Free DIY Furniture Plans to Build a 72 Inch Corner Unit Sawhorse Shelf

07.08.11 By //
Project Image

The perfect addition to an awkward corner in your home, or on either end of the 72 Inch Sawhorse Shelves (plans for that can be found here).  The inspiration piece from Ballard Designs (allegedly) will cost almost $200 with tax, while this fine friend here will cost you around $30 give or take, (will vary by region) to make!

Estimated Cost 

Under $25

  • Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Sander
  • Drill
  • Miter Saw – Can also use Miter Box, Jig Saw or Circular Saw, but you will need to make angled cuts for this project and will need to have a saw on hand.
  • Jig Saw – you might also use a sander to round the leg tops and shelves, but it might be faster to carve them.
  • Kreg Jig – there are connections that can't be made as easily without this tool.
  • 1 – 1×3 at 6'
  • 2 – 1×3 at 8'
  • 1 – 1×2 at 8’
  • **1 – 1×12 at 6’ this can be substituted for plywood or MDF if you prefer, and if you want to round your shelves, you will need to choose a 2’x4’ strip of ply or MDF instead of the 1×12
  • 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws (PHS).
  • 2″ Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Filler
  • Sanding Supplies
  • Finishing Supplies
Cut List 
  • 1- 1×3 at 72″ Back Leg
  • 1- 1×2 at 72″ Back Leg
  • 2 – 1×3 at 74 1/2” Front Legs (your actual cut length will be closer to 73 5/8” once you miter, this will give you a bit of room for error, though not much so be careful)
  • 2 – 1×3 at 2″ Center Blocks
  • 2 – 1×2 at 11 1/4” Rails

Straight Cut Shelves Using 1×12:

  • 1 – 1×12 at 4 1/2″ x 9” Top Shelf
  • 1 – 1×12 at 6 1/8″ x 12 3/16” 2nd Shelf
  • 1 – 1×12 at 7 11/16″ x 15 3/8” 3rd Shelf
  • 1 – 1×12 at 9 15/16″ x 18 5/8” 4th Shelf
  • 1 – 1×12 at 10 15/16″ x 21 13/16” 5th Shelf

Rounded Shelves Using Ply or MDF:

  • 1 – 3/4” Stock at 5 3/8″ x 10 7/8” Top Shelf
  • 1 – 3/4” Stock at 7 1/2″ x 15 1/16” 2nd Shelf
  • 1 – 3/4” Stock at 9 3/8″ x 18 3/4” 3rd Shelf
  • 1 – 3/4” Stock at 10 15/16″ x 21 15/16” 4th Shelf
  • 1 – 3/4” Stock at 12 13/16″ x 25 5/8” 5th Shelf

Before beginning to build, always check in on my site to make sure you have the most up to date set of plans, I occasionally update and change the plans to make the building process easier or to allow for less expensive purchasing of materials! Read through the entire set of instructions and all comments before beginning this project. If you print out or save plans, be sure to check in on my site to be sure you have the most up to date set of plans, as I occasionally update things for ease of building or buying. If you are new to building, read through the GETTING STARTED section and other articles found under the BUILD tab in the menu on my site, it has valuable information about how to get started, tools and techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the finishing process, visit my Finishing school for some tips and tricks for painting like a pro and for special finishing practices. Use glue to secure your joints and Consider Painting or Staining individual sections prior to assembling. This makes the paint application virtually flawless. Coat with a spray on Poly or Wipe on Poly to protect your finish and your piece and it will last for ages. Adhere to all safety standards and guidelines, and be sure you follow safety protocol throughout your build. If you are unsure about whether you are building safely, run a quick online search for the tool or technique you are using, or contact me via email or post to the forum before you move ahead. My contact info can be found in the menu of my site.

Step 1

Step 1 

Build the Leg Bases: The Back Leg will stand upright at 90 degrees from the ground. The Center block will need to be cut at a right angle on one side and an 80 degree angle on the other side, with a top measurement of 3/8” and a bottom measurement of 13/16”, so if you prefer to use something other than a miter saw to make this piece, you can always create a 90 degree angle on one side and measure out 3/8” from the top and 13/16” from the bottom of the L Shape and cut your piece in that manner. The Front Legs will be a final cut length of 73 5/8” with the ends mitered at 80 degrees. Join the 2 legs and center block together using your pocket hole system set for 3/4” stock and your 1 1/4” pocket hole screws and glue. Your Second Leg Base will be constructed precisely the same way only you will replace the vertical 90 degree leg will be a 1×2 rather than a 1×3. The center block and front leg of the leg base will be constructed of 1×3’s precisely as shown below. Only the back leg of the second leg base will change widths.

Step 2

Step 2 

Once your pieces are attached, create an arc with a radius of 2 1/2” and carve along this arc on the outside of each leg base. You might also use a sander to create this shape it will just take you a bit longer. Below the image shows how the arcs for each leg base need to line up. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you want it to look continuous.

Step 3

Step 3 

Attach the Leg Bases using your pocket hole system set for 3/4” stock and your 1 1/4” pocket hole screws. You may also use your countersink bit and 2” screws and glue.

Step 4

Step 4 

Fasten the Rails in place. You will have one on each side (leg base side) cut at an 80 degree angle (or you can mark out 11” and 11 1/4” and draw a line between the 2 marks and cut. Attach the rails to the Legs using your pocket hole system set for 3/4” stock and your 1 1/4” pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 5

Step 5 

Cut and Fasten the Shelves in place. I have chosen to give you the option of using 1×12 pieces or plywood/MDF. For straight cut shelves you will use 1×12 pieces at the measurements below. Fasten in place using 2” Screws and glue.

For rounded Shelves you will use plywood or MDF and cut to the dimensions shown and round out the front using a jig saw or sander (and a lot of patience).

Finishing Instructions 

Fill any Screw, Nail or Pocket Holes, Sand and Finish as Desired. For Finishing Tips and Tricks visit my Finishing School

**Disclaimer: Some rights reserved. Private use only. Feel Free to link to any of my plans so long as you provide an adequate link back to the appropriate post! Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of Rayan Turner, The Design Confidential I hope to provide accurate plans, however, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post has been built and tested, so you are building at your own risk. It is recommended that you have a clear understanding of how the project works before beginning any project. Please contact me if you find an error or inaccuracy so that I might fix it.

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1 comment on “Free DIY Furniture Plans to Build a 72 Inch Corner Unit Sawhorse Shelf”

  1. Hi,
    How are the shelves fastened in place? It’s a bit hard to tell with the plans.
    It looks like the rails are fastened in between the legs, so they aren’t used as a support to hold the shelves. Are the shelves just pocket screwed into the legs?

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