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  1. #1
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    Saw Horse Thread

    I thought may be the humble saw horse needed a thread of it's own. Next to a good table they're some of the handiest things to have around the shop. Hell, you can even use them as a base for a fab table. I also think building them would make a good basic welding project for shop classes.

    Any way I've probably built 15 pairs of them in just the past 6 months and think I've got a pretty good system figured out. A simple CAD side view drawing of the legs gives me all the information I need to make them what ever finished height is desired. So far 18, 24, 30, 34 and 36 inch have been the heights I've found most useful. For leg angles I've been using 30/60 for the shorter ones and 70/20 for the taller. For material I've mostly been using 2" square, .125 wall for the legs and 2 x 4 x .188 (or .250) wall for the horizontal cross member. So far I've just built them out of steel tube but I'm guessing that before the year is out I'll build an aluminum pair.

    If any one else has any thoughts or opinions on building saw horses (or pictures of ones they've built) feel free to jump in.

    A couple of general pictures first.....

    With the addition of some good non-swiveling casters these have been turned into some pipe roller stands. Depending on future projects I can for see some of these getting the wheels taken back off of them.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Nice. And simple. I like the idea of the tubing "feet" in the 3rd picture. I use mine outside and this would help prevent sinking.

    Paul

  3. #3
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    This 18" high x 4' long pair are pretty handy for setting a piece of plate on to cut pieces off of it. All though the last time I did a bucket on them I was wishing they were 5 or 6 foot long so that I would have had more room to roll it over while it was on them.

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    This is of attaching a pair together to make a table. They got a 4 x 8' piece of 1/4" plate for a top and a piece of 3/4" OSB slid in for a lower shelf. When done they're easy to pick up with a fork lift and move around.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    very nice plus nice shop
    Dave Reber
    Wadsworth Ohio

  5. #5
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    Rural NW Illinois
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Nice.
    I'm going to shamelessly steal your design but I'm going to weld casters onto a piece of channel that can slip onto the top (maybe bolted?) or be easily removed.
    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    King,

    I've poached so many ideas off of other's over the years that I probably don't having any standing to complain about you're poaching one off of me even if I wanted to. So feel free to adapt and modify at will. I had a similar idea as what you're talking about except I was just going to weld the casters to a piece of heavy flat bar and have that thru bolt down thru the horizontal cross member. If you really wanted to get fancy you could have the plate slotted so you could adjust the casters in and out to compensate for different pipe diameters. That might be a little over kill but what the hell, any thing worth doing is usually worth over doing, right?
    Last edited by HT2-4956; 04-15-2014 at 01:52 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by NorOnt View Post
    Nice. And simple. I like the idea of the tubing "feet" in the 3rd picture. I use mine outside and this would help prevent sinking.

    Paul
    If I was going to put feets on them I'd probably just go with short pieces of heavy flat bar. I've thought of doing that and having it stick out far enough to weld a heavy nut on that I can run a bolt down thru to act as a way of taking any potential rocking out on un even floors. But so far I've found that when you put some weight on them there's usually enough flex in them that all 4 legs will find the floor.

    The short pieces of 2" square tube you see under the legs in that picture were temporarily stuck under there as a way to compensate for that sub assembly having a reducer in it and being stepped down from a larger to a smaller pipe.

  8. #8

    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    I use mine outside and this would help prevent sinking.

  9. #9
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Some of the details of how I build them....

    All the material cuts except this one where the top of the legs join the top horizontal member can be done with a chop or band saw. When I'm initially sawing up the legs pieces I just cut them a 1/2" long and then come back and lay out this cut on one end of them using a bevel gauge and tri square. I make this cut with a zip disc on a 4.5" grinder. Having that step (or notch) cut in there (as opposed to being cut straight off along one line) really helps when it comes to the fit up and tacking portion of the program.

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    The next step is to tack up the leg assemblies. I've got a piece of drop from the 2 x 4 tube tacked to the table to help with this. After fussing about with the first one to make sure everything got good alignment I trace some lines along it with a marker to use as reference points to help with the ones that follow. I make some small tacks on the corners of that lower horizontal tube where it joins the two legs. If you make the tacks on the upper and lower corners closest to the 2x4 tube first it causes the tops of the legs to pull in against that tube I have tacked to the table. This is helpful for when you go to fit this leg assembly to the top member of the saw horse.

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  10. #10
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    The last step is to fit the leg assemblies to the top tube. After marking a line 1/2" in from each end of the 2x4 top tube I clamp it across a level table top then slip the leg assemblies down on to it (this is where having those tacks from the last step pull the tops of the legs in tight helps). Then using a level, square and tape measure I get things checked, tweaked as needed and tacked. Don't get to carried a way with the tacks at this point. You want just enough to hold things together so you can flip it over and check that all four legs sit evenly against a flat table top. Occasionally at this point I have to cut a tack and make some minor adjustments
    to insure I've got the bottoms of all four legs in the same plane and the horse won't be "rocky". After double checking that everything is as it should be I go ahead and make several, more substantial tacks so that everything is held in place good for the final welding out.

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  11. #11
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    We have tons of scrap those lengths going in the Dumpster!
    Thanks for the insight on how to build GOOD saw horses!
    I'll start raidng the Dumpster now!

  12. #12
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Make all cuts on 15 degrees!

    J. R. Bauer

  13. #13
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Here's an example of the basic CAD drawing I do to figure out my leg lengths. This is for a 30" tall horse using 2", .125 wall square tube for the legs. The angle on the bottom of the leg is 20 degrees.

