Swaying saw horses

Tom Widney

LOVES Wooden Canoes
A friend told me he would help me build something for my boat shop for my birthday. I said that I had seen this neat sling saw horses (for lack of a better description) on the WCHA web site and that I had been saving pictures of different types from the photos from there for over a year. So from the photo collection we picked a design and built them. We decided to use a 1 in. wide webbing instead of the more common 4in. wide canvas/carpet sling so that I could adjust the height. I use a wheelchair and thought that the adjustable quality would be real handy.

We built the damn things out of some pretty redwood we had left over from a wheelchair ramp project we had just completed; Watco'd them and left them outside to dry before bringing the smelly things into the shop.

Yesterday I brought them in the shop because I thought they would allow me to tilt the canoe to comfortable/stable positions so I could trim the ends of the inwales to accept a deck on a stem rebuild.

What a "DUH" moment, the damn canoe swayed like the swinging bridge over Sand Creek where I used to play as a kid.

I realize that a wider strap would reduce the swaying somewhat along the longitudinal axis but does nothing for the side to side sway. The length of the strap seems to affect the sway somewhat but stability does not seem to be the prime reason for these sling type saw horses.

In all the discussions on this site nobody ever mentions this aspect. What good are these things if they are not stable enough to work on the boat? Why do so many members use them? And what am I missing? I feel so silly to not have seen this before hand; I just copied what I saw here on the website and never question what the damn things are good for.
Any and all comments will be appreciated for right now I'm inclined to cut the things back down to another pair of short sawhorses.

Below are some pics, adding a block to shorten the length of the straps helped some?


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Those are certainly monsters.

Mine are 26 -27" tall, and the boat only hangs down about 3", on teh 4" wide carpet sling. There's very little sway in either direction.

For vertiacl adjustability, I think making the posts adjustable, rather than the sling, would work much better, as the boat wouldn't sway from the excess play that the long sling introduces.

Try this: Shorten the sling until it only lets the boat hang 3-4", and see how much sway is reduced. It should be a lot.
Move Them.

Move the horses closer together toward the middle of the canoe to cut down on the swing some, although yours are so wide, it may not make much difference. Worth a shot though.

You're OK, Tom. You just have adjust as PK says. Mine are about the same as his. You could use a longer strap that is only clamped on one side so as to allow for some vertical changes. I have used these when I strip the inside and with a longer strap, one can tip the canoe up on its side for rinsing very effectively with a power washer. Have fun and enjoy the process. Dave DeVivo
Hi Tom
My sling is narrower than yours. It is 30" wide and 24" deep and actually a couple inches narrower wouldn't hurt. when I position the slings more towards the center of the canoe it will get to a point where it is totally snugged up and have no swing. Moving the sling away from center raises or lowers the canoe depending weather it is upside down or right side up but does allow some swing. the fire hose for the sling is stiffer and provides good cushioning against the uprights when wedged in tight. When tilted up on the side the bottom of the canoe rests against the upright providing stability. When it is tipped past 180 the gunwale rests on the sling, again quite stable. I can always move the slings toward the center of the canoe to a point where there is no swing. Hope that helps. I just got a roll of fire hose and was planing to bring it to assembly if anyone wanted any.


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Other variations include removing the sling and setting the boat on the cross pieces.

I have one set storing two boats. The lower boat sits below the top of the posts, then screwed a 2x4 across the top to put another overturned boat across those.

I can see that narrow, flexible strap would allow quite a bit of play, especially if hanging long. Firehose is much stiffer than carpet or seatbelt webbing.
Thanks guys, I guess I got carried away on the width. I'll cut em down and reassemble plus get a wider strap. The pics helped a lot.
We get an awful lot of use out of our X-style ones and there really isn't much sway. You can adjust the amount of "belly" in the straps by adjusting the rope on the bottom. The fact that they fold for storage in also pretty handy.


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