How Many Sawhorses Should You Have?

When you start woodworking, you might use an old desk or even a decommissioned dining table. But as you start getting serious about your craft, your workspace must reflect this. Sawhorses are considered some of the most crucial workspace structures, and it is said that one can never have enough. In reality, there is a number that is enough.

You should have three sawhorses if you don’t already have a workbench and two if you do. The sawhorses can be used to prop up different projects for detailing, sawing, and polishing while the actual workstation is occupied. They’re easy to store, so having more doesn’t have many drawbacks.

In this article, we will cover the disadvantages alongside a significantly longer list of perks of having multiple sawhorses. Our position regarding these structures is pretty clear from the paragraph above, but you have plenty of surprising uses of sawhorses to discover in the post below.

Uses of Sawhorses

While three sawhorses are ideal, they can be too many for novice woodworkers. Even if two of them are engaged in supporting your workbench, there is one extra sawhorse that might seem unnecessary. This section explores why the third sawhorse is useful. It also briefly references the use of the other two sawhorses.

Use Them to Set a Boundary

If you have an apartment workshop, you might want to draw the line between your work area and the places accessible to the rest of your family. You can use a sawhorse to set the boundary, letting your kids know where they cannot cross.

Use Them to Dry Your Woodworking Apron

A woodworking apron is one of the most important under-discussed aspects of being a DIY woodworker. While it protects your body from sawdust, stains, and even impact, it gets dirty quite quickly. Whether you wash your work clothes or your apron, you can keep it separate from your regular laundry by drying it on a sawhorse.

Use Them as Drying Racks for Curing

When you can dry an apron on a sawhorse, you can definitely use it as a drying rack for pieces you have painted or applied a finish to. The process of curing can take anywhere between an hour to a few days. Having a separate support structure that holds up the piece will allow you to keep using your workbench for the rest of your projects.

Use Them to Save Space

Instead of getting a solid workbench, you can place a panel between two sawhorses to make a workbench. This bench can be dismantled after completing the project, which makes at least two sawhorses essential for the hobbyist woodworker borrowing space or setting up a hybrid workshop.

Use Sawhorses to Saw Vertical Panels

While sawhorses can set up the foundation for a workbench, they can act as workbenches when one is sawing across vertical lumber. Traditionally, one of the main uses of sawhorses was to support logs when they were being chopped across the trunk’s cross-section. That use is still valid for long blocks of wood, firewood, and even semi-build structures that need to have their edges shaved.

Use Them to Saw Boards and Sheets

A single sawhorse can be used to lay a block in parallel to the length of the structure and cut from one end. Two sawhorses can be used to cut boards, panels, and sheets perpendicularly. To saw at a right angle, you can use two sawhorses to balance the subject material at 90 degrees to the length of the sawhorse.

Use Them for Edge Smoothing

If a project has rough edges or a portion that needs to be cut, you can use a sawhorse to prop it up while you smoothen its edges using an appropriate rotary tool. Switching said tool with a saw. You can cut off any extended portion that needs to be removed.

Use Sawhorses in Detailing Tasks

When a workbench is too flat for a longer project like a pillar to firmly rest on, a sawhorse provides the perfect angular rest for detailing work. A handheld routing device can be used to etch details into the surface, while the sawhorse helps keep the subject from falling flat or being too tall to work on.

Use Them for Painting

This is the main reason why you must have at least one extra sawhorse aside from the two that support your workbench. When your main workstation is occupied with the pieces, you need to cut or carve, having an extra support structure to life the piece you want to paint can be helpful. A sawhorse is better at painting furniture, wood panels, and blocks because it suspends the majority of the subject in the air. In contrast, a flat workbench covers an entire side.

Use Them as the Foundation for a Workbench

Finally, the greatest advantage of sawhorses to the modern woodworker is that they can be used to build a workbench. When constructing a workbench using a sawhorse, you have two options: place a flat board over two sawhorses for a temporary work surface or permanently fix the tabletop onto two sawhorses. The choice depends entirely on the nature of your projects.

The Drawbacks of Multiple Sawhorses

While having multiple sawhorses can multiply your options for working, curing, painting, and improving your projects, there are a few disadvantages you need to consider. Let’s explore what they are and how you can offset each one.

  • They take too much space – If you already have a workbench, having three sawhorses can be redundant and might take up precious space in your workshop. Get two foldable sawhorses to offset this problem. 
  • Acquiring three can be expensive – Since sawhorses have a “good enough” factor where even one can be beneficial, you can start obtaining them one at a time until you have enough. This also helps you avoid paying too much at once. You can also make one yourself.

Final Thoughts

Sawhorses are pretty versatile and can help you with various tasks in woodworking. Having three sawhorses is optimal as this allows you to paint, cure, and detail different aspects of a project without occupying your main workspace.

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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