Knockdown Trestle Sawhorses - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Knockdown Trestle Sawhorses

 In Projects, Questions And Answers, Techniques

Knockdown Trestle Sawhorses

??Simple design.
Sturdy construction.

By Tom Caspar

Every shop needs a pair of trusty
sawhorses. I like ones that are easy to
build and easy to store away. These
sawhorses definitely fit that bill, and
nest together quite well, too.

This unique design is within
reach of any woodworker and
doesn’t require many tools to build.
The wood is quite common—I used
yellow poplar 1x4s from the local
home center. You’ll need about 200
linear feet of 1x4s to make one pair
of horses.


Building the horse

You’ll need a tablesaw, handsaw, drill
and a number of clamps. A miter saw
would be handy for cutting parts to
length. Begin by cutting all the parts
except A3 and B3—you’ll cut these
to fit later on. Assemble the parts
in the order shown in the drawings
on the next page. The basic idea is
to glue the pieces in layers (Photo
1), then rip both sides to make the
edges perfectly even (Photo 2).

Here are a few notes to guide
you along the way. In step 12,
you’ll be gluing a foot so that it fits
tightly around a leg. The best way
to do this is to place a leg between
the foot pieces during the glue-up.
Clamp these three pieces to draw
them close. To prevent the leg from
becoming glued to the foot, place
some shims under the leg, as shown
in the drawing.

When you’re ready to assemble
the frame in step 16, place the
stretchers in position and measure
the distance between them. Cut A3
to this length. You can glue all of
these pieces together at once, but
it’s easier to do it in two stages. Start
with the middle stretcher, but leave
the top stretcher in place—without
glue—so the legs are spaced correctly.
Draw all the pieces tight with
clamps. For the second stage, glue
on A3 and the top stretcher. After
removing the clamps, cut part B3 to
exact length.

To install the hanger bolts, first
drill a 5/16″ hole through each foot.
Make sure the hole is plumb—it’s
best to use a drill press. Clamp the
foot onto the leg and continue drilling
the hole with a cordless drill.
Remove the foot and enlarge its hole
with a 3/8″ bit. Install the hanger
bolt by jamming two nuts together
on its threaded end; turn them with
a wrench.

If you finish or paint your sawhorse,
leave the feet on. You don’t
want a film on the part of the leg that
slides into the foot. That additional
thickness would make the fit too
tight—I know, it happened to me!

Cutting List

Fig. A: Exploded View

Leg Assembly

Top Stretcher Assembly

Mid Stretcher Assembly

Foot Assembly

Frame Assembly

Last piece

Click any image to view a larger version.

Easy to make. All the parts are just home center 1x4s
glued together.

Removable feet.
Unscrew the knobs to slide off the feet.

Stores flat.
Hang the parts on a wall or put them on
a shelf.

1. Use plenty of clamps to glue the pieces together. Place two
clamps across the pieces to help align them. To prevent these
clamps from sticking to the wood, place some small blocks,
covered with masking tape, between the wood and the clamp.

2. Saw both sides of the glued-up parts. This is an easy way to
make the edges perfectly even.


Note: Product availability and prices are subject to change.

800-225-1153, T-style knob with
3/8″–16 insert, #142227.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker October/November, issue #156.

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