Firewood Cutting Jig – Efficiently Process Sawmill Offcuts into Firewood with Ease

Side Boards

Set the front and rear supports aside for now to start working on the main body of the jig. Cut the 1×8’s down to 30″ lengths. I bought a few extra in case I find a few cracks or checks in them. I used pine for this but cedar would stand up to the weather better.

MAN about TOOLS - firewood cutting jig - side boards stacked up

How much should I spend on firewood?

It depends on your specific needs and budget. Factors to consider include the amount of firewood you use, the burn efficiency of the firewood species, and local market prices. It’s recommended to research local firewood prices and compare them to your estimated usage to determine how much you should spend.

I set a stop on my saw support so I could quickly make these cuts without measuring each one. And this went pretty quick.

cutting sides to length

I then took the stack of these boards over to the drill press and drilled four holes in one end. I set up a simple guide and stop block. The holes are offset from the long edge 1″ and the pencil marks are 3/4 and 2 and a quarter inch from the end.

MAN about TOOLS - firewood jig - pre-drill sides for screws

This will speed up the process of screwing these boards to the base later.

The Base

I cut the pair of 2×10’s for the base down to length and laid out the spacing of the side boards. I used a scrap piece of half inch plywood for one spacer, and an off-cut from a side board for the three quarter inch gap.

MAN about TOOLS - firewood cutting jig - layout side locations on base

The gaps in the side boards alternate between half inch and three quarters along the length of the jig. Half inch for the rope, three quarter inch for the chainsaw blade.
I drilled pilot holes in the top 2×10 to also speed up the assembly. And applied some exterior wood glue and screwed the two together. I used a few extra screws as there was a slight warp in one of the 2×10’s.

firewood cutting jig - glue together base

Now I had lined up the edges with my speed square but there was a noticeable variation in the width between the top and bottom 2×10’s. To correct this, I set the fence on my tablesaw to the smaller dimension and ran the base through the saw, flipped it end for end, then ran it again. This made the base true and square.

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trim firewood cutting jig base

Attach Side Boards

With the base on a flat surface, I’m ready to attach the side boards. I use some glue and my finishing nailer to hold them in place, screws added later. I alternate the spacers as I go along. When I got part way done one side I started again at the other end and finished up in the middle.

cutting jig - secure sides with air compressor nailer
secure sides with air compressor nailer

I then laid the jig over on some supports to add the screws. The combination of glue and screws will make for a strong and long lasting joint.

How long will my firewood last?

The longevity of your firewood depends on various factors, such as the burn efficiency and the species of wood used.

cutting jig - secure sides with screws

Spin the jig around to repeat this process on the other side.

Close One End

The front end of the jig is closed in with 3/4″ inch plywood. I’ll rip to width, then cut to length.
Mark a line with a square 3/8’s from each edge. And mark the centers of each base. Drill pilot holes for screws.
Apply some glue, then a few nails to hold it in place for the screws.

attach plywood end

For more strength attach galvanized angle brackets to each front corner using short pan head screws.

attach angle brackets

Attach Supports

Turn the jig upside down and mark the locations for the bases on each end.
Add two screws on an angle to hold the bases in place before drilling for the carriage bolts.
I then remembered that I had a long drill bit so this went quick. You can do this step with a shorter bit but try to get the holes lined up so the bolts will tap in easily.

long drill front support

Repeat this process at the other end. I tapped the carriage bolts up through the inside of the jig and secured the base with a flat washer, a lock washer, and a nut.

tap carriage bolts in

For the other end I laid the jig over on its side on saw horses to tap in the carriage bolts.

MAN about TOOLS - firewood cutting jig - secure front support with carriage bolts

The axle can now go in the groove and be secured with short mending plates. The cotter pins holding the wheels to the axle can now be bent over to keep them in place.

Mending Plates

secure axle with mending plates

To the front base I glued and screwed on two feet made from some scrap 2×6. This makes the jig sit closer to level.

- attach wooden feet to front support

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