What Is The Ideal Height For A Workbench?
This is a question I am asked every week. If you're going to build a workbench for your woodworking, it's a good idea to think about your height first.
Because having your bench height completely incorrect will cause you pain and difficulties while working, I constantly highlight that it's not worth sweating over attempting to figure out a formula for the optimal height; an inch here or there won't make much of a difference.
The most practical height changes depending on what you're doing, the tool you're using, and the size and thickness of the work piece; an optimal bench height can only exist if you do just one thing all day.
A lower working height is good for hard, tiring labor when things are little and complex, but a higher bench may save your back from stooping. As with many things in life, a compromise is required, and I offer the following as a starting point:
As you stand, keep your arms straight down your sides but your palms stretched up parallel to the floor (in your typical workshop shoes). Request that the distance between the floor and the bottom of your palm be measured.
This palm size will provide a good workbench height for most hand tool woodworking, but it may be too low for joinery and accurate work.
I suggest adding a couple of inches to your palm size to reach a suitable height for a range of activities. Adding an inch or two if you do a lot of sensitive close-up work or have back difficulties is a good idea.
If you're not sure what height you want for your workbench, get a sense of it before you start constructing it. You may use your present seat, a table, or just draw a line on the wall to determine the size.
Keep in mind that standing close to a good woodworking height will make it look low. Your posture will change as you work, and when you require the greatest strength, you'll naturally lower your body, spreading your feet and bending your knees, ready for action.
For woodworking, a low workbench height of 29′′ – 30′′ (74cm – 76cm) is optimal. A low workstation is great for hand work, particularly hand thicknessing, since you can get your body weight over the bench.
Tall workbench with a height of 38′′–39′′ (97cm–99cm). For fine precision work, joinery cutting, and power tool usage, a tall workstation is appropriate.
For woodworking, the most common workstation height is 34′′ – 36′′ (86cm – 91cm). The height that sits in between these two extremes is the most typical, particularly if you use your workbenches for a range of chores.