How to Build a Sawhorse in Six Steps
These sturdy, stackable ponies can be built in 6 easy steps. They make a perfect cutting station and work great for staging materials off the ground. All you need are 3-in. screws, $12 worth of materials, and 15 minutes.
Simple but strong sawhorses
These simple sawhorses consist of an I-beam and four legs all made from five 8-ft. 2x4s. Don’t make the mistake of buying precut studs because they’re several inches shorter than 8 ft. The horses measure just under 32 in. high and 32 in. wide, but you can make yours any length or height you wish. You’ll just have to do some math and rework the material list accordingly. Use 10-ft. 2x4s if you want your sawhorses longer or taller. Taller is good if you’re over 6-ft. tall.
Step One: Mark the Boards
Line up all the 2x4s and mark cut-lines at 32 in. and 64 in. on all the boards at the same time using a carpenter’s square. If you plan on setting 1,000's of pounds on these horses, add a rail around the legs to stiffen them up, like the rail on the old horses on which we built these new ones. A rail will prevent them from stacking nicely, but it will make them nearly indestructible.
Step Two: Cut the Boards
Cut the 2x4s right down the center of the lines to allow for the saw kerf width. You’ll end up with some boards with slightly different lengths, but that’s not a big deal…this is not a violin you're building!
Step Three: Mark the I-Beam Location
Stack two boards that make up the top and bottom (flanges) of the I-beam. Use a speed square to mark lines on the ends of the boards 1 in. in from each side. This will help you align the center (web) of the I-beam. Or you could just eyeball it…not a violin, remember.
Step Four: Build the I-Beam
Fasten the I-beam together with three 3-in. construction screws through each flange into the web. Nails will work fine if you plan on using the sawhorses mostly for a cutting station or other light-duty tasks.
Step Five: Mark the Leg Locations
Use a scrap chunk of 2x4 to mark reference lines for positioning the legs. Having the legs inset a bit makes it easier to clamp material to the end of the horses, if need be.
Step Six: Install the Legs
Butt the legs up under the top flange and secure them with one screw at the top of the leg. Square them up with a carpenter's square before adding three more screws. Drive the two top screws through the leg up though the web and into the top flange. The two bottom screws should be driven through the legs and into the flange where the two meet. Now unloose those ponies out onto the jobsite so they can get to work.