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When crafting, we spend a lot of time focusing on materials and tools that have innovated the industry, or even the resurgence of a particular trend. In more recent years, materials such as wood and resin have been the topic of many blogs and write-ups, but something that is not normally taken into consideration is the space in which we do our work. In particular, we hardly ever give any thought to our workbench, which can be greatly impacted by hours of intensive labor from our tools, and often our frustrations! Besides the general condition of your workbench’s surface, we hardly ever think about the height of the bench, which has a huge impact on the comfort of the person working at the workbench. In this article, we will have a look at the perfect workbench height, what that height is, why it can assist you with your work, and how you will be impacted if your workbench height is not right for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Is the Ideal Workbench Height Important?
- 2 How to Find Your Ideal Workbench Height
- 3 How to Choose the Best Workbench Height for You
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is the Ideal Workbench Height Important?
While scale is not everything, it assists with performance and comfort over an extended period. The height of your workbench affects your ergonomics when using the workbench or crafting. Something that can impact your level of comfort, dictate the level of your performance, and determine the ability for you to work for longer periods.
So, if you are going to be working at your bench for too long you should think about adjusting the height of your workbench to aid your posture and frame. This will allow you to create and work without being interrupted by cramps in your joints and hips, and loss of circulation as a result of your workbench being either too low or too high.
The ideal workbench height is not some random number based on the general height of the average person. It is extremely subjective. Just because you may be the same height as someone else does not mean that you are the same build and weight as them, so their best workbench height will not necessarily be ideal for you.
The average workbench height is about 34 inches (roughly), which should accommodate the average-height American. You will also find that this is the standard workbench height for the majority of bench grinders and table saws. This height is great as it places the average sized user in an ideal position for achieving optimal extension and leverage when working with power tools.
Though, if you are a tradesman working with engineering, wood crafting, resin crafting, or metallurgy, we highly recommend you adjust the height of your workbench to suit your ergonomic requirements. At the end of the day, you want to avoid developing work-related stress injuries, which over time can cause significant health problems.
If you are hoping to find a foolproof formula to determine your ideal workbench height then you may be disappointed. There is no set standard for this, but there are various guidelines you can use. The most popular solution is to make your workbench the same height as the distance from the floor to the first knuckle of your thumb.
Why Does the Ideal Workbench Height Vary?
As previously mentioned, your workbench height should suit its intended purpose. The majority of workbenches have been created and designed for one specific application and the height was specifically chosen to cater to the angles of approach and tools that may be used on them.
For example, the average height of workbenches that are created for the use for handwork in trades such as wood carving, planning, or skimming is usually around 29 inches. This height provides great weight distribution and leverage, allowing you to steady your hands without having to constantly readjust your balance. You should also look at a chair that is height adjustable as this will assist you in achieving a comfortable height.
This height is not ideal for all types of woodwork, though. If you have to tackle more detailed work, the perfect height is slightly higher than this, at an average of 37 inches. This is a good height if your workpiece is going to be larger as well. The height is not perfect for everyone, though, as certain crafters prefer a lower surface when working on bigger workpieces.
However, neither of these workbench heights is ideal for most people. The most popular workbench height in both DIY and professional wood crafting environments is between 34 to 36 inches. This is considered to be the ideal in-between point for most wood-crafting applications and even other occupations like welding.
When selecting your workbench height there are many factors you will need to take into consideration. These include the length and width of your table, your height, the average size of your workpieces, and the amount of space you have to work within the space your workbench will be located. At the end of the day if you are building your own workbench, it can be as tall as you want it to be, it’s completely up to you!
How to Find Your Ideal Workbench Height
When you are setting up your workspace, there are many supplies you will need and will have to set up before you can start working. You will require sound insulation, tools, extension cords, extractor fans, heat insulation, hangers and drawers to store your tools in, protection for your flooring, and finally, your workbench. Selecting your workbench and its height is very important because it will be the main feature and tool in your workspace. It could even be considered the most consistent feature in your professional life.
You do not want to go through the whole process of selecting, buying, transporting, and installing your brand-new workbench only to end up with terrible backache every time you use it. We have put together several suggestions to assist you in choosing a workbench that is the ideal height for you.
Ideal Height for a Lower Handwork Bench
As previously mentioned, the height of your workbench impacts the control and leverage you have over your machines and tools, which will impact the finish and quality of the work of your workpiece. So, if you are doing more detailed-orientated work, or using more hand tools, you should try to ensure that the height of your table is quite low.
When using hand tools, you want to ensure that you are standing in a way that allows you a good overview of your workpiece. Much like a top-down perspective but at a slight angle. This will offer you an elevated advantage while offering you a good perspective on the bigger picture, which is the perfect scenario when you are working on something using hand tools.
The perfect height of any workbench that you plan to use for handcrafting is about 30 inches. The height is perfect as it offers you a place to bend over the workbench’s surface, providing you with great leverage and traction over your tools. This may feel unusually low, but not as low as a kid’s table.
Having your workbench at this height means that you do not have to bend your knees if you need to adjust your grip or plan at an angle, which will allow you to pull, chip, and push without causing you to entirely rely on your upper body. You are then able to use your core and glutes to aid in the actions you are performing.
Ideal height for an Average Workbench
If you are a DIY enthusiast or just like having access to a workbench when you have to do some DIY odds and ends, you will require is a workbench that can be used for practically anything that you may require. You will need a workbench that is average-sized, but that may have you wondering what exactly is an average-sized workbench and why is it perfect for the everyday DIY enthusiast.
