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PostPosted: April 4th, 2021, 9:37 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1993
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
With a couple people talking about prep-sanding and painting canoes I got to thinking about boat work sawhorses, and sawhorses for canoe storage.

I love me some sawhorses, and we do have a bunch. Sometimes I need almost all of them at once. The black plastic folding set is wiggly junk, but if I have to travel with sawhorses that flimsy folding set will make do.

ImagePB150003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A couple sets of horses are customized for canoe storage or interior work on decked boats. Two of those sets are massive, six feet wide and five feet tall, sometimes used as temporary storage when I run out of rack space.

ImagePB280036 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I could stick another boat, or two, on the lower bar. When I emptied the outside racks those sets King Kong saw horses came in handy.

ImagePB211374 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePB211373 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

(FWIW the crossbars of that outside rack are covered with slit PVC pipe. The plastic pipe makes it much easier to slide canoes on and off, without the flange washers gouging out wood chips each time. So slick that I need to make sure the boats are tied down for wind resistance. (OK, should anyone be tempted to try that pipe sleeve solution at home, not just “slit”, I had to remove a 1 ½” wide lengthwise piece on each section of PVC pipe to cap the crossbar)

I found one unexpected advantage to storing canoes on sawhorses in the yard. The missus will eventually say “That looks like hell, why don’t you build an extension off the canoe rack?” Don’t have to tell me twice; I was back from Home Depot with lumber, bolts and concrete mix the same day. Already had the post hole digger.

Those extra tall horses are also excellent when I need to work up inside a decked boat. Working on my knees on a concrete floor is a nope these days. It is so much easier if I can stand erect, head and shoulders inside the cockpit, especially when I need to duck back out to fetch something from the bench rather than crawl around on the floor.

Some of the standard 30” tall sawhorses have that lower crossbar as well (all of them have short braces between the legs). The little side braces make the horses more rigid, and the addition of the lower crossbar makes them no wiggle, no jiggle rock steady when doing boat work. Or when doing anything else; there is zero wobble to horses braced that way.

And, if extra in-shop storage is needed, I can put a 2nd boat on the bottom bar of the regular height horses, hence the strips of exercise foam as protective padding surrounding the lower “compartment”.

ImageP2020028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The white blocks on the sawhorses are hull “stabilizers”. Working on canoes right-side-up nothing has worked as well, easily and quickly adjustable for different hull shapes and widths as blocks of thick ethafoam packing material, with 1 ½” slots cut out to fit snug on the 2x4 crossbar. The cut out slot has a slight angle at the bottom, so the blocks fit on the crossbars one on each side canted inwards /_____\. It helps to Sharpie an inward arrow atop each ethafoam block for no-guess angle orientation.

Blocks of minicel would be even better. But minicel is pricey, and I’ve found thick chunks of ethafoam dumpster-destined from appliance and equipment packaging. Free is good.

The next cheapest thing might be WallyWorld yoga blocks. I use the hell out of those, sometimes in place of minicel.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Athletic-Wor ... /698316521

On-line vendors are cheaper still. Sunshine Yoga sells them in larger quantities; $3 each for a 9x6x3 inch chunk of minicel (EVA foam actually) is hard to beat.

When working on sea kayaks there is no flat gunwale surface available on which to rest the hull, so those notched blocks again come in handy.

ImagePB280030 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

When seriously busting a groove on a boat, sanding or drilling holes, I’ll use those ethafoam blocks and cam strap the hull in place.

ImagePB280034 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That canoe isn’t wiggling or wobbling; we needed to drill sizable holes through the full-box aluminum insert gunwales for a custom, height adjustable motor mount.

ImagePC060055 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

When I need sawhorses for something more construction-ish the ethafoam blocks come right off. Like the sawhorses we have several quad-sets of those etha-foam blocks.

Free is good.


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PostPosted: April 4th, 2021, 6:55 pm 
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Joined: August 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
Looks like you took Red Green seriously----If the women don't find you handsome they should find you handy" Lots of good ideas.

"The black plastic folding set is wiggly junk, but if I have to travel with sawhorses that flimsy folding set will make do." Not sure if these would be any better---


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2021, 8:05 am 
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Joined: February 12th, 2004, 9:28 am
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Location: Waterloo, ON
Those CT folding sawhorses are actually really good. I've got 3 or 4 sets. They aren't good if you're going to lose track of where they are and try to cut through them, but they are stable and I use them quite a lot.

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PostPosted: April 5th, 2021, 1:13 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1993
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Splake wrote:
Those CT folding sawhorses are actually really good. I've got 3 or 4 sets. They aren't good if you're going to lose track of where they are and try to cut through them, but they are stable and I use them quite a lot.


Good to know; I’d have thought you could attach a shaking motor to those spindly legged horses and skipped the RO sander, simply holding a piece of sandpaper against the canoe as the hull jiggled around. When I am sanding or drilling or doing outfitting on a canoe the less it wigglewobbles the better. I can’t imagine how folks work on boats held in those sling things.

