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What's the best height for a workbench?

Q:

I’m ready to design and build a workbench for my shop. How tall should I make the bench for comfortable woodworking?
—Samuel Johnson, Mesa, Ariz.

A:

Workbench height depends largely on how your bench will be used, Samuel. The standard height of 34" matches most tablesaw heights, allowing the workbench to double as an outfeed support.

Many hand-tool woodworkers, though, prefer a bench 1 or 2 inches lower allowing more leverage for hand-plane and chisel use. If you’re mainly a power-tool woodworker, adding a couple of inches may make power-sanding and assembly operations more comfortable.

To dial in a height to match your stature, use the “rule of thumb”: Make your workbench height the distance from the floor to your first thumb knuckle, with your arms hanging relaxed at your sides.

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