Folding Sawhorses (with acknowledgments)

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Project by JohnMcClure posted 01-03-2017 04:58 PM 2955 views 16 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Searching LJs for sawhorse ideas, I loved Canexican’s Shopdog sawhorse design (link). A tensioning strap locks the legs around the horizontal member, making a rigid horse with interchangeable attachments. Take the attachment off and it folds flat.

I made my version this weekend, the difference being that my braces are 1×4s dadoed into place, so the horse folds up into an even flatter package.

(Tensioner and awesome attachments are not shown in these pics, check the link to see Canexican’s!)

The geometry at the top is tricky to plan and trickier to cut, but it fits together so beautifully!

Thanks for checking it out!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

11 comments so far

View N2wood's profile


22 posts in 1300 days

#1 posted 01-03-2017 08:48 PM

Rather than purchase another set of “plastic” horses I may just build a set of these and I like your modification for storage. Thx for the post and link.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3468 days

#2 posted 01-03-2017 09:01 PM

Congratulations on this sawhorse; it will be a nice addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3104 days

#3 posted 01-04-2017 12:18 AM

That’s a really good design. And a good idea with the dados.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View ScottM's profile


747 posts in 2748 days

#4 posted 01-04-2017 12:57 PM

That s a really good design. And a good idea with the dados.

- Tootles

Ditto. Built a set of these a couple of years ago. These were actually my first router table before I built a garage. I attached two 2×4’s to the bottom of a Rockler router table and those would insert into the horses. Tension them and I had a mobile breakdown router table.

I like the dado 1×4 idea. That would lighten them up a bit too.

View SirGareth's profile


129 posts in 2802 days

#5 posted 01-04-2017 04:29 PM

Nice design! I have been looking to make a pair of folding sawhorses. Like many folks, my shop is tight on space and these would be a great addition while taking up minimal space. Thanks for posting!

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California

View Lazyman's profile


4474 posts in 1989 days

#6 posted 01-06-2017 05:34 PM

These are great. I designed my own version that doesn’t require the compound angles to make it easier to build and it works just as well.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View jcees's profile


1078 posts in 4401 days

#7 posted 01-08-2017 01:58 PM

I’ve made these in three different heights. If you do that, adjust the splay accordingly. The shorter they are the more splay is needed to keep them stable. I substituted x-bracing for the simple rails which eliminates the wonkiness that you addressed by inletting them. Nice touch, slims them up a bit and does the job better than surface mounting alone. Nicely done.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2806 days

#8 posted 02-03-2017 09:44 PM

The horses look great John,

I wonder could you incorporate a folding tray between the lower cross brace?
I may have to give it a go and see for myself Great post!
A side question, is that some sort of reclining bike I see on the left of the horses?

-- Regards Rob

View JohnMcClure's profile (online now)


839 posts in 1242 days

#9 posted 02-03-2017 10:12 PM

Thanks Robert,
A folding tray could be useful. In my build, the two bottom struts are not level with each other, but you could easily make them that way. And it is important that the tray doesn’t interfere with the tensioning strap (not shown in the photos).
Speaking of tensioning strap, I have used these with both a ratchet strap and just some rope. I may just leave a loop of rope permanently tied around the lower struts, which will hang loose when the horses are folded, and just twist the loop tight when the horses are set up.

No fancy bike there. In one photo you can kinda see a red tricycle with a “parent assist” handle, and in another the wheels of a folded jogging stroller.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Lazyman's profile


4474 posts in 1989 days

#10 posted 02-04-2017 02:25 PM

The tension strap is the part of this design I don’t like. it works fine so far but just seems like a weak link. I worry that something heavy could make it fail. I thought about making a pivoting tray or bar of some kind that would slide over both of the bottom cross braces to lock them together. The problem with that is to make it lock (pinch) the top on, it would need to be pretty tight which might make it difficult to move into place.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2806 days

#11 posted 02-04-2017 08:45 PM

OK got it. Its the folded jogging stroller then.

I saw a folding plastic saw horse at a worksite in Apr 2013 and your version reminded me I need to make a set.

I wouldnt go to the effort of the middle hinge just a side hinge so it swings down onto the other cross piece.

-- Regards Rob

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