Work Bench depth (30" or 32" depth?)


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Old 12-28-13, 10:08 AM
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Work Bench depth (30" or 32" depth?)

hello all

i am building a new workbench and i cant decide on its depth?
30" or 32"
i am average height, my primary concern is being able to reach comfortably across the bench to grab tools on the wall.

any opinions?
thanks
 
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Old 12-28-13, 10:36 AM
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Two inches is not really that much to make or break the functionality of the bench. If you are concerned then make it 30".
 
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Old 12-28-13, 10:55 AM
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Kitchen countertops are 24", if that gives you any reference. But that's because people have wall cabinets and usually need to be able to reach what's in those 12" deep cabinets without a step stool. I think it probably depends on whether or not you will have shelves, or if things will be on pegboard, for example. My arm is only 30" long so if your bench is 32", I think you will find that you really have to reach for stuff- especially if its above head high.

My workbench rests on standard kitchen drawer units and I'm using a standard kitchen countertop with backsplash. (keeps things from falling behind) But it does feel a bit small, as I've run out of room. Course, that's cause of all the crap that is spread out all over it.

I've got shelf racks on the wall that are head high for larger items, storage bins, cans, etc. and a wide loft for storage about 16" above that near the ceiling (accessible only with a ladder). I keep a 300 watt bulb mounted on the bottom of that loft so there's no shortage of light when I need it. LOL
 
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Old 12-28-13, 11:09 AM
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I like lots of smaller shelves specifically for certain items and then good space in front of that. I would opt for the 32, but that is because of the type of work I like to do. I hate it when something doesn't fit on a bench, half on half off. I can deal with reaching. IMO

I also add a sacrificial trim to the front of the bench to take the abuse and be replaced from time to time. Make it sturdy so a vice will be stable.

Bud
 
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Old 12-28-13, 01:41 PM
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The few work benches I've built have been between 24"-30" deep. As X mentioned, the wider it is, the harder it is to access whatever is next to the wall. If it was a bench that stuck out from the wall - wider is usually better! Shelves above/below are nice but even with extra storage it's hard to not clutter up the work bench top
 
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Old 12-28-13, 03:20 PM
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thanks for all the opinions and good points-

still thinking on it
i suppose if wall mounted access is important i think 30" would be better
however if it will be mostly shelf type access than perhaps i could get away with 32"
 
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Old 12-28-13, 04:08 PM
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I think that's probably a good conclusion. If you have shelves, everything will be that much closer... except for the stuff that gets pushed way to the back, obviously.

I don't have a vise in my shop, and don't do any sort of welding... but I can see how if you did, you'd want/need a lot more room on your bench depending on what sort of work you were doing on it.

One nice thing to have if you have room for it is an assembly table... a rolling table- with or without drawers- that's a lot lower than your work bench. (some guys design them to roll under their work bench when they are not using them as under the counter storage.) When you need it, you can roll it out and have a clean surface to put big projects on- cabinets, stuff you're building or need to clamp, etc. Just an idea.
 
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Old 12-28-13, 06:46 PM
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Be sure you don't build it too high. Friend of mine built his ~48", don't know what he was thinking.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 04:28 AM
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The stiffer my back gets and the poorer my eyesight - the more I like a taller work bench but 48"
 
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Old 12-29-13, 05:08 AM
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One option would be to go with 30" and design in a "drop leaf" or add-on extension of, say 6"; best of both worlds.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 02:02 PM
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LOL, 48 inches. I had to go out and measure the bench a previous owner built in my garage and it is only 43 inches above the floor level and I, even at 5' 11" find it too high for most work. On the other hand, the Craftsman tool storage/workbench I bought some 25 years ago is only 33" and that is too low for most work although the vise mounted on it is at a comfortable height.

Alas, in my case any horizontal surface just becomes another junk collecting site.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 02:22 PM
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I'm like Joel, just went to measure mine, and couldn't find it I knew where it was supposed to be, so I dug through. Aha. 32" deep, but I have short 2x6 "shelves" to put "stuff" on. very handy.
 
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Old 01-13-14, 01:58 PM
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Progress to date....

I am building two 8ft long benches, one 24" deep and one 30" deep. Both are built at the "universal kitchen countertop height" of 36". Both are up against a pegboard wall which will hold all the tools. I did a dry fit test with both a 30" and 32" depth and found the 32" just a bit uncomfortable for reaching purposes so i went with the 30".

All have 2x6 frame construction with bracing at appx 18"
The tops are all doubled 3/4 plywood, the first sheet glued to the frame and the second screwed for replacement if necessary. One was built with 4x4 legs but i was disappointed when i noticed hairline cracks starting to appear in some. I think i will go with doubled 2x4 glued with liquid nails for the second bench, probably just as sturdy and much less$. I also put a 1 1/2 inch overhang across the front by way of a 2x3 to allow for clamping.

Yes....
I plan on building a rolling assembly table at a full 4x8 size, i will build this at about 30" which seems to be the "standard" kitchen table height.
 
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Old 01-13-14, 03:09 PM
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Sounds good! Don't worry with the checking on the 4x4's. Remember they are PT and you brought them into a dry environment. No harm.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 03:02 PM
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I did not use PT for th legs, i used regular 4x4 and paintd the bottom 2" with thompsons water seal, i also rubbed a thin layer of silicone on the bottom of the legs.

Should have i used pt?
 
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Old 01-14-14, 03:10 PM
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No reason for PT. Not like this is structural and hidden in a wall. I guess we assumed, because most places don't have 4x4 except in PT or maybe redwood or cedar...

Theres better stuff than Thompsons but for your usage, shouldn't be an issue.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 02:15 PM
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Just curious? What are other good alternatives to thomsons, anything without an oily residue?
 
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Old 01-15-14, 03:12 PM
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Copper-Green or similar is a anti-fungal anti-bug. I soak the ends in stuff used outside and paint cut ends with it for other uses.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 02:57 AM
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IMO, TWS should be fine for your application. Where TWS tends to fail miserably is when it's exposed to the elements. Wouldn't expect your bench legs to see much rain or UV rays
 
 

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