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shop space and table heights

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  • shop space and table heights

    Because of the size of my garage shop (10' x 25') I need to employ space saving strategies. I am proposing the following and would like to have your feedback.
    1. I want to place my work-bench back-to-back with the table saw so it can be used as both a bench and an out-feed table. Since my preferred bench height is about 37.5", this means bringing my table saw up abut 2 inches so the tables are level with each other. I don't know anyone who has their table saw as high as 37.5" so I am wondering if there are some issues doing this, from either an operation or safety standpoint. Any comments?
    2. The second thing I'd like to do is raise my 8 inch jointer (future purchase) so the outfeed table sits at 37.5". This will allow me to run boards through the jointer without the table saw being an obstruction. Anyone see a problem with this?
    I've looked at a few table saws including my own and I notice that the table heights range from 34" to 36" so having mine at 37.5" doesn't seem like too much of a stretch.
    Now I've noticed that an 8" jointer can have a table height of say 32.5" so bringing it up 5" is significant. The user of these tools is likely to be me about 99% of the time and I am about 6'4".

    I'd appreciate your input on the pros and cons of my plan from the perspective of using traditional hand tools on the work bench, safety and operation of both the table saw and the jointer.

    thanks!
    Andrew

  • #2
    Re: shop space and table heights

    As for adjusting the heights of your machinery you might laminate sheets of plywood or use something like a butcher block cut to the correct size. Fasten it to the floor and to the machinery legs. As for the bench at 37-1/2" it's all what works best for you. Tall people like them higher from the floor than shorter people do. What you don't want is to just use foot extenders or you may have wobble problems. You may need shims too. Try to have everything good and level. A table saw that's not level and totally wobble free will never run correctly. The same for most other machinery. Shim the legs as needed to make it nice and level.

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    • #3
      Re: shop space and table heights

      By the way plan out and think about good lighting in your new shop. If you can do it try to use open tube fluorescent lighting using T-8 tubes and electronic ballasts. Have the main fixtures near the ceiling and do have a nice white ceiling. This way the whole shop will seem nice and light. In areas where you need really bright lighting look into fluorescent light fixtures with reflectors. They are what's called Industrial fixtures. Depending on what colors are in your shop and your own liking, you can try tubes of 3000K color temp to warm things up, 3500 or 4100K for a neutral light and the newer 5000K for a bright sunshine look. The last ones are nice for shops with windows and the sun coming in. At night they do look a bit on the cold side but they are bright and crisp. Forget the 6500K Daylight tubes. They are just too blue and make things seem very cold and stark. Be sure to work with a good electrician and have a private circuit for the lighting. Also it's a good idea to have one socket on another circuit with a long life light bulb in it that stays on any time you're in the shop. As wild as this seems having a fully automatic small emergency light in a work shop is a good safety item along with 2 or more good ABC type dry chemical fire extinguishers. One near each door.

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      • #4
        Re: shop space and table heights

        I am 6'4" tall with a really bad back. Thus having my table saw and other tools at the regular height is not an option for me.

        You are not required to the heights set by any tool! The main concern is safety.

        I have my table saw on a delta roll around base. I then made a frame using 4x6 lumber to raise the saw height. The saw is still able to easily move on the roll around base and I added almost 5" of height. The challenge here is to ensure the tool is level, secure, and can still operate safely.

        I use a bench top band saw and drill press sitting on top of a 38" high work bench. This places the band saw table just below should height..NO BENDING is required to use the drill press or band saw. I also made work tables higher to allow them to be used as out-feed tables.

        So..bottom line is you can do anything you want.

        Cactus Man

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        • #5
          Re: shop space and table heights

          My latest idea to create more space is to build all my storage from the ceiling down about 40" or so. That way all the big "stationary" tools can be put right up against the wall. It's a good idea to have everthing possible on wheels. If you are assembling something on your workbench you can at least slide it out of the way so you can use the TS. I'm just not organized enough to have multi-purpose tools or work areas. An example would be a Shopsmith. That would be my worst nightmare
          Last edited by DaveD; 08-08-2008, 03:34 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: shop space and table heights

            just wondering? would it be easier to adjust you workbench height to the height to the height of your tablesaw?

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            • #7
              Re: shop space and table heights

              I went thru the same thing in my small shop. As much as I tried I just couldn't get my tablesaw, router table and workbench to the "exact" same height. One of them would always catch the wood on the out or in feed side. I finally gave up and put the router table on a mobile base (the tablesaw is a ridgid portable and already has wheels) and just pull them out and use a couple of in/out feed rollers when I need them. Good luck, Mike

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              • #8
                Re: shop space and table heights

                Originally posted by levon View Post
                just wondering? would it be easier to adjust you workbench height to the height to the height of your tablesaw?

                I think my 35" table saw height doesn't make a very good bench height. It's amazing what a difference a couple inches can make and 37.5" is a really good bench height for me.

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