Sawhorse Workbench Advice.

//Sawhorse Workbench Advice.
Sawhorse Workbench Advice.2016-01-08T17:10:16+00:00
  • Creator
  • #2028257

    Mountaintop Maker
    Post count: 2

    Hello Everyone!

    I am brand new to traditional woodworking and planning out my first bench.

    For Christmas, my wife gifted me a set of Trojan sawhorses as a base to build a workbench around. We live in a second floor apartment. So, the whole thing needs to be somewhat light weight in order for me to assemble it on our balcony and store it the rest of the time (hence the sawhorses).

    I had first thought to run a 4 foot long 2×12 as my top and call it a day.

    After seeing the portable Moravian bench, I then thought to source a solid 2 1/2″ thick by 12″ or so 4′ board for the top to add girth for stability, vises, etc.

    How might you build a sound and portable bench around a set of Trojan sawhorses?  I am particularly curious about sourcing a good top and mounting it to the studs held between the sawhorses.

    Thank you for your assistance,


  • Author
  • James Wright
    Post count: 108

    If it were mine I would make it out of laminated 2X4s so the top would be 3.5 thick and 12-16″ wide. then cut a dato in the bottom of the top to straddle the saw horses. I know that is kind of heavy but you will be thankful for the extra weight when planing. if you can pick up 4 2X4s at once that would be the weight of 12″ and 15″ would be 5 2X4s.

    • Rexus
      Post count: 2

      I made my Moravian bench top with laminated 2×4 doug fir.   The finished top is a little less than 3 1/4 in thick.

      At 5 feet long, I find it just heavy enough for the bench to hold its grounds during heavy planing.

  • Mountaintop Maker
    Post count: 2


    Thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it.

    Laminating the top is an option I am looking into.  Not having a totally enclosed shop, just a covered patio, gluing the studs may be difficult with the erratic weather we are having down South. I will be sure to investigate this method further.  I also like the dato idea. I had not thought of that.

    Best Wishes,


  • James Wright
    Post count: 108

    If use a water proof baseglue this should be good as long as there is no standing water. I honestly love my laminated top and when I get the chance to make a second bench I would like to actually make a laminated hardwood top it gives you the chance to organize the grain so that it can be more stable

  • Oakenarm
    Post count: 5

    Possible alternative tops

    2 alternatives to making your own bench top are:

    Ikea (ya I know bad four letter word!) sells laminated wood counter tops in various lengths. You even get an 8 footer cut it down to two four foot planks. The bottom one could then be cut into three sections forming the dados to sit over your saw horses like James mentioned.

    Another way is to look locally for what is call Ganglam. These are BIG architectural laminated beams used to span large rooms. Many times construction companies have off cuts left over you can pickup/purchase.

    Good Luck!

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