When cutting firewood with my chainsaw, I found it difficult to cut some of the smaller branches, having to prop or position the branch, and then trying to stabilize it with my foot - a bit of a precarious method. I searched the internet for some type of holder, clamp, or any device that I thought might be beneficial. All I found were some very expensive log holders, or some designs for some 2" x 4"s nailed together in a cross pattern. I didn't find any of this to be practical. I had some type of lever hold-down clamp in mind, but couldn't find anything useful. I was also flummoxed by which search terms I should use. After a few days, I decided to build my own.
My first prototype was made from some perforated metal angle I had laying around. This reminded me of when was young, playing around with my erector set! After bolting the contraption together, I realized that the metal would not grip the branches enough to hold them tight for cutting. Back to the drawing board - I would make this out of some old mangrove type wood I had laying around.
My wood was about 36" long, so I decided to cut these in half (18") to get 2 pieces from each length. From here, I imagined and built each function I thought this device should have. Fortunately, the wood has a groved out slot on one side, which will help out with the grip. This saves me a big step because I would probably have routed out some groves if it was smooth.
I cut a wide V shape in the bottom pieces to help secure the branch being held. Not having a band saw, this proved to be a bit tedious. I then used cable staples to attach a piece of chicken wire to the cutout for extra grip. I didn't put any chicken wire on the top pieces - I figure I don't need to. The bottom should be enough.
Two sets were built (top and bottom) with each set held together in the rear with a hinge. I connected the sets with a spacer between, and ran a 5/8" bolt through both sets and the spacer, front and back.The double set would ensure a firm grip on the branch.
I screwed eye hooks to the front of all four pieces of wood and attached springs to the eye hooks. I Attached a pull handle to the top so I could easily lift and release the clamp.
My final task was to attach my device to a large tree cutting, using the perforated metal angle to bolt it down.
I had to purchase the eye screws, springs, hinges, and pull handle. I did have these items in my garage, but none were the right sizes.
While I haven't tried this out yet with the chainsaw, I am confident that the grip of this device is plenty and will allow me to cut smaller branches down a lot easier. The springs seem to have the right tension, allowing me to lift whild providing strong clamping. My only suggestion to change this design would be to cut three Vs in the bottom so larger branches could be clamped in the front V, smaller branches could be clamped in the back V and the middle V for medium branches. After using this for awhile, I will decide if this is a desired feature, and if so, might remake the bottom blocks. This is also if I have an easier way to cut the Vs in this extremely hard wood!