How to build a Plywood Sawhorse

If you are a DIY lover, or are passionate about building things yourself, you must know how convenient having a sawhorse can be most of the time. Placing what you need to cut over it so as to be better able to handle it will save you a great deal of effort, as well as time. However you never got to buy one because they tend to be quite costly. Most are also a bit too bulky. So, why don’t you try building a sawhorse yourself? It is really quite simple. In this guide we will describe how you can build a sawhorse made from plywood. Let’s get started!

What do you need?

First off, you will need to acquire the materials you will be using. You will need either sheets of MDF or plywood that are at least 18mm thick – we recommend you use 25mm thick for extra strength. The board should measure 8 inches by 4 inches. It is important to stick to plywood as it is stronger than MDF when it comes to building a sturdy sawhorse.

You will also need plenty of self-tapping screws and wood glue. As tools you will require a jigsaw or a circular saw for cutting, and a screwdriver. Both a regular and an electric screwdriver will be okay, but obviously electric tools make any job far easier since you will need to do a lot of cutting and fix a lot of screws.

A Simple Plywood Sawhorse. Image credit: The Wood Whisperer

Step by step guide to build the sawhorse

The cutting phase:

  1. First you will need to cut the various parts that will be needed. These include four side panels of equal size. These should measure 76.2cm by 40.6cm at the base, and 10.2cm at the top centre point. These measurements are ideal because you will be able to cut them out from a single sheet of plywood, without wasting material unnecessarily.
  2. You will also need to cut a semi-circular shape at the base of each of these side panels. This will serve as the feet of the sawhorse, and will enable it to keep steady even when placed on an uneven surface.
  3. You have to cut the worktop of your sawhorse. Two lengths of plywood measuring 165cm by 40cm should be ideal. When attached to each other, they will create a solid surface which will be suitable to bear whatever weight you will need to place over.
  4. Next we move on to cutting the support joists. You can cut these from the remaining plywood. You should be able to cut out 12 support joists, each measuring 40.6cm by 10.2cm.
  5. You will also need to cut another two pieces of plywood measuring 40cm by 2.5cm. These will be attached to the sawhorse’s top to help keep the top in place.
A Typical Timber Subframe. Image credit: Imgur

The building phase:

  1. Now that all the parts have been cut, you can start building the sawhorse. Attach the double-lined joists together so as to have six in all. Use wood glue and clamp them together well to avoid any movement.
  2. When they have dried and set, attach them one by one along the centre of the side panels, in a vertical manner. Space them evenly, about 23cm apart from one another. With 1.25” screws attach the joist at either end so as to create the bases of the sawhorse.
  3. Next, you will move on to the worktop. You can either attach the two sheets you had cut out together with wood glue and wood screws. Or else, if you want an even sturdier top, you will need to build up a sub-frame. This can be built using the remaining plywood. All you need to do is cut two strips of equal lengths as the length of the worktop, add side joists at increments, and then attach the frame to the surface with screws going through the base sheet. A sub-frame is a good idea for a sawhorse as it prevents warping and bending, which is a common possibility when considering the weight and pressure that it will need to hold when put to use.
  4. Now that your sawhorse’s worktop is ready, you will need to attach two cleats from either edge of the top. These will basically be like stops which will keep the sawhorse in place while you are using it.
  5. Finally it is all about assembling it and putting it to good use. Scaffold platforms can be set at adjustable heights for your convenience.

If you want to make your sawhorse look more professional, you can sand it lightly with a sandpaper. This is recommended especially at the points where the cutting was made. In this way you will remove any splinters or edges that could be a bit sharp. Finally you can stain it with some wood varnish or paint. The finish will make it look better, as well as improve its longevity.