Lamma has provided many start-up firms and innovators with a launchpad for their creations. One of these is Richard Bowness, who developed the Truncator sawhorse to make log sawing a safer, easier and faster operation.
Many innovations are created out of necessity. For retired builder Richard Bowness, the catalyst for his Truncator sawhorse development was a combination of a hungry wood-burning stove and a bad back.
“Filling my wood store was a chore,” says Mr Bowness, Colwith Orchard, Ambleside, Cumbria.
“After sawing my timber into logs, I could not bend down. I had to kneel down to pick logs up off the floor. I wanted something that could make my life easier, safer and faster.”
Confident he could make the process more productive, he started to read firstly about alleviating bad back problems. This highlighted posture and correct lifting techniques and brought his own weight into question.
He says: “I lost some weight and gained mobility, which reduced my pain levels, then I looked at ways to make sawing logs much more comfortable. It had to start with a process of working without bending or leaning forward.”
His first attempt at the Truncator was a set of crude timber cups, mounted on his tractor’s pallet forks to support pieces of wood while it was sawn into logs.
“Mounting the device on my loader meant I could set the cups at the perfect working height, so I could stand comfortably without leaning forward.”
His elementary device saw the wooden cups spaced on a board, so it could support a length of timber. The distance between the cups created spacings where the chainsaw’s bar could pass, and this determined sawn log length.
Mr Bowness says: “I could stack four or five pieces of timber into the device, and each cut produced multiple logs, but I still had to lift them out and throw them into a bag or trailer. Then I had a eureka moment, and fitted each cup with a hinge so I could just tip the cups over to empty the sawn logs into a bag.”
From here, Mr Bowness applied for several patents and continued to refine his design into a production-ready version made from recycled plastic, which was first launched six years ago.
“Attending Lamma in 2019 will be our second visit to the show. There are a lot of chainsaws sold to the farming industry and a lot of wood is burned too, so this is an opportunity to reach a lot of industry visitors with our productive and safe sawing innovation.”
Cups are injection-moulded plastic, narrow at the base creating a tapered slot into which timber up to 450mm in diameter can be loaded.
A ribbed construction contributes to the way timber is held, offering rigidity while cutting.
Mr Bowness says: “We have been quite specific on the type of recycled plastic that goes into the construction of the cups. It is a formulation that is not too hard and not too soft.
“A hard plastic will become brittle and splinter, and a soft material will not offer enough rigidity to hold the timber for sawing.”
Importantly for Mr Bowness, the Truncator is also made in Britain.
“Once we had finalised the design of the moulds, we found a company in Liverpool that could handle the injection process for us.”
He says that any number of the plastic cups can be installed onto a base board, and the board is secured to a free-standing trestle offering height adjustment for the chainsaw operator.
He says: “Customers can specify any type of set-up, but we do provide popular builds. For example, five cups on a 1.2-metre long, 200mm by 50mm plank will enable you to create 250mm logs, while four cups on the same plank will give you a 300mm log.
“I have developed a half-width cup system that can also be used to produce 150mm logs for micro stoves.”
Base models include three-cup and four-cup units, plus larger sixcup and seven-cup models aimed at those working in the forestry sector.
Folding legs improve portability and an adaptor is available to allow installation on a portable workbench in place of the trestle.
A further refinement has seen the four-cup unit developed to suit being fastened onto the back of UTV tailboards, and the TT version is a versatile trailer-mounted unit, with a wide range of adjustment to suit.
Mr Bowness says: “Height-adjustable hooks enable the TT version to hang on the side of a trailer. This uses a parallel linkage with spring-assistance to ease the Truncator up to the height of the trailer after sawing, which simplifies the process of trailer loading. It is all done without heavy lifting and is much quicker than traditional sawing and handling methods.”
Aware that the last cut is always the most dangerous to make, he has also installed a bungee cord at one end to provide a temporary clamping force.
This also helps prevent timber from spinning and riding out of the device.
He says: “With the cord applied, the risk of a kickback or wood coming loose in the truncator is eliminated.”
Overall, Mr Bowness says the Truncator makes the potential dangerous task of sawing wood much easier and safer: “It has certainly helped me a lot, and I believe it will be able to help many other users in a similar situation.”