How to Build Small Sawhorses

Baby saw horses for the shop

Mini-sawhorses (saw ponies) are surprisingly useful around the shop or job site, and are easier to make than full-size saw horses. Using this plan you can make them from scrap lumber for almost nothing.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Constructing a mini-sawhorse

For years, Ken, my boss here at The Family Handyman, and I have been debating the merits of collapsible metal sawhorses vs. clunky, heavy, hard-to-store homemade wooden ones. (Guess which side I'm on?) He finally came up with a design that actually makes some sense to me. They're short, compact, stackable mini horses that you can throw together from scraps in about 30 minutes. Short is the key. Ken uses his to work on projects that are too tall for the workbench but too short for the floor, such as cabinets that need finishing. They can also be used as mini scaffolding for working overhead. OK for now, Ken, but if mini collapsibles hit the market, all bets are off. Your horses will be belly up.

Figure A: Cloning Saw Ponies

To build your own ponies, you'll need an 8-ft. length of 1x4, 3 ft. of 2x4, a 3-ft.-long chunk of either 1-in.-thick decking or 2x6, and a few scraps of just about any plywood. Shown is 1/4-in. plywood, but you can use 1/2-in. or any other thickness you have lying around. Then:

  1. Cut all the boards to length, including parallel 15-degree bevels on the ends of the legs.
  2. Rip the 2x4 edges on the spine to 15 degrees on the table saw. Screw the top to the spine with equal overhangs at all four sides, then screw the legs to the top.
  3. Scribe the ends of the plywood gussets and staple, nail or screw and glue them to the legs.
  4. Saddle up and ride into the sunset.

Figure A: Cloning saw ponies Figure A: Cloning saw ponies
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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Miter saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Circular saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Table saw

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Plywood scraps
  • 1x4 x 8’
  • 2x4 x 3’
  • 5/4 x 6 x 3’ (or 2 x 6 x 3’)
  • 1-5/8-in. screws
  • 2-1/2-in. screws