how to build saw horses

How to Build Saw Horses – A Complete Beginner’s Tutorial

Learning how to build saw horses is a very special skill that you can learn as a woodworker. After all, you will use it for several other woodworking projects. Creating a durable one will no doubt stand the test of time. For this DIY beginner’s project, you will need an odd compound angle cut, which is a level that is cut across the width, including the thickness of a wooden piece. Still, it can be built without using any power tool or complicated materials.

What You Need

  • 1 ½” x 5 ½” wood (140m x 45mm). Length – 44 inches (1000mm) – TOP
  • (4) 1 ½” x 3 1/2” wood (90mm x 45mm). Length – 27 inches (675mm) – LEGS
  • (2) ¾” thick plywood (18mm) 6” x 24” (150mm x 60mm)
  • (24) 2 ½” (60mm long) galvanized flat-head nails

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Cut Pieces to the Right Length

Gather and cut all of the pieces to the lengths that are listed on the materials list. The pieces will need more cutting and you need to work using angles, 14 degrees, and 20 degrees. While you may easily cut these angles if you have already tried it out before, you may need assistance in finding the angles if it is your first time. 

Step 2 – Find the Angles

Create an angle template. this can be done by marking the needed angles, either on a square panel or work tabletop. For the 20 degrees angle, measure one unit across, with 2 ¾” units down. A unit may be any type of measurement. For instance, if you are creating each of the units as 4 inches, measure four inches (a single unit) across, 11 inches down (2 ¾ units) to create a 20 degrees angle. 

To find the 14 degrees angle, measure one unit across, with 4 units down. Same with the first one, a unit can be any type of measurement. If the unit selected is four inches, it would also be 4 inches (one unit) across, and 16 inches (or 4 units) down to create a 14 degrees angle.

Now you have a template for 14 degrees and 20 degrees angles. Set the bevel gauge to the angle required as necessary. 

Step 3 – Mark/Cut the Upper Part of the Legs

Clamp one part of the legs on the edge and into a sawhorse, commencing to mark the cut of the angle at the upper part of the leg. Measure 1 inch across (or 25mm), 2 ¾ inches down (68mm). Square each end edge of the line down. This will complete your cutting line. Cut through the cutting line using a handsaw. Repeat the same process with the other three legs. 

Step 4 – Mark/Cut the Lower Part of the Legs

Prepare a pair of legs in a back-to-back position on a sawhorse. Measure 25 ½” along the upper part of the legs (637mm) from point 1, and mark point 2. From the second point, use a bevel gauge in marking 20 degrees cut towards the edge of both of the pieces, and marking 14 degrees cutting line inwards to the front of both leg pieces. 

Step 5 – Mark the Top of the Sawhorse (for rebating)

For this step, (4) rebates need to be created at the top of the sawhorse where you can place the top of the legs. Measure 5-inches (125mm) from every end of point 1 to point 2, marking a 14-degrees bevel line in the edge. Repeat the process to both ends of the four sides. 

Place a mark on the cut-out area. The width should be the same as the leg. Use one leg as your template, holding it against one of the bevel lines at point 2 using a pencil, mark on the leg’s opposite edge. The cut-out depth should be at ¾-inches (20mm).

Step 6 – Rebate the Top

Create several saw cuts on the cut-out area to the marked cutting depth of ¾” (20mm). The more cuts make it easier to chisel the rebate. Lay the sawhorse top on the flat end, chiseling to the depth line. 

Step 7 – Fix Legs to the Top of the Sawhorse

Put the top of the leg on a rebate on top of the sawhorse. Align it to ensure that the inner point is flushed with the top of the sawhorse. Nail it in place using 3 galvanized flat-head nails. Repeat the same process with the other legs. 

Step 8 – Brace Legs, Trimming the Jut-Outs

Cut (2) braces out of 18mm thick plywood, making the tops of both braces 7 3/8” long (190mm). Mark the sides that run out of the 20-degrees square, cutting after. Fit every brace in the upper part of the legs to the underside of the top. Fix braces to the legs using galvanized flat-head nails on every side. Lay the sawhorse on the side, cutting the tops off for a clean finish. 


Wooden sawhorses are handy and may be used in locations where you need to use temporary workstations and storage for materials. The beauty of this tool is that it can be modified easily to meet the specific circumstances of a job site. They may be cut down, used indoor and outdoor, and altered, depending on the need. Learning how to build saw horses on your own will cut the expense while allowing you to create one that specifically meets your needs and requirements. Do you have your DIY plan for making sawhorses? Share them in the comments section below!



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