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What Is The Ideal Workstation & Workbench Height?

Jan 17

This is a question I'm asked on a weekly basis. If you're planning on making a workbench for your woodworking, it's a good idea to consider your height before getting started.

As getting your bench height absolutely wrong can give you some discomfort and difficulty while you work, I always like to emphasize that it isn't worth stressing over trying to find a formula for the ideal height; an inch here or there won't make much of a difference.

A ideal bench height can only exist if you do just one thing all day; the most practical height varies based on what you're doing, the tool you're using, and the size and thickness of the work piece.

When things grow little and intricate, a lower working height is appropriate for hard, tiresome work, but a taller bench might spare your back from stooping. A compromise, like with many things in life, is necessary, and to provide some guidance, I recommend the following:

Keep your arms straight down the sides of your body but your palms flexed up parallel to the floor as you stand (in your typical workshop shoes). Request that someone measure the distance between the floor and the underside of your palm.

For most hand tool woodworking, this palm size will give you a fine workbench height, but it may seem too low for joinery and precise work.

To get a pleasant comfortable height for a variety of activities, I recommend adding a couple of inches to your palm measurement. If you perform a lot of sensitive close-up work or have back problems, adding an inch or two is a smart suggestion.

If you're not sure about the height you want for your workbench, have a feel for it before you start building it. You may measure it against your current seat, a table, or simply draw a line on the wall.

Keep in mind that standing near to a suitable working height for woodworking will make it appear low. As you work, your stance will shift, and when you need the most strength, you'll instinctively lower your body as you spread your feet and bend your knees, ready for action.

LOW workbench height of 29′′ – 30′′ (74cm – 76cm) is ideal for woodworking.
Because you can get your body weight over the bench, a low workbench is ideal for hand work, especially hand thicknessing.

TALL is a practical, tall workbench height of 38′′ – 39′′ (97cm – 99cm).
A tall workstation is ideal for fine precision work, joinery cutting, and power tool use.

AVERAGE
The most typical workbench height for woodworking is 34′′ – 36′′ (86cm – 91cm).
The height that falls between these two extremes is the most common, especially if you undertake a variety of tasks at your workbenches.