Ideal Workbench Depth & Height

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While at HD recently, I found a large bin full of 4' premium 2x10s in their culled lumber for $0.51 / piece. I've been meaning to build a basement workbench, and figured these would be perfect for the work surface. My plan is to lay them down side by side like a deck and cover them with a piece of 1/4" oak ply.
My question is, given 4' boards to work with and no floor space limitations, how deep would you make the bench. At 4' I won't really be able to reach the peg board in the back, but I would have that much more surface on which to work.
My other question is, how high would you make it? Is there a rule of thumb such as x inches above the waist?
Thanks in advance, -T
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I used to have a peg board. Stuff always fell off. Personally I like using the metal drawer units at Sears for about $200.

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Yeah, that's a problem. I'm planning on attaching it to the bluestone wall, not the bench. That should help. I would do slot-wall, but that stuff is expensive.
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36 inches

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Thanks, Decals. What about height?
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36 inches
It works great.

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Tip.. I did the same type top on my bench.. I ran threaded rod through it and cinched it up tight.. It will last longer than my house.
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Nice, Jack. I hadn't thought of using allthread. I'm guessing it creates a very rigid surface and takes some of the bounce out. Did you lay a ply top over the boards? I ask because I'm not sure how to proceed.
If I use finish nails it will eventually come loose, but gluing it down with liquid nails seems a little too permanent.
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trbo20 wrote:

I'd use liquid nails. When the top gets too old to scrape clean, your grandkids can scab on a new piece of plywood and it'll be good for another 30 years. <grin>
Nonnymus

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So you're saying 36" high by 36" deep?
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I made the height of mine match that of my table saw: Makes a handy "extension" sometimes. Actually I try to keep everything at the same height and generally use the table saw as the reference.
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Decals wrote:

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36 inches above the waist.

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hah wrote:

Hmmmmm. . . nose height? <Grin>
Nonnymus
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Height= distance from your hands to the floor while standing with your arms slightly bent.
Depth=1.25 times the length of your arm
It is your bench, build it for you not according to some standard fitzall dimesnions.
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Awesome, that was exactly what I was looking for. I knew someone had to have done this analysis before.
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It should be the same height as your sawhorse.
More seriously, it depends on what sort of work you're doing, and whether yout expect to be doing it seated or standing. If you're sawing on it with hand-saws, you're going to want it low enough so you can get on top of the saw. Likewise with heavy-duty hammering. If you're doing a lot of fiddly detail work, you probably want it higher.
Build an adjustable sawhorse and try working on it until you find a height that's comfortable for what you expect to be doing.
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trbo20 wrote:

Skip the Oak and go with 3/4" fir. It's about the same price and you'll enjoy the added rigidity and ability to scrape it clean frequently.

IF at ALL possible, keep the bench away from the wall enough that you have 360 degree access if you're going to build casegoods or larger projects.

Measure up to your bent elbow. That is a great height for most projects.

all were at different heights. The one I used about 80% of the time was the monster I built to be "elbow height" when I was standing beside it. Just stand and bend your arm and have someone measure the height to your elbow. It sure worked for me. The second most popular bench was a small one I built to be 34" tall. I'm just a tad over 6', so you can adjust that to your own height.
That bench was perfect for assembly of casegoods, such as cabinet frames, and also for furniture I was building.
Since I'm trying to put off having to go outside and trim some palms, let me expand on my favorite workbench. Simply stated, it was strong as a bull. I built it by starting with a framework of 2X4's that I did lap joints on. There was one at each corner and another at the center of each long side. The top was 4X8, made with two sheets of 3/4" plywood. The top overlapped the sides by 2". That was important for the purpose of clamping.
On one corner, I mounted a wood vice so that it was flush with the top surface. Each side was skinned with 3/4" plywood over the 2X4 framework. You could park a Mack Truck on the bench. When the top got funky with glue blobs, paint build-up or similar stuff, a simple going over with a paint scraper took it back to smooth as a baby's bottom.
The best part of my favorite bench was that I had two banks of three drawers on each of the long sides. The drawers were 5" deep and about 32" long, as I recall. Beneath those were little doors, What is important is that the drawers began 4" below the work surface, so there was plenty of room for a 2X4 stringer and plywood to act as a "header" for the top.
I went to Harbor Freight and bought a lifetime supply of parts bins, filling about 8 of the 12 drawers. Later, I drove to Lynchburg VA to McFeeley Screw Company and bought almost $500 worth of screws in 1000 screw boxes. I'd fill the bins with about 200 screws, and keep the rest on a back shelf for refills. Words cannot describe the luxury of being able to just pull open a drawer and get out precisely the screw you need for a job. Other luxuries included buying one of every conceivable assortment of allen screws, "O" rings, lynch pins etc. that Harbor Freight sold and keeping them in a drawer. It was almost like having a hardware store in the basement, since I had so many of those little weird parts you need once every 14 years at my fingertips.
Well, that's enough for now. The temperature outside just hit 80f and is climbing to a predicted 100f today, so it's time to go chop off those dead palm fronds.
Nonnymus
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Can I just simply come borrow your shop sometime? Sounds like an ideal setup.
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If you are woodworking make it the height of your trouser pocket bottom. If you are rebuilding carburettors and such the height of your elbow. Depth being limited by pegboard is suboptimal.
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com wrote:

How come that height?
Can you explain?
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