How to Build a Sawhorse in Six Steps

Learn how to build sturdy, stackable saw horses from common materials in just six easy steps that should take less than 15 minutes.

Two saw horses on frozen beach | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

1 / 7

Simple but Strong Sawhorses

These simple sawhorses consist of an I-beam and four legs, all made out of five 8-foot 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 inches high and 32 inches 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-foot 2x4s if you want your sawhorses longer or taller.

Marking boards for making saw horses | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

2 / 7

Step One: Mark the Boards

Line up all the 2x4s and mark cut-lines at 32 inches and 64 inches on all the boards at the same time using a carpenter’s square. If you plan on setting thousands of pounds of materials on these horses, add a rail around the legs to stiffen them up (just 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

Cutting the boards used for making saw horses | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

3 / 7

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!

Mark the I-beam location on a flange board | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

4 / 7

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 inch 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.

Building the I-beam for saw horses | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

5 / 7

Step Four: Build the I-Beam

Fasten the I-beam together with three 3-inch 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.

Marking the location for the saw horse leg | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

6 / 7

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.

Screwing the legs to the saw horse frame | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

7 / 7

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.