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  • What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

    I used to have a workbench (inherited from my father) but after a while of working, I was finding that my arms got too tired. Going out to buy another one wasn’t much of an option as I’m short (and a woman).

    All I could find were workbenches suited for men’s heights. So what I did was measure the distance from the floor to my wrist, adjusting slightly for wrist movement.

    Voila. My workbench now is the perfect height for me and I can work for hours without getting an arm ache.
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  • #2
    Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

    I pretty much used the same method. Started out with a bench that was given to me used that while I saw what I liked about it and what I didn't like.
    The didn't like list was longer than the like list. While I now have a better bench its still not perfect and I'm sure few years down the road I will be making a different one and one day have the perfect bench.

    Jim
    http://www.jcremodeling.net/

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    • #3
      Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

      A lot depends on what a person is working on,

      if it is small and intricate some times a taller bench is nice, and if it is bulky some times a low bench is best, and some times a standard height bench is best,

      I know what I jsut wrote sounds like double talk, but I really do think a lot depends on what one is trying to accomplish, and what tools there using when working on it,

      and one more thing, is your eye sight, (as I get older, having a distance that the old eye glasses adjust at is about as important as any thing),

      I have found as well to build a platform to put at the base for the bench to stand on or a tall stool to set at can help as well depending on the project,

      at one time I was taught that for a sink one wanted the bottom of the sink at standing height, with Palms flat, and that is one work bench (at lest in times past got a lot of use),


      For example, in my metal shop I have a bench I made 40 years ago, that sets in the welding area, it has a vice on it, depending on the job the vice is jsut right but for welding it is about 12" to high, and want to re set it, If I had a druthers, I would prefer to set a pipe in the concrete, and then make the vise on a sliding pipe with some pins in it to adjust the height of it for the job, the same with the bench, I normally find it to tall with welding but with assembly it is fine, for welding I find put ing a plate on a 15 gallon drum is many times jsut about perfect,, but would be a real pain to assemble something on.
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      • #4
        Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

        My workbench doubles as an outfeed table so a height equal to or just a tick shorter is perfect. Years ago I determined that both the saw and WB height is most comfortable for me at ~ 38", which also allows me to tuck my jointer in under the left TS wing if I remove the handle from the jointer fence.

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        • #5
          Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

          Regarding the eye sight issue, a good optician can fudge the diopter correction in glasses lenses to the the focal distance you need. I have one pair of "Reading" glasses setup for 18" (approx) and another that I call "Computer and Bench" glasses that were adjusted for 27" (approx). Finally I'm happy. Sometime I'm going to try having lenses made as bi-focal type with 27" upper and 18" lower. I'm a lucky old dog in that everything beyond about 4 feet is in good focus without the need for correction.

          As for bench height, I've found that trial and error is what really works. There are some companies that made steel adjustable height bench legs.

          http://www.valumotion.com/catalog_page.php?prod_id=9168
          Last edited by Woussko; 09-19-2008, 05:56 PM. Reason: Spelling Goofs

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          • #6
            Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

            I go for hip height if its for assembly etc type purpose.My metal lathe and mill are higher as its easier for my old eyes to see.If its to mount a tool on then hip height on the tools base.My bench drillpress is very high on its bench and I kinda like that.Really its personal preference.
            Sam

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            • #7
              Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

              Funny you should mention this at this time. I built my bench 2 years ago at "wrist height" which for me is 32". I use it a lot for hand planing boards, and in particular, for jointing/squaring the edges of long boards using hand planes. After doing a day of planing, I always had a bit of ache in my upper back (between the shoulder blades).

              Fast forward to today. I am in the process of constructing a kitchen table. Between edging boards (sawmill black walnut that finally has air dried to usable moisture content after almost 2 years) using both hand planes for one straight/square edge and the table saw to get another parallel, and having run out of other surfaces, I raised my bench to 36" to double as an outfeed table for the TS.

              Voila, no back pain after hand planing!!

              After dropping it back down and then raising it back, I have found that belt buckle high is the best for me (about 35" and I am 5' 8")

              Bottom line: I do not think there is a perfect height for all operations, but if you make the bench a little short, it is easy to raise it, and if you have any discomfort, sticking one or two 2 x 4s under the legs may make your life a little friendlier.

              JMTCW

              Go
              Practicing at practical wood working

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              • #8
                Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

                An interesting thread. I had been thinking about posting and asking for a good height for work banches. The wrist height would be about the same as the palm flat height.


                Another height that I have heard about, but never used since I am over 6' is 3" below the elbow. This is probably about belt buckle height.

                Again it depends on what you are doing. For my collapsable "work mate" tables, I've made boxes that are 12" high to bring the top up to a convenient height.

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                • #9
                  Re: What method have you used to find the correct workbench height for you?

                  I've seen this subject beat to death on tons of forums. Here is my take on the matter...

                  I have 2 workbenches. The main one is sized so that the bench top is level with my belt buckle, leaving my arms at a slight bend while working. This keeps me from having to stoop over to comfortably reach stuff on the table top, but keeps me from having to reach up. This is 36" from the floor, and quite a bit taller than many of my shorter friends would like. Indeed this height drives LOML absolutely nuts...

                  My second workbench, is really more of an outfeed platform / folding table. It sits on folding legs with levelers for feet. The floor / table top height is nominally 30". I say nominally due to the levelers, and my uneven floors. With the levelers on the table saw, and the outfeed table fully retracted, everything is 30" from floor to top....

                  This is honestly too low for me, and slightly too high for LOML. My original workbench height of 27" for my main bench was her ideal... And I am in the design stages of building her a dry sink with a 27" working height so that she can do the stuff she keeps shoving off onto my workbench like replanting her house plants...

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