I am trying to make my old buzzsaw safer. I suspect that the cradle —the iron hand that holds the log — could be improved. There is no user's manual — both the company and the country where the machine was made no longer exist, the engineers died in the Vorkuta penal colony because of the alleged "Woodworkers plot".

I would like to ask you for advice regarding three things:

  1. How to make the log immobile in the cradle for the entire cut?
  2. Should the "fingers" of the cradle straddle the sawblade, or is it better if the entire cradle lives on one side of the sawblade plane?
  3. Which part of the disc should do the cutting?

How to make the log immobile in the cradle for the entire cut?

As the cradle rotates into the disc, the forces acting on the log change, which can cause the log to move slightly. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but recently, a friend managed to get the disc stuck in the log, decelerating the spinning blade almost instantaneously, sawstop-style. I suspect that a slight twisting motion of the log could have been the cause.

I resort to putting my hand through the cradle and on top of the wood, pushing it downwards. This almost nauseates me with fear each time I move my limb toward the spinning horror. I was wondering if it would make sense to add a spring-loaded segment that would hold the log from the top.

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Should the "fingers" of the cradle straddle the sawblade?

On one hand, the log is supported on both sides of the disc, which is good. The problem is when the log has only 2 points of contact with the cradle, one on each side. When the cut is complete, only one of these points supports the log in the cradle, which means it has to "fall" into a new position—possibly coming into contact with the disc again.

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All the buzzsaws around here have this straddle style; however, machines in the US seem to have a cradle that holds the log only on one side. This seems to be the superior design. Is there something of value in the straddle design?

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Which part of the disc should do the cutting?

In the first image, you can see that the blade enters the log somewhere between 8 and 9 o'clock. Could this cause the two parting ends of the log to squeeze the blade and make it stuck? Should the cradle be taller so that the cutting happens between 9 and 10 o'clock?

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    i dont know much about buzz cradle saw but sturdy construction,good grip,safety features etc should do the work Commented Apr 11 at 17:53
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    "I am trying to make my old buzzsaw safer" Step 1: GUARD THE BLADE. Oh man, that can't be stressed enough. <shudder> Seriously, I have the heebie jeebies just looking at this in still photographs and imagining it running. "I resort to putting my hand through the cradle and on top of the wood, pushing it downwards" Use the equivalent of a push stick, please! If the rule of thumb for a table saw is that fingers should never be within 4" of the blade (~10cm) I'm thinking it should be something like 20-26cm for this thing.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 12 at 6:48
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    "I would like to ask you for advice regarding three things" Sorry Martin you know this, one question per Question. "Which part of the disc should do the cutting?" Just like with certain TS cuts I bet there'll be divided camps on what's best/safest, with one camp saying between 8 and 10, and another saying between 7 and 9. There could be others. And obviously this is only an approximation anyway because an unusually thin log will cut lower, an unusually thick log higher. Only logs at a chosen 'textbook' diameter will cut in the zone planned.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 12 at 6:54
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    To add, the US style cradle leave the offcut free, which means that a cut and pinch and disaster scenario is much less likely than your setup. Commented Apr 12 at 14:59
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    In addition to other safety related comments, I would point out that the electrical feed does not appear to be properly secured. I do not see a wire clamp, but I do see electrical tape. If something pulls loose it would be easy to miss it with shocking results.,
    – Ashlar
    Commented Apr 13 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


I'm going to tag this 'community', as I'm drawing heavily from the comments.

The 'straddle' style that you've got (as opposed to the 'cradle' style) seems to present a particular hazard when dealing with crooked logs. Pressure from the tine on the left of the blade can easily cause the log to pinch when it's partially cut, leading to blade stoppage or worse. (Think about cutting from the underside of a limb with a chainsaw: you cut some, and pressure causes the kerf to close, pinching the blade.) If you don't want to start by cutting off the left side tine (I would, but...), then a useful experiment would be to pad the right hand side tines with plywood to force the logs to be above the left side tine. (Anchor the plywood, of course, lest you have some extra disaster.)

Back when men were manly men and nobody seemed to care if limbs were severed, you'd get laughed off the farm if you took an extra minute to securely clamp your log to the right hand side of the cradle. I'd encourage something -- straps, a couple of clamps, anything -- to take a failure point out of the equation. This also means you can keep your hands (and body) way back away from the blade because you aren't spending all kinds of energy and positioning strangeness to manage the log.

As @graphus pointed out, guarding the blade would be nice. It doesn't have to be too fancy, with retracting etc and riving knifes on springs -- I think if you just got a shield of some description over the top of the blade, you'd save some potential heartache. I'm picturing the deck of a broken lawnmower, but there are plenty of possibilities out there.

To the question, "which part of the disk should do the cutting?", I don't think it matters much if you fix the cradle and clamp the logs.

As @Ashlar noted, the electrical connection might need a little love.

The question you didn't ask is one of the most important, in my opinion. "Why would I choose to use a scary and dangerous machine when rational alternatives (such as a chainsaw) exist?" From (terrible) experience in a workplace accident, hindsight is 20/20. You've got a chance to flip hindsight into foresight.

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