Horsing Around (upcycled desk)

Give new life
to a set of sawhorses by repurposing them into an adjustable work table that plays double duty with a flat or angled surface.
If you don’t already have saw horses, make your own with inexpensive bracket kits and two-by-fours.

1 set of saw horses
build your own:
2 sets of saw horse brackets
4 two-by-fours, 8′ lengths
2, 1″ x 3″ boards, 8′ lengths
½” wood dowel, 2′ length
1½” wood dowel, 4′ length
2″ wood screws
4, ¼” x 6″ carriage bolts with ¼” wing nuts
Wood glue
¾” plywood or MDF,  2′ x 4′
Paint, stain, furniture wax (optional)

Drill or drill press, 5/16″ drill bit and 9/16″ and 1½” spade bits
Sander, 220-grit sandpaper
Paint brush, roller and tray, brush or cloth (optional)
Jigsaw, chop saw or table saw
Tape measure
Mitre box (optional)
Masking tape

Step by Step

Saw Horses (build your own)

Cut and sand two-by-fours in 16 pieces:
8 x 27″ (legs)
4 x 26″ (crosspieces)
4 x 12″ (braces)

Cut and sand 1½” dowel to make four 12″ risers.
Cut and sand ½” dowel to make four 6″ pegs.

On one crosspiece, mark board centre at 2½” in from each end. Drill 1½” holes through board. To make sure crosspieces line up, clamp drilled piece onto another crosspiece to guide drill holes. Repeat with second set of crosspieces.

Stack two crosspieces and clamp together. Centre brackets on crosspieces to inside of and directly next to bored holes. Using centre hole in bracket as a guide, drill through crosspieces with 5/16″ bit. Repeat with second set of crosspieces.

Clamp two scrap two-by-fours on a drilling surface and snug up tightly on either side of dowel riser piece (lain horizontally) to secure dowel while drilling. Draw centreline along dowel and mark off every 2″. Drill 9/16″ hole through dowel at each mark.

Replace hardware that came with bracket system with 6″ carriage bolts and ¼” wing nuts. Construct saw horses following bracket assembly instructions.

Drop risers into crosspieces and insert pegs. Fine-tune any adjustments.

Push one set of legs as far apart as possible. Measure 8″ down from bracket and mark off with a level on both legs. Line up a brace on line and mark off sides as a guide for angle cut required to fit brace between legs. Cut and dry-fit brace. Make any adjustments necessary for a tight support. Using this brace as a guide, cut remaining braces. Dry-fit onto saw horse; do not secure.

Disassemble saw horses and finish as desired. Reassemble saw horses. Glue and screw braces in place with 2″ screws. Finish with two coats of wax (optional).

Measure perimeter of table top and mitre-cut 1″ x 3″ board to appropriate lengths to create a lip. Glue, clamp and tape lip onto table top and dry for four hours.
Finish and wax table top as desired. Place on saw horses with corners of table top cupping each dowel riser.


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