I’ve recently decided that I want to learn how to use power tools in order to be more of a handy man. I purchased a set of four tools from Ryobi on sale for 100 bucks and figured I’d better put them to use. So I figured for anyone who may have also always wanted to learn to build stuff but never knew how, I’d document my conversion from total tool noob, to total sexy carpenter. Sexy.
So first up my prior projects have included - cutting a few pieces of molding with a hack saw and trying to fix a broken couch by putting in a supporting cross board for a cracked one. I have literally next to no experience using tools and i’m not handy whatsoever. I bring this up for two reasons.
1. If you’ve never built anything you can do this
2. If you see mistakes in my designs feel free to correct them.
With that out of the way let’s build our first project!
So I decided on sawhorses as my first project for several reasons. If you mess it up it really doesn’t matter how they look. It’s easy. It’s going to be incredibly useful later on down the line. Finally, you don’t need very many tools at all. Please note that the links to the tool are for illustrative purposes only and i am in no way recommending you purchase that particular tool. Like I said I use Ryobi One+ cordless tools and they’re fine so far although the battery life seems pretty bad (especially when using the circular saw).
Basic Tools you will need
Power Tools you will need
Materials you will need
- Eight 30-inch 2x4s (for the legs)
- Six 32½-inch 2x4s (for the I-beams)
- 32 x 3" wood nails (10D)
- 12 x 2.5" wood screws
- 1/8" drill bit and driver (can find a cheap set of commonly used bits for sub ten bucks at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or even I think Dollar General has sets)
* if you ask lowe’s or home depot to cut your lumber for you you can even skip out and not have to cut any wood. Most places will charge you after X number of cuts (but they usually don’t ACTUA
Find the cheapest wood you can that isn’t the pressure treated deck wood stuff (for me it was Eastern white Pine at about 6.00 for 8 feet I think). Check your pieces!! For now just look to see that all four surfaces of the board are smooth and that there are not too many knots on the board. You’d be surprised at how much trash wood there is, so it’s important to look at the piece of wood before you buy it.
If you don’t ask the guys at the Home Depot to cut your wood for you,measure your pieces, cut them, then measure again. I had to clamp mine to a desk in the basement and then shop vac up the sawdust afterwards - it’s easier to just have home depot cut it. Anyway, make sure not to measure after cutting or your piece of wood will be shorter than you’d like due to the thickness of the saw blade. After you’ve sawed all the pieces you can run a piece of sandpaper over the ends to smooth them out (I didn’t because I like it rough).
This website has a nice video explaining in more detail what you should look for in a piece of wood.
Furby Fun Fact: 2 x 4 pieces of lumber are not 2 inches by 4 inches! They usually vary a small degree but are roughly 1.5 by 3.5 inches.
I feel like in school when they ask you to describe how to make a pb and j. It’s hard to describe how to do this because it’s pretty darn simple.
You take a board. You put it on it’s side so it’s now taller than it is wide. Now you put a second board flat on top of that first board. Roughly in the center, drill a hole with a 1/8" inch drill bit as a pilot hole. This will help to guide your screw into the wood. Make this first hole about 3 or 4 inches from the end of the board. Throw a screw into your pilot hole, switch your drill bit to a driver and screw that puppy in. Go to the other end and make another pilot hole 3 to 4 inches from the end of the board. Drive in another wood screw. Repeat one last time somewhere equidistant to your first two holes towards the center of your top board.
You should now have a T shape. Flip the board over, place another 32.5" 2 by 4 on top again and repeat the pilot hole/screw as before. Try to offset the locations of the pilot holes and screws so that you don’t end up screwing into a screw creating screwception (or more realistically a broken drill bit).
Now you have the iFrame by Steve Jobs. This is an upgraded version of the iRack which the US threw tons of money into in the hopes that they could find some WMDs .......errrrr nvm.
Now that you have an I-Frame or two (depending on how you tackle this - I’d recommend building one sawhorse to completion prior to making the second so you can learn from any mistakes you might make) it’s time to make legs. So you’re going to first space the legs about 1.5 - 2 inches from the end of the board (I used a 2 x 4 as a guide). Place the 30" board so that it rests at an angle where the top of the board is sitting under the top I-Frame board (refer to the plan here to see what I’m talking about). Hammer in the board using two nails which go into the “yellow” board on the plan and two nails that go into the purple board.
Furby Tip: Use another set of hands to try to hold the board flush with the pink board (sort of push it up as you hammer) as the board will want to move around a lot when you hammer.
Repeat for the second 30" board on the same side, then flip the sawhorse and hammer in the other two boards similarly.
Pick it up and be amazed at the wobble.
MAYBE you won’t have a wobbly sawhorse maybe you will. One of mine happened to wobble quite a bit. Don’t worry about it! As you use your new sawhorses you’ll discover that the wobble will magically disappear as the nails work themselves into position.
So now that you have a sawhorse what the hell do you do with it?
Well the idea is you clamp wood onto it so you’re not holding it with your knees when you drill it or cut it. You can put a flat board across the two horses and have a workbench. You can use it as a fort for your kids. It’s very versatile and helpful!
For the next project if anyone is actually interested - I made a game of Cornhole! It’s ....surprisingly fun and costs about 50% less than the price of buying it in store. Plus - MITER CUTS OOOHHHHH
This post has been sponsored by the letter Furby. Follow him!
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