at hand. Now I have need for a rack or holder of some kind to hold my garden hoses – summers only – and wondered if I could make a dual purpose unit that might work. It looks like this might be what I want.
    Any thoughts or ideas?

  9. Ted:

    I’m glad you had your saw taken care of. A good, sharp chain is a pleasure to use.

    I just received “Chainsaw Savvy” from the library. The top bar is a little more involved than I remember. It is a 30inch piece of 1×3. There is a carriage bolt through it (with washer and locknut), into one of the middle 2×4, right at the top, so that the 1×3 can pivot. A 12 inch piece of 1×3 was attached to the end that sticks away from the sawbuck, acting as a counter weight, to keep the 1×3 up. There are some notches cut into the top edge of the other end of 1×3. A 6 to 8 foot piece of 1/4 inch rope has a loop tied into it (I suggest a bowline) so that it can be slipped over the 1×3 to pull it down.

    The tricky part is that some logs are used (one long and two smaller) are placed such that long has a small one under it near the middle and a heavy one on one end, holding the other end of the longer log up in the air.

    The saw buck is placed so that the rope from the 1×3 dangles down and is attached elevated end of the longer log. The rope is tied to the log so that when you step on the long log, you pull the 1×3 down and the 1×3 holds down whatever is in the buck.

    I haven’t built one, so I don’t have photos to share, but if you do, I’d love to see them.


  10. Tim:

    I like your chain idea, it would also save wear and tear on the upper boards and extending the top portion of the 2x4s would hold the logs in easier, something I’ve considered doing if I make another, although, I’ll have to lift the logs higher, so I’m sure there will be a trade-off. Maybe I should move the pivot points lower…

    Make sure too pay attention to those bolts when cutting! You don’t want your saw anywhere near them.

  11. Mark:

    The sawbuck would be great for hanging hoses, but make sure that you do NOT attach anything metal. It might work great for the hoses, but you wouldn’t want anything metal in the way of a chainsaw blade.

  12. Eric:

    I am a small female, 5’0″, 93 lbs., and have purchased cut wood for my wood stove, but it’s too long. Needs to be 14″ – 16″ long. If it’s 17″, the door won’t close. It looks as though the mini sawbuck will work. Is it 15″ wide, and will I be able to get the chain saw close enough to the cross pieces to cut the wood short enough to fit?

    I have to be able to secure the logs, both from rolling and from flipping up on one end, before I can learn to use my chain saw. Any advice?


  13. Marilyn:

    The mini-sawbucks are much smaller, but they are still 18″ wide, so if you are cutting smaller wood, you will not be able to set a piece on top, cut off one side, then cut off the other.

    You could make a narrower mini-sawbuck by using a 16″ 1×6 and 13″ 1×6 to achieve a 16″ mini, although, it might be too narrow.

    Another option would be to scale down the larger sawbuck… Shorter legs, by as much as 1 foot and narrower side boards, by 4″, will put the sawbuck closer to the ground and set it up to cut 16″ logs.


  14. Thanks, Eric!

    I think I like the idea of the scaled down larger sawbuck. Do the hinges allow it to fold up, too?

    I’ll see if I can find someone to help me build it. (I don’t have the proper tools and haven’t taken a woodworking class, so don’t know how to use them properly. Winter’s coming too fast to learn right now!)


  15. Hi Eric,

    My copy of the “Sawbook Savvy” book came in at the library yesterday, and I was looking at the instructions for the vise. if I scale down the larger sawbuck to the dimensions above, is it advisable to scale down the vise as well, and if so, by how much?

    If I could get a helper while cutting the wood to stove length, that would be really great, but I can’t depend upon that being the casse.


  16. Marilyn:

    The dimension of the vise is not critical. I think I would make it full size, then test fit it and see how much you need to trim off to keep it out of the way.

    Another way to approach it would be to measure how much 2×4 is left ABOVE the hinge. The vise will need to be twice that dimension + enough to have a hook for the rope.

    I’d love to hear how it turns out.


  17. Eric:

    I plan to follow your plans for a sawbuck but wonder about the spacing of the crossbars as depicted in the first picture. The upper crossbar extends over to the left for the purpose of keeping the sawbuck open; why, however, does the lower crossbar do so as well? This seems to serve no purpose same, perhaps, giving some support for the sawbuck when it is folded. Any thoughts?


  18. Dale:

    Interesting observation. The lowest crossbar could actually be narrower, without causing any problems. The crossbar on the other side will keep the legs from crisscrossing when folded.


  19. Hi Eric,

    One of my neighbors thinks he can build the sawbuck…that was before I got the instructions for the vise. So I told him I’d show him that when it came in.

    I’ll keep you posted – may be several weeks.


  20. Eric,
    Thanks for the sawbuck plans. I’m planning to build one and will follow your instructions. One questions. Why did you make the width of the spaces between X braces the length of your stove? I thought all the cuts would all come outside the ends of the sawbuck. Do you make cuts within the ends, using the premeasured witdth to measure the log? It seems the logs would pinch the saw blade? Tks in advance Paul

  21. Paul:

    It’s not the space between the Xs that is the length of the stove, but the space from one side of one X to the same side of the next X.

    I’m right handed, so I usually load the sawbuck from the left, with about a stove length of wood hanging off the right. I cut the log off just to the right side of the rightmost X. I then cut log to the right side of the middle X then the right side of the left X.

    The first log falls to the ground outside the sawbuck. The next two fall under the sawbuck and the log is left hanging on the left most X.

    There is usually isn’t any pinching.


  22. Eric,

    That answerws my question. Thanks for the info. I’ll space the braces based on the length of my stove (it’s one of the newer technology inserts actually and it’s quite small).


  23. Pard, I have been cutting my own firewood for about 8 years now, I don’t know why I never took the time to research a plan to build a sawbuck until now, but boy what a back saver! I took a couple hours on a Saturday morning and built one as per your plans. The wooden dowls are an excellent choice to join the pieces of the X braces, steel bolts or screws could have played havoc with my chain. This baby works like a champ and makes some pretty tough work a heck of a lot easier. Thanks for taking the time to put this out here for all of us to use, you saved me and my good wife a ton of work.

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A computer geek with a taste for sustainable living, organic food, green products, buying local, woodworking, bicycling, running, yoga, recycling and doing-it-yourself.