Timberframe Saw Horse

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Project by danzaland posted 07-13-2009 05:06 PM 43908 views 22 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Timberframe Saw Horse
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In the Fall of 2008 I traveled to Cranbrook, British Columbia to take The College of The Rockies 13 week Timberframing Program. One of our first projects was to make a saw horse. The only requirements were that it was 4 feet wide and it stood 2 feet tall. We had to make pencil drawing of it and get it approved. We spent almost the first month working on the many aspects that would go into making it. Type of wood, sawing the rough lumber, planing the lumber, layout of the pieces, Anatomy of a brace, cutting the pieces and finally assembly.

Some joints came out better than others, but all in all it was an interesting learning project to do.

-- I don't know what God is. But I know what He ISN'T - Jordan Maxwell

22 comments so far

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 5075 days

#1 posted 07-13-2009 05:23 PM

That’s really cool – I’d put those teflon furniture slider pads on its feet so you could push it around the shop easily, as it looks like a real beast to carry.
There is obvioulsy little to worry about in terms of what could possibly be to big a load.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4659 days

#2 posted 07-13-2009 05:30 PM

Nice job…looks like it would hold up a house.

-- Don S.E. OK

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 4901 days

#3 posted 07-13-2009 07:45 PM

Man, what are you sawing on that thing… sections of battleship armor? :) :)

That’s one good looking, and stone cold serious, sawhorse.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5239 days

#4 posted 07-13-2009 09:12 PM

A house? battleship armor? I think it’s the start of a rocking horse for a baby Hulk…wow, a great course and a serious piece of woodwork.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4918 days

#5 posted 07-13-2009 09:13 PM

Two of them with a top on and a few vises and you’ve got a fabulous work bench great I love it really well made Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5247 days

#6 posted 07-13-2009 10:00 PM

I can see why they start with this project. All elements of timberframing are there in the sawhorse. Besides as you found out, bringing the log up to a reasonable height is important for joint work, so this is an important tool in timberframing.

Nice job. So are you going to build a timberframe home next?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4603 days

#7 posted 07-13-2009 10:15 PM

Having had a few sawhorses give way – made from those wonderfully cheap brace kits – I bet that yours will last a life time…probably the only con to that would be the weight…

I have built a few timberframe type barns and carports…and believe me they are sturdy. I have yet to hear of one collapsing even when having a load of snow, heavy hail or high winds.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1369 posts in 5332 days

#8 posted 07-14-2009 02:27 AM

Cool design, when are you going to build the other one?

-- Bob A in NJ

View danzaland's profile


29 posts in 4578 days

#9 posted 07-14-2009 02:53 AM

Thanks all.
For those of you that wonder what I’m putting on these horses, think back to the last time you were in an old barn. Remember those huge hand hewn beams? They could be 12 by 12 and 30 or more feet long. In class we had 2 33’ top plates and 1 33’ ridge pole each 8”x10” on one set so we could transfer rafter measurements quickly. SO yeah they need to be heavy duty.

Yes all, at least most timberframe elements are in the saw horse. Being such a small brace made it even more important to be precise. I am “boarding” one of my classmates horse until he can pick it up, if he does, so I have not rushed to make a second. If I were to make a second set I would consider making a set 30” tall, for there are times when I can get pretty low.

I will look for the drawings we did and try to post them, or make expanded drawings to show more detail.

Timberframe structure date back 500 or more years in Europe and probably more in some Asian countries. My instructor was from Switzerland and said had worked on many buildings over 300 years old. He told us that as long as the roof was good a timberframe could weather plenty, but once too much water gets at the frame, thats when the problems start.
For those who want to look at more timberframing just look up Tedd Benson, who just worked with This Old House and Jack Sobon, both of who are the more recognizable names in Timberframing.

-- I don't know what God is. But I know what He ISN'T - Jordan Maxwell

View JayPique's profile


61 posts in 4621 days

#10 posted 07-14-2009 03:02 AM

New Energy Works Timberframers does pretty good work too.

Not sure if I’m supposed to post that, but I work with them and believe we also build and outfit some very nice homes.


View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4891 days

#11 posted 07-14-2009 03:05 AM

Some really haevy duty sawhorses.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4910 days

#12 posted 07-14-2009 03:39 AM

View jil's profile


1 post in 4146 days

#13 posted 09-13-2010 02:26 AM

wicked, i just started that course this week and tomorrow we will be drafting the horse. I’m pretty new to this, but i’d like to customize the sawhorse for myself to be lightweight & easily transportable. I am wondering if you think it’d work to remove materials from certain areas where the forces aren’t as concentrated…?

View danzaland's profile


29 posts in 4578 days

#14 posted 09-15-2010 04:44 AM

You have to consider how the wood will dry, and where checks might occur. Any new hole or opening provides an additional place for moisture to move and checks to occur. Talk with your instructor about these concerns, but the more material you takeout the weaker it becomes.

-- I don't know what God is. But I know what He ISN'T - Jordan Maxwell

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 4861 days

#15 posted 12-11-2011 09:02 PM

Yes good and strong

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

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