Introduction: Making an Affordable Saw Horse Desk

Picture of Making an Affordable Saw Horse Desk

The state of my previous work space was crowded and unusable. The space acts as a tool room, bike room, and general miscellaneous room, and it’s only 6’w  x 8’d x 9’h. So the first I thing I decided to do was organize the space, then build a desk that was both durable and collapsible.

Things you will need (I have included prices with the products that I used):

(4) Sawhorse Brackets: $13.94
(5) 2x4x8: $12.25
(1) 72”x 24” ¾” Pine board: $25.00 (your choice)
(1) 1.5”x 8’x ¾” Pine Finish Piece: 4.96
(1) Can of Zinsser Low VOC Shellac: $12.96 (optional)
(4) Joist Hangers, for 2x4’s: $3.84

Total: $72.95

Tools Needed:

Circular Saw
Drill
Decking or Drywall Screws
Tape Measure + Pencil
Paint Brush
Level
Sander

Step 1: The Legs

Picture of The Legs

1. I cut all of my 2x4’s to the desired length:

(8) Legs: 42”
(2) Top-supports: 24”
(2) Mid-supports: 59”

I cut my the legs for my desk because I happen to have a 32” high bar stool that will work great for the desk, and this also gives me the option to stand at the desk when I get tired of sitting. However you can always cut the legs to your desired height.

2. Fit the legs into the brackets, screw them in place.

3. Clamp the top supports in the brackets, screw them in place.

4. Measure the distance between the top supports, this is where you will be placing the joist hangers for the mid-supports.

Step 2: The Top Frame

Picture of The Top Frame

Now you need to place the top braces in to give the top desk surface a strong base. You will need to do this by measuring and marking the distance in from the outside edges of both 2" x 4" 's. These marks will designate where you place the joist hangers.

1. Screw the joist hangers in place (make sure they are aligned with each other).

2. Place the mid-supports into the hangers

Step 3: The Surface

Picture of The Surface

*The pine board that I purchased was 72” which was about 6” longer than I needed, so I trimmed the 6” off.

1. Measure the finished 1.5”x 8’x ¾” edge to the top surface. My piece was 72”- 6” or 66”. Then cut.

2. Glue the edge and finish nail it to the front of the top surface. I chose to put a  2" edge on the desk to give it a finished look (see picture).

3. Sand the surface of your desk top. The pine that I was using was already had a smooth finish so I just used a 220 grit on both sides.

4. Apply as many coats of the Zinsser Low VOC shellac. This will give the surface of your desk a protective coating. I applied 4 coats and may apply more at a later time. Whatever type of wood you use remember that if you choose to use the shellac it will give the wood an amber finish.

Step 4: Finished Product

Picture of Finished Product

This is a photograph of the finished product. It's simple and extremely versatile. I use this desk everyday for work, and if I need the sawhorses for actual work I just remove the top and go to work. As you can see I keep my tools in a work chest that fits perfectly under the table and actually acts as a foot rest. The books to the left are sitting on a piece of Mahogany that I had left over from a project which makes a great elevated shelf. Hope this is helpful, and good luck.

Comments

tomatoskins made it! (author)2014-09-06

Hey, thanks for the good idea of using cross members to connect my sawhorses together. It helped a lot! I made my instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Sawhorse-Desk-on-the-Cheap/

manishrkp (author)2012-11-28

Good work, this is really helpful :)

primedlt (author)2012-06-08

Great idea! I have seen sawhorse desks before, but the problem with them is the top slid around too much. If I use L-brackets to connect the top to the 2x4's, it should not slide at all with your desigb. I can also use this idea for a work table.

praise_song (author)2012-02-08

Great project. In your list of "things you will need...." you state "2" sawhorse brackets. Shouldn't that be "4" total, for the whole project (for 2 saw horses)?? I'm kinda new at this kind of project, but really want to make this table for a gardening table.

cgummo (author)praise_song2012-02-08

Thank you for catching that. You're absolutely correct and I will fix this right away!

praise_song (author)cgummo2012-02-08

You are welcome! I really like this table, and plan to make it this spring, when the garage warms up. It's very versatile! I like the idea of a hollow-core door, too.
[Don't forget to change the '2' to a '4'. haha!]

doctormerlin (author)2012-02-03

Nicely done.

For abount the same price as the pine boards, you can buy a hollow core door at places like HomeDepot. Avoids the need to join the boards, and finishes up nicely.

cgummo (author)doctormerlin2012-02-03

Good point. I was able to pickup a whole piece of pine without having to join them, but you're right a hollow core door would work just as well.

Thanks

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