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Work table height?

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I am going to build a simple work tablet to provide more work space (2.5' x 6') and have a better surface than the small, unfinished table I am now using. Home Depot has large sheets of what looks like white melamine surfaced wood at 3/4".


I will be sitting at this table. (I have standard wood working benches for when I work standing. )


I started to think about the height. I want it taller than than table I have now, but am not sure how tall. I have been considering 32 or 33 inches to bring it up a little closer to a more comfortable crafting height.


I was hoping that others might have some info, experiences or preferences to share when considering height.


As mentioned this particular work table will be used while sitting.


Also, I am looking for a couple of small, multi drawer units that could serve as end supports. I considered file cabinets but would like more and smaller draws for storing tools and supplies, preferably made of wood. I don't want to build it from scratch but would rather use existing components.


Thanks Richard.

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Here is a photo of a commercially available Model Stand. I built mine with 2X4 legs and plywood scraps. mine has a central cylindrical column with an 18" disk mounted on it, holes drilled through the wood column every two inches. The three 2x4 legs are held in position by two triangular pieces of plywood. Measuring the angles of the cuts was the only part of the construction that could be considered difficult. The column threads vertically through the base and can be adjusted with a nail placed in whichever of the drilled holes is exactly right (the example in the photograph has an unnecessary complex and heavy  threaded metal rod). I can raise the work surface as high as 60" if need be and the work surface freely rotates. The free rotation is a hand feature during those MANY Port and Starboard modeling jobs. People who have to laboriously pick up their ships and rotate them 180 degrees to glue on the other thingiie will grasp the utility of a freely rotating surface that does not obligate repeated two handed and sometimes risky manouvering of the model off and then back onto the work surface. Stained and varnished, its kind of an elegant bit of furniture. I wind up using it for all sorts of things.


Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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That looks like it would be great for my sculpting but I am not sure it would work as well as a an end support for my large table top. I would be interested in seeing a couple of pictures of your home made unit to gauge for sculpting.




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An important point to consider is your choice of seat.  The question is less height off the floor than height off your sitting position.  


If you haven't picked out a dedicated chair/stool, now is the time to do it.


Then figure out your optimal resting hand / elbow height to figure out the gap between chair and table top.  Then add your chair height.  Sounds more complicated than it is, but get it wrong and you have lasting issues....



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Mark is correct with regard to the seat.  I have an adjustable, padded stool that puts me at the right height for a variety of bench heights.


You mentioned Home Depot.  They carry a line of melamine coated wooden multi drawer units that are easily put together and quite sturdy.  I use these for end supports with a sturdy top that I slide my stool under.  They are a too low for a stand up bench but fine for sitting.  They are 36" high x 24" wide by 18" deep

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I constructed a small table which is portable for use as a workbench for woodcarving and model building. All the lumber is pre-cut lengths available at Lowes and Home Depot. Table is 26" high by 19" wide x 24" long - legs are 2"x2"x36" poplar (cut down to match table) top is 1/2" ply "box" is 1"x3" lumber. I sized it to fit a folding camp chair or home "easy chair". The legs are bolted on with carriage bolts for ease of transport to woodcarving fairs/shows.


For storage I bought this chest from Lowes - easy assembly - works well for storing tools, clamps, etc - see Shop Winsome Wood Halifax White Standard Chest at Lowes.com  There is also a 7 drawer version which I am considering adding to my workshop.


Mark and Augie are right about choosing chair height first then work off that. I also have a taller table with adjustable workshop stool as well as a Sjoberg Modelers workbench.



Update: Both Lowes and Home Depot have a section either in or adjacent to their "commercial" lumber aisles where they offer pre-cut dimension lumber in oak, maple, aspen, poplar, and craft pine in sizes ranging for 1/2"x/1/2", 1/4" thick  x 2", 3", 4",  up to I think 1"x4" or 1"x6" in lengths of 2 ft, 3ft and sometimes 4 ft. I find these to be very useful for small projects like small work tables and for jig making, bench hooks, and the like. The are reasonably priced and finished on all sides - not "rough" like construction lumber.

Edited by Jack12477
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   i am in the process of finishing my garage shop. I had cabinets and lowers placed in there the garage. they are set at 36". but I have workbenches at 34 inches. So those are the 2 heights I want. it works well for standing or sitting on a stool or an adjustable chair. But I also considered my height of 6 foot.



