If you’re out to build a workbench for your woodworking projects, you need to consider the kind of work you will put it to and of course it’s height. The workbench height will largely depend on the tools and methods of working you use. This will prevent you from working with discomfort and loads of inconvenience, fretting while you work.
But before you launch into creating your own workbench, it’s important to state here that there is nothing like an ideal workbench height, so there isn’t a formula or measurements for it either. In fact, such a thing cannot exist unless you do just one kind of activity using the bench and nothing else. The height of a workbench will always vary depending on the project you execute, apart from the tools you use and the thickness and size of wood you work with.
Factors to consider when making your own workbench:
There are several factors to bear in mind before actually making your own workbench, such as:
- List out the tasks you do most often. These would include jobs done very often such as sawing dovetails, planing and tenons, or chopping joinery, sanding, finishing and shooting. Jobs done less frequently would include paring, marking out, assembly and sawing using a bench hook.
- Listen to what your body says: Next, use a strong table along with clamps and shave off 1.2″ plywood so that you can create a variety of heights when working on a variety of woodworking projects. When doing these, check your body’s reaction. For instance, is your posture right? You’ll know this by the way your neck, back, shoulders, knees and core feel after a spot of work. How do your eyes feel? Are you excessively tired? Also, see if the height of the table limits you physically in any way.
- The size of your projects: The complexity and size of the projects you work on will be able to tell you what the right height of workbench is for you. If the work you do is very exhausting, it’s best to go with a low working height, while by using a higher bench, your back doesn’t hurt when you bend over to do some find detailing work. Here are some general guidelines you can go with when calculating the height of your very own workbench:
How to calculate the height of your workbench
Stand as you would in your workshop with your shoes on and have your hands by your sides. Your palms should be flexed upwards so that they remain parallel with the floor. Ask a friend to measure the height someone to take the measurement between the floor and underside of your palm. By this, you will get a good height for your workbench height for almost all your hand tools.
However, you might find it rather low if you do detailed work and joinery. To overcome this, you could perhaps add a few inches to the palm measurement so that you can do a variety of woodworking activities on your workbench. If your work is chiefly detailed in nature, adding a couple of inches might help you.
If your workbench is at a comfortable height, when you stand near it, it will seem very low. However, if you change your standing position and lower your body towards the bench, you will have to widen your legs so that your knees are ready to work at this level.
Acceptable workbench height
Low: For a low workbench, ensure that the height is between 29″ and 30″ or 74cm – 76cm. At this level, you can do good handwork such as thicknessing, as you can bend over the bench to work.
Average: This ranges between the low at one extremity and the high at the other, or 34″ to 36″ corresponding to 86cm to 91cm. This range is the most commonly used height for woodworking workbenches.
High: If you do more of joinery and other kinds of detailed work, it’s best to go with a height of 38″ to 39″, corresponding to 97cm to 99cm, as this is a practical height for a tall wooden workbench. If using power tools, too, this works well.
Of course, as you go along, you will realize that by adjusting the height of your benches and plans to make your own workbench, you can create a secondary bench too.