Low Japanese sawhorses

Japanese wood workholding traditionally relied on body weight for clamping, instead of the Western use of vices or hand clamps. It’s easiest to use body weight when the work is low to the ground, so these sawhorses provide a platform for wood roughly a foot off the floor.

There are several plans published that follow the same formula as mine: use notches to hold a crossbeam in two smaller feet. The most well-known are probably the Low Japanese Sawhorses from Rex Kreuger in August 2020. mafe built them in May 2012, too. The plans I liked the most, though, were prepared by Gareth Branwyn in March 2011’s issue of Make magazine, as Skill Builder: Building Woodworking Low Horses.

The feet for my sawhorses were about 8“ long and the crossbeam was 18“. The notches that connect the feet to the crossbeam were ¾“ deep on both pieces of wood. I just made a 1“ deep mitre cut for the corners of the feet, instead of rounding them off.


This project can be built out of a 6’ 2x4 beam. I bought clear Douglas Fir from my local lumberyard for $25 in August 2022.

A three-axis mechanical drawing of a Japanese low sawhorse foot with an isometric reference model in the corner.
Each sawhorse has two of these feet.

The crossbeam spans the feet for wood to sit on.

An isometric view of an assembled Japanese low sawhorse.
The notches in each foot fit into the notches on the bottom of the crossbeam.

These drawings were made using SolveSpace.