Sawhorse Plans

I have a confession to make about these sawhorse plans. After spending a lot of time developing them and thinking I had a really clever design, they didn’t turn out anywhere near what I intended.

As I was preparing to build a dresser with a friend, I started thinking about how to build a sawhorse that could be easily reconfigured to use at a 30" height and a 12" height. It was also supposed to disassemble easily, without tools, and lay flat for storage. The holes in the rails were for light weight and to allow a space to clamp a board to the sawhorse.

The Great Idea

Lying around the shop was a half sheet of 1/2" MDO plywood that I had used for another project. I designed the sawhorses to fit perfectly on the half sheet. We had some leftover interior doors from our house that I intended to use for a bench.

The idea was that the top and bottom rails could be swapped and the bench be used at either height. Raising a cabinet or piece of furniture a mere 12" can really make a big difference on your back and knees when fitting drawers, doors, and hardware.

My friend was coming to help me with the dresser on a Saturday, so late Friday evening (the day before) I cut these on my CNC router. Last minute projects have a tendency to draw the ire of Murphy and his Law. This project was no exception.

Being perfectly nested onto a half sheet of plywood didn’t allow for any mistakes. That was the perfect setup for one of the bottom rails to come loose on the router table and receive a nice gash half-way through. It seemed okay and I was out of 1/2" material, so I proceeded to assemble the sawhorses.

Sawhorse Plans

The Great Failure

Everything slid together perfectly, just as planned. However, the sawhorses were completely unstable!  I’m not sure if I made the interlocking slots too large, too short, or what, but the sawhorses were wobbly and seemed totally useless.

I realized later that the design should have had the legs angled inward at the top for stability. Next time I develop a set of sawhorse plans, I’ll try adding the angle.

With my friend’s impending arrival the next day, I needed to somehow fix this useless pile of plywood.  This is one of the areas that I enjoy about woodworking. Often our best plans and ideas run into snags and it requires creativity to move forward.

I happened to have a whole box of FastCap Kolby Korners leftover from another job. They’re basically small, metal angle brackets. I installed four brackets on each leg to stabilize the connection between the legs and the rails.

The Great Save

Remarkably, it worked great! They were no longer able to be disassembled and stored flat. That was a bummer, but the resulting sawhorses were sturdy and extremely light.

The bottom rail proved strong enough to support the door at the 12" height with a very heavy dresser resting on it. My friend loved them, even after I explained my supposed failure.

Sawhorse Plans PDF

Assuming you’re a brave soul, willing to follow in the steps of my folly, you can build your own great little set of sawhorses. To lay it out and cut it by hand, you’ll simply need to follow the sawhorse plans in the PDF drawings. Click here to view them.

If you prefer to download a copy to your computer, right click then "save-as". Either way, you'll need the Adobe reader to view the file.

These were actually designed for cutting on a CNC router, so I’m also making the DXF (AutoCAD) files available for download. To download a copy of the DXF files to your computer, right click here and then "save-as". 

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