As I continue to expand my workshop, I quickly discovered the need for some good sawhorses. Sawhorses are great for setting up a temporary workspace, out-feed (on my table saw), and more. Now you can slap some sawhorses together pretty quickly and they’ll work just fine; Brett shared a fast and easy sawhorse design awhile back if you’re looking for something nice and simple. But I didn’t want to compromise on features. So I scoured the internet for ideas, and eventually decided on this design called the Shopdog.
These are not the easiest sawhorses to build. However, they are extremely strong, durable, collapsible and versatile. The versatility comes from the fact that the cross member can be modified depending on the application. For instance, cutting V notches into the top makes it easy to support round pipe. Stapling carpet over the top is perfect for protecting woodworking projects. Best of all, if the cross member gets messed up, all you have to do is swap in a new piece of 2×4. I’m confident that you won’t find a better workshop sawhorse anywhere else. Now here’s how to build ’em.
Tools & Materials List
These are the tools and materials I used to build the sawhorses. The total cost for each sawhorse is less than $20, and a big chunk of that is for the locking tie-down. If you can find a suitable alternative, I’ll bet you can get the price tag under $15 which is cheaper than most of what you’ll find at the Big Box stores!
The Shopping List
- (3) 8 foot 2×4’s
- (2) 3/8″ x 3-1/2″ carriage bolts
- (6) 3/8″ washers
- (2) 3/8″ nuts
- (10) 2-1/2″ wood screws
- (1) 6′ locking tie-down
- Compound miter saw (must be capable of bevel and miter cuts)
- Jigsaw (or handsaw)
Step 1: Cut the Lumber for Individual Components
To keep these instructions as clear as possible, I’ve labeled a couple of pictures and listed the necessary cuts. Remember that you’ll need to cut miter and bevel angles on the top and bottom of each piece while maintaining a consistent length. All my legs measure 40″ long, but you can change that to whatever length you prefer.
The cuts I list below assume the work piece is on the right-hand side of the miter saw, same-side up.
- Leg 1 & 3 Top: 25° miter right, 10° bevel right
- Leg 1 & 3 Bottom: 25° miter right, 10° bevel left
- Leg 2 & 4 Top: 25° miter left, 10° bevel right
- Leg 2 & 4 Bottom: 25° miter left, 10° bevel left
- Lower Supports: 32″ and 28″ long with 10° miter cuts on both sides
- Upper Support: 24-1/2″ long with 10° miter cuts on both sides
- Cross Member: 36″ long, straight cut on both sides.
Step 2: Cut the Notch
The cross-member needs to sit parallel to the ground (for optimal support), and that requires making a compound cut to notch each leg. Unfortunately, you can’t complete the notch with just a miter saw, and here’s where the jigsaw come into play. If you’re looking closely, you’ll notice the cross member sits proud (higher than the legs) and this is because that little extra space helps protect the legs from saw blades.
Notch all four legs on their inside edge using the same technique.
Step 3: Drill Bolt Holes
Step 4: Insert the Carriage Bolts and Washers
Step 5: Attach Cross Supports Using Wood Screws
Step 6: Install the Strap
Final Thoughts and Pictures
I’ve been using these sawhorses since January, and I love ’em! Like I said, they’re not the easiest to build, but they’re worth it.
Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer. Ethan spends most of his days shadowing real contractors on actual job sites and most of his nights writing about the experience. To see what I mean, check out their expert guides like How to Build a Shed Ramp and How to Solder Copper Pipe. If learning and interacting with pro contractors sounds like something you’d enjoy, sign up for OPC email updates.
Last updated: February 15, 2016