Build a Sawyer's Bench (Free Plans)




Introduction: Build a Sawyer's Bench (Free Plans)

About: Happy in wood shavings YouTube: Patreon:

So, you want to enjoy and improve your hand sawing (or power sawing) - well a decent sawyer's bench is a good start. Let me show you how I made mine, and share with you the 3D model and plans

There is also a series of unabridged videos of the build being published on my YouTube channel

I'm entering the 'Build a Tool' contest with this instructable, so if you like it, please head over and vote for it :)


Step 1: Material Preperation

You'll need a little lumber. I'm using a split plank of holly, and some reclaimed meranti (some of which turned out to be a mystery reddish hardwood, much denser and harder to work). What you use isn't too important, although the more stable the wood the better the bench will hold up over the seasons

Avail yourself of the SketchUp model, and drawings, from my website (I've put the drawings here in the instructable, but I'm not sure how clearly they will render). These will give you the dimensions for my sawyer's bench - remember, I'm a tad over six foot tall, so extend or shorten the bench legs to suit yourself. I find the a finished height that is approximately 1/3 the way up my kneecap is comfortable

Dimension the stock for each of the components, keeping the legs a couple of inches longer, before heading to the next step of cutting the legs to length

Step 2: Cut Legs to Length - With Angles!

Only one leg is squared at each end, so cut that to length first

Now follow the drawings, and cut the angled ends on the other three leg blanks. One of these is a compound cut! The angle to use in all cases is 7°

Stand the legs up on a flat surface and mark off the correct height from the initial, squared ended, leg. Now mark around the three legs using a combination of tri-square and bevel gauge, double check against first leg, and make the angled cuts to length

Step 3: Mark & Cut Stretchers and Rails

You could work direct from the plans, but in case of any deviations you might like to lay the components out and take measurements direct from them, as I'm doing in the photo's (I drew the plans after I'd finished!)

With the stretchers and rails marked for length, mark in the dovetails, as per the plans, and then cut them out

Step 4: Mark & Cut Housings

Take the prepared stretchers and rails, and one by one place them in position on the legs and transfer the dovetails with a marking knife

Use a marking gauge to set to the stretcher and rail thicknesses to mark in the required depths on the housings

Saw and pare the housings for a good fit. A router plane will speed up cutting to depth as shown

Step 5: Assembly One

Dry fit the legs, rails, and stretchers

If like me you left the stretchers and rails over length, now is a good time to accurately mark their lengths and then saw the ends off

When you're happy everything fits well, glue in the stretchers to the legs, and allow to cure

Step 6: Prepare Rails for Screws

The rails require screws to give adequate strength to the leg joint (since the dovetails are purely aesthetic)

Clamp the assembly together as shown, and drill two oversized clearance holes through each joint, as shown (oversize holes will allow for a little wood movement over time)

Follow up the clearance hole with pilot holes into the legs, and counter sink for the screw heads

Mark in for four screws in between the legs on each rail, which will secure the two top boards. Remove the rails and drill these holes (counter sink or counter bore them as appropriate for the length of screws to be used)

Step 7: Assembly Two

Glue the rails to the leg assemblies, tying the whole base together, and secure with the two screws into each leg

Clamp and allow to cure

Step 8: Secure the Two Top Boards

Drill 10mm dowel holes in the tops and top of legs to give correct alignment

Insert dowels, and screw the two tops in place

Step 9: You're Done!

Stand back and admire your work, and then grab a hand saw and try it out!

I hope you've enjoyed my instructable. If you did, then please vote for it in the build a tool contest.


Mitch :-)

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is a very interesting looking device, and I am considering it. I have two questions, though. First, what is the purpose of the angles of the legs? Second, since I am left-handed, would that make a difference in how I build it - do the angles need to go in different directions?


    Reply 3 years ago

    The angled legs make the bench a little more stable, against force from the sawyer's knee holding the board down, and thrust of the saw forwards in the cut. They are not necessary, but desirable if within the capability of the maker - you soon adapt to the stability of whatever form of bench you use.

    For a left handed sawyer, I would suggest building a mirror image - and I'm fairly sure you could just mirror the plans in a graphics program to get the right drawings (of couse the dimention text would be mirrored too!)