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  14. #14
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    What are these rated at? weight wise
    Millermatic 211
    Dewalt 14" Chopsaw
    Dewalt 4 1/2" Grinder
    Craftsman

  15. #15
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by nallbright View Post
    What are these rated at? weight wise
    Good question. You should build one, load it to failure and give us a report.

  16. #16
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by nallbright View Post
    What are these rated at? weight wise
    When I overbuild something to that degree, and someone asks me that, I usually chuckle a bit and tell them something to the effect of "more than you'll ever need it for". Probably not the smartest thing to say, as someday I'm going to run into someone who decides they "needed" to stack 5 pallets of bag mix on top of a 4×4 table or something like that...
    You didn't build that.

    '85 Miller AEAD-200LE

  17. #17
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Very nice And thanks for the detailed pics and informative tips!

    Terry

  18. #18
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by anickode View Post
    When I overbuild something to that degree, and someone asks me that, I usually chuckle a bit and tell them something to the effect of "more than you'll ever need it for". Probably not the smartest thing to say, as someday I'm going to run into someone who decides they "needed" to stack 5 pallets of bag mix on top of a 4×4 table or something like that...
    I'd be willing to bet you could get every one of them Big Girls from the Krispy Kreme calendar lined up on top this one with out fear of failure.

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  19. #19
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    I have over looked this thread several time and finally took a look. This is going to be a good thread. HT2 I like your design. I need to build me about 4 of these. I would not be afraid to put several tons on a set of those. A few of those and a few pipe stands and you could build about any thing you would ever want to. The thing I like about the saw horses is that I do not have a lot of floor space so if I need a large fab table I can just set a 3/4 plate on the horses , do the job then disassemble the table and stack the horses . Years ago I built a couple out of 1/2 x 4 flat bar. They were very heavy to move but we some times put 6 or 7 tons on them with no problem.

    I also like the free standing steel rack in the one pic. I built some similar this last summer. My arms about twice as close together though. I have one pair of uprights with about 12 arms. I think it is holding about 5 tons of steel right now and is solid as a rock.
    Last edited by thegary; 01-05-2017 at 12:04 PM.

  20. #20
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by thegary View Post
    I have over looked this thread several time and finally took a look. This is going to be a good thread. HT2 I like your design. I need to build me about 4 of these. I would not be afraid to put several tons on a set of those. A few of those and a few pipe stands and you could build about any thing you would ever want to. The thing I like about the saw horses is that I do not have a lot of floor space so if I need a large fab table I can just set a 3/4 plate on the horses , do the job then disassemble the table and stack the horses . Years ago I built a couple out of 1/2 x 4 flat bar. They were very heavy to move but we some times put 6 or 7 tons on them with no problem.

    I also like the free standing steel rack in the one pic. I built some similar this last summer. My arms about twice as close together though. I have one pair of uprights with about 12 arms. I think it is holding about 5 tons of steel right now and is solid as a rock.
    gary,

    Let me know what height you think you're wanting. I might all ready have something drawn up that will help you out.

  21. #21
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    I didn't build these but when it comes to a mondo set of saw horses (bolsters) I think these are pretty impressive. A pair of these have a 300 ton capacity haul truck bed sitting on them. I wish I'd of gotten better pictures of them but these two pictures will give you some idea of how they were built. Some body definetly put some thought (and I'm sure engineering calculations) into there design.

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  22. #22
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    I didn't build these but when it comes to a mondo set of saw horses (bolsters) I think these are pretty impressive. A pair of these have a 300 ton capacity haul truck bed sitting on them. I wish I'd of gotten better pictures of them but these two pictures will give you some idea of how they were built. Some body definetly put some thought (and I'm sure engineering calculations) into there design.

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    Engineering? It has three legs that go straight to the ground...I dont think you need an engineer for these
    '82 SA 200
    Ranger 8
    HH 140EZ
    Ironman 230

  23. #23
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    I'd be willing to bet you could get every one of them Big Girls from the Krispy Kreme calendar lined up on top this one with out fear of failure.

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    put two of these side by side ,put plywood on top and invite the whole Krispy Kreme calendar over for thanksgiving dinner

  24. #24
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    Some of the details of how I build them....

    All the material cuts except this one where the top of the legs join the top horizontal member can be done with a chop or band saw. When I'm initially sawing up the legs pieces I just cut them a 1/2" long and then come back and lay out this cut on one end of them using a bevel gauge and tri square. I make this cut with a zip disc on a 4.5" grinder. Having that step (or notch) cut in there (as opposed to being cut straight off along one line) really helps when it comes to the fit up and tacking portion of the program.

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    The next step is to tack up the leg assemblies. I've got a piece of drop from the 2 x 4 tube tacked to the table to help with this. After fussing about with the first one to make sure everything got good alignment I trace some lines along it with a marker to use as reference points to help with the ones that follow. I make some small tacks on the corners of that lower horizontal tube where it joins the two legs. If you make the tacks on the upper and lower corners closest to the 2x4 tube first it causes the tops of the legs to pull in against that tube I have tacked to the table. This is helpful for when you go to fit this leg assembly to the top member of the saw horse.

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    ht; great design. i especially like that bottom reinforcement. the weld carries the load while the coped shelf supports the top tube if my old tired eyes are seeing the picture correctly. nice work.
    i.u.o.e. # 15
    queens, ny and sunny fla

  25. #25
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    Re: Saw Horse Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by docwelder View Post
    ht; great design. i especially like that bottom reinforcement. the weld carries the load while the coped shelf supports the top tube if my old tired eyes are seeing the picture correctly. nice work.
    Thanks doc,

    Over the years I've had to work with and around so many rickety, poorly built saw horses I guess I just decided it was time to science out a quick easy way to build a decent one.

    I think this picture shows a little better how that coped step fits into the design.

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