Folding Saw Horses


Saw horses are an essential fixture in every workshop whether you’re a woodworker, blacksmith, or mechanic. When I decided to build a set of my own I didn’t want to go the traditional route and make fixed leg saw horses, so I came up with a design that was a little different. I am not the first and will likely not be the last to design a variation of this time-tested work support but decided to make a tutorial on it anyways. My version of these fold-able sawhorses are designed to be compact but strong all at the same time. As you will see in the following paragraphs these saw horses can hold a considerable amount of weight and, although I don’t test them to find out exactly how much weight they can withstand, my simple test does validate that they can take what most people will put them through.

THe Build

There aren’t a lot of materials and hardware that are needed to make these saw horses. Below is a list of what you will need:

  1. Wall Hangers
  2. Large barn door style hinges
  3. Eye Hooks
  4. Chain
  5. Pocket Hole Screws
  6. 6 Kiln Dried 2 X 4’s

To begin this project I first measured, marked and cut all the 2 x 4’s to their necessary lengths. I make all of the cuts using my miter saw.

A total of 14 cuts is necessary to batch out all the various components of these sawhorses. There were 8 cuts made for the legs, 4 for the side braces, and 2 for the top surfaces.

With all the cuts made I marked the angle at which the legs will sit at when fully extended. This is done using a digital angle gauge.

I used the same angle gauge to tilt my table saw blade to the correct angle and used my table saw, in conjunction with my miter gauge, to execute the cuts. Now you may be asking yourself, “why doesn’t he use his miter saw to make these cuts?”, and the answer is that my miter saw doesn’t have a dedicated tick mark for 19 -degrees and it was much easier and more accurate to set the angle on my table saw.

Now that the angles on the legs are cut it's time to drill some pocket holes. I use my Kreg Foreman to drill pocket holes on the inside top edge of 4 of the 8 legs and the inside edges of all four support braces.

For purposes of aligning the leg's I drew a line down the center of each top surface piece then measured in from each end and made an additional mark. These marks indicate where the legs need to be position relative to the bottom surface of the top surface piece. I hope that last sentence made sense.

Determining the proper placement of the leg hinges is a crucial part of this build. I decided the best course of action was to attach the fixed leg temporarily, find the placement, then attach one side of the hinge to the fixed leg. I could then place the other leg up against the hinge and mark the location of where screws needed to be placed. I then removed the fixed leg and attached the other side of the hinge using screws before reattaching the whole leg assembly to the top surface. It may be clearer to visualize what I just wrote by looking closely at the pictures above. 

After attaching all four leg assemblies I first clamp the cross braces to the legs and attach them permanently using pocket hole screws. These braces tie both leg assemblies on each saw horse together making the hinges move in concert with one another.

With all the assembly finished its time to attach the eye hooks and chain. To prevent the cross brace from splitting, I first drill a pilot hole which excepts the eye hook.

Each eye hook will be linked together using some light duty chain. To cut the chain to length I used bolt cutters.

I attached the chain using pliers. This light duty chain is easy to pry open and close so it was a synch to complete this part of the build. If you don’t have bolt cutters, alternatively, you could use a hack saw to cut this chain to length. The purpose of the chain is to prevent the legs from overextending if too much weight is placed on each saw horse. It’s not a failsafe but provides a little more resistance in a dire situation.

To test the saw horses I placed my entire body weight on top of one balancing myself. The saw horses held my weight without issue. 

 I have had these saw horses in my shop for a while now and they have been invaluable when working with large sheet goods and materials in excess of 6 ft. I couldn’t imagine not having them to use and their collapsible design have made them a dream to store when not needed. As most garage shop owners can attest to, floor and wall space is very valuable so the less you can utilize for fixtures such as these the better.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think down below in the comment section or on my YouTube channel. As always please like, follow, or subscribe to my social media accounts if you liked what you read or watched if you want to support my efforts.

Project Plans

Folding Saw Horses
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