Slab Holder

I am a big fan of using green wood straight from the tree surgeon (or, if you have your own woodland, your own cut), and I also a big fan of making large diameter dishes. Often I get the slabs in sizes that will take forever to dry, so I cut them down the middle into thinner slabs. However, since these are essentially vertical slices out of a trunk, their outer edge is firstly not flat and secondly not very wide. In other words, they don’t stand on their own. Therefore I use a slab holder to keep them nice and still whilst I use the chainsaw. Here’s a picture of how this works:

For smaller slabs you only need one of them, but they are so easy to make and use that I have two and I often use both on bigger slabs. This works best with the modern clamps that tighten themselves when the grip is pressed, as usually one needs the one hand to hold the slab and the other to hold the clamp.

Stand the slab on its edge, lift one side up and place the slab holder underneath, close to the end of the slab. Then fasten the clamp and hey presto, it will stand as a rock.

When making these slab holders it is important to make the upright quite long so that the clamp can be fitted where it holds the slab best, but also moved about te allow the chainsaw to cut at least to the centre of the slab.

So what is needed for one of them?

Here’s the list:

  • 1 piece of 600 x 45 x 45
  • 1 piece of 575 x 45 x 45
  • 1 piece of 325 x 45 x 45
  • 3 wood screws 5mm x 50mm
  • Glue
  • Tools: a decent saw, 5mm drill bit and drill, ruler, pencil, screwdriver

The drawing below shows the precise dimensions. These can obviously be varied, to suit your personal needs. 45×45 is the standard dimensions for 2″x2″ (planed), but you can use almost the same dimensions for sawn wood, which will be closer to 50mm x 50mm.

Cut the three pieces to size, measure and cut the notches and the tongue/mortice on the upright. Drill two holes into the support bar at a slight angle to ensure you get maximum grip of the screw, plus another through the sole of the horizontal bar in the center of the mortice.

Apply glue and place the upright into the shoe. Apply more glue and place the support bracket into the notches. Now put the screws into the bracket, and finally put the screw into the shoe. Make sure the screw heads are properly sunk into the wood, so that the show sits properly on the floor. Done. Easy, isn’t it?