Good sawhorses serve many important functions on construction sites. They are used to hold material at a comfortable height while marking, cutting and painting. You can use them as a base for a portable workbench. If they are sturdy, you can also use them for portable scaffolding while installing drywall or painting a ceiling. Good sawhorses don’t have to be expensive. You can make them yourself with material that is readily available from your home improvement store and tools that you probably already have in your shop.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2-by-4, 12 feet
- Framing square
- Straight edge
- Crosscut handsaw
- 2-by-6, 4 feet
- Carpenter’s glue
- Drywall screws, 1-3/4 inches long
- Drill with driver bit
Place the 2-by-4 on edge, on a flat surface. Place your framing square over the top edge of the board with the 24-inch mark and the 8-inch mark of the square on the edge of the board closest to you. Strike a line with your pencil across the board to mark the two angles.
Flip the board over. Transfer the same markings to the opposite edge of the board with your framing square.
Use a straight edge to connect both ends of each angle, marking across both faces of the board. When you are finished, you will have marked a 73-degree angle on one end of the board and a 17-degree angle on the opposite end.
Hold the board on edge and cut along the pencil marks with your crosscut handsaw. Check the position of your blade on both sides of the board frequently while cutting. The final strength of your sawhorse will largely depend on the accuracy of your cuts.
Repeat Steps 1 through 4 to cut all four legs.
Fasten the legs to the 2-by-6 piece of lumber, 8 inches from each end. Apply carpenter’s glue to the cut face of the 73-degree cut on each leg. Position the leg on the 2-by-6 and secure it by driving four drywall screws, in a square pattern, through the leg and into the cross member. Do this for each of the four legs.
Allow the carpenter’s glue to cure for at least 24 hours before using your sawhorse.
Tips and warnings
- You can use a mitre gauge or angle finder to mark both ends of your cuts. However, using a framing square as explained above will ensure that all your legs are of equal length.
- Making a 73-degree cut with a handsaw is tedious but not difficult. If you are making more than four sawhorses, you might consider a scarf jig for your table saw to make these cuts.
- Adding plywood gussets between the legs of your sawhorse will increase its stability under heavy loads.
- Wear proper eye protection while using any woodworking tools.
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