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The smartest thing I ever did was listen to members here when planning to build my table

I cannot imagine having a table for just sitting when modeling but then I might be a special case

with three vertebrae in my neck fused and a bad lower back (extra parts) I have to re-adjust occasionally, including standing quite a bit, to be comfortable

A titling table with auto height adjustment is what I needed.


I would highly recommend you install height adjustable legs so you can work at various sitting heights dependant on the task... and even stand when the occasion arises.

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I'm in the process of building a "work desk", and the height I'm making it is 30" with a 3' x 5' surface area. But I adjusted the height according to the rolling arm-chairs I'll be sitting in. They're not adjustable, but comfortable. I already have a few work-benches that are higher, for either standing or stool.

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I made a work table using a Flush Hollow Core door.   They come in several widths.  The length can be changed using a saw and the resulting interior gap filled with a piece of scrap lumber cut to fit.  I surfaced the top with a plastic laminate using contact cement.  I set it on two 2 drawer file cabinets and glued wood on the underside that made a "socket" to fit around the top of each cabinet to keep the top from moving.

I would not do heavy hammering on it, but for modeling it does file.

Any sort of cabinet would do to hold it up.  Get a set that is shorter than you want and set them on plywood or wood to boost the height.

It is easy to disassemble.


Thinking about this has given me an ideal:  The file cabinets are low cost and I not sure the metal gauge is not much thicker than something to wrap a sandwich, but they hold things up just fine.  The sliding file drawers are not a very efficient form of storage, though.  I think I can discard the drawers and fit shelves into the openings.

Edited by Jaager
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To have a height adjustable chair  is limited  to let's say 4 inches. Why not think the other way around by having a height table adjustment system. You can work with every chair.


4 inches is not enough a big height difference. When working on small parts , it is a lot easier to work and  to have the parts closer to the eyes.


Table height 30 to 48 inches high.

You can work  standing which is very interesting occasionally.

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Afternoon (here) all,

I don't know what is in the budget, but for what its worth, I have been considering a couple of inexpensive base cabinets from "Home Depot"

and using a solid core paint grade door as a top. The base cabinets have doors and drawers, set far enough apart, one would have a knee space, and the ends of the door might be a good place to mount a vice. Base cabinets are usually about 24 inches deep and I think about 32" inches high. I think one could mount power tools, ie. drill press, sander, etc. to the solid core door.

The doors are made in a variety of widths, and usually 6'8'' tall.

Just thinking

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Gaetan is right about adjusting the work area height, in my opinion.


Here's what I have..  a movable computer desk I got dirt cheap at Office Max when they closed the store.  On top is a slab of wood with four legs.  I can flip that over to that it's as shown in top foto.  If I want, I put the legs down and it's higher (2nd photo.. but not a good shot).   Or I can remove it completely.  


While Gaetan's is fully adjustable, mine is either desk height or 9" inches higher.



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The relationship between bench height and sit height is a very personal thing.  When I was working as a watch maker all the purchased benches were the same height and every workman set the height of his chair to the right feel for him.  So don't worry about the bench.  It is the chair or stool that you need to adjust.



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1- Jewellers and watchmakers workbench are very interesting in their concept.

The height of the bench brings the work close to the eyes making it easier to see.


2- The other watchmaker workbench is even more interesting because it offers an additonnal feature electric height adjustability of the workbench.

Having the work at the good height simply makes the work easier to do.


3- Inpired from a jewellers workbench, finally discarded because it was too heavy to move.


4- Modelship workbench  based on a watchmaker workbench, electric table, when it is easy and fast to  change the height, you often adjust at the good working height and you are not oblige to work  with the restrictions of only 1 height which in certains circomstances can be painful.


More lower drawers added to suit little tools. When drawers are  too high a lot of space can easily be wasted.  Small tools are easy to reach.





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this has all been a great help.

I would like an automatic table but suspect that would be a future item. I have too many tools that I still want.


The chair I use is adjustable si it probably makes sense to go with standard desk height.


The idea of a "riser" that i can use when I need close up work is a nice and simple solution for the immediate future.


I am checking cabinets and there are some good buys at Home Depot. I also found some a bit more expensive on amazon. They have 5,6 or seven short drawers that would be great for tools an supplies.


I appreciate all the ideas.



Now, for a trip to Home Depot. If it comes out decent I'll post a picture.



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