Saw Horse


  • #2 pine or pressure-treated pine lumber
  • (2“ x 6”, 2“ x 4”, 1“ x 4”, 1“ x 2” scrap pieces, etc.)
  • 3/4“ plywood
  • Table saw
  • Battery-powered drill
  • Phillips screwdriver bit
  • Countersink
  • 2-1/2” decking screws
  • Finish nails
  • Clamps
  • Safety glasses and ear protection

When you custom-build a sawhorse, you can create one with the dimensions and features that best suit your needs. Don’t hesitate to experiment with the dimensions and materials.

Sawhorses may be made from almost any commonly available wood, from scrap lumber to expensive hardwood. The quality of wood should be based on the type of work it will be used for. Ordinary #2 pine is a good choice, but if you plan to use the sawhorses outdoors, choose rot-resistant pressure-treated pine, which is slightly more expensive.

Whenever working with power tools, wear protective eyeglasses and ear protection, and follow all the manufacturer’s safety recommendations. To build a sawhorse like ours, begin by cutting a 2“ by 6” to a length of 36“ for the sawhorse top. Bevel the top board to accommodate the sawhorse’s angled legs. Set your table saw at a 15-degree angle, and cut a slight bevel along the length of the board (figure M)

, then flip it over and do the same on the other side (figure N).

Cut four 32” legs from 2“ by 6” lumber. The legs should then be beveled to 15 degrees on each end–on top so that each leg will be flush with the top piece and on the bottom to give the sawhorse a firm footing (figure O).

Attach the legs to the beveled top with 2-1/2“ decking screws (figure P)

, which have good holding power and won’t rust if they get wet. Use clamps, or enlist the help of an assistant, to hold the legs in place while attaching them. Drill pilot holes so the screws will be less likely to split the wood. Drive the screws by hand or with a power drill and a Phillips-head screwdriver attachment. Attach the legs about 4” from the end of the top piece (figure Q).

Adding a tool shelf and braces makes the sawhorse both sturdier and more functional. A comfortable height for the shelf is around 14“ from the floor. Hold a 1” by 4“ board across the legs at a height of about 14”, and mark it with a pencil (figure R),

indicating how much to cut off and the angle for cutting. Following the pencil marks, cut off the excess wood. Once you’ve made the cut, check to be sure the fit is good (figure S),

then use the piece as a template for the next three braces.
Line up the first support with your pencil marks, and clamp it in place at both ends (figure T)

to hold it while you attach it. Drill pilot holes, then secure the support by driving 1-1/2“ screws. Repeat the process for the other braces. Once all four braces are in place, you can add the tool shelf. Cut a piece of plywood that will fit between the legs and rest atop the four braces (figure U) .

Secure the shelf with finish nails. To make the shelf more useful, add a 1” by 2“ lip to two of the sides (figure V)

to prevent tools from vibrating off as you work. Leaving the ends open makes it easy to blow or brush off sawdust that falls onto the shelf. For a more useful work surface, add a top made of 3/4” plywood (figure W).

The width of the top will vary according to its use, but it’s best to make its length the same as that of the sawhorse so the top is supported at both ends. In this example, the plywood is cut to 9“ by 36”, leaving a small overhang on the sides.
Attach the top with screws, which hold better than nails and make it easy to replace the top if necessary.
Countersinking the screws so that their heads are below the wood’s surface will prevent them from scratching your submissive. To countersink the screws, first drill pilot holes for each screw. Then use a countersink,or a larger drill bit to cut an indentation in which the screw head will fit. (figure X)

Customize your sawhorse as needed–wrapping the top in carpeting or padded leather/material for use with delicate subbies, or adding attachments to hold frequently used tools.

Article MissBonnie ©

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