ShopTalk

ShopTalk

Folding sawhorse stows away

comments (17) February 9th, 2012 in blogs

AsaC Asa Christiana, Special Projects Editor, Fine Woodworking magazine
thumbs up 91 users recommend

Worlds best sawhorse? It holds hundreds of pounds yet folds up and stows away.
I use these most often for holding parts as I work, keeping them organized and close at hand.
When Im not using them, I stow the pair under the wing of my tablesaw.
The folding bar at the bottom is the smartest part. It has hinges at its ends, and in the middle (hidden here).
The crosspieces are glued into shallow notches that give this horse its load-bearing strength. So dont just screw them on.
Worlds best sawhorse? It holds hundreds of pounds yet folds up and stows away. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

World's best sawhorse? It holds hundreds of pounds yet folds up and stows away.

Photo: Asa Christiana

Every shop needs a set of sawhorses. I don't use them so much for sawing as I do for organizing parts and pieces as I mill them and work on them, keeping them close at hand. As editor of FWW, I've seen dozens of sawhorse designs, but these are the ones I have in my shop.

I made them from some scrappy maple I had lying around (maple is great because it can be thin and yet very strong), and the hinges are those cheap utility type you can find at every hardware store. The only real joinery is the shallow rabbets and dadoes that the crosspieces sit in, to give them some extra load-bearing strength.

In the end, these thin, folding horses can probably support 1,000 pounds each. I've piled on dozens of heavy boards at a time without a problem.

What is really smart, I think, is the lower folding support bar, which hinges at the middle and ends to fold upward with a flick of your toe when you want to stow the horses, and snaps downward into place when you open the horse to use it.

Although I made these about 8 years ago, I got the idea many years earlier. I believe there was a guy making and trying to sell something similar out of his garage. That's a tough sell for something so simple to make, and I'm sure he's not the first to use a folding support bar like this. But if you are that guy, and you are still out there trying to sell them, my apologies. If not, thanks for a great tip.



posted in: blogs, workshop, maple, folding, saw horse, sawhorse, saw horses


Comments (17)

djc619 djc619 writes: Nice idea. Perfect for a small garage or workshop. There's one similar to that in this guide I bought. www.mywoodworkingprojects.org

Posted: 6:19 pm on November 29th

Frozen Frozen writes: I first saw the set-builder's version of this design (as cfboots78 described above) in one of Scott Landis' Workbench/Workshop books. I don't have them handy, so I'm not sure which.

Posted: 12:15 pm on November 16th

Jtomwoods Jtomwoods writes: Plans would be great.

Posted: 1:00 pm on February 16th

TWEE TWEE writes:
THESE FOLDING SAWHORSES ARE JUST WHAT I NEED IN MY SHOP.
ARE THE PLANS AVAILABLE/


TWEE
Posted: 6:12 pm on February 14th

wavesailor wavesailor writes: AsaC, I would love to get some plans. These folding sawhorses a
are what exactly I have been looking for. Others are too complicated or fancy. Just need some thing simple like this.

Thanks :-)
Posted: 6:10 am on February 14th

AsaC AsaC writes: Nothing new under the sun, huh? For the folks looking for plans, the frames are 32 tall with a 35 in. wide top cross piece. And the lower folding bar is 13-1/2 long. But really I just winged it, and so should you. just look at the various photos for the notched out joints. Those I do recommend.
That said, if enough folks want full dimensions, I'll post a plan.

Glad people a liking those...and your suggestions for beveled top parts or sacrificial ones are great too.
Posted: 7:33 pm on February 12th

Liddlepad Liddlepad writes: Great idea,may i suggest beveling top edges to give more of a bearing surface.
Posted: 5:15 pm on February 12th

covey covey writes: I made a pair of these 5 yrs ago and they are as strong as the day I made them. I us bycicle hooks on a wall in my shop to store them.

