Machine and Table Heights

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Blog entry by Blake posted 11-09-2007 07:58 PM 2458 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently built a router table and when I was taking measurements around the shop to determine how tall to make it I realized something about my shop: my table saw is on blocks, my workbench is on blocks, my radial arm saw table is jacked up to about chest hight on the highest adjustment of an extendable stand…

Seems that without ever thinking about it I made all my surfaces taller than average. But here’s the thing: I’m only 5’8”. I am not really very tall. I just like the tables and surfaces higher up. I don’t like bending over all day and I have found comfortable heights for my machinery which seem to be higher than average.

What have you found works for you height-wise? How tall are you and how tall are your tools? Am I the only average-height guy who stands at an average table saw and feels like it is too low?

Next time I am at the shop I will get you some numbers.

-- Happy woodworking!

14 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4065 days

#1 posted 11-09-2007 08:07 PM

Hey Blake,

I tend to float around the 42” mark for table height. I’ve raised my table saw to that height, prefer my router table that height. My workbench is much lower than that, but to avoid a high centre of gravity situation, I did an auxiliary bench that that raises an 18”x12” surface to 47”. That is a smidgen high though, for the work I do on it. I’m 6’1” and hate too much forward bending.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3967 days

#2 posted 11-09-2007 09:13 PM

Well Blake, I am 5’6” (5’7” on a good day) and I have found that I like have my work surface just below my waist. I originally had my router table about where grandpa wears his pants, but that got uncomfortable after a while and I didn’t feel totally in control of the piece I was working on. I’ve also found I see better when I’m looking down, but that might just be the bi-focals.

-- Working at Woodworking

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3917 days

#3 posted 11-09-2007 09:21 PM

I just happen to working on designing a cabinet stand for my bench TS. I would like to take advantage of the space under the saw for storage and make my saw more accessible, by putting wheels under the back corners, so I can left the front and roll it away from the wall to use it. The table saw came with a folding stand that brings the table top up to 36”. So I don’t want to stray to far from this height in as much as it close to the height I feel will work best for me. I also am about 5”8”, and am trying to find a table height that is comfortable work height, safe (I can maintain control of large sheets and not over-extending my reach. I am also having to make some compromises for height clearance in my crowded garage and room for storage in the cabinet itself. At least for me, I will likely go with a table top height of 38”.

Each individual needs to find a height that works best for them. The great thing is we can build these cabinets and tables to our needs and preferences.

I think you need to go with what feels comfortable and safe for you.


View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4328 days

#4 posted 11-09-2007 11:36 PM

I like the height of my router table which is 42”, I’m 5’ 10”, & I can see what I’m doing much better, its more comfortable, & easier on the back.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4343 days

#5 posted 11-09-2007 11:44 PM

The question is do I want my arms bent for control or straight for strength? So I like the lower table saw, but the higher miter saw. I find more people wanting 42” high kitchen base cabinets. Seems to be a trend.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4016 days

#6 posted 11-09-2007 11:54 PM

I used the height of my table saw (35”) to base everything off of. Everything except for my router table
is that height. Workbench, shelves attached to walls even a rolling cart are all the same height.

I’m 5’9”, and they all seem comfortable to me.


-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3910 days

#7 posted 11-10-2007 12:38 AM

I am 5’8” and have mine mostly set to about 36” for the same reason as Gary. It is comfortable to me. Seems like I really want the TS at that height.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3990 days

#8 posted 11-10-2007 04:28 AM

I’m 6 foot tall. I made my new bench the same height as the table saw, 35 inches. However, Chris Swartz made a statement that a bench should be as high as the first joint on your little finger when you are standing up straight. As it worked out, that is exactly where my table saw and bench are. If I hand plane on the new bench it is less tiring than on my old higher bench. My bench in the saddle shop is 42 inches high because I work standing up a lot. The 3 inch granite surface plate is on top of that. If I sit there I use a high stool.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4128 days

#9 posted 11-10-2007 05:16 AM

I based everything off the tablesaw height and that is comfortable for me too. All the tables are the same height for practical reasons of mobility, and flexibilty of project support.

Ultimately, whatever is comfortable and safe for you, then that is the answer. You may not know what that is until you spend some time in the shop doing projects and then realize what is too high or too low for your comfort.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3903 days

#10 posted 11-10-2007 05:26 AM

If I’m doing the work, I like the surface low for mechanical advantage. If the tool is doing the work, I like the surface high for visibility and control. If it’s about 50/50 (like the table saw where it cuts and I push), then I win and the surface is low.

Dennis, I’m seeing the 42” counters, too. I think it’s too high, but the customer is always right!

-- -- --

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3905 days

#11 posted 11-10-2007 05:43 AM

I’m 5’ 6”, I have more control and feel safer with a lower surface I like 32”. I cut down my TS and will be building a router table after the first of the year, it will be 32”. Bifocals do make a difference, I judge my heights by standing straight and where my wrist bends.

-- Ron Central, CA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4128 days

#12 posted 11-10-2007 06:30 AM

You have to consider the type of projects you will be working on. Small projects are great on a table like everyone is referring to. But for a lot of bigger pieces I like to get it on a stand about 16 or 18 inches off the floor. For me this would be applicable to the Eco Sofa Table or Shaker Benches that I did. The workbench is too high and the floor is too low.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3903 days

#13 posted 11-10-2007 07:21 AM

Todd – yeah, especially if you have to lift them up and down a couple of times!

-- -- --

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4019 days

#14 posted 11-10-2007 07:44 PM

I’m 6’3” and like Tom(mot) get uncomfortable at low bench heights. I noticed this especially when cooking as our counter height was too low, it seemed. Then while watching a show on HGTV, they mentioned that your counter height should be 4” below your elbow. The wife is 5’10” so the kitchen is measured to her. Our counters are at 39”...What’s cool was that to raise them to proper height only took a 2×4! I find this very easy on my back now and have also made my benches at 38”.

Todd has a great idea though and has incorporated his rolling benches to the tablesaw height. Instant infeed, outfeed and side extension tables! Most tablesaws measure up at 36” which is the standard also for countertops.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

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