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A Carpenter's Ripping Sawhorse

I have read articles about Torres, a man who made guitars in the years 1843 to 1888. The authors of these articles are amazed to know that a man who once was a carpenter could make such outstanding guitars. It seems to me that these authors knew very little about carpenter work. A carpenter in Torres' day would handle and work with more wood than a guitar maker would handle in a lifetime. In the years that Torres was a carpenter, the carpenters would work all the wood with hand tools.

Arthur E. Overholtzer, Classic Guitar Making, 1974

I left my old pair of sawhorses at our house in Mariposa during our last move mostly because the mover kept telling me that we had too much stuff and we were going to have a large moving bill. As it turned out he had never moved such a light load and lost money on it, which made me happy. Anyway, I finally got around to making a new ripping horse the other day so I can rip down some wonderful Spanish Cedar to start making a neck for my ten string classical guitar.

This saw horse was made by following Sam Allen's Sawhorse article in Fine Woodworking On The Small Workshop, I've made several pairs from the same instructions and I love this horse. I used both hand and power tools to make it-my DeWalt table saw, SkilSaw, DeWalt corded drill and Disstion crosscut and rip saws, what more does a carpenter need. I use what tools I need to get the job done efficiently and safely, period.

I'd never try to make a guitar using Overholtzer's book (leave a comment asking me why), but I have respect for him because he was a craftsman who was intelligent and observant. His statement about Torres is very, very true, only an observant carpenter with a love for music and wood could make such phenomenal guitars. With a love for life, music and wood.

And I am a carpenter by profession.

YouTube for your enjoyment, my favorite young guitarist, Tatyana Ryzhkova.


  1. Hi Wilson,

    I have two pairs of the same Sam Allen horses in my shop. Each pair is at a different height. One I have ready to set up my "outdoor" shop with, consisting of the horses, a light weight torsion box, and one shim (setting up on irregular ground means one corner will be low). I can thus sand, route, scrape, plane, and biscuit join in the open air.

    Another heavy version, with a 4" x6" beam for timber frame work, is out in our pole barn.

    Like you, I love the design of these horses. Thinking about it now, mine deserve some attention, covered as they are with drips and streaks of paint, stain, finish, and glue...


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