What dimensions for a shop workbench?

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What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Splitter » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:00 pm

I'm looking for suggestions on what size to make my shop workbench, specifically height and depth. Bench will run along 11' of wall. I want to have a countertop with a single row of drawers and a heavy open shelf underneath. I'm 6'1" and don't like to lean over when I'm working. I'm thinking 40"-42" height, and maybe 26"-28" depth. I was going to build the countertop out of two layers of 3/4" plywood and have some .100" sheet steel bent to cap the top and then cove it up the wall 4" like a backsplash. Anyone have any ideas?

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Kenova » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:08 am

When I built my bench I set the height at a couple inches below my elbows. It has proven to be a very comfortable height for me.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by mbrooks » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:04 pm

I am similar size, went to Sams club and bought the Ultra HD work bench and tool cabinet, both are 6' long. Switched the tops as I wanted more depth on the tool cabinet, hardwood 1.5" maple tops on both, stainless drawers. Can't beat the price and they go together well. Must be a 1000 screws used with nut serts, and you get to put it all together:) I've put 3 of the tool cabinets together and haven't had a problem, no extras either. I used the bench in a bathroom I redid and shortened it to fit so you could do the same to fit your 11'. Nice line of products. The finish is not real hard polyurethane so it scratches easily. The tool cabinet was around $400 and the bench half that, both on casters.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Splitter » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:44 pm

mbrooks wrote:I am similar size, went to Sams club and bought the Ultra HD work bench and tool cabinet, both are 6' long. Switched the tops as I wanted more depth on the tool cabinet, hardwood 1.5" maple tops on both, stainless drawers. Can't beat the price and they go together well. Must be a 1000 screws used with nut serts, and you get to put it all together:) I've put 3 of the tool cabinets together and haven't had a problem, no extras either. I used the bench in a bathroom I redid and shortened it to fit so you could do the same to fit your 11'. Nice line of products. The finish is not real hard polyurethane so it scratches easily. The tool cabinet was around $400 and the bench half that, both on casters.
Sam's Club website shows the depth of that bench to be 25", how do you like it? I'm thinking if I build mine with lumber and use glued and screwed joints the mass and rigidity will help dampen vibration from a valve grinder or bench grinder.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by machinedave » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:08 pm

I have mine at 41". I know a guy who services elevators and if the doors are not in perfect alignment then they get replaced. They are about 1-3/8" thick and weigh about 300 pounds each and have a stainless steel layer on one side. I have bought several old elevator doors from him for $20 each. If you can find one they make a great heavy duty workbench top.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by mbrooks » Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:16 am

image.jpg
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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by BCjohnny » Sat Dec 20, 2014 3:46 pm

Kenova wrote:When I built my bench I set the height at a couple inches below my elbows. It has proven to be a very comfortable height for me.
This..... As regards size make it as big as the space allows, within reason, you can never have enough acreage and stuff always accumulates faster than you think. Also cover it with Alum sheet rather than steel. It seems kinder to parts and they skate around less. Heavy lumber benches with Alum tops have a nice 'feel' to them. And if the space/budget allows put two vices on. Bolt it to the wall/floor.

Put a kick panel on the base, especially if it's shelved (and it should be). If you drop anything, it's guaranteed to get sucked under by the big magnet at the back of the bench, resulting in grubbing around with a torch/flexy magnet, lol.

I have draw storage at the back of one of mine. If you go this route lift up the draw sections (about 10-12") on some fabbed iron work so the space isn't lost. I'll get around to this one day.......
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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Splitter » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:50 pm

BCjohnny wrote:
Kenova wrote:When I built my bench I set the height at a couple inches below my elbows. It has proven to be a very comfortable height for me.
This..... As regards size make it as big as the space allows, within reason, you can never have enough acreage and stuff always accumulates faster than you think. Also cover it with Alum sheet rather than steel. It seems kinder to parts and they skate around less. Heavy lumber benches with Alum tops have a nice 'feel' to them. And if the space/budget allows put two vices on. Bolt it to the wall/floor.

Put a kick panel on the base, especially if it's shelved (and it should be). If you drop anything, it's guaranteed to get sucked under by the big magnet at the back of the bench, resulting in grubbing around with a torch/flexy magnet, lol.

I have draw storage at the back of one of mine. If you go this route lift up the draw sections (about 10-12") on some fabbed iron work so the space isn't lost. I'll get around to this one day.......
Regarding the aluminum, what gauge do you use, and do you screw it down or bond it with adhesive or leave it floating? The toe kick sounds like a really good idea.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by BCjohnny » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:16 pm

Thickness, 2-3mm (80-120'''). Fold it as tightly as you can and screw or tack. I guess you could glue it, can't see any issues, apart from removing it, but never done it myself.

Also, FWIW, when I mount a vice, I tend to mount the vice on a, say, 3/8" steel plate 12 x 18", bolt through that and a smaller plate (1/4") underneath the bench top. It gives another hard area, saves marking the vice, the underneath plate resists pull-through and just makes the whole deal seem more fixed.

The kick panel will save unwanted aggravation......
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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by bigfoot584 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:16 pm

What ever size you decide to build it, make sure it's design to go
vertical as soon as the job is done and can't be turned flat until
another job comes up, other wise it a good chance it'll end up filled
with shit :lol: . Yes you guys know exactly what I mean who's done
a job on the floor because his bench was full of shit, or built another
bench [-X =D> .

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Kenova » Sat Dec 27, 2014 11:33 pm

bigfoot584 wrote:......... make sure it's design to go
vertical as soon as the job is done and can't be turned flat until
another job comes up, other wise it a good chance it'll end up filled
with shit ......
Between this and that damned magnet behind my bench I just may need to get rid of it. :lol:

Ken
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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Splitter » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:46 am

image.jpg
Roughed in the base shelf and posts this evening. Mocked it up at 42" height and it felt way too tall, so I cut it down to 40". Depth of countertop will be 25", base shelf will be 23", that way I can make both out of a 48" sheet of plywood.
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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by mbrooks » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:37 am

I read somewhere or someone suggested tops about 3" below the elbow, haven't tried it though.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by Splitter » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:58 pm

mbrooks wrote:I read somewhere or someone suggested tops about 3" below the elbow, haven't tried it though.
That would work if it weren't for the bench vise, it needs to sit lower so I can really wail on it without getting golfer's elbow.

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Re: What dimensions for a shop workbench?

Post by iadr » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:53 pm

I assumed the rule of thumb to use the outside bone in your wrist would be mentioned....but not yet?

So, top of bench = the outside bump of your wristbone, when standing relaxed, wearing typical footwear for garage work. Bang on for me, including vise work. My bench vise is toy sized, though- 4"?

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