Video: How to Build Sawhorses
A quick-and-dirty sawhorse that’s rock-solid
Mark’s favorite cheap sawhorses
“I’ve probably built 50 of these. It’s a simple design, strong and super easy to build.”
Framing carpenters usually build these sawhorses 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 of these cheap sawhorses and hold on to them for years.
Features: Inexpensive, easy to build, super strong
Cost: $12 each
Time: 10 to 15 minutes each (using a pneumatic nail gun)
Skill level: Beginner
Mark’s sawhorse plan
Go get two 12-ft. 2x4s and one 10-ft. 2×4. 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.
Video: Build a Portable Sawhorse Table
Discover how to build a sawhorse work table that’s easy to set up and take apart. With standard wood and tools, you can make this simple, portable sawhorse table in an hour or two. And you’ll appreciate the simplicity and sturdiness. You can mount tools on this work table, use it to make long cuts and much more.
A true classic that will last for a lifetime—or more
Ken’s favorite sawhorse
“I still have the first pair of these sawhorses that I built 30 years ago. I copied the design from the ones my grandfather built 30 years before that.”
Cut the legs
Set your circular saw to cut at a 13-degree bevel, and cut the legs to length at a 13-degree angle. Mark each piece as you cut it.
Attach the gussets
Set each sawhorse upright and set something heavy on it so all the legs are sitting nice and flat. Attach the gussets with four 1-5/8-in. screws.
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. 2×6 and two 8-ft. 1x6s.
Features: Inexpensive, elegant, light, stackable, strong
Cost: $12 each
Time: one hour each
Skill level: Intermediate
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 12.99 degrees.)
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 template.
Ken Collier is the former Editor in Chief at The Family Handyman.
A collapsible sawhorse with a built-in shelf
“The foldable shelf adds stability, and it’s a great place to store tools and fasteners up off the ground while doing a project. I had a blast building these!”