Trestle Ponies

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This article is from Issue 72 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Pint-sized sawhorses make a perfect workbench partner

While full-sized sawhorses are great for many jobs in and out of the workshop, smaller horses can also be helpful. Consider these 24"-high workshop “ponies,” inspired by Japanese-style trestle sawhorses. You can use them to raise your work to a comfortable height, as a sawing platform, or even as a means of supporting large pieces secured in your workbench’s vise. When they’re not needed, the lightweight horses can be corralled alongside your bench, as shown below. Build a pair and watch them go to work.

Doubled-up 2×4’s create simple, sturdy supports

Sawhorses are not fine furniture. Framing lumber is acceptable as your construction material. Just make sure to select the clearest, straightest studs in the stack.

As shown in the drawing, strong mortise-and-tenon joints are achieved by cutting matching dadoes and rabbets in post and foot halves. With one exception, all joints are glued and pinned. Pin the top beam to the post without glue so it can be replaced later should it becomes worn or damaged.

To streamline the construction process, use a crosscut sled for your tablesaw and an assembly jig (as shown below).

Double stopped dadoes. Setting stops on both ends of this crosscut sled makes it easy to produce duplicate dadoes.

A single stop for rabbets. Adjust the stop to cut the shoulder and you’re set. After making the first cut, slide the post along the sled and nibble away the rest.

Perfect alignment. Register the ends and edges against the clamping jig, and then apply pressure. To keep the parts from slipping when cinching the clamps, I installed brads in the face of one piece and snipped the ends.


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