I’ve wanted saw horses for years. Years! I tried the American style “A-frame” variety. You can buy cheap and nasty ones at the local hardware store. They take a lot of weight, but they’re a cow to stack, and a bear to store.

Then one day a good friend and colleague heard my laments and promptly showed me a picture of European-styled saw horses (or “horses” for short). Even better, he texted me a sketch of his horses, including dimensions. Thanks to John Ferandin (H&H Woodworking), my shop space is transformed!

John Ferandin's sketch of typical dimensions.
John Ferandin’s sketch of typical dimensions.

What’s to like about these horses? They’re simple and quick to build. They can be moved around easily because they’re light-weight, and they store like a dream — all nested together and out of the way. I used my Festool Domino machine to build mine. But you could use a variety of construction methods, including traditional mortise and tenons, dowels, or even just pocket screws. The key is to keep them light and simple. These items are meant to be used.

Horses being used to assemble and glue horses!
Horses being used to assemble and glue horses!
Horses nested together for compact storage.
Horses nested together for compact storage.
From another angle...
From another angle…

I have eight horses, four at both heights of 730mm and 880mm. Either will do for most jobs, but sometimes I want to assemble something bulky, and then I’m grateful for the shorter horses, and sometimes I end up gluing a bunch of parts and don’t want to bend over any more than necessary. Here the taller ones come into their own. I’ve seen adjustable height horses, but these would annoy me — always fiddling to get two or more at the same height. Of course, suit yourself.

I use mine for EVERYTHING, whether for machining timber, storing timber, assembling a project, or supporting pieces for finishing. I even took them onsite for a recent interior fit-out! And they’re surprisingly strong. I’m planning on making another eight. I know that’s a bit over the top, but I regularly use all eight of mine and wish for more…

Happy woodworking!

Euro saw horses may look flimsy, but they can take serious loads.
Euro saw horses may look flimsy, but they can take serious loads.
Horses are handy for stacking stock during machining.
Horses are handy for stacking stock during machining.
And they make a fine assembly table too.
And they make a fine assembly table too.