54 comments on “Sawhorses: Project Info

  1. My grand father and father used to have to make their own saw horses when reporting to a new job site as apprentice framers. It was a gauge of their craftsmanship. I have cousins that report that it still is today at their company. Everything I hear it no matter who I still hear in the back of my mind my grand father and father, it’s not what you do, but how you do it, them I smile. Thank you Paul Sellers.

    • You’re missing the point that Paul keeps iterating Marty — “It’s not what you make, It’s how you make it”
      This is a demonstration of Compound Angle Joinery and making a set of useful shop aids.
      You must be quite an advanced craftsman to have found the ‘Make any table you desire’ project so basic – I envy you, I’m still struggling to saw to a line.

      PS. I clicked ‘like’ on the video you produced about glueing a piece of moulded stock onto your tool tote to make a place to hold your square.

    • I agree and these sawhorses look great compared to others I have made. It is also learning a new kind of angled housing joint and the challenge of getting it perfect without gaps. I am definitely looking forward to this project and building along.

  2. I tore apart my old workbench to finally build a real workbench in your style. But I need some sawhorses and VIOLA! Today this appears!? Get out of town! I may not even be able to wait for the actual series, and just try to work from the high speed demonstration. I love that you included that, Mr. Sellers.

  3. Looking forward to this very much – I’ve been struggling with bought trestles: nasty lightweight things with folding metal gussets. A pair of sawhorses as traditional as this is just what I need. My long dead grandfather had them in his workshop. He taught me to saw with them. Long gone, they and him, along with the saws and everything else, unfortunately. Nice also to be producing something so traditional and useful, that you say would be tricky to do with machines.

  4. Actually, I couldn’t wait so I built a pair last March from left over construction timber from our extension using Paul’s blog descriptions. The only difficulty I had was that in his blog of 27 September 2013 Paul omitted to mention the depth of the recess in the crossbeam. However, in response to a question by Jamie in the 1 October 2013 blog, Paul added that the depth was half an inch.

  5. Sawhorses, simple useful things and can be made in so many ways. I just made a pair but can always use another. I’m looking forward to following Paul to make a second set. I’m sure the joints will be much better than mine but that’s the object, to learn new things on a simple build, its the way you make them.

    Kirk

  6. If you want to kneel on the sawhorse in the same way one would kneel on a saw bench, measure the height of your bent knee and subtract an inch for the workpiece thickness. Usually this is 20-22 inches.

    A good splay angle for the legs is 15-18°. The cosine of 18° is 0.951, and the inverse of that is 1.051.

    So to find the leg length that will result in a 20 inch height, multiply by 1.051, which gives 21 inches.

    In practice, the leg will probably be cut long and then be trimmed, but it is useful to know the underlying math.

    • is this correct as the legs are inclined to both the vertical and horizontal planes.
      from a theoretical point it would be better to elucidate the situation as a half or full scale drawing which would give exact lengths and angles for all cuts.
      practice and theory don’t always live on the same street.

  7. I love the time lapse at the end. It functions brilliantly both as a preview of the entire project, and an overview for after the series is finished. That way once you’ve watched the whole thing, if you need a refresher on the order of operations or what you need to do next, you watch 30 seconds of video instead of having to go over hours of footage. I hope to see these on all projects going forward, insofar as it’s practical, because they really are awesome.

  8. Looking forward to this one, I get into trouble for using the top of our chest freezer.
    As luck would have it I’ve been given some nice 3 x 3 pine that was going to be thrown, I only have to find timber for the cross rails now.

  9. Hi Paul and Crew
    Just a short question.
    Would there be a downside of using 4×2 100mmx50mm throughout giving a larger more robust Horse with a wider beam which I was thinking might be adaptable to
    This :- http://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/traditional_sawbench
    this would then give me the ability of a portable workbench until I build my Big Workbench
    I intend to use a system of holdowns and wedge clamps for the Vice or maybe adapt a small vice to it I intend to still use them as a pair that gives me the spread of a full size bench-top when I needed it
    wood I was thinking would be Jarrah {or if too heavy Pine } both are readily available to me me in Australia, Any suggestions would be Welcome

    Kind Regards and Be Safe
    Glenn

  10. I have a question about technical drawing/cut list. The cut list states that the legs are 29″. At the same time the technical drawing states the final height on the saw horses is 29″. I know I can make the saw horses any height, but how can I start out with leg stock that is 29″ and end up with saw horses that are 29″ high? Am I missing something about the basic math of triangles? Or is there an error in the drawing/cut list?

