HOW TO BUILD A SAWHORSE
STEP BY STEP
Easy and Cheap
Sturdy yet lightweight
There are probably about a million and one different designs to build a sawhorse, but the common thread between all of them is how functional they are. They can serve as a temporary base for a makeshift jobsite table, a place to stack a pile of lumber to be cut, as a workstation for finishing or painting boards- The list of uses is endless. You could buy sawhorses made of plastic at your local home improvement center, but those kind are usually flimsy and don’t stand up to any kind of serious use. I’m going to show you one of my favorite designs that can often be made from scrap lumber left over on the jobsite. Even if you were to purchase the lumber, it’d cost you less than those cheap plastic ones, and you’ll get the satisfaction of building it yourself.
Feel free to adjust the measurements to fit what you like.
Here’s the list of materials to make two:
- 2 x 6 1/8’
- 1 x 6 2/8’ 2/6’
- 1 x 4 2/8’
- 2” long deck screws
- 1 ¼” long deck screws
Start with the Top
Cut the 2 x 6 x 8 into 2 pieces, 36” long each and then rip each edge to 17°. You can use a circular saw to make the cuts, but it’s much quicker and easier on a table saw.
Both top pieces with bevels on each edge.
Cut the Legs
The 1 x 6 legs have compound cuts on each end. Set your miter saw to cut a 17° miter and a 17°bevel and cut one end. Measure from the short point of the miter and mark the other end at 34”. Cut the other end with the same setting on the miter saw to make a cut parallel to the first cut. A 34” length will end up making the sawhorse about 31” high after you are done assembling it. Save the offcuts from the 8’ long 1 x 6’s as they will be used later for the gussets.
The legs with 17° miters and 17°bevels.
Mark the Top
Make a mark along the bottom edge of the top piece 2” in from the end and then use your speed square to draw a 17° line. This will be the location of the legs. Mark all four ends of the top piece.
Attach the legs
Attach the legs to the top with 2” long deck screws. Pre drill and countersink as you go. This part is a lot easier if you have an extra set of hands to help hold the legs in place. Line them up flush with the top and on the 17° lines you drew earlier.
On to the Stretchers
The 1 x 4 stretchers will make the sawhorse sturdy. Measure and make a mark on each leg 15 ½” up from the floor. Line up the 1 x4 on the marks and draw a pencil line at the outside edge of each leg. Without that helper, a couple of clamps can hold it in place for you. Cut to length and attach using 1 ¼” deck screws.
Set the sawhorse upright on the floor and mark the ends of the 1 x 6 gussets. Set the miter saw to 17° and cut each end. Pro Tip: Cut the ends to 17°, even if your marks are not exactly 17°. When you install the gussets you can pull the legs in slightly if needed to align them perfectly.
All done and ready for action.
A Note About Safety
Safety is important. I can’t say it any better than my all-time favorite woodworker/ TV host, Norm Abram, so I’ll just leave you with his famous quote:
“Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these (Norm points to his glasses) — safety glasses.”
-Norm Abram, New Yankee Workshop