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How to Build Sawhorses

Updated on October 1, 2011

How to build Sawhorses

1.                              First things first, get a couple of wooden boards. If the sawhorse being made is for outdoor use, buy lumber that has been treated to resist rot and insects to make it last longer in the weather.

2.                              Start measuring and cutting your lumber in your desired workplace. If you have old sawhorses, try using them in this step or try borrowing to make it easier and hassle free when measuring and cutting.

3.                              If you are using 2X6 boards and they will not carry much weight, rip them in half. This will reduce the total weight in half required for standard horses. Although if you are using full sized 2X4s, skip this and move on to the next step.

4.                              Next, measure the length of the legs. It is best to measure it when your height is comfortable with working with it. Otherwise, you will just be hurting your back slouching when it is too short, and it will be a hassle to work with when it is too tall. It is good to give your saw horse a bit of height. Not too tall though. Do this because you can easily trim the legs when it is finished to compliment your height.

5.                              When cutting the first measured leg, cut a bevel on it. An angle of about 65 degrees from the square line for the spread of the legs. Make sure the angles total 90 degrees. Remember to cut this bevel square to the narrow edge of your board, so you can mark both top and bottom, and recut through from the bottom to get all the way through the board. These cuts are needed to be flat and straight, so they will fit against the top board tightly.

6.                              Cut the back or top board of your horse, which will be sawed square on both ends, about  107-122cm long. Mark an inch from each end, and draw a square line toknow where to attach the legs, on both sides.

7.                              Find a flat surface and lay the backboard. Find the first mark you made recently, position your first leg on that spot. Next,  nail it so that the bevel is fixed tightly against the edge of the top board.

8.                               Nail both legs on one side of the top board, then flip the assembly over. Nail the other two legs opposite to the first pair. You can use larger nails now, since if the points project through, they will go into the back of the first pair of legs and increase the strength of this joint.

9.                              Position the sawhorse upright and measure down from the bottom of your top board about 20cm.  Using a short board, engrave on it to be a horizontal spreader brace to fit between the legs. The angles on these braces should be approximately 115 degrees top and 65 bottom. Use the brace to mark three additional pieces so you can have two for each sawhorse.

10.                           Time to nail your braces in place. Use two 12d nails in each end. Nail first through the leg then into the end-grain of the brace. Nail the braces on each pair of legs in a position where it is flat and level on the ground. If not done properly, the sawhorse will be uneven.

11.                          Cut another board about 46cm long with a 45 degree angle on one end. This will serve as a diagonal brace. Hold the angled end from the spreader brace and scribe the other end where it intersects the top board, then cut this mark. Cut three more for a pair of horses.

12.                          After that, nail the braces in place. Then cut on a 45 degree angle placed into the spreader brace and nailed through from the brace into the end grain. The scribed end should be on the underside of the top board. This then will be nailed across the grain into the bottom of the top board.

13.                           After you are done assembling your sawhorse, make sure it is even and does not wobble. You can always trim the legs if this is the case.


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