Garage-workshop conversion
Bandsaw Installation & Configuration.
Construction of a workbench.
Making a Wood-turning Sandpaper Dispenser.
Log Cross-cutting Sled Jigs for the Bandsaw.

Making a Chainsaw Horse
(This page)

An Electric Chainsaw Mill.

Woodturning Topics
Laburnum bowl
Current Wood-Turning Project
Walnut Wood.
Making Belaying Pins
Experimental Drying
Walnut Platter.
Turning Green Cherry.

Fitting Out & Project Pages.

Making a Chainsaw Horse.

Why Use a Chainsaw?
If you always purchase your turning blanks ready prepared or simply use purchased wooden boards seasoned and already cut to size, then you probably don't need a chainsaw. If, on the other hand, you obtain unseasoned timber from tree surgeons or obtain un-cut green timber from other sources then you will almost certainly need a chainsaw to cut the timber into manageable sizes which are then small enough for further more accurate trimming using a bandsaw or tablesaw. The maximum cutting depth of my Record Power BS300 bandsaw is 190mm (about 7½ inches), so a chainsaw is essential for cutting larger stock.

Petrol or Electric chainsaw?
Traditionally chainsaws have always been petrol powered but now there are a growing number of good electrically powered (and even battery powered) models on the market. If the intention is to use the saw wholly for trimming timber and NOT for serious tree felling, then in my view the electric saws are by far the best option. They are quieter, and no smelly & messy petrol to deal with. For your own safety, do buy a good quality model manufactured by a recognised chainsaw manufacturer such as Alko, Bosch, Makita, Oregon, Ryobi or Stihl to name a few. There are some chainsaws for sale which are cheap & cheerful but also potentially lethal due to poor construction.

Try Before you Buy?
After acquiring a large cherry log from a tree surgeon felling a tree on our estate, I decided that I would need to use a chainsaw to prepare some turning blanks from it. I hired a Bosch electric chainsaw from a local tool hire company (sensibly they would not hire a petrol chainsaw to a novice). This enabled me to process the Cherry. The cost of hiring for a day was almost as much as purchasing a new electric chainsaw and, having realised how essential a chainsaw is in converting green timber, I decided to purchase one. As I was very pleased with the performance of the Bosch machine and it was also recommended by members of my woodturning club, I decided to purchase the same model which was a Bosch AKE 40-19 S.

More on Electric Chainsaws.
Electric chainsaws are not as powerful as their petrol driven relatives. 2,400 watts is about the maximum which can be safely powered from a domestic mains supply plug and socket. The maximum cutting length of the guide bar is usually about 40cm (16 inches). A few of the most powerful electric saws come with a 45cm (18 inch) guide bar. These electric saws are aimed at the home/occasional user market and are not designed for commercial or intensive tree felling work. The chains are smaller and thinner, driven by sprockets with 6-7 teeth, thereby maximising the torque delivered by the electric motor.

My Bosch AKE 40-19 S Electric Chainsaw (purchased in September 2009), is rated at 1900 Watt, has a bar (cutting) length of 40 cm. The gauge of the chain is the width of the drive links, and is dictated by the gauge of the bar on which it is to be run. Usual gauges for electric chainsaws are 0.043" (1.1mm) to 0.050" (1.3 mm). Chain and bar gauge must match; a chain that is too large will not fit, one that is too small will fall sideways and cut poorly. Pitch The pitch of the chain is the average distance between two rivets. As the distance between rivets varies, the pitch can be measured by measuring between three rivets and dividing this distance by two. Typical pitches are 0.325", ⅜" (0.375) and 0.404". ¾" is used for harvester applications, and very rarely for handheld cutting. The pitch of the chain must match the drive sprocket, and the nose sprocket (if fitted). Sprocket and rim can be in one unit or separated. Length A chain loop must be of an appropriate length in order to run safely. This is described by the number of drive links. This number is determined by the length and type of bar, the sprocket size and the overall configuration of the saw. For replacement purposes, simply count the drive links on the old chain. Life time of a chain The teeth of a chain come with a certain length. Wear and sharpening cause the teeth to become shorter. End-of-life is reached when the top of the head is too short. Interval between sharpenings A saw chain must be sharpened when the saw starts to vibrate or poorly cuts. The operator can easily feel the vibrations in the handles and the engine runs harder while cutting. Identification of the chain The length, gauge and number of drive links is punched on the side of the saw bar. This information can be found near the saw head. Since the saw bar should be turned 180 degrees between sharpenings, the punched information can be towards the saw power head or outside. Identification of a suitable chain Consult the saw's manual to determine which chain/bar combinations are compatible with the saw. A given saw will usually accept a number of different bars and chains. Specialised chains

Essential additional equipment

Chainsaw Horse
This saw horse is fairly compact but can handle moderately large tree trunk sections and irregularly shaped pieces of timber. The design is not mine but by Richard Stapley and originally appeared several years ago on his Laymar Crafts website before subsequent removal when that site was re-designed a few years ago.

Construction drawing of chainsaw horse, side view. Chainsaw Horse Plan (Side View).

The horse is simply constructed from 18mm thick MDF (Medium-density fibreboard) panels, held together with 24 nuts on two M12 mm threaded rods protected with 10 sleeves/spacers of 40mm diameter 2mm thick sections of plastic polypropylene waste pipe. See the full size drawings for the dimensions.

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Construction drawing of chainsaw horse, end view. Chainsaw Horse Plan (End View).

Shows the dimensions of the six 18mm thick mdf (medium-density fibreboard) panels.

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Construction drawing of chainsaw horse. 3D-drawing of the Chainsaw Horse (WITHOUT the plastic pipe rod sheathing).

This interactive Sketchup 3D-drawing, of the chainsaw horse is without the plastic waste pipes to show how the mdf panels are held in position on the two M12 threaded rods with a series of nuts & washers.

(Click picture to view the interactive drawing)

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Construction drawing of chainsaw horse. 3D-drawing of the Chainsaw Horse (INCLUDING the plastic pipe rod sheathing).

This interactive Sketchup 3D-drawing, of the saw horse shows how the metal rods are protected from accidental contact with the chainsaw blade by using 40mm diameter plastic waste pipe sections.

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Chainsaw Horse as constructed. Chainsaw Horse as constructed.

The horse after construction, ready for use.

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