A quick-and-dirty sawhorse that's rock-solid
Framing carpenters usually build
these horses when they show up
at a job site. They leave them
behind for the other subcontractors
to use, then build new ones at
their next job. It's not unusual for
the new homeowner to inherit a
pair and hold on to them for years.
easy to build, super
Cost: $12 each
Time: 10 to 15 minutes
each (using a pneumatic
Skill level: Beginner
Mark Peterson – Contributing Editor
Mark's sawhorse plan
Go get two 12-ft. 2x4s and one
10-ft. 2x4. Using 16d nails or 3-in.
screws, assemble the three boards
that make up the I-beam. Attach
the legs, using a framing square to
square the legs to the beam.
Attach the rails last. You're done,
so get to work.
Mark Petersen is a
Contributing Editor at
The Family Handyman.
A true classic that will last for a lifetime—or more
Here's a design that's been around for a hundred years—maybe longer. It's low, so you can use your knee to hold down your work. The compound miters make this one a little trickier to build than the others, but if you take one component at a time and label them as you go, in a couple of hours you'll have a pair of sawhorses that your own grandkids will be proud to replicate someday.
We simplified this one a little bit. On the version Ken made, the legs are mortised into the edge of a
non-tapered top board. To make this horse, you need one 8-ft. 2x6 and two 8-ft. 1x6s.
elegant, light, stackable,
Cost: $12 each
Time: one hour each
Skill level: Intermediate
Ken Collier—Editor in Chief
Ken's sawhorse plan
Top: Cut the top to length first, then taper the edges on a
table or circular saw. All the angles on this horse are 13
degrees. (If you're the superstitious sort, cut your angles at
Legs: It helps to cut the legs close to their actual size
beforehand so you can hold them up and visualize the
direction of the cut and the orientation of the bevel. After
cutting the legs to size, reset your circular saw to 90
degrees and taper the legs. Mark the taper line 3-1/2 in. over
on the bottom of the leg up to the bottom of the gusset. Lay
the top board upside down on a flat surface and attach
each leg with three 2-in. screws.
Gussets: Trim the top and bottom edges of the gusset
boards with parallel 13-degree angles. Mark one gusset
using the sawhorse and copy the other three from that
Ken Collier is
Editor in Chief at
The Family Handyman.
A folding sawhorse with a built-in shelf
Some sawhorses have a shelf and some fold up, but Jeb's
design combines both features. And he's right—these horses
are fun to build. To make a pair, you'll need a 4 x 4-ft. sheet
of 3/4-in. plywood, one 8-ft. 2x6, one 8-ft. 2x4, two 12-ft.
2x4s and eight hinges.
Features: Foldable, includes
a shelf, fun to build
Cost: $40 each
Time: One hour each
Skill level: Beginner to
Jeb's sawhorse plan
Legs: After cutting the top 2x6 to length, cut both sides of
each leg at a 15-degree angle. Make sure the angles are parallel.
Fasten hinges to the ends of two of the legs, then
attach those legs by fastening the hinges to the top piece.
Attach the other two legs with 3-in. screws.
Shelf: Cut the 2x4 that supports one side of the shelf.
Mark a line 8 in. up from the bottom of the leg, line up the
bottom of the 2x4 with that line, and attach it with two 3-in.
screws on each side. Cut the shelf to size and notch the two
corners using a jigsaw. Fasten the hinges to the shelf, then
use two 11-1/8-in. blocks of wood to temporarily hold the
shelf in place while you fasten the hinged side of the shelf to
the legs. Cut a 23-3/4-in. x 1-1/2-in. strip of plywood to overlap
the 2x4 shelf brace. Attach it with wood glue and 1-1/4-
in. screws. You may have to trim it a bit before fastening.
Jeb, a Field Editor from
Fairport, NY, is a chiropractor
by trade. When
he's not busy adjusting
spines, you can find him
assembling wine racks
for his friends and
family (probably using
his favorite sawhorses).
These metal foldable horses can
be hung on a wall or stacked in a
corner. And if you have to drag
horses from one job to another,
these are the ones for you. But
be careful not to pinch a finger
folding them up.
Travis is particularly fond of
the EBCO brand—he claims to
own a dozen of them.
Cost: $18 each, plus the
cost of the top board
Back to Top
Sawhorses loaded with features
We asked our Field Editors to pick their favorite sawhorse, and
the most popular by far was the FatMax. The top has
notches, making it a great place to hold sacrificial 2x4s when
you're cutting up plywood and
other sheet goods. Each leg is
adjustable, which is pretty
handy when you're working on
uneven ground. They have a
built-in shelf and fold up relatively
flat, making them perfect
for storing on the wall.
includes a shelf,
Cost: $37 each