I guess you could say this is an updated version of my original folding sawhorses. That pair is currently in my basement supporting a makeshift table with various tools and gear piled on it. Among other things these saw horses are really good for that – setting up a temporary work surface, even if that work surface immediately fills up with junk.
The very first set of these that I made is long gone, but a pair that I made back in 2002 is still with me, although in fairly rough shape:
These have spent the majority of their lifespan outdoors, winter and summer, but still work well enough to use when I need them.
For these new ones, I changed the design slightly to make them from just 1/2″ plywood:
Stacked up, that’s enough for both saw horses and the total material needed is just less than a full sheet of plywood. I used a better quality, but these can be made with sheathing grade plywood that generally costs less.
The first step is to glue the two parts that make up the top of each saw horse. I used glue only, since this may get cut into with a circular saw while breaking down sheets of plywood, and I don’t want metal fasteners in there to ruin the blade.
I have both top rails clamped together here and I’ll let the glue dry for an hour or so before moving ahead with the rest of the assembly.
The SketchUp plan below gives the assembly details and you’ll be able to orbit around the model to see how the parts go together. Basic idea is to double up key parts, like the legs, while also creating “half lap” joints for the parts to fit into. This does mean a bit more time to put them together, but you save much more time with the the prep work that is just straight cuts without any fancy machining. If plywood is not your thing, these can also be made from solid wood.
Typical joint with construction adhesive:
I used 3/4″ brads to hold the parts in place, then drove in 3/4″ screws. It’s the glue and the screws that make this a very strong connection.
Adding the lower stretcher to the first frame. Notice how the layers of plywood form those half lap joints I mentioned above:
That’s one half, or one frame, finished:
With the other frame put together, I can add the hinges. These are just regular door hinges and while only two are needed, I’m adding an extra one in the middle for more support:
This then get fastened to the first frame:
Notice how the barrel of the hinges goes up tight to the thickening strip on the top rail:
The screws tips for the middle hinge came through the plywood, so I just ground them off flush with the surface:
The last thing to do is to add the chain that keeps the legs from opening too far. This is recycled from the old sawhorses, and is relatively inexpensive and available at any hardware store:
I made a video of the build:
You can download the plan by clicking on the picture below. You will need to have SketchUp installed on your computer to open and view this plan.
If weight handling ability is a concern, I’ve stacked several hundreds of pounds worth of sheet stock (plywood, drywall, etc.) on these many times without fail.