Some of our sawhorses have the beginnings of errant circular saw cuts on the ends of the crossbar. Or “had”; I cut the crossbar overhangs a bit shorter, didn’t need all that length and they were easier to store.

The vice boards on the Workmate were worse, cut and sliced and drilled; that Workmate is 35 years old and has been all over the country with me. The vice boards were so chewed up that I replaced them once; the originals were crappy wood (maybe particle board? I don’t remember), so that was a chance to remake them with something better and, I hoped, less sacrificial.

I figured out that if I made a 16” x 36” top for the Workmate, with a length of 2x4 screwed on the bottom, I could clamp that platform in the Workmate, with room on the side to swivel the vice handles, and use a couple Quick-grip clamps to hold lumber or etc on the platform. A couple Quick-grips are faster and easier to reposition than the crank handles anyway.

I have a grunge-able, eventually sacrificial tabletop when I need one, and can unclamp the platform with a couple handle twists and have still a functional Workmate. I have oopsied a saw into that Workmate tabletop a few times, drilled through wood into it and bespattered it with paint. It’s a piece of scrap lumber and 2x4, who cares.

ImageP4040002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP4040005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I can’t resist a sawhorse story. My brother-in-law saw the King Kong sawhorses and asked if I would help him build a set next time I visited, to store his canoe and some lumber. I told him “Sure thing”. But I love to mess with his head.

Using hardware store sawhorse brackets building them, even giant versions, isn’t rocket science. The short braces between /\ legs that holds the lower crossbar take a bit of angle calculation, and I like the bottoms of the legs angle cut so the entire “foot” is flush on the floor, not just resting on the corners of the 2x4s.

I made him a King Kong set in my shop, with arrows between each piece A < ---- > A, B < ---- > B, and then disassembled them. Without the bottom braces and crossbars the legs can stay attached to the brackets and just fold together, so all I needed to do was reattach four braces and two lower crossbars. Everything stacked neatly hidden in the back of my truck; to haul up an assembled set of King Kongs I would have needed a moving van.

When I got to his place I told him “Just let me do this on my own” and sent him away. I had all of the bolts and lag screws and appropriate sockets and, with everything pre-assembled, already drilled and marked, put King Kong back together in minutes.

He had no idea how I accomplished that in a few minutes time and, beyond a nonchalant “Eh, it’s really not that hard”, I wasn’t telling. He still thinks I am some magical sawhorse wizard.


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2021, 9:48 pm 
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Joined: February 18th, 2021, 9:21 am
Posts: 41
I'm a carpenter, and I've had mixed luck with those CTC saw horses. I've had quite a few of them, first off. I always screw a longer 2x4 to the top, makes them quite a bit more useable.

But CTC has a thing they do - they'll order a production run of X number of units from one off shore factory. Years later when they've sold all those, they'll order a new production run, but often not from the same factory or to the same specs. There's often subtle differences between one production run and the next, though the online profil (and the pictures in it) are rarely updated to reflect the changes.

In this case, the older etc horses were a darker blue and were quite stable. I've had thousands of pounds of expensive hardwood on them before with no troubles. But the latest production run is noticeably different - the paint is a much lighter shade of blue, "mastercraft" is written in a different font, and - most importantly - they are significantly flimsier and less stable. I've had them collapse on me a few times already.

Moral of the story, keep your eyes open and your vision sharp when dealing with CTC.


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PostPosted: April 10th, 2021, 11:37 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1993
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Callee wrote:
Moral of the story, keep your eyes open and your vision sharp when dealing with CTC.


Or when buying a Workmate. I love that thing; I carried it in the truck on a 18 month long cross country wander, part of which was helping a friend build a cabin in Arizona, part of which was sitting carving wood sculptures while parked at the end of a long dirt Forest Service road up in the mountains.

That Workmate is 30+ years old and has been a faithful companion in dozens of States.

A couple times a year I worked at a friend’s sprawling, 20-outbuilding place in North Carolina, and the Workmate came along every time. Said friend really liked it, so his wife bought him one. A cheap knock off version.

He opened the box, looked at the instructions and, knowing how much I detest Some-Assembly-Required, put it back in the box and handed it to me to put together next visit.

I wish I had saved those “instructions”. There were 20 parts and pieces, and 35 assembly steps, instructions written on a teeny slip of paper in 2-point font, with matching diagrams the size of a nail head, all poorly translated from Chinese. I knew I was in trouble when the instructions began something like

Step 1-Certain you read all direction before parts assembling
Step 2- Certain you all read direction before parts assembling

It must be important to all read all direction. I tried. Step #9 was missing entirely (Step #8. . . Step #10), as was the corresponding Step 9 diagram. It was at that point that I did the right thing; crumpled the instructions and hurled them in the trash, had a beer and thought about it.

It went together easier after that, and I left a Sharpied note on the “Workmate” explaining how much I had enjoyed “Read all direction before parts assembling”. There were Sharpied phrases not in included in the instructions, “This is a cheap F*$%#@* piece of S*^%” and “Buy a real Workmate dammmit”.


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