If you ask two woodworkers the ideal height of their workbenches,
you are probably going to get four to seven answers. There are
so many variables and interpretations of correct working positions
that there likely never will be a standard that is accepted
by everyone. However, as a rule, the following heights have
been accepted by most commercial manufacturers and copied by
the vast array of homemade workstations produced by craftspeople.
For heavy workloads, 28-36" is recommended. This measurement
depends on the height of the user and his or her individual
wishes, but takes into account that the user applies his or
her entire body mass for work such as planing long boards.
For moderate and lighter handwork, 34-37" is recommended
and for precision assembly, 37-48" is preferred. As with
any situation, there are exceptions, defined by particular trades.
For example, benches used for furniture assembly are often only
Shown here are two wooden vises of unusual construction. They
became part of the Lee Valley Tools collection more than 18
years apart. European (probably French) in origin, this type
of vise was marketed as "Étau parallèle de
sculpteurs" and was used by sculptors and other craftspeople
who needed to elevate a workpiece higher than the normal bench
height for fine detailing.
mounted in bench vise.
mounted through dog hole.