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Not to completely hijack another thread and just to post some pictures.

Often times a common test or possibly audition? for a "journeyman carpenter" is to put together a set of sawhorses.

You walk up to a jobsite asking for work and they say "yeah build a set of sawhorses for me"

A journeyman should be able to throw together a set of sawhorses in less than an hour with the stuff that is normally just laying around on a residential wood frame home building construction site from memory.

If you are a journeyman you have done this enough times it happens quick.

You set your skillsaw to 15 degrees and then you grab a handfull of 2"x 4" 's and mark an angle of 15 degrees with your pencil and cut those four ends.

Then you measure and mark and make the corresponding cuts (the angles all "look" the same way) on the insides for each leg another eight times. You now have eight legs that are exactly the same.

I like long point to short point on the compound angle because it is easier (and quicker) to measure. This skill highlights being able to make accurate and consistent compound cuts on the ground with a framing saw.

You put a 2" x 4" on its end on the ground and put a flat one on top. You grab a nail gun and bam bam.

Then you hold up one of the legs at a time flush with the upside down 2" x 4" assembly top. This happens best on a flat surface, a stack of plywood or whatever is laying around.

You have to look at it and quickly judge for symmetry by eyeballing or inspecting so the legs line up with the end and it's important to stand on top of this while you hold the legs and put it together.

A body weight clamp with your off hand holding the leg tight while you attach legs with nail gun. This is an essential framing technique, you have to be able to use a nailgun in this manner to be a carpenter these days...

Then I go back with my drill and eighth inch drill bit and predrill with precision after it is upright and easy to work on and follow with an impact driver and some long deck screws.

Drywall screws work fine for the plywood trapezoid. I don't want to hear how their not rated and the heads will pop. There are multiple of them and their strength is in shear not pulling. No way a few heads pop off and the trapezoid just falls off. You can use short deck screws if you want I'm cheap.

They can be made any size and the simple design is inherently strong. These were custom made at this height for a scaffolding. I have thought of making a short leg set of sawhorses with different size leg extensions but concrete blocks work pretty good too to change elevation of work table.

Be careful though, if you really knock it out of the park they will try to make you foreman...
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Even a beginner should be able by taking their time replicate this design. It doesn't have to happen quickly if you are not applying for a job and don't have a nailgun.

Technique is very similar in that you hold it upside down and try to drill some holes for long screws instead.

Eventually with some back and forth you will get there.
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skids wrote:
You set your skillsaw to 15 degrees
Celsius or Fahrenheit?
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znomit wrote:
Celsius or Fahrenheit?
Don't forget that are screws our the opposite thread
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Good work! It does kinda look like it was used for a seagull perch at some point in time. Razz emoticon

I abandoned the stacking sawhorses that I got inspired to make 40 some years ago when we sold the family farm.. Leftovers from a redwood deck my buddy who'd gone into homebuilding inspired, IIRC. Just didn't have space for them, and unlikely to need them, but absolutely nothing to improve on..
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znomit wrote:
Celsius or Fahrenheit?
It doesn't matter as long as the 15 degrees pencil mark on the end of the boards uses the same scale as the saw!

The abbreviation for the word "typical" is the one I notice most often on blueprints...that means if it looks different you did something wrong so samey samey is the rule at work.
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[quote="fledermaus"]
Good work! It does kinda look like it was used for a seagull perch at some point in time. Razz emoticon

Repaint, the kingdom is nigh...

"I see" said the blind carpenter who picked up the hammer and saw!
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Interesting to see cultural differences, even in sawhorses

Our trad. design goes like in the pic below.

Found commonly from backyards of old houses and cottages.

Left like this when used solo. Shortened from the top is used as 'legs'.

Hard to spend more than 1/2 hour for making one.
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The difference in sawhorse design is that the flat-topped one is used for cutting prepared timber, the X shaped one is for cutting logs.
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Yes it is interesting the cultural differences. Even just in the different regions of the USA.

I grew up in Southern California and had my first Carpenter helper job in the summer of 1976 so 48 years ago now.

The contractor I worked for in the Santa Barbara area was originally from Norfolk Nebraska.

In the late summer of 1977 he sent four of us from his crews in California to Nebraska for a couple of months to get some homes he was building there on land he owned dried in. The idea being the local tradespeople would finish the insides during the winter.

Important to remember that wood framing construction techniques went through a revolution mainly in southern California in the late 40's and early 50's. This continued on through the 60's and 70's. They brought assembly line techniques to field construction and greatly improved the efficiency of home construction.

When we went to Nebraska there were two crews from Nebraska already there working. One crew was professional builders. Framers like us from California but taught differently using different techniques.

The other crew were farmers. They didn't show up on the jobsite until late in the morning but they had all been working their farm chores before they went to the building site.

Even among the two different Nebraska crews there were major differences. The farmers still stood a couple of studs on the bottom plate and used ladders to put a top plate on and then spent hours leveling and bracing everything before filling in the rest of the missing walls.

The California crew built over twice the houses as the Nebraska pro framing crew with the same amount of people in the same time. The farmers were less than half of the pro crew but started late every morning.

It wasn't that we worked harder ( although no one out worked me I made sure of that ) it was just using different techniques that made the difference.

