Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 1
September 2008
Building Sawhorses

Sawhorses are the ideal workshop companions, always there when you need them and tucked out of sight when you don't. Use them to create extra bench space when you stack and sort wood, to support larger carcasses off the floor or to act as temporary machinery stands. When you're alone in the shop and need to lift a big bulky item on to your bench, the sawhorse is there to help. Simply lift the item one end at a time on to progressively taller sawhorses until you are able to slide it on to your bench.
Sawhorse design
The ideal workshop companion.

This two-legged sawhorse is a classic—it's strong and sturdy and the sawhorses nest one inside the other for compact storage. Traditionally, a sawhorse of this design is made from solid wood with mortise and tenon joints. For the truly classic look, a single stretcher is through-mortised into the legs of the sawhorse with a contrasting wooden wedge in the tenon. It's a beautiful design, but I needed a robust sawhorse that was quick and easy to build.

Making a batch of sawhorses is an ideal production-work project. Often it takes more time to set up an operation than to make a single cut, so I suggest building more than one set at a time. Credit for the design goes to fellow woodworker Konrad Sauer, who suggested we use plywood cut-offs to build sawhorses together. He had just finished a large built-in project that produced a pile of long, narrow Baltic birch cut-offs. Using his scraps allowed him to clear out his shop and saved the time needed to mill solid lumber to dimension. We laminated the plywood together to produce the needed dimensions for the sawhorse parts. The lamination process was leveraged to create a strong joint where the leg joins the foot of the sawhorse.

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