Monday, December 01, 2014

Working with a chainsaw - evaluating the Log Master

Last week we spoke about the acquisition of a new bit of kit - a Log Master. We have now used it and here is what we think.

Before our evaluation, just to let you know, we have no commercial interest in this product, just a personal wish to stay as safe as possible and as free from injury whilst using dangerous equipment. You should always carry out your own research, read instructions and take note of health and safety issues before using any tools or machinery.

We tend to process a lot of wood each year despite buying the bulk of it already cut to an appropriate length. We are often gifted fallen or dying trees which need processing or we have to cut our previously purchased wood in half to fit the smaller log burner which is sited in the studio (this saves buying two different lots).

The trees we fell are processed on site then transported back home where we will cut and spilt them into an appropriate size. Up until now we have cut the wood to size using a home-made saw horse for supporting the logs and branches as they are cut with a chainsaw. This has always been a two man operation, one to hold the logs/branches and one to operate (with two hands) the chainsaw. No matter how many health and safety precautions you take e.g, the right protective gloves, clothing, the correct position and posture, the regular and correct maintenance of the chainsaw etc, there is always a feeling that something unexpected could happen and accidents could occur especially if you have a momentary lapse of concentration. In short, we were never totally happy working this way.

On coming across the Log Master, I was encouraged by the sturdy metal saw horse that came complete with a guarded clamp/mount for a standard sized chainsaw. In essence this would allow a one handed operation of the chainsaw leaving one hand to hold the log secure in the saw horse. The addition of a guard protecting the top of the chainsaw was an additional draw as this would minimise the possibility of broken chains causing serious injury. Anyone who has used a chainsaw for an extended period of time, will recognise that is does put a strain on your back, hopefully, a one handed operation will also minimise this.

The review:

Setting up the Log Master - The sawhorse and clamp feel a good weight and well made. Putting together the various elements was straight forward enough with minimal tools required. The instructions were clear and photographs helped. The only slight hurdle was positioning the clamping mechanism correctly to ensure the chainsaw could pivot fully but this was soon sorted. We made sure the chain was sharp, the chainsaw refuelled and filled with oil before mounting. Positioning the chainsaw in the clamp was easy enough but it was helpful to have a second pair of hands to hold the chainsaw in position whilst the clamp was being tightened. Making sure the clamp handle did not interfere with the operation of a the pivot was also something that became obvious early on.

We cut the wood on rough ground near the wood store so the addition of adjustable legs was a bonus which ensured the saw horse and chainsaw were stable. We were also able to adjust the height of the sawhorse to a comfortable level to avoid working with a bent back.

Using the Log Master - The chainsaw was mounted so starting up was a different experience but nothing we couldn't manage. Our chainsaw tends to be temperamental when cold and you need to keep it on low revs for a while until warmed up so we couldn't just leave it ticking along in the clamp. Saying that, once it was warm we could walk away and leave it running whilst loading the next log. The cutting action felt very different as well with one hand and on a vertical pivot action. It was noisier than usual but that was probably due to the saw horse and guard being metal whereas before our sawhorse was wooden. The pivot was self-limiting which ensured you could not cut through the cutting guide. We both used the chainsaw and Log Master and found that it felt safer, easier to use individually and together, put less overall strain on the back and once used to the pivot movement, it was an efficient way of cutting.

Conclusion - We both felt much safer using the Log Master although in our excitement we forgot to wear goggles and a face guard... which in it's own way gives us an important message: Don't be lulled into a false sense of security. With the mounted chainsaw, guard and one handed operation it is easy to forget that the chainsaw is one dangerous piece of kit and should be treat with respect at all times. We both feel it was a good investment (just over £100) and would recommend it to anyone who uses a chainsaw for domestic wood cutting. It cleaned down easily after use and with the chainsaw removed, folded flat for easier storage.

Stay safe - stay warm...


  1. Very interesting! Did you have it shipped over or did you bring it back? Also, what chainsaw do you use? Thanks!

  2. I brought it back from the UK Coco but you might be able to find a stockist here - send the company an email to see if they supply Spain. The chainsaw is a McCulloch 14 inch - it has served us well as long as we regularly clean it and keep the chain sharp.


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