Introduction: Adjustable Wood Sawhorse

About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, now I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a passi…

A good sawhorse is something essential in a workshop, especially if you work with wood and you often need to take outside some board or piece to cut and sand.

And if you need a temporary table in the garden for barbecue and parties, these two stacking and adjustable sawhorses are the perfect support.

Step 1: The Project

I built these stands for the woodworking workshop where I use to take part. I found some wood boards and I adapted my project to their dimension and length. I wished a very stable, solid, and tall sawhorses pair, so that everybody could work standing right in front of the temporary table.

I inspired to a nice couple of sawhorses by IKEA, as you can see in the image. But I build them bigger and stronger, with the stacking feature too.

You can see a drawing with actual dimensions.

Step 2: Material and Cutting

Find good and straight wood boards, I had 70x45mm section for main horizontal elements, but your can be different.

Tilt the table saw at an angle of 15° and cut lengthwise those elements, as in the project. Then complete the cut with another (this time vertical) lengthwise cut. Keep all the pieces you obtain with these cuts.

Also cut all the boards at the right length. Keep in mind that all angles for this project are 15°, and that the feet need to be cut with double grade, both for the longer and the shorter side.

Always check that there are no nails in the boards before sewing.

Step 3: Gluing

When you have all the pieces assemble them on a flat table, use some wood glue and clamps. Check that space between small blocks are enough to let the vertical boards stay between.

I suggest to cut some small wood wedges with 15° side, so that you will have a right surface to use the clamps.

Step 4: More Gluing

Go on gluing paying attention to all angles and dimensions. You can adjust pieces position for some minutes after the assembling. You can also use some cords.

I didn't have used wood dowels for now. I think it's simpler, but you have to be very careful to not move the pieces mutually after ten minutes, and you have to keep them very tight together.

Step 5: Clamps

It's better you use long clamps if you can, and if you have enough. I used some bike tubes too.

Step 6: Drying

Let the glue dry at least a few hours. But read instructions on the glue and follow them.

Step 7: Drilling

When glue is completely dry you can remove clamps and starting drilling holes for dowels.

You don't have to be 100% accurate to determine position of the holes, just be sure that depth is the same value of the dowels length.

Also remember that you need at least two dowels for each connection, better three not aligned. If you can try to not exit at the opposite side, so that it will be simpler adding glue in the hole. For some connections you see that I drilled two holes on one side and an hole on the opposite side, so that I will insert three dowels.

Step 8: Adding Dowels

When you have all the holes drilled, you can add glue and insert dowels. Usually dowels can protrude out the surface, so that you will refine them with a saw after glue drying.

Step 9: Adjustable Part

Time to make the top part of the sawhorses, the part which you can raise and lower to have different heights.

Since I had wood cylinders with 20mm diameter, I chose to make 20mm holes. Always check what material you have before going on with the project.

Make some test to decide the distance between holes in the vertical beam, I decided to make 5 holes at 50mm distance. Leave at least 80mm under the lower hole.

Step 10: Place and Glue

Now place the vertical elements in the rectangular holes of the lower part. Pay attention that at last I decided to place vertical elements not symmetrically to the center of the sawhorse, so that sawhorses will be stackable.

If beams enter with some difficult you have to enlarge holes with chisels, just pay attention to not exaggerate.

You can place with glue and clamps the horizontal boards alongside the vertical elements. Again check all perpendicularity and distances.

Step 11: Add Dowels

Also for these parts you have now to drill holes and glue dowels. Use two dowels for each connection. Let it dry for some hours.

Step 12: Refine Dowels

When all dowels are glued and the glue is dry, you can take a Japanese saw and cut the outer part of the dowels.

Step 13: Stacking Feature

To help staking the two sawhorses, I cut with chisels in one sawhorse the part corresponding to the vertical elements of the other one. Refine the cuts with a file.

You can also paint one or both of them as you wish.

Step 14: Test and Enjoy

The sawhorses are completed now and you can test their stability and solidity. One of them can keep with no difficulty my 80 Kilos of weight. You will use them for years.

Outside Contest

Participated in the
Outside Contest