How to Build a Sawhorse

wooden sawhorse

The Spruce / Chris Baylor

Overview
  • Total Time: 60 mins
  • Yield: 2 sawhorses
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $45

While sawhorses are typically something you'd expect to find on a job site, they also can be especially useful in a home workshop. A good set of sawhorses can be used as the base for a temporary table, to hold a portable table saw, to stack lumber, and more. And instead of spending money on store-bought sawhorses, you can make your own fairly quickly and easily. If you have basic skills with a miter saw or circular saw, along with a drill, you should be able to build these sawhorses.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Miter saw or circular saw
  • Cordless drill or corded power drill
  • Layout square

Materials

  • 9 8-foot-long 2x4s
  • 2 1/2-inch or 3-inch deck screws (approximately 100)

Instructions

  1. Build the I-Beams

    Cut a 2x4 into two pieces, one at 47 inches and the other at 49 inches. Repeat this step with two other 2x4s, so you have three 47-inch pieces and three 49-inch pieces.

    Next, assemble the I-beam according to the diagram below, starting with the three 49-inch boards. On each end of two boards, mark a centerline across the shorter width (as shown on the top and bottom boards in the diagram). Then, mark a centerline across the longer length at each end of the third board (as shown on the middle board of the diagram).

    Now, screw the top board to the centerboard. Place a few screws down the length of the top board and into the centerboard, keeping the centerlines on both ends aligned. Then, flip the assembly over, and attach the bottom board in the same manner.

    Repeat the entire process with the 47-inch boards.

    3D rendering of cross-section of wood blocks
    The Spruce / Chris Baylor
  2. Create and Connect the Legs to the I-Beams

    Cut eight 32-inch legs from your unused 2x4s.

    Lay the 49-inch I-beam on its side. Take one leg, and place the end just under the lip of the top board of the I-beam. Making sure the side of the leg board is flush with the end of the I-beam, attach the leg to the I-beam using two screws in the center board and two in the bottom board (as shown in the diagram below).

    Repeat with a leg on the other end of the same side of the I-beam. Then, flip the assembly over, and attach two legs to each end on the other side of the I-beam.

    When all four legs are attached, stand the assembly on its legs to check for any wobble. The legs can be spread out slightly by hand if necessary, so all the legs make even contact with the floor.

    Once the 49-inch I-beam assembly is complete, perform the same steps to attach the legs to the 47-inch I-beam.

    3D rendering of sawhorse leg with nails
    The Spruce / Chris Baylor
  3. Attach the Side Pieces to the 49-Inch Sawhorse

    Cut two 49-inch pieces from two 2x4s. Save the cutoffs, as they'll be used in another step.

    Using the tape measure, place a pencil mark 10 inches up each of the four legs on their outsides. Make sure the mark forms a 90-degree angle with each edge using a layout square.

    Attach a 49-inch piece to the two legs on one side of the assembly, aligning the piece just above the marks. The ends of the 49-inch piece should be flush with the sides of the legs. (See the diagram below.) Then, attach the second 49-inch piece on the other side of the assembly. Two screws into each leg should suffice.

    3D rendering of sawhorse
    The Spruce / Chris Baylor
  4. Attach the End Pieces to the 49-Inch Sawhorse

    Take a piece of unused 2x4, and place it over the ends of the two side pieces. Make two pencil lines on the 2x4 piece to mark where the outside edges of the side pieces reach.

    Cut the 2x4 piece at your marks. Then, screw this end piece into the ends of the side boards and the two legs on that side.

    Repeat this process on the opposite end to create the second end piece.

  5. Attach the Side Pieces to the 47-Inch Sawhorse

    Because the 49-inch sawhorse will stack on top of the 47-inch unit, we'll need to finish the 47-inch sawhorse a bit differently.

    Make a pencil mark 10 inches up each of the four legs on the inside this time. Be sure the marks form a 90-degree angle with each leg edge.

    Trim the two cutoffs you retained from making the 49-inch side pieces each to 47 inches long. Then, screw them to the legs on each side, aligning each 47-inch piece just above the pencil marks on the legs. The ends of the 47-inch boards should be flush with the sides of the legs.

  6. Attach the End Pieces to the 47-Inch Sawhorse

    Create the end pieces for the 47-inch sawhorse the same way you did for the 49-inch sawhorse.

    Take a piece of 2x4, and hold it over the ends of two side pieces. Make two pencil marks on the 2x4 piece where the edges of the side pieces reach. Do the same process for the other end of the sawhorse.

    Cut the two 2x4 pieces on your marks. Then, screw them into the ends of the side boards and the legs on each side, using two screws per attachment point.

  7. Stack the Completed Sawhorses

    The woodworking for these sawhorses is now complete. You can paint or stain them, but that is a matter of preference.

    To stack the finished sawhorses, place the 49-inch unit on top of the 47-inch unit, as shown in the photo below. The two stacked units will easily fit in a corner of your shop until you need them.

    Sawhorses stacked on top of each other against white background
    The Spruce / Chris Baylor