If you tinker with woodwork as a hobby, you should look at getting a workbench that is roughly between 34 and 36 inches in height. This is perfect for the majority of Americans as it is not too short or too tall for most woodworking activities, which allows you some leverage while not forcing you to have to lean over the table’s surface.
If you are working with limited space, and you only have room for one workbench that will need to be available for every type of operation, the average height workbench is perfect for the majority of at-home applications, and if required it can handle any potential heavy-duty jobs. In addition, it is the best value for money for the three workbenches we have looked at.
However, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you wish to do some more detailed-orientate work, you might have to find a way to elevate the table’s height to ensure the perfect stance. This is because having to bend down for extended periods of time will result in serious discomfort.
Ideal Height for a Taller, Detail-Oriented Workbench
As previously mentioned, when you are a joiner or precision woodworker, the perfect position to be in is one where you are above or higher than the workpiece. This means that for more detailed woodwork, you want to have a taller workbench.
Your pectoral region will be closer to the surface edge of the bench if you are using a slightly taller workbench, which will naturally cause you to lean in when working. Because you will not be manipulating heavy work tools, but instead work with finer design detail, you do not require the leverage, so you will not have to be all over the workpiece, but instead a near eye level.
So, what is the perfect height for a workbench used to assist you in creating detailed work? You ideally want a workbench that is roughly 30 and 37 inches, depending on your height and your requirements. Your decision-making process can also be impacted by the type of material you will be working with. You would require a lower workbench if you are working with hard-to-work material that requires additional leverage.
You will use a workbench of this height to do any task where you will not be leaning over the workbench. This is why certain heights are used when machinery like workbench vices, grinding wheels, miniature lathes, and table saws are installed.
A mistake that is quite common when working with this particular workbench height is thinking that you can achieve the same leverage and stance as you would when using a shorter workbench. Trying to use tools such as chisels or miter saws at this height can be potentially dangerous and quite challenging, so think about the type of work you will be doing the most before you commit to this particular workbench height.
How to Choose the Best Workbench Height for You
Whether you are someone who does the odd bit of DIY or is a professional woodworker, your workbench is probably quite important to you, and even if you do not own a workbench, you can understand the need for having a workbench that is best suited for you and your work requirements. Why not tackle building your own workbench?
In doing so, you are not limited to a mass-produced option that you would find in your local hardware store and you will be able to customize it and add your personal touches.
What Will You Be Doing Most of the Time?
The most important factor when selecting your workbench is what task will you be using it for. A workbench should be set up to your needs and requirements. what you will be using the bench for, for the majority of the time will dictate how it is set up and ensure that it is comfortable for you.
Take Your Dimensions Into Consideration
You must consider your dimensions when choosing the height of your workbench. In terms of dimensions, we are not only referring to height, we also mean your reach, weight distribution, and your arm length. This can take some time, but it is definitely worth the effort to consider the measurements for the perfect workbench for you when you have completed it.
How do you go about determining the relevant measurements? Well if you have chosen to create a medium-sized workbench, you will need to measure from the crease of your wrist to the surface of your floor. A great midway point would be the crease of your wrist. When making a lower workbench, you will need to measure from the surface of the floor to the tips of your fingers to determine the perfect height for pushing your weight over the surface of the table.
To create a taller workbench, you will need some assistance, as taking measurements for it it is a two-man job. You want your arms stretched out directly in front of you so that they are horizontal to your body. Once you are standing in that position, have another person measure from the surface of your floor to the bottom of your arms to determine the perfect height for your workbench.
Consider Using Adjustable Legs
Remember the heights we have previously mentioned are all adjustable, nothing is set in stone. You can always adjust the height of the table by sawing or sanding down the base of the legs so that they are the perfect height for you. Alternatively, if you have a workbench that is too short for you, you can lengthen the legs by adding material to raise the workbench to your required height. This is the advantage of customizing your own table, there are no limitations.
Another option is to use adjustable legs, these are perfect if you plan to do a little bit of everything and you need to ensure that you achieve the best results. Locating adjustable legs for your workbench that are strong enough to handle the vibrations and the weight can prove to be challenging, but if you do find them you will be lucky to not ever need another workbench again, particularly if the bench’s surface is made of durable material.
Adjustable legs are attached to the bottom of the table by a butt hinge, which can contract and expand on demand. More high-tech adjustable legs use electronics and/or pneumatics to adjust the height of the table without you having to break a sweat. These fancier adjustable legs can be difficult to source and even harder to install.
Now that you understand the importance of the height of your workbench, how tall should a workbench be, and what you plan to do with it, what you will need to consider when selecting the height of your workbench, as well as why the height of your workbench varies, you can take the opportunity to put your newfound knowledge to the test. Keep in mind that you will need to always work with caution and be realistic about the type of work you will be performing most often at your workbench.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is the Height of Any Work Bench a Very Important Consideration?
The height of your workbench is an important factor as it will dictate if you can work more easily or cause your desired task to be more challenging. If you do detailed-orientated wood crafting, a taller workbench is best, while a shorter workbench is better suited for larger, more labor-intensive projects.
Should a Workbench Be Level?
You may wonder if it is important that your workbench surface is level. Yes, it is imperative, and for many different reasons. A level workbench ensures that your tools do not roll around when you are working with them, or even potentially roll off the workbench.
What Is the Average Workbench Height?
In the United States, the average workbench height is roughly 37 inches from the ground. The height is ideal, and a great option for most people. You can work and view your workpiece up closely with ease while allowing you to place your weight over the table.