How To Build A Sawhorse Out Of 2x4s: Our Step-By-Step Tutorial

Sometimes people just don’t want to spend money on buying basic construction equipment. If you spend a lot of time working with wood, welding, or any other crafting activity, you understand that the cost can add up fast. However, there is a way for you to make some of your own equipment at home using materials you already own. How, you ask? By building a sawhorse out of 2×4’s.

But if you’d rather buy a sawhorse and work on more interesting projects, check out our recommended sawhorses.

What Is a Sawhorse?


A sawhorse is a frame or trestle designed to hold wood of all shapes and sizes while cutting. It works best for the sawing of flat boards and 2×4’s, but experienced carpenters will know how to be creative with their sawhorses. In general, a carpenter will need more than one, so this guide can be used multiple times to build a series of stable and reliable sawhorses for any conceivable project. They’re even good for practice for the less experienced woodworkers out there.

What Is a 2×4?

Non-carpenters and non-construction workers are frequently puzzled by the concept of the 2×4 thanks to the differences between nominal and actual sizes. In the olden days, a 2×4 was literally a board that was 2 in. thick and 4 in. wide. The length varied. In modern days, most 2×4’s actually measure 1.5×3.5 in. So, 2×4 is the nominal measurement while 1.5×3.5 is the actual measurement. These boards can be purchased from any hardware store or measured and cut yourself to make your unique and reliable sawhorse.

What Tools Do You Need?

sawhorse table

The tools you require depend on whether you want to purchase your boards at the right length or cut them yourself. Most shops sell traditional 2×4’s in lengths between eight and ten feet, so purchasing them for the project should be simple. If you do have experience with carpentry or are just a homeowner with a few extra boards lying around, you might already have the 2×4’s at your place.

For the average sawhorse, most people can use 32 in. 2×4’s. A taller person might have better length using 2×4’s closer to 42 in., especially if you are over 6 ft. tall. Besides the wood, you need 3 in. screws, an electric screwdriver or a drill, and an electric saw to cut the wood if you don’t purchase boards of the proper length.

Build the I-Beam

man holding sawhorse

The first step in building your sawhorse is to construct the I-beam or the vertical beam on which boards are placed to be cut. If you bought boards that are longer than the standard 32 in. measurement, then mark the boards at 32 in. and 64 in. and cut them with the electric saw.

Choose two boards that will form the top and bottom of the I-beam. Mark each one 1 in. from both sides. This will be the location for the flange. Next, lay down one of the marked boards so it is long horizontally and not tall vertically.

Grab another 2×4 and stack it vertically so that it is tall (with the 4 in. vertical and the 2 in. horizontal). Then, place the other board for the I-beam on top so it matches the bottom board. Next, drill or screw the 3 in. screws into place about an inch from each side. This should form a sturdy I-beam. If you only plan to use the sawhorse for light work, you can also use nails. However, nails will not hold up to heavy duty work.

Build the Legs

Once the I-beam is done, it’s time to work on the legs. Most carpenters prefer to mark where they intend to connect the legs to the I-beam. A standard measurement is either 2 or 3 in. from the ends, resulting in some extra space if you choose to clamp materials to each side. The legs themselves should be the exact same length as the I-beam, so make sure to either buy or cut enough 32 in. 2×4’s.

Final Installation

With the materials prepared, you can combine all of the pieces. Align a leg so that it is positioned on the correct line. It should kick out because of the construction of the I-beam – this will give it the triangular shape it needs to stand on its own like a regular sawhorse. You will need four 3 in. screws for each leg to accurately secure the legs.

Once the leg and I-beam are in position, you can screw. Two screws should be driven up through the board of the leg into the upper flange. The other two should be driven straight through the leg and into the bottom flange. Repeat this step for every other leg, and your sawhorse will be able to stand.

If you want to add extra durability and stability to the sawhorse, you can use extra 2×4’s as rails. To do this, stand the sawhorse up. There should be two angled legs on each side. Take a 2×4 and screw it horizontally around the midpoint of the legs. Use another on the other side. This rail forms another triangle for extra protection, especially if you’re a carpenter who likes to work with heavier materials.


The nice thing about building your own sawhorse is that the design given here is stackable and also adjustable. This means if you want multiple sawhorses, the design allows for them to be stored with ease by piling them on top of one another.

You can also change the adjustments if you think a model of a different height or length would work better for your own dimensions. Plus, you get the satisfaction of another carpentry project completed by your own hands.

Again, if you’d rather buy a ready-made sawhorse and work on more interesting projects, do check out our recommended sawhorses.

What’s Next

Now that you’ve completed your work, you might be interested in other projects, useful tools, or just general information. If you would like more guides like this one, as well as tips, tricks, and reviews, check out our homepage and the rest of our website. We have plenty more information to impart, as well as some fun stuff for perusal!