Ideal table saw/ workbench height?

I am overhauling my shop this winter and putting everything on locking casters. I'd like to have the table saw, router table, workbench, and auxiliary tables at the same height so I can use them all for sheet goods support. My bench is about 3 inches higher than the table saw right now. Any suggestions as to 'perfect' height you like for the saw/bench? Any concerns for table saw being a bit higher than the standard stand height?
Thanks, Rob
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On 5 Dec 2003 05:46:11 -0800, rob snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (rob) wrote:

How tall are you?
Barry
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T. wrote:

I was thinking the same, actually. Too much snow on the ground to go out in my skivvies and test it, but I'd say my workbench is six inches to a foot taller than that method would suggest, and it's a good, comfortable height. I wish my table saw were that height, and I've been thinking about jacking it up a bit.
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T. wrote:

Sounds like me trying to figure out just exactly where I'm going to put my lathe when I get it. It's time to start thinking vertically maybe. Build it into a shelf anchored to the roof (it's a low roof, and starts sloping only 4' off the ground) and build a big, wide riser block to stand on while I turn. Maybe. Dunno.
What I need is something like a sewing table where the machine flips underneath when not in use. Except instead of working like that, I have the router table on one side, and the belt sander on the other. Just flip the one I need to use up.
Except even at that, I still ain't got no place to put the damn thing. Sigh.
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T. wrote:

I'm thinking of a leave it in place kind of thing, so the stand becomes its own storage for the machine I'm not using. I really don't have anywhere to stick stuff out of the way, even if I just had one stand and swapped things on and off of it.
OTOH, if I really built a rotating gizmo, I'd have to have enough clearance for it to work, so it's probably moot no matter what.

Its footprint is about 1' x 3' IIRC, even though it's only 14" between centers. That's a big hunk of space. I may have the measurements wrong here and now, but I measured it when it came in, and then played around in the shop. I have some real thinking to do.
It's not so much the space taken up by the other machines, but the space they need around them to be useful. The horizontal bandsaw has to be 3' from the wall, for example, because that's how long my extended stop rod is, and I cut material to that length from time to time. That bit of awkwardness right there takes a big chunk out of my usable space. I have a scrap box over in that corner.
Maybe turn the saw around, put it near the door, and let the rod poke out. Put a thumb screw on it instead of the Allen set screw. But then I'd have a big, expensive piece of cast iron on the side of the shop most likely to get wet in a horizontal rain. The doors don't seal well, and can't really be remedied any better than they already have been.

Anything is better than nothing. :)

I was thinking about that too, but after my workbench makeover, that would be much harder to do now. I really use my workbench a lot now. It eats by far more space than anything else in my shop, but it's worth every square foot. Good for planing, good for chiseling, good for hand sawing, good for holding long boards while I cut them to rough length, and good for clamping glue-ups. I love not having to dick around with all those pipe clamps anymore, and I love not having to rig up some impromptu saw horses to go do the rough length cutting out in the yard.

Yeah, I can't help looking at my gigantic 3' x 5' oak desk and thinking how great it would be to use that as an assembly table. The lathe would sit on it just fine.
If I could *really* control dust, I could move my shop out here. It's basically my room, and I waste most of it. There's a chair in the corner no one has ever sat in. A chair for my dog. An odd nook full of odd sets of drawers to hold SWMBO's craft stuff. Built in bookshelves all along one wall.
Up until this year, we've kept most of the space behind me open to put the tree out here, but this year I prevailed upon SWMBO to stop doing that. Now that our road terminates in a 30' high concrete wall, nobody ever drives by to see the thing anyway.
I have a closet full of model railroad stuff for the layout I never built, and I have it in the back of my head to build a layout out here now that the space is liberated, but that would be so expensive. If I build it, I'll want DCC, and I'll have to put decoders in all my locomotives. I'll want to upgrade all my rolling stock to the new #58 couplers. I'll want tons of really nice scenery. I really can't afford to do it right, and I don't want to do it half assed, so I'd be just as well off to wait until one of the kids moves out, and then I get me a train room.
So how about that. What if I put the shop out here in the den? Dust is the thing. I would need *excellent* dust control for every tool.
Otherwise, it might be ideal. I wouldn't miss that damn chair, and nobody says you can't have pictures and stuff on the wall of a shop. I'd have sunlight, air conditioning, central heat plus a supplemental gas heater, a nice wide sliding glass door. Really close to the panel, and I could do any additional wiring as ceiling drop-downs *very* easily.
So why does the idea of putting my shop out here in the den, with my nice blue indoor/outdoor carpet feel like something that would make SWMBO want to cut my penis off?
I think somehow she would prefer for me to build a bigger building some day, and keep my shop detached from the house.
But maybe I'll think about this anyway. Workbench along the back side of the chimney. Big ass desk as an assembly table, after I swipe all the usless crap off of it. It really is just a junk collector. Bunch of rocks, some Star Wars Lego kits, a binding machine, and a big stack of papers I need to look at one day.
Get rid of the chair. DP goes there. Put the filing cabinet under the desk, since I never sit at it anyway, and don't need the leg hole. Put the lathe in that hole, right beside the freezer. Table saw in the middle of the room. Metal-cutting bandsaw out near the door.
Hell yeah, this would work! Noise is not a big problem because this room used to be a car port. There's a lot of insulation between here and the living room. I could stuff some into that weird hole...
Oh, if only SWMBO wouldn't want to cut my penis off.
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T. wrote:

Heh... She's always sleeping.

I fear for Mr. Willy though. Lorena is her hero. Dare I even to suggest such a thing? It might go over better if I told her I was cheating on her... It might go over better if I *were* cheating on her. I have a feeling this suggestion will not be well-received.

I'll try to remember that! Ouch!

Or titanium underwear. Maybe I should get a chastity belt for myself. :)
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 15:49:22 -0500, Silvan

Every woodworking magazine in North America seems to publish plans for these types of tables on a regular basis. Usually, they are designed for devices that are mounted to the top of the table, as the table itself isn't more than 1.5-2" thick..
A three-way table, with a triangular box insert, would house a router table
Barry
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Consider this idea. http://members.cox.net/jfrantz/shopweb/flip_stand.htm

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Rob,
Franck Klaus (FWW contributor) used to recommend a bench height that was the same as the distance from the floor to your wrists when you are standing straight and have your arms tight to your sides and your palms outstreached parallel with the floor. This is the optimum height for power strokes with a plane. However, you might want a higher bench if you do more detailed work. There is an article in the current FWW Tools and Shops magazine that talks about bench height.
Another thing to consider is, as you say, using the bench double duty as a large sheet goods support. First, purchase a 50cm roller that you mount to an MDF base. You select the bench height so that the roller, when clamped to the bench, is at the same height as the saw table (i.e. bench height + roller height = saw table height). When you want to rip sheet goods or long boards, fasten the roller to the bench with a clamp and position the bench behind the saw. The roller acts as an outfeed support for the work.

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Rob, Fine Woodworking Magazine had an article recently (maybe the current issue) about ergonomics in the workshop. It's the issue with a guy finishing a workbench on the front. Very informative article which explains why you need to work at different heights for different tasks.
DonkeyHody Even an old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then.
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