How a Sawhorse Works How a Sawhorse Works

A sawhorse is a tool that aids in construction and home improvement projects. It is essentially a beam supported by two sets of A-frame legs. Sawhorses, also known as mules, work best when they are used in pairs. They provide support for wood being cut in addition to serving as the legs of a makeshift workbench. They can also be used in conjunction with a support plank to become a scaffold.

Shape of a Sawhorse

The shape of a sawhorse is very basic. It consists of two sets of legs shaped like an ‘A’. A beam is attached at the apex of each A-frame, joining the two sets of legs. Between each pair of legs is a brace beam that fills out its ‘A’ shape.

Sawhorse Material

Traditionally, sawhorses were made from wood, and many still are today. 2x4 lumber is used for the legs and braces, while a 4x4 is used for the support beam. Sawhorses may be constructed out of metal as well. Metal sawhorses often are fabricated with hinges and adjustable parts. This allows them to be folded up and transported as well as have the ability to adjust the length of their legs depending on the use.

Uses for a Sawhorse

Sawhorses are most commonly utilized in construction and home improvement projects. When used in pairs, length of wood can be set atop them for measuring, joining and cutting. Another use for sawhorses is as a makeshift workbench. Wide planks, thick pieces of plywood or even full doors may be set atop two saw horses and used as a portable workbench. It is easy to set up and break down, and provided the flat surface is strong enough, it can support the weight of a circular saw or other heavy duty tool used in construction.

When areas of a worksite or the home need to be reached, a plank set atop two even sawhorses forms a single scaffold. Again, providing the plank is strong enough, it will support the weight of a worker who needs to get to an area higher than they can reach. Scaffolding erected for construction uses modular metal frames and planks that can be stacked on top of one another. Sawhorses should not be used in this manner; rather, a single scaffold is a suitable use of sawhorses.

Alternative Uses


Sawhorses are also used as police barriers or for any situation requiring crowd control. Typically, this use is reserved for specifically designed components shaped like a sawhorse but of little use for construction purposes.  

A sawhorse is a simple construction aid used for the support of planks, beams and other pieces of lumber for cutting, measuring and joining. In pairs, sawhorses provide vertical support for planks, thereby forming a scaffold. They can also be used to form temporary work benches when on a job site. Given that the tabletop surface will support the weight, it is not uncommon to see saws and other power tools set atop it.

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