On the Value of a Good Sawhorse

If you look closely enough, you can see a woman in this photo.

In his workshop in Rumford Falls, Maine, Gregory Sullivan makes custom furniture by hand and from local materials. He's also a writer--and a rather elegant one at that. Often he writes about the value of craftsmanship and crafting traditions of the past. Here's what Sullivan thought about when he saw this photo of Marilyn Monroe:

Marilyn Monroe is sitting on a very old school sawhorse, one that I've made myself. I have never encountered another person still making them this way. I learned it from men, all dead now, for whom Marilyn Monroe was more than a Elton John retreaded song reference. My modern carpenter friends would never make sawhorses this way, as it is complicated and labor intensive compared to their designs. But I've used mine for 25 years and kept them outside for much of it. They don't even wiggle in the joints yet. I do, and I generally am kept indoors at night. There is no shame in the carpentry trade in buying pre-made sawhorses now, either, although the people I first learned carpentry from would have never spoken to you for the rest of your life if you brought one to work.

Oh, and Marilyn Monroe? She'd be camped out on my doorstep waiting for me to come home, if she was still alive. Girls like that are a dime a dozen. I'd have to send my wife out to shoo her away. But man, look at those legs.

They're 1x6 utility grade pine. Set the framing square at 24" on the blade and 4" on the tongue to get the angle right.

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