Motley Poplar Asian Sawhorse

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Project by PaxJen posted 05-15-2019 01:27 AM 1328 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally posting instead of lurking. Thanks to all the LJs who kept up my interest in wood during my last few years of work. I built these to upgrade from those flimsy plastic sawhorses that cost $10 but are worth $5. I followed plans of Len Cullum at Inspired also by Richard McGuire and Chris Schwartz.

Poplar is about as strong as balsa wood, but they are about 3 inches thick and should hold up. They could take my weight before any glue or pegs. Mostly power tool construction but lots of hand planing, including whittling the walnut 1/2 inch pegs with a plane. Draw-boring is harder than it looks. Now I can start on a baby Roubo workbench to move more in a hand tool direction. My pile of oak is waiting. Cheers.

Paxjen, Maryland

-- Pax - Maryland

9 comments so far

View torus's profile


538 posts in 1526 days

#1 posted 05-15-2019 03:06 AM

Poplar is about as strong as balsa wood,

balsa- Janka Hardness: 67 lbf (300 N)
poplar – Janka Hardness: 540 lbf (2,400 N) ;)

I like the pins and through tenons accent. Nice pair of sawhorses, will serve you well!

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View therealSteveN's profile


8009 posts in 1687 days

#2 posted 05-15-2019 04:10 AM

While I don’t think these would be too serviceable in Balsa, in Poplar you will find that the construction used is plenty strong enough to hold a really hefty payload.

Now you need to find a place on the floor of your shop, where these will be dead flat, Lacking that shim these to a permanent location, and just use them there. I’m serious enough about this is I encourage newbies I am helping get started, that I tell them to paint an outline of where they will sit.

Doing that alone, and knowing you are starting everything on a dead flat surface, your builds will improve from day 1.

Nice job on these, they look great.

-- Think safe, be safe

View SMP's profile


4133 posts in 1018 days

#3 posted 05-15-2019 04:11 AM

Those look great! I want to build some now. And I can attest that Richard’s videos are worth their weight in gold. You think you are going to learn a few main skills based on the description and item, but throughout the videos there are all these little tidbits of knowledge that are second nature to him, that one could only acquire from trial and error. Every video i have watched of his I walk away way more skilled and entertained. Are you going to build his new french bench?

View Ivan's profile


16837 posts in 3980 days

#4 posted 05-15-2019 05:54 AM

Not only functional, pretty good looking also…

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View PaxJen's profile


193 posts in 1769 days

#5 posted 05-15-2019 04:01 PM

Thank you for the kind comments, folks.

Thanks, Torus, I have never had an exaggeration measured with such specificity. I have a lot of poplar, which I plan to use mostly for prototyping. Painted bases maybe?

SteveN, I hear you on the importance of a flat base. My concrete floor is aways a little off. I may add levelers to the feet if I cannot find a good spot in my tiny basement shop. It will be nice to stop working on top of my table saw.

SMP, I purchased one of Richard’s videos and I loved it. The little table bridal joint guides. Highly recommended. Not sure if I will follow his new build as my plans are mostly set.

Ivan, you are the king of the LJ posters! I only need to post 15,000 times to catch you. My wife was just in Croatia for work, on the Adriatic, and she said it is very beautiful.

-- Pax - Maryland

View cvalley's profile


124 posts in 3607 days

#6 posted 05-15-2019 07:18 PM

Nice craftsmanship!

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3125 days

#7 posted 05-15-2019 08:44 PM

Nice work, Pax. I’ve also made the same pair in fir from Len’s article. They were instrumental during my bench build.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View markgrogan1's profile


35 posts in 2453 days

#8 posted 06-03-2019 05:43 AM

There’s nothing better than creating something of use by yourself isn’t there? It’s wonderful to have made something that you can actually see yourself using over the course of the week or in your own hobbies and things instead of something that will be left in storage!. It’s a good thing you did there mate and I’m sure those new sawhorses will give many years of good service!

-- Mark Grogan @

View PaxJen's profile


193 posts in 1769 days

#9 posted 06-03-2019 05:05 PM

To cvalley, woodcox, and markgrogan1,

thanks for your kind comments.

-- Pax - Maryland

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