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3 LEVELS of Sawhorses: DIY to PRO Build

John Malecki

3 LEVELS of Sawhorses: DIY to PRO Build

Projects
|
5
min read
|
Jun 16, 2020

As you all know, I love food. And, obviously, I also love food-based YouTube channels. Anyway, one day, I found myself salivating over a delicious cooking video on YouTube when it hit me. Why don’t I apply these concepts to build some really weird things? So that’s exactly what I’m going to do in my latest project. To start, we’re going to build something we all need — sawhorses. You can approach this project using 3 different skill levels: DIY, Amateur, and PRO.  

Follow me as I lead you through all 3 skill levels for building a sawhorse! If you’re following along at home or want to try it out for yourself, be sure to take a look at my step-by-step instructions below.

3 LEVELS of Sawhorses: DIY to PRO Build: Project Overview

Learn the 3 Levels of Sawhorses by Following These Steps

person holding a piece of wood

DIY — Stackable

  1. Cut rough lumber
  2. Find a centerline
  3. Put the legs on

Amateur — Foldable

  1. Cut rough lumber
  2. Make the half-lap joints
  3. Fit the four pieces of wood together
  4. Cut an angle
  5. Pre-drill the tops

PRO — Adjustable 

  1. Cut rough lumber
  2. Follow plans for dimensions
  3. Create the mortise and tenon joinery in the wood 
  4. Assemble the sawhorse

Pro tip: Before you start building your sawhorse, make sure you download my free sawhorse skill builder plan. This PDF includes 10 pages of Cut Diagrams, Parts List, and 3D diagrams with step-by-step instructions to walk you through this build. 

What You’ll Need

person drilling a hole into a piece of wood

Tools 

Materials

  • 3-inch Screws (DIY)
  • 2x4x10s (DIY and Amateur)
  • CA Glue
  • Nails
  • Blue Tape (PRO) 

DIY Build: The Step-by-Step

1. Cut rough lumber

man cutting wood

There are three ways you can cut your 2x4’s. You can use a speed square and a circular saw if you are out on a job site. You could also clamp the boards together before using a straight edge to cut them all in one go. Or you could use a Miter Saw station if you have one. 

2. Find a centerline

slab of wood

Take 4 pieces that will function as the top and bottom of the two i-beam sections and give yourself a centerline with the help of a speed square so you know where to put the screws. Once you have marked the centerline, go ahead and place the screws on the 2x4’s.   

3. Put the legs on

Standing frame

Before putting the legs on, make sure you pre-drill four holes into your four slabs of wood. When you are done drilling them in, you can start piecing together your DIY sawhorse. 

Amateur: The Step-by-Step

1. Cut rough lumber

man in gray shirt standing in wood shop

Use a joiner to cut your boards so that they are 3 in wide. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a joiner, you’re not going to be able to complete this step. So make sure you have all of the items I list above, including the joiner, before starting the Amateur level. 

2. Make the half-lap joints

half-lap joint in wood

In order to fit your slabs of wood together, you are going to want to make half-lap joints inside each of them next. I recommend starting off by making the end cuts first when starting the half-lap joints. 

3. Fit the four pieces of wood together

four pieces of wood connected together

Don’t forget to smooth down and clean up the half-lap joints. Once you have finished making them, you can connect all of them together like a big Leggo house to see how they will eventually turn out. To keep them secure, you are going to need some glue and nails. 

While you are gluing and drilling them together, you are going to need some solid clamps. My favorite pairs by Bessey, which happens to be the sponsor of this awesome build, can be purchased right here! 

4. Cut an angle

man in gray shirt sawing a piece of wood

Because the wooden plates on your sawhorse are going to hinge toward each other rather than toward the top plates, your top plates must be fastened to one side of the sawhorse. You will also need to use a track saw to safely cut an angle into the side of your sawhorse. After that, need to create a shelf using some ¾ in plywood in order to keep your piano hinge from moving around. 

5. Pre-Drill the Tops

amateur sawhorse

The last thing you need to do is pre-drill some holes from the bottom of the wood before putting everything together. 

PRO: The Step-by-Step

1. Cut rough lumber

person cutting wood using machine

The PRO build should have a slimmer build than the other two sawhorses. Just like the other builds, however, we’re gonna start down by milling down our wood. 

2. Follow plans for dimensions

Mapping

Start laying out your mortise and tenon joinery using the Mike Pekovich blue tape trick. By cutting out a square void within the blue tape, I can determine where I need to be hogging out that mortise. 

3.  Create the mortise and tenon joinery in the wood

person drilling hole through wood

Once you finish mapping out your blue tape and markings, it’s time to start drilling some holes and cutting some wood. In this step, you are going to be cutting the mortise and tenon joinery into your wood. After you finish cutting the joinery, you get to clean and smooth it over. 

4. Assemble the sawhorse

man assembling a sawhorse

Clean up and spray your slabs of wood before assembling them together into your PRO-built sawhorse. 

Poster


Thanks for checking out this build! If you liked it, be sure to check out some of my other recent projects:

Download the Plan

Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.

Projects
|
5
min read
|
Jun 16, 2020
|
Sponsored by
John Malecki

I used to be an offensive lineman in the NFL, Now I run my own furniture business and am completely self taught. In my videos and posts you'll see a variety of wood and metal work as well as some tips and tricks. Enjoy!