Towards the end of our stay there we all got together and drank beer and talked shop. The Nebraska guys were all very impressed with our work effort and how much and how well we were able to build. Of course we shared what we could to improve their efficiency. Much of it really very simple but if you had never seen it done that way...

As a very young child I remember seeing an old movie re-run on TV. Cheaper by the dozen, the original with a very young Lucille Ball as the mom. The husband/father was an efficiency expert. His job was to maximize the efficiency at the factory he worked at. I remember an early scene in the movie where the husband was buttoning up his vest.

He timed himself buttoning the vest from top to bottom and then bottom to top. This was my life in construction. Almost 50 years of trying to think of different approaches to more efficiently accomplish a task and then testing to see how the new ideas worked out.

The very efficient carpenter by Larry Haun, A roof cutters secrets by Will Holladay, and The tangent principle for layout of continuous spiral staircases by George diCristina are three books by California Carpenters who did the same thing as their life's work.
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skids wrote:
Even among the two different Nebraska crews there were major differences. The farmers still stood a couple of studs on the bottom plate and used ladders to put a top plate on and then spent hours leveling and bracing everything before filling in the rest of the missing walls.

It wasn't that we worked harder ( although no one out worked me I made sure of that ) it was just using different techniques that made the difference.

Towards the end of our stay there we all got together and drank beer and talked shop. The Nebraska guys were all very impressed with our work effort and how much and how well we were able to build. Of course we shared what we could to improve their efficiency. Much of it really very simple but if you had never seen it done that way...

As a very young child I remember seeing an old movie re-run on TV. Cheaper by the dozen, the original with a very young Lucille Ball as the mom. The husband/father was an efficiency expert. His job was to maximize the efficiency at the factory he worked at. I remember an early scene in the movie where the husband was buttoning up his vest.
I don't know anything about building houses but it may also be the case that individuals who have worked together more can leverage faster work techniques.

The Cheaper-By-The-Dozen guy was named Gilbreth. In time-motion studies that analyze and optimize assembly steps, the individual components of a motion are called, in his honor, "therbligs," which is - sort of - Gilbreth spelled backwards.
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Awesome information about Gilbreth thank you so much. I was just a little kid when I saw that movie but I dare say it was impactful?

For a lot of carpenters and construction types we are doing laps at work. It reminds me a lot of motocross. There is a sequence of events that have to happen to complete a lap and then you do it over again.

It is usually competitive. If someone is doing something that gets them ahead of everyone else others will notice and imitate or ask questions.

After WWII the demand for housing was huge and probably no place more than socal which is why I guess that was the place where most of the innovation happened.

As you say the individuals working together, and even if they are not on the same crew but competing against other teams or crews on the same general work site is what caused the innovation for sure. Nobody wants to get left in the dust...

The main thing I think was breaking down the individual events in the sequence of events required to complete a lap and then specializing in that specific event, getting the reps at that task allows you to improve and innovate.

Some of the techniques Larry Haun talks about in his book is the curriculum in apprentice school. The union carpenters tried to standardize the techniques so that mostly everyone did it the same most efficient way and this really helps when you throw a bunch of people together for a big job to have them all familiar with approaching it the same way. Standardization of the innovations!

I thrive on the competition and social interaction in that environment. To some degree that is my happy place. It was work but I enjoyed it!

At one point I had a job as a framer where all of the standard height walls were built offsite. They loaded them on a semi and offloaded them on site where they were supposed to go.

The only walls built onsite were the oddball rake walls that were taller on one side than the other where you have vaulted ceilings in your house and the fireplace chase walls that were really tall. I was the only one building walls onsite for about 6 months and there were only about four or five different floorplans so it wasn't long before I had them all memorized and was extremely lonely and bored.

I decided to focus on how I could build them differently and timed myself to see which way of building rake walls was the fastest for 6 very long months.

Will Holladay has a chapter on rake walls in his book that I think I improved on greatly. A few years after that on a different job on my first day I was given a house to frame in a tract. All piece work except for the pick up (all of the last things like blocking and backing missing, straightening studs so that everything planes etc).

I think it was my second day at lunch sitting in a big group of people who were all new to me and the foreman comes up to me and says he has been watching me and explains how to build a rake wall. I listened politely and nodded my head and did not say that the way he described was about four shortcuts behind the way I was building them right now.

Of course after a few weeks he realized that the things I was doing differently was a huge improvement. When the framing was done he made me the hourly pick up man which is a pretty big reward because the piece rates you were lucky to make 50-75% of what the hourly rate was.

I am not sure how many others even noticed that I had improved it but I always watched what others were doing and kept track of the different techniques and how well they did. If anyone was knocking it out of the park I went over and complimented them and asked how they did it. This almost always got me a very valuable lesson.

I have never written a book but back when Fine Homebuilding's "Breaktime" forum was in it's heyday in the early 2000's I was a regular contributor. Someone once asked what were the mechanics of the perfect hammer swing and I took it upon myself to write my thesis to answer that question. Now of course a lost art most use a nailgun and very few left that frame with a hammer.

Alas I realized too late that if I had perfected a golf swing instead of a hammer swing I would have made a lot more money!
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