Covey
Posted: 3:06 pm on February 12th

73_Gramps 73_Gramps writes: I used a narrow piece of scrap laminated beam on mine - works great as a top plate.

Chuck
Posted: 12:14 pm on February 12th

matty53 matty53 writes: Just wanted to know if there was a plan on
making these.
Posted: 10:01 am on February 12th

jeffe jeffe writes: Far out!! Hope Floats filmed at my house in the woods in S. C. Texas. One of the carpenter's working on scenery (those guys were good!), had some of these that he made....made them out of 1x4 walmonized. I copied them, they hold a ton and last a long time even with hard use.
Posted: 1:10 am on February 12th

RMote RMote writes: Hi cattoycarpenter, cfboots78, oldgrip & anyone else,

My shop is small, so storage is a premium. I've been looking for a good, time tested, light-weight folding sawhorse design.

Could you provide more details on your sawhorses and a photo ?

thx
Posted: 6:28 pm on February 11th

cattoycarpenter cattoycarpenter writes: An old friend of mine showed me how to make these sawhorses around 15 years ago. He was also a movie / TV set carpenter from the '60's. I still make mine kinda this way. Is it just a set carpenter thing? The commercial carpenters I've worked with all laughed at my horses. Theirs were 2x4's and 2x6's and 3/4" plywood, huge heavy clumsy things. I worked a small project where the 'company' saw horses could not fit up the stairs to the second floor, so I brought mine from the truck.
One of the carpenters was so mad he took a 2x4 as a club and smashed one of my sawhorses apart "Just to show me how smart I was, College Boy!". Awesome guy. I must add that he later hurt himself and ended his career. I have my own small contracting business - and 3 pairs of folding sawhorses.
Posted: 2:29 pm on February 11th

Oldgrip Oldgrip writes: Let's take this Work horse design back to when the lumber was sugar pine [7/8" or 1 1/4"]; all joints were mortise/tenon secured with clot nails; with the top rail full width; the toggle mortised between the legs; 3/16" gum ply.straps,keystone & corner blocks over all joints; and what made these horses last forever were the diagonal braces running from the top rail down to one of the legs. Both frames were identical so when assembled the horse was braced in both directions. A little before the Vietnam was gum ply. dropped off the map and sugar pine became to expensive to mill/sell. I worked in a scenic shop most of my life and I've seen these horses last 30 & 40 years - some of those were made before I was born. :)
Posted: 10:44 am on February 11th

cfboots78 cfboots78 writes: Stage carpenters have been building horses like those for years, but instead of 2x4's, we used 1x4's with 1/4" plywood gussets crown-stapled, to keep weight and bulk to a minimum. They are surprisingly strong and instead of the three extra hinges to connect the wings together across the center of the lower rails, we use sash chain and a couple of drywall screws. I can personally attest to being able to stack four, full bundles of 1x4's with no worry.
Posted: 8:50 am on February 11th

Ray5 Ray5 writes: I agree with Woodchuckcanuck a top plate is needed to avoid cutting into the saw horse and it can always be replaced if necessary. It would also give the saw horse a large plate to rest something onto, it would also be great to clamp to. But yours sure look better than those cheep pieces of plastic junk Home Depot sells for 35 bucks made in China.

Ray
Posted: 5:39 am on February 11th

woodchuckcanuck woodchuckcanuck writes: I did something similar, made mine from 2x4, and I didn't use a hinged stretcher. I also attached a length of 2x4 on top of one of the upper pieces. It acts as a stop to prevent the two legs from splaying out and the 2x4 provides extra thickness so the saw blade does not cut through the hinges.

Jim Barry
Posted: 12:04 pm on February 9th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Advertise here for as little as $50. Learn how

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking

 

Become a Better Woodworker

About ShopTalk

Gain new insights on how to build the perfect workshop from the pros at Fine Woodworking magazine. ShopTalk aims to cover everything from workshop layout and design, to shop tips, tricks, and techniques.