Adjustable Bandsaw Log Cutting and Jointing Sled Jig

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Project by RichardDePetris posted 12-11-2013 05:48 PM 5117 views 11 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Why did I do this?
Over the past few months I picked up the woodworking bug. I am a software engineer by day and a newfangled woodworking by night and weekends. I enjoy woodworking because fits my personality. I am sensitive to aesthetics, enjoy creative problem solving and fascinated by the under appreciated and ubiquitous, like wood. I devised this jig for cutting logs and I want to share it with other lumberjocks as an introduction into this community. I’ve read and enjoyed many articles and the least I can do is return a favor.

I am one of those kids in high school whose eyes lit up when I saw the periodic table and all the bizarre elements. I wanted to know what they looked like and what uses they have. In the same light, I have the same fascination for wood. The vast majority of my encounter with wood is pine. It is abundant, cheap and hackneyed. It is to woodworking what carbon is to chemistry. Boring and takes away too much attention taken away from interesting woods.

Getting your hands on some interesting hardwoods to experiment with is difficult and expensive. The S4S available at your local Borg is prohibitively expensive and lumber stores are way out in the boonies where city folk may be followed by a bunch of good ole’ boys in pickups with rifle racks. Reenacting scenes from Deliverance is not very appealing to me.

The solution for me has been to find logs around my neighborhood. Trees where I live are treated as nuisance. Almost every lightening storm is followed by sounds of chainsaws and chippers the next morning. Most down trees are hauled off by tree removal companies and are either mulched or dumped in a landfill. I’ll be damned if I have to squeal like a pig in Hicksville or pay outrageous prices at the Borg when home owners will happily pay hundreds of dollars to cut down and haul away a fine oak, hickory,or ash tree.

I’ve found tree removal companies are very nice and will allow you to grab as much logs as you want. When I hear a chainsaw, I usually drive towards the direction of the noise. The tree removal companies are more than happy to let you walk away with as much logs as you want. In fact, they encourage you to take more than you can possibly carry or use. Given the interior space limitations of my Corolla, the cutting depth of my Craftsman 12” band saw and my biceps, I can only haul away a few precious logs. Walking away with a couple of logs while the larger logs are loaded on trucks to meet their makers is a sad experience. My car can only hold a few survivors.

Getting Jiggy with It

I designed and built an adjustable band saw log slicing jig to turn urban lumber into usable wood. The design borrows ideas from other designs I’ve seen online. The advantage of this jig is that it can accommodate logs of different lengths, cheap, easy to build, dissemble for easy storage and re-purpose as a jointer sled for a band saw or table saw.

I built mine from a MDF bed frame I picked up from the trash. I used a router with a 1/4” bit to route two slots for the tailstock bolts centered inside another 1/4” deep 3/4” wide slot for the bolts to slide in. I used pocket hole joinery to construct the headstock and tailstock. You only need a saw and a router with a basic set of bits.

How to Use and not Abuse It

Similar to a lathe, the tailstock can be secured anywhere along the length of the bed while the headstock is stationary on one end. There are two long countersunk slots running down the length of the bed. The tailstock is fastened to the bed by inserting a bolt and washer through the slots and tailstock from the bottom of the bed. A nut and washer on the other end tightens the tailstock to the bed. The countersunk slot gives clearance to the bolt when it’s on the bandsaw table.

To operate the jig, lengthwise between the headstock and a tailstock, making sure one end of the log is against the headstock. Push the tailstock firmly against the other end of the log and lightly tighten the bolts. Line up the log so the edge of bed runs parallel to the pith of the log. Firmly tighten the tailstock bolts and drive a long screw through the tailstock and into the end of the log. Do the same for the headstock on the other end of the log.

Carefully lift the log and jig and place it so it rests on the table of the bandsaw. Depending on the log and cut you want to make, you can place the sled on either side of the blade. Inspect the bandsaw and ensure all blade and table adjustments are correct. A heavy log can easily cause the trunions to knock out of alignment.

Support the jig from both sides using infeed and outfeed supports, especially for longer bulkier logs. You don’t want the whole thing to drop off the other side of the table and ruin your saw. If you’re using roller stands, ensure their tightly fastened to the height of the bandsaw table and do a dry run. A heavy log will definitely put it to the test.

To ensure the log is cut straight, use your bandsaw’s fence or make one by clamping a straight edge to the table. Don’t get carried away with making a perfectly accurate and straight cut. This is for creating rough cut lumber, not for making fancy schmacy joinery.

Other Uses and Modifications

You can easily adapt this jig as a jointer for long boards on a table or bandsaw. You can use the bed to secure boards using toggle clamps or by using bolts and pieces of wood. To ensure a straight edge and keep the jig steady, consider adding a t-slot rail on the bottom.


Here are the results. While slicing the logs, I noticed some beautiful spalting along the grain. I was ready to pat myself on the back until I read something about spalting as being a sign of an amateur sawyer. Well, I’ll see in a year how this turns out. Hopefully, I’ll have some nice veneer wood I can use for a humidor or panel.

Until then, I’ll have to look for reclaimed lumber or use pine from the borg. Perhaps, one day I’ll work some courage to drive 50 miles to Hicksville and buy the good stuff.

7 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25283 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 12-11-2013 07:33 PM

Well designed sled. This can be the start of all your other projects!!

Thanks for sharing!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doubleDD's profile


9712 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 12-11-2013 09:38 PM

I must say that’s a good idea. You will have so much lumber soon, you won’t know where to put it.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View natenaaron's profile


442 posts in 2675 days

#3 posted 12-12-2013 12:09 AM

The hard part will be waiting for it to dry.

By the way, most of those rednecks with gun racks are the nicest most helpful folks you will ever meet. Do yourself a favor and go to the mills you will be hooked.

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2509 days

#4 posted 12-12-2013 05:26 AM

Don’t go to the mills… you sound a lot like me, every day at the mill is like black friday for me.. just because I am in the midst of all these wonderful species of hardwood. Just yesterday, I went to pick up my table top and while I was waiting for them to cut it to the right size length wise, I casually managed to pick up another 80$ worth of lumber, just because I was there. And it took them all but 2 minutes to cut my table top to size. So a rate of 40$/minute wait time there for me. :)

But ofcourse, seeing the sled you made and the effort you have already put into your woodworking, you are probably too hooked anyway, so you might as well go ahead and get some hardwood so you can get that monkey off your back. :) I love working with hardwood, since pine and spruce are abundant here as well, so most probably you will have a similar experience.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Dave777's profile


303 posts in 4947 days

#5 posted 12-12-2013 04:50 PM

I enjoyed your article and I too share your love for the ones being sent to the dump. I went the route of an Alaskan chainsaw mill to rough cut the logs. This can be done on site or hauled to your own location. I did not fair so well when trying to re-saw the lots in the manner that you are using, but then again I did not make as good a jig as you did. There is no known cure for this saw dust illness that you now have so just go with it, I thought that spalting was the natural decay in the wood as different organisms start to break down the wood the irregular black, brown, and red lines are borders set up against the other organisms, or so I have been told.

-- the stone rejected by the builders will become the capstone

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 3882 days

#6 posted 12-15-2013 03:10 AM

I love this type of free wood, pallet wood also falls into this area. Glad to hear such nice wood is available in your area. The jig is a great asset I am sure

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 3557 days

#7 posted 04-30-2014 02:01 PM

aawwwe hicksville aint so bad. :)

I share your appreciation for wood, I also get a lot of enjoyment from making use of fallen trees and scraps. When I finally make a move on a bandsaw, I will set up a jig like you.


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