Sturdy designs in two sizes excel on the floor and on the benchtop
I can’t remember where I first saw a Japanese planing beam on trestle horses, but I do remember my first thought: “I gotta make a pair of those!” Having grown up around wobbly A-frame sawhorses made from 2x4s and festooned with paint spatters, bent nails, and errant sawkerfs, I thought those trestle horses seemed so sturdy, so clean, so intentional. I make them with drawbored mortise-and-tenons, which add another step to the build but provide extra solidity in joints that will see a lot of stress over the years. Because these heavy-duty horses have myriad uses, referring to them as sawhorses sells them short. I prefer to be more accurate: They are workhorses.
The design of the low horses stems from the fact that most Japanese woodwork is done while sitting. I rarely work on the floor, but I use low horses all the time on the benchtop.…