Working on furniture is much easier when you have sawhorses that are appropriately designed for the task –Today, we’re going to show you how to make a simple pair for your own shop or home work space.
These sawhorses are much lower than those used for other tasks. This helps bring furniture to a comforable working height.
They also have a shallow tray so that furniture won’t slide off while we’re working. We upholster the tops in fabric to protect wood legs from getting dinged or scratched.
Additionally, this style of sawhorse stacks well and can easily be broken down for transport or storage.
Some upholsterers prefer to work on adjustable tables, or more adjustable horses, but I’ve found this particular design to be very easy to build, and very versatile in the shop.
You can adjust dimensions to suit your needs, but for the sake of clarity, I’m going to give specific dimensions for the sawhorses we use at The Funky Little Chair.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS LIST FOR TWO SAWHORSES:
- 2×4 – 2@36″ (tops)
- 2×4 – 8@18″, with a 20 degree angle on one end (legs)
- 1×3 – 4@ 36″ (tray, long sides)
- 1×3 – 4@ 5″ (tray, short sides)
- Cordless drill or drill press, with 5/16 and 1/8 drill bits
- Miter saw (or saw of your preference)
- Pneumatic upholstery staple gun (we use a Porter-Cable US58 Upholstery Stapler with 3/8″ Staples)
- Coarse threads screws, #8 x 1-1/4″
- SAFETY GLASSES
- Pencil, square, ruler etc.
- Remnant fabric
STEP ONE: BUILD THE BASIC SAWHORSE
The secret ingredient on our simple sawhorse is really a specific bracket kit – it has two heavy plastic components that bolt together to join the legs and top.
For upholstery, we’d like to create a sawhorse that’s low enough to comfortably accommodate furniture – we cut our legs to 18″ (with a 20 degree angle on one side) which works pretty well for most of our participants.
For the top, we’re using a 36″ 2×4. This works well for most furniture. Occasionally, we run into something with large bun feet or a particularly deep frame that exceeds those dimensions.
(You can make a lot of adjustments to these instructions to create your perfect sawhorse – legs could be longer or shorter, the top could be shorter or deeper. These brackets are designed to also work with a 2×6, so if you often encounter bun legs, you might want a wider top)
Purchasing note: One reason I use these dimensions is that 36″ cuts of construction grade 2×4 are dirt cheap at my local Menards, and I can throw everything in the trunk of my itty bitty Elantra. You can use fancier lumber if you want, but remember: it’s just a freaking sawhorse.
Once your pieces are cut, you’ll need to drill a 5/16″ hole for the bracket bolt, 2″ in from each end, centered.
If you can, use a drill press to make sure it is straight and square. But if you’re drilling by hand like me, just try to be as meticulous as possible. If this hole is crooked, it will be difficult to make the bracket set down properly.
After that, it’s like magical tinker toys:
Insert your long bolt into the top 2×4
Then the large part of the Fulton Bracket
Then the small part of the Fulton Bracket
Start your wing nut, but don’t tighten
Insert the legs, and tighten the wing nut.
Now, let’s modify this design for upholstery. . .
STEP TWO: BUILD THE LEG TRAY
A shallow tray around the top is going to make these sawhorses MUCH safer for upholstery – we don’t want furniture falling off while we’re underneath it, and we certainly don’t want client projects crashing to the ground.
Our tray is a simple 1×3 construction. To frame our 36″ top, we need long sides cut at 36″ and short sides cut to 5″ -But if you modify your sawhorse, just measure the top.
I’d highly recommend drilling pilot holes for your screws here, since we don’t want our 1x3s to split, and we have to screw very close to the edge.
Spacing between screws isn’t critical, but they should be 1/2″ from the lower edge in order to hit the 2×4 top.
Our ends are secured with 4 screws into the long sides.
I’m making this sound way more complicated that it is. Screw sides onto your sawhorse. I used leftover 1-1/4″ drywall screws and they worked great.
STEP 3: UPHOLSTER THE TOP
We could call this finished, but it’s a nice touch to upholstery the top of your horses. It will help protect wood legs from dings. Any sturdy fabric remnant should work. I like to start by stapling down into the tray and then fold, trim and staple my way around. Just think of it as good upholstery practice 🙂
That’s it!!!!! Your sawhorses are ready to work.
If you’d like to see this project as a video tutorial,
FIND IT HERE ON YOUTUBE.
(We hope you enjoyed this post – please note that links to products used are Amazon affiliate links, and purchases made through them will support The Funky Little Chair in a small-but-appreciated way)
Questions about making your own horses? Let’s hear ’em!!!!
Want to show off your finished sawhorses???? We’d love to see ’em!!!
5 thoughts on “DIY Upholstery Sawhorses”
I love your sawhorses. I’m just starting a big upholstery project and finding sawhorses like yours, for sale, is impossible. The box on top is key. Would you make me a set? I have no carpentry skills or tools, not even a saw. I’ll pay your price. I too live in St. Paul. Thank you. Mary Sievers
Good morning, Mary!!!! I did some asking around to see if any of my St. Paul peeps had time to make a set ASAP, but everyone is swamped!!!! If you can wait until May, I could add the project to my client schedule. If that interests you, send me an email and we’ll crunch out a price. Best, Cynthia
Hi! I just finished mine by following this tutorial amd am super happy with the results. Thank you! 😊
Thank you so much! You are a life saver!
Glad it was a help!