SawGrip Chainsaw Carrier

By Bill "BillaVista" Ansell
Photography: Bill Ansell
Copyright 2012 - Bill Ansell
(click any pic to enlarge)


Up here in Canada, a lot of the trails we ride are pretty well forested. That can lead to a lot of downed timber blocking trail access. When that happens you have three choices - turn back, try to find a way around, or clear the trail and carry on. The first sucks - I hate having to turn around - especially if you are exploring or mapping a trail that is new to you, and double-especially if you're halfway through a nice big loop. The second option gets picked a lot - you see it all the time on the trails where a new path has been forged around a downed tree - problem is - that can lead to unnecessary expansion of the trail impact which, as we all know, gets certain folks in an uproar and ultimately can hamper efforts at maintaining trail access.

The third option is the best, and the most helpful to fellow riders as well. And nothing beats a chainsaw for quick and effective trail clearing.

Plus, if you are using your ATV for working the land, a woodlot, farm, ranch, cottage or what-have-you, a chainsaw is a great tool to have along. Last but not least - chainsaws are great for killing zombies!

Problem is, a chainsaw is a big heavy tool, takes up a lot of space, and can be hard to secure. And if it isn't well secured you risk damaging the saw or your ATV and possibly even injuring yourself of others if a saw were to come loose and go flying around.

When I started carrying my saw I tried straps, bungees, even bolting down its carry case - but all were either too insecure or took up too much real estate on the racks. So I started looking for a decent, quality chainsaw carrier and ended up coming across the SawGrip that's made by a company in Colorado called M&A Welding. I looked at all the others too, including Moose and Kolpin, but ended up buying a SawGrip as it looked to be simple, secure, and rugged while not taking up a lot of real estate.

Here's a look:

This is the SawGrip chainsaw carrier mounted to the front rack of my son's Yamaha Kodiak 350.

This was a temporary installation using some u-bolts around the rack.

The carrier is a pretty simple design. There's the base-plate made from 1/4" thick steel which incorporates a mounting pad for the body of the saw to rest on. That's the tongue-shaped part seen in this pic, that is coated with a non-slip coating.
And there's the clamp for securing the bar of the saw.
The inside half of the clamp is an integral part of the base-plate, and the other half is bolted on at the bottom, and has a large thumb-screw at the top.

The clamp is lined with rubber.

To secure the saw, you insert the bar in the clamp, rest the body of the saw on the mounting pad, and do up the thumb-screw.

The bottom bolts of the clamp can be adjusted to accommodate different size saws and to get the clamping tension adjusted just right.


In theory, according to the instructions, if you get the bolts and the thumbscrew adjusted just right, you can insert and remove the saw at will without having to loosen or tighten anything.

In practice, I was not able to achieve this in a practical way - at least not for the combination of rough terrain, rocks, and fast trails I like to ride. I found that if you left the thumbscrew loose enough to remove the saw without adjustment, the saw was not held securely. I suppose it would probably work OK if you were just driving around the farm but not for hardcore trail use.


Here the SawGrip has been moved to my Yamaha Grizzly 700.

They sell different part numbers for different ATVs, but I don't know what the differences are. You can see here that the mounting slots are wide and numerous, making it a pretty universal-fitting product with a lot of mounting flexibility.

One thing I really like is that the design gives you options for mounting the carrier on the ATV. Here it is mounted farthest forward, which will place the saw out in front of the quad but also let you retain the space on your front rack.

This is the carrier in the position where it would be mounted if you used the middle holes on the rack. The saw would be tucked back more over the quad, and you;d have some rack space left, but not all.
In the rear-most position (using the rear hole in the rack for mounting) the carrier would sit here and the saw would be completely over the rack and well protected but almost all of your rack space would be used.
I decided to start by mounting the carrier in the front-most position, keeping my rack free.
If I find that I don't like the weight balance with it mounted there, or if the saw gets bashed around or eats up too much turning clearance, I can easily move the SawGrip back on the rack.
My saw mounted in the SawGrip.
As you can see, full rack space available, but the saw does sit quite a way out there.

So - the all important question is - how well does it work?

So far, in my experience, the answer is - it works pretty well - but it does need a little help. Let me explain:

If you look closely at your saw, you will see that the chain teeth are slightly wider than the bar.

This means, when you tighten the bar clamp of the SawGrip, it clamps on the saw teeth, not on the bar itself.

If you look closely at this pic (click to expand) you can see the clamping points on the chain (red arrows) and the gap between the clamp and the bar (blue arrow).

The result is, the saw is held very tightly laterally (left to right), but not tightly enough to hold it securely in the vertical plane (up and down). No amount of adjusting the blade clamp nuts and thumbscrew can hold the saw tightly enough to prevent any vertical movement.

Here's a short video clip that illustrates how the saw is mounted securely left-to-right, but not so much up-and-down.


I considered making some small spacers to fit in the bar clamp so it would clamp down against the bar and not the chain teeth, but wasn't sure if doing that would hold the saw completely securely.

So instead I simply added a short cam-buckle strap. I didn't use a ratcheting strap as it would be too easy to overtighten the strap and apply too much pressure possibly damaging the saw.

With the strap, the saw is held extremely securely in all directions. It makes the install a little less clean, interferes with the rack space a bit, and adds a little to the time to mount and dismount the saw - but it holds it very securely.

At some point in the future I may fab up some kind of quick-release clamp to accomplish the same thing as the strap, but for now the saw is nicely mounted and secure and still quick and easy to use whenever I need it (like when zombies are attacking us!)

Here's a short video clip showing how secure the saw is after the addition of the strap:


A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some pics of my final install. I ended up choosing to mount the SawGrip using the centre-holes in the front rack, and I think this achieves a good balance between having the saw protected and still having some rack space to store or strap stuff to.


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