Thursday, September 21, 2017

Krenov sawhorses

Recently I decided to make a new pair of sawhorses to replace the traditional ones I made years ago.  I wanted them to be suitable for use with handsaws as I don't find sawbenches to be satisfactory.

As I often do, I started by searching for online images and was immediately attracted to a design by James Krenov.  They are functional and handsome in my opinion.  I really appreciate great design like this and knew I would enjoy seeing them in my shop as well as using them.

Of course, I had to put my own spin on them.  Since it is a felony in Oregon to build sawhorses out of anything other than douglas-fir, I used kiln dried 2x6s for my version.  I experimented with the height and decided that 29" was about right.  Here is what I came up with:

The sides are mortised into the bases and the stretcher is connected with wedged through tenons.

They nest together nicely so they don't take up much floor space when they are not in use.

 A nice feature of these sawhorses is that the stretcher can be used for a shelf, which I think will be very handy when I am assembling and finishing smaller projects.

To me, they are strong and look great.  I've tried sawing on them and am very pleased.  They were fun to build in about a day.

As I was building these sawhorses, it occurred to me that they would make a great project for an entry level course in hand tool woodworking.  Douglas-fir is inexpensive and easy to work.  The joinery is varied and moderately challenging.  They would serve as a good introduction to tablemaking.  I wonder if that is part of the reason Krenov designed them the way he did.  I've seen pictures of his school and notice that each of the students seem to have a pair at the end of their bench.


  1. Great build.

    Mine were made of 2x4s, making them even lighter (and cheaper, if it ever matters). I can easily lift a pair with one hand (two pairs with both hands) and place the horses on my bench or assembly table when I sweep the shop floor. Krenov was a great designer of not just cabinets.


  2. Andy,

    Looks good. I have an old pair somewhere in the shop....I need to dig 'em out.

    BTW, we never made it to Oregon, North CA (Ft. Bragg) was it.


  3. Ken,

    I am sure I saw Krenov's design in the past, but it didn't strike me until now. I'm really hoping that this will be a good way for me to use a handsaw. The sawbench just didn't cut it.

    You made a good choice not coming to Oregon. This has been an awful forest fire season. Much of Oregon has been covered in smoke for weeks. Thankfully, we've gotten a lot of rain the past few days.


  4. Hi Andy,
    I'll be copying these and making a set. I have a set now but I made them out of 4x4 DF and they don't get much use. Too heavy and difficult to move around so I don't use them much. But I do like sawing on them over a saw bench like you.