work bench #6: How tall is your work bench?

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Blog entry by gpastor posted 02-23-2011 11:07 PM 13020 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: bench top - getting the ends squared up Part 6 of work bench series Part 7: What is your Vice ? - Wilton Universal Turret Vise »

This is the height of my old workbench 33”. For me it was to low unless I was doing something like hand planing then it was fine. What make a good work bench height? I considered a few things:
1- What was I going to do most on the bench. For me that was not hand planning

2- How tall I am. At 6’-1” a 33” top is low

3- My eye sight. A high bench brought the work closer to my eyes

4- Will I be standing or sitting. I am on me feet all day at work, so on the weekends when I am in the shop I like to sit if I can.

The best way to know what height your work bench should be is try out different work heights. Most kitchen countertops are 36”
Table saw is about 34” on most saws.
Dinning room table is 30”
I built my new bench at 37” as I am working on the tail vice it seem like a good height for me. If you are looking for a standard height, there is not one. That one reason we build it ourselves. Some have said that you can measure from the floor to the place where your pinky joins your hand (with your arm at your side) and that was a good workbench height. That did not work for me, my bench top would be at 30” if I used that method. Hope this info helps :)

-- Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16:31

11 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3031 days

#1 posted 02-23-2011 11:50 PM

I am 5’10” tall and my bench top is 3’3” ( about 1 metre). You might think I’m strange but for me this is comfortable.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3091 days

#2 posted 02-24-2011 12:00 AM

I read someplace that the idea height should be from the floor to your wriest bone without bending the elbow, but I suspect other factors need to be considered like back injuries, type of work you do on the bench, etc.

I too am 5’10” and my new bench will be 34” (+/-). I haven’t quite decided yet.

I would also expect to get 50+ different answers if I were to ask the question about the “perfect” height.

-- John from Hampstead

View rustfever's profile


752 posts in 3305 days

#3 posted 02-24-2011 12:48 AM

My work bench is an 8” thick x 44” W, x 12’ L Glu-Laminated Structural Beam, setting upon a motor cycle lift. The lift is air operated. Therefore I can lower it to about 17” above the floor and raise it to 45” above the floor.

I need this variation as I have some back difficulties and the adjustable height make the bench usable for all type of work.

I, too, am 6’-1” tall

-- Rustfever, Central California

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3304 days

#4 posted 02-24-2011 01:31 AM

My worktable is 34.5” tall. I built it to match the height of the table saw so it can double as as outfeed table. It is 36”x 96”. Many times I wish it could have adjustable height since every thing I do on it could be more comfortable at varying heights.
rustfever…hows about some photos of your adjustable height worktable? sounds good because I have occasional back problems and need to figure out a adjustable and SOLID way to make an easily-adjustable table.

View DylanC's profile


204 posts in 2670 days

#5 posted 02-24-2011 04:23 AM

Mine is 36 inches…based on the height of my kitchen cabinets. I like Rustfever’s adjustable model. That would make it possible to adjust whatever you are working on to the ideal height, whether thats a 3/4 inch piece of lumber or a cabinet carcase on its side.

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2883 days

#6 posted 02-24-2011 05:11 AM

I’m 6’ 9” and I couldn’t tell you how tall my bench is, as I just used my waist as the measurement and made it the same height as my belt. Works well for me.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#7 posted 02-24-2011 05:52 AM

My bench does not exist. I will need to build one, as part of my basement transformation into a workshop.

Rustfever, I would love to see some pictures of your bench setup. Please?

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Big Ben's profile

Big Ben

87 posts in 2885 days

#8 posted 02-24-2011 06:12 AM

I built my bench to be 42” high and I am 6’7. I figured out the 42” was right for me by trying out the adjustable workbench at a woodworking show. Do what is comfortable for you.

View gpastor's profile


184 posts in 3053 days

#9 posted 02-27-2011 04:26 PM

an adjustable height workbench
here is a video of his workbench. HE offering workbench plans for this on my website.

-- Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16:31

View ocwoodworker's profile


209 posts in 2999 days

#10 posted 02-27-2011 06:53 PM

I have talked to a person called Lon Schleining. He has made a book on workbenches. His questions and comments he posed to me got me thinking so I’ll just repeat him…
-Are you more prone to hand tools or power? (Hand tools require a lower top)
- He also commented that I use a sheet of plywood and play with the height.
- An assembly table is not really a workbench. If you try to combine the two it will frustrate you when using it for either.

Try his book or Christopher Shwartz. Both are awesome books. Good luck and have fun.

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

View LaPala's profile


24 posts in 1991 days

#11 posted 12-09-2012 06:03 PM

I am 5’7” and made my bench to 35” (this is about an inch above my wrist). I don’t like bending too much when working; if I am too short to work with taller tools I can always wear stilts. (Actually I’ll just stack something to stand on so it’s a comfortable height, an adjustable height platform to stand on is in the plans.) The logic for this decision is I can stand on something to get comfortable but if the bench is too short I can’t chop my legs shorter.

-- Make love with wood.

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