How to Clamp Wood to a Sawhorse

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Using a sawhorse can be very helpful for a variety of things when it comes to woodworking and power tools. To get the most use of your sawhorse, you really need to know the tricks for making it steady and ready for your tasks.

That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to help you better understand one of the most basic uses – clamping wood to a sawhorse.

There are several different ways to do this. For some, it might be far easier if you take a bit of time to customize your sawhorse to accommodate clamping every use. However, we will walk you through a couple of different options and you can determine what will work best for you!

Create a Table

One of the challenges with clamping to a sawhorse is that some of them are made vastly different than others. With some sawhorses, they will actually have clamping holes or you can clamp directly to the top side.

However, that is not always the case.

One simple solution might be to create a table using a pair of sawhorses. To do this, you will have two sawhorses and you need to make sure that you have a stable surface space.

Here are some steps for creating your own table that you can clamp to if necessary.

  1. Space the sawhorses a reasonable distance away from each other so that your wood surface will just slightly overlap on each end.
  2. Use thick plywood or a heavy-duty type of wood to create a table surface. This should not be overly large compared to the distance of the sawhorses.
  3. Place the wood on the sawhorses in a balanced manner. Remember there shouldn’t be a ton of overlap either way as this could cause it to be imbalanced and unstable.
  4. Once the wood is set, you can anchor it to your sawhorses if they allow for it. Otherwise, just be sure to use extreme caution so nothing slips.
  5. Now, you can clamp to the “table” surface when you are working.

You have to be very careful with this process. The sawhorses need to appropriately support the table but you also have to make sure you have a little bit of extra on the ends so it doesn’t slip off of the sawhorses while you are working.

If your sawhorse has places you can screw to on the top surface, you should use this to secure your table space so there is no chance of slipping while you use the saw.

Using a Clamping System

sawhorse that uses a clamp
Photo by Bailey Alexander on Unsplash

If you happen to have a sawhorse set that has a clamping system built into it, you can use that clamping system to help clamp pieces while you work. This is available with a lot of store bought sawhorses out there. It is certainly not a guarantee that you will have this capability.

If you do have a clamping system, it’s very easy. The clamps here are like bar clamps where they expand to a certain width with the press of a button. You extend the end of the clamp, place your piece and then tighten the clamp until it is secure within the grips.

In this scenario, the bar clamps are already attached to your saw horse so you just have to put them to use!

2 x 4 Clamping Style

This is quite possibly one of our favorite ways to clamp to a sawhorse. Most sawhorses will have a cutout or space where you can insert 2x4s to create a shelf or surface of some sort.

If your saw horse has one of these, you can create a table space but you can also easily clamp to the 2×4 that you have inserted on the sawhorse.

You can use bar clamps or dovetail clamps for this type of process.

Here are some helpful steps that you can follow.

  1. Set up your saw horses a reasonable distance apart but not farther than the length of your boards.
  2. Place a 2×4 in each of the cutouts on the saw horse. You should be able to place two boards horizontally between the sawhorses. Always make sure there is excess board several inches past the sawhorses.
  3. If you are using bar clamps, you will simply clamp the bar to the 2×4 and then to the wood that you are clamping.
  4. If you are using a dovetail clamp, you will need to create a dovetail groove on one or both of your 2x4s. These boards can then be devoted to your workspace for this use in an ongoing manner.
  5. Once your clamps are attached and positioned, you can use the table as needed. Secure a piece of wood you are cutting, secure a board for a work table, or anything else you might need.

There are many different ways you can make your clamps work for you if have sawhorses that have the cutout for a 2×4. Additionally, if you have homemade sawhorses, you can create your own cutouts to accommodate the holding pieces like this if you need to.

Safety Tips

The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that safety is important. If your sawhorses are unstable or unbalanced, you should never try to cut on them. The surface could slip, move, rock, or anything else and this could be very dangerous.

You always want to make sure that you have stability and things are properly secured, regardless of which type of clamping process you try to use here. If you always check stability and basic safety, you should be fine!

Final Thoughts

There is more than one way to clamp wood to a sawhorse. These are just some options that might be helpful for you. You can always get creative and make your own rig as well. Just remember that the key element is to make sure your surface is stable before you start using it with power tools, particularly saws.

We want you to be safe while putting your sawhorse to work!

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