  11. Dear Paul,

    In the video playwood is mentioned instead of the boards. That was also a very good possibility for me, however if we would like to use only wood and glue, can we use dowels (oak) and how thick should they be (e.g. 3/8″)?

    Best regards,
    Sebastian

    • It’s not going to look too fancy with nice Oak Dowels if they’ve given-way, and your project is on the deck with a three-legged Saw Horse.
      Better to use screws, then plug the head recesses, if it’s going to be used as furniture.

  12. Any suggestions for how to make these without a vice or a workbench? I’m just starting out, and therefore have nothing except a saw, a No. 5 plane, and chisels. The workbench build video uses saw horses. So I wanted to make a pair of these before starting on the workbench project. However it looks like you need a workbench and a vice in order to make the saw horses. Bit of a catch 22 in order to get started. 🙂

    • Hello Emery,

      those double-angled joints are the most critical part to make the saw horses sturdy – imho.
      So I suggest that you prior build a “work horse” with more simple joints and a clamping capability like that one: http://www.iedu.com/ww/SawHorse/index.html
      I would add very low, but beefy stretchers between the front leg and the rear legs to put a foot on it or to put some heavy stuff on it – just to add weight and to reduce the tendency of the work horse to move and tilt under the forces of sawing, paring and planing.

      Hope that helps. 🙂

      E.
      I know this bootstrap challenge very well and started to build my first project (a saw buck for my father) on a big cardboard box filled with other boxes to get off the floor. Two plastic buckets or beer crates probably will work better.
      To fasten the parts I wound a cord around the bigger boards and sat on the whole “thing”. The whole process is documented (in German, but with pictures) here: http://www.outdoor-foren.de/threads/holzbau.3071/#post-32901http://www.outdoor-foren.de/threads/holzbau.3071/#post-32901
      Later that sawbuck was pretty helpful to build a sawbench.

    • Wow, that’s a tough one! I dont think you could make these without a vise/workbench combo. You might be able to fashion simpler sawhorses, similar to what you might see at a construction worksite, then go from there.

    • Working outdoors repairing fencing and barn doors in remote locations presents similar problems. It’s a little awkward, but can be done! You just need to be a little more inventive than someone who has a readily-available workbench at waist height. Be prepared to work at awkward angles, or at ground level. Take it slowly. Use a chair/crate/step/tailgate to lift your wood off the floor for sawing while steadying it using your knee/foot/hand/friend as best you can. Clamp the wood to the chair/stool/crate to plane it. Work on the kitchen floor, planing towards a shallow doorstep. The same for chiselling. Work away from yourself, with the far end up against a wall. Drive a stake into the ground, using that as a bench-dog. Screw your wood to an old pallet/door on the ground to work on it. So long as all screw-heads are well below the surface, you’ll be fine. Cut your wood longer than you need, screw/nail it at each end, work on it, then cut the ends off afterwards. You’ve only got this hassle once. Your first sawhorse helps with the second, then the workbench.

    • Laminate them side-on, as with the Workbench build.
      Glue and BOLT the laminations together to form a very-solid beam before adding the legs.
      In case continual stressing from the legs causes the joint to flex and separate over time.

  13. I see that the screws used are 4mm X 60mm as the cut list suggests.
    Paul what brand are the screws used here? I see that the are zinc plated? or am i wrong? Are they countersunk? Do they have that self drilling part in the beginning of the screw?
    Thanks

  14. Just finish my first saw horse and really liked the design and challenge. One suggestion; had some difficulty understanding the birdsmouth joint layout. Couldn’t see Paul’s lines on the board very well. After screwing up one leg I finally figured it out by watching the video 6 or 7 times. Hope you can forgive us slow learners!!

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