Weekend Project

Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend project: Horsing around

By Justin Newcombe

1 comment

Saw horses come at the one height, which just wouldn't do for Justin Newcombe. So he built another one to suit.

Justin Newcombe with his customised saw horse. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Justin Newcombe with his customised saw horse. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Putting together a saw horse isn't exactly hard, especially since Bunnings sells them as a kit set. But I've got a big problem with the traditional saw horse. It's too short - isn't it? If you find yourself constantly hunched over something a little over knee-high hour after hour, you'll be lucky to stand up at the end of the day. I spotted the little clue to solving this modest conundrum when I was - for once - using an old-fashioned hand saw. The traditional saw horse is the perfect height for putting your knee on when sawing. It gives you an unparalleled position for getting a good, solid up-down action going - and nothing makes you feel more macho than ripping through a piece of timber with a good up-down action. I, however, more often than not use a skill saw which is quite a bit heavier and, in my opinion, requires a different height to operate comfortably. So because saw horses are sold at only the one height, if I want a taller one I'll have to build it myself.

The other thing I needed was one that packs away. I want to be able to store them flat, hang them up or tuck them away into a cupboard. I decided to build a fold-up one, a bit like trestle legs.

It's important that the saw horse provides a sturdy platform to work from. I've constructed the top of it in three parts which looks a bit like the letter "U", then attached some cable to support the legs. The whole thing is made out of plywood and is light as well as being very strong.

To make a work bench - or even a industrial-chic desk for your office - pop a length of ply, an old door or some lengths of 200x50mm timber on top.

Step 1

Cut two sets of legs out of the ply to give the basic outline of the saw horse. The length of the legs depends entirely on what you want to use the horse for. I'm going for longer legs but if you make a lot of large objects like furniture you could make shorter legs that sit a foot or so off the ground.

Step 2

Make the "U" shaped spine out of 100mm wide strips of ply. Glue and screw it together using strong glue.

Step 3

Attach the hinges to the legs then the spine.

Step 4

Open the legs and attach a length of cable to each side. Make sure this is tight so the legs don't hyper-extend then they have some weight on them. You should be able to stand on top without it collapsing.

- NZ Herald

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