Any log builder will tell you that keeping logs from rolling around as they are worked is a top priority. Most of the builders that I know use “log dogs,” which look like large steel staples, to steady their work. But I think log widgets are much safer and easier to use than dogs.
As shown in the drawing, widgets are pointed steel brackets that are used in pairs to cradle a log from both sides. I made my widgets from 1/4-in. flat steel stock, or a combination of 2-in. angle iron and flat stock.
The widgets are set in place with a few taps from a hammer or mallet, and they can be quickly removed with a light blow to the side. If I need to secure a log for layout, scribing or notching, I dig the points of the widgets into the workpiece as shown in the drawing. If, on the other hand, I want to rotate a log, I reverse the direction of the widgets.
I left my widgets unpainted so that they wouldn’t leave any unsightly blemishes on my log work. A 24-in, length of cord can be used to link the widgets, allowing them to be hung over a log end when not in use.
—Pete Cecil, Bend, OR
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #104