Japanese tools #10: Japanese saw horses - floor horses (blog)

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-24-2012 07:47 PM 20262 reads 11 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Japanese planing board / Japanese workbench Part 10 of Japanese tools series Part 11: Japanese toolbox - thoughts »

Japanese saw horses
floor horses

This time low saw horses, these are for Japanese woodworking, and so they are meant to keep the items in good position for sitting work and for bend, standing jobs like rip cut with a Japanese saw.

Once more a roof rafter that a friend gave me nice thick wood and wide also, the same as I used for my shaving horse (thank you Jakob).
First step is to mark up careful with pen and Sashigane (Japanese square).
And do not forget a cold beer….

Now since I don’t have any saw horses I use my power tools (perhaps also I was lazy or tired but do not tell that to the rest of LJ…).
(Some can see I also work on a different Japanese project at that time, but we will get back to that – others notice something for smoking).

Then I clean up the beams, since they need to get the final size.

Before and after Japanese plane.

Some ornamentation is tradition on the feet.

Now drill a hole all the way through.

Some more drawing and adding the size of the beams now.

Two cuts with a Japanese saw and some clean up – do not ask why I used English chisels and not Japanese…

Mark carefully what leg belongs where for perfect fit.

Do you get the idea?

Then drill from the bottom down through the beams, app half way or so.
(The detail will come later).

Ok I was lazy…

And cleaned up again.

To make the feet stand good on the floor without rocking we need some shape to give them more points to stand on.
This I did by clamping them together and drill two round holes, half to each side.
(Notice the beautiful Japanese clamps).

Shaping the shoulders.
Of course it could have been done by hand.

Getting closer.


Clean up.

More clean up, this time planing the faces of the feet.
(Sounds kind of stupid… faces of feet… feet’s have toes, not faces!).

Making some dowels for the feet.
This will make the feet and beams connect really strong.

Glue them in.
I rounded then a little so they are easier to stick into the beam after.

I also drilled a hole and added a bamboo stick through to secure the dowel.

And cut it of flush.

Finally some visual permanent marks to pare the feet and beams.

Here we are Japanese saw horses.

Hope this blog can bring some inspiration to others that play with Japanese tools and work methods.

I want to send a special warm thought to Toshio Odate, thank you for inspire ring me with your book, but most of all my sister who offered me my Japanese chisels and a Kanna that was the reason why this interest started.

Tools from Japan:
Popular science 1967:
Jims version of the horses: with stops.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

17 comments so far

View lew's profile


10619 posts in 2791 days

#1 posted 05-24-2012 07:58 PM

As always, Mads, a very well thought out picture essay of your project.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Texchappy's profile


252 posts in 1257 days

#2 posted 05-24-2012 08:44 PM

Very nice project. When I figure out if I could use them with my bad back I’m gonna make me some of these.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View murch's profile


1236 posts in 1661 days

#3 posted 05-24-2012 08:58 PM

Mads – once again you have delivered a very detailed and interesting blog. Thanks. It was a fun read.

Also (I have to say this) for a guy who says he doesn’t have a work-shop, you seem
to have a pretty well stocked work-shop! What’s the story?

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2151 days

#4 posted 05-24-2012 09:09 PM

thanks for the picturebook Mads
as usual a pleasurre to look at :-)


View Sodabowski's profile


2252 posts in 1869 days

#5 posted 05-24-2012 09:16 PM

Lovely post as always :)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Bricofleur's profile


1291 posts in 2229 days

#6 posted 05-24-2012 09:46 PM

Nice job! Thank you for sharing your inspiring work.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


661 posts in 2309 days

#7 posted 05-24-2012 10:38 PM


Very well done, sir!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Brit's profile


5712 posts in 1879 days

#8 posted 05-24-2012 10:53 PM

Nice job Mads. For the next project though, please can we see some Japanese saw action? The Festool just isn’t right for a project like this. :-)

You remind me of a song from the 1980s by The Vapors called ‘Turning Japanese.’ The lyrics in the chorus were:
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.

Funny you should post this now because I made some trestle feet last weekend for a 6’ x 6’ double-sided notice board. Looking forward to seeing the ponies in use.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3164 days

#9 posted 05-24-2012 11:22 PM

Here are the steps that I use to cut the lobed edges with nothing but Japanese saws, chisels and rasps.

1 – Layout
2 – Make diagonal cut with saw to remove most of the wood.
3 – Make two small notch cuts with saw.
4 – Round the lobes with chisels and rasps.

Hope this helps.
Bro. Tenzin

-- 温故知新

View jjw5858's profile


1132 posts in 1638 days

#10 posted 05-25-2012 12:26 AM

Mads…..just great…..I love this new series of creativity with the Japanese methods. Really inspiring my friend.

All the best and keep the great blogs coming!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View bko's profile


118 posts in 2053 days

#11 posted 05-25-2012 12:29 AM

Hi Mads,

Very nice, as always! I too love those little Japanese brass clamps. I bought a handful at the Japanese Woodworker in Alameda CA USA, but I was lucky enough to have a morning free when in Japan on business where I went to the store Tokyo Hands. What an amazing store with many floors of art, craft, and household items—worth the extra effort if you ever get over there. I had to hold back to make sure I could fit all my loot in my suitcase!


View Philip's profile


1208 posts in 1575 days

#12 posted 05-25-2012 05:45 AM

Mads, I love it! I have never seen the bamboo technique, I like the idea. Pretty soon you will be shaving with those Japanese planes…

-- I never finish anyth

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1893 days

#13 posted 05-25-2012 06:48 AM


A very cool project

Welcome to the floor. :)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile


14699 posts in 2370 days

#14 posted 05-25-2012 04:58 PM

Wonderful work as always Mads. I hope you will continue to post in English as I’m not too good with Japanese, even though I did spent quit a lot of time in Japan in my youth. No woodworking there unfortunately, but I did gain an appreciation of the simple, yet sophisticated way they do things there. Woodworking is a very good example of that. I hope these benches you are making will keep you in business until you find a suitable shop location.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Boatman53's profile


902 posts in 1233 days

#15 posted 05-28-2012 12:36 PM

This a great little project. I recommend them to everyone that comes to my shop. If you don’t know how you would use them don’t worry they have many uses. I made over the years about 4 pairs. They elevate glue-ups providing clamp space, I use them for holding those clip on lights just where I need them, and for me they are small enough to take inside boats and use as a work surface.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

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