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 Post subject: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:59 am 
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Location: Hampstead, MD, USA
I seem to remember a post (or maybe it was a magazine article) about the best height for a bench for the shop. The height was determined by your height and whether you planned to use it primarily for hand work or power tools. Ring any bells with anybody? I searched but had no luck.

Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:41 pm 
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JOHN BOY: Try this blog entry:

rpwoodwork.com
2011/11/21
You will get to his site then you should go to his archives for November of 2011. I know it seems a little complicated but in my opinion he gives good advise on the subject.

Unfortunately there is no definitive answer or formula to resolve your question. Good luck with the build, and as Roy Underhill says, "may the grain be with you" :-D

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:10 pm 
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Never been to that website before, so that is not the post/article I was talking about. However, it does give some good info. Have to go back there when I have some time and poke around a little to see what else he has to say. Thanks for the info.

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:05 am 
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Hey John,

My Ol' man used to say that free advice is worth what you pay for it, so here's my 2¢.

Most planing benches are best situated somewhere between your elbow and the top of your hip. If possible, I recommend buying a six foot pine 1x12, clamp it up in the lowest bench that you can find and start planing the edge. Move the piece up and down to find your best ergonomic.

The problem with using the best ergonomic for planing is that it's usually too low for most other work (read backache waiting to happen). The cure is to use a secondary workbench; a small platform to raise the work to a more comfortable height for detail work.

Another solution that I sometimes use for detail work, is to sit on a pneumatically adjustable drafting chair. They are usually available for a reasonable price from most office supply stores. Because it has a infinite height adjustment, it's usable for a number of workstations. For instance, my bandsaw table is low enough for resawing heavy timber, but too low for my back when doing detail work. The drafting chair makes a comfortable perch.

One other reason I'm fond of a drafting chair in the shop: When I was a small one, my Pop would put me on a tall (I thought it was tall) drafting chair in the center of the shop where I could watch everything, and stay out from under foot. I could stay in the shop as long as I wanted, if I would stay on the chair. :D

Cheers,
Tom

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:02 pm 
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I like the bench top to be set so that my elbows are in the middle of my average project.

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:27 pm 
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I guess it all depends on your height but, I like everything to be the same hight as the tablesaw. Makes it easier to deal with big panels and such.


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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:25 am 
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kylerk wrote:
I like the bench top to be set so that my elbows are in the middle of my average project.


So about 4' tall :D

For those who don't know, Ken is a pretty tall guy beating me by a couple inches

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:29 am 
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Jim2 wrote:
I guess it all depends on your height but, I like everything to be the same hight as the tablesaw. Makes it easier to deal with big panels and such.


Kind of what I'm thinking about at this point. The measurement to where the pinky joins the hand (reported by Christopher Schwarz in PopWood) is 34-1/2" and my table saw is 36-1/4". Figure I'll try the table saw height and cut it down if it turns out to be too high.

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:50 pm 
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That's probably the better way to approach it, John. Easy to make it lower. Less easy to make it higher.

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:47 pm 
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John Boy wrote:
kylerk wrote:
I like the bench top to be set so that my elbows are in the middle of my average project.


So about 4' tall :D

For those who don't know, Ken is a pretty tall guy beating me by a couple inches


close! Hi John! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:40 am 
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Things are progressing (although slowly) on my workbench. Now I have another couple questions. The top I'm using is an existing maple top that is about 1-3/4" thick and it has a poly or maybe lacquer finish. Haven't checked yet to determine which. It's in rough shape, so I plan to take the finish off and sand it down smooth before applying an oil finish. One question is do I need to remove the finish from the underside and finish with oil too? Or can I leave the existing finish on the underside? I'm a little worried about the uneven moisture absorption. Secondly, do I need to attach the top in a manner that allows for expansion? My shop is somewhat humidity controlled, but not like being in the house.

Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:02 pm 
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John Boy wrote:
One question is do I need to remove the finish from the underside and finish with oil too? Or can I leave the existing finish on the underside? I'm a little worried about the uneven moisture absorption. Secondly, do I need to attach the top in a manner that allows for expansion? My shop is somewhat humidity controlled, but not like being in the house


I would say just make sure it is sealed. A coat of poly will do. If the surface doesn't look like it will peal then just add another coat (if necessary)

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 Post subject: Re: Work Bench Height
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:45 pm 
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Depends on whether the top has face or side grain on the upper surface. If side grain (as most are), I wouldn't worry about it. Mine is 15 years old side grain up and hasn't had any problems.

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