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Thread: What size should a workbench top be

  1. #1
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    What size should a workbench top be

    I'm ready to order a bench top (i'll make the base) and i'm curious what you all consider an optimal size is. I can easily find space for a 4' x 12' bench but that's most likely overkill

    TIA
    Brian
    The significant problems we encounter cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

    Never let your fears decide your fate

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Hale
    I'm ready to order a bench top (i'll make the base) and i'm curious what you all consider an optimal size is. I can easily find space for a 4' x 12' bench but that's most likely overkill

    TIA
    Brian
    My bench is 60"X30" and I feel it adequate. I have two rows of bench dogs and a vise at the end. I use it for sanding , finishing, assembly, drawing etc.

    Gary K.







  3. #3
    For me, it would depend on two things. What I anticipated working on, and the space I had to work with. I would make the top only slightly larger than I figured I would need, and use the rest of the space for a table to put the stuff that always seems to clog up my workbench. I've always had a problem keeping horizontal surfaces clean enough to use for their intended purtpose.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Guys!

    I should have mentioned that most, if not all, my work is case work; cabinets, tables, shelves, etc.

    Within the next year and a half my shop/garage should be built and I'll have a space about 35' x 45' so even though I'll be a bit cramped till then I'm sure I'll get by. Also, the new shop will have a 4'8' out feed table for the saw that'll double as an assembly table. The workbench will be used mostly for hand tool work but since i also have a problem with horizontal surfaces, bigger is better.

    Brian
    The significant problems we encounter cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

    Never let your fears decide your fate

  5. #5
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    I've always had a problem keeping horizontal surfaces clean enough to use for their intended purtpose.

    Phil, I can relate to that...... so very true in my case.
    Aspire to inspire before you expire.

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  6. #6
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    hi brian
    I have two major work benches in my shop. One is a ulmia bench that is about 30 x 86 and the other I built, and is about 36 x 84. If I had room for 48 x 96 I would do it.

    best wishes
    lou

  7. #7
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    My ideal setup

    would be a workbench about just about the size of the pieces I would work on, with good vices, plenty of benchdog holes, and storage for hand tools. Then, I would also want a large assembly table, lower from the ground than the workbench and plenty wide.

  8. #8
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    Bigger is better but a lot depends on how much room you have. Mine's 36" X 96".
    “ Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. ” — Abraham Lincoln

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  9. #9
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    Ever see the size of a real Shaker bench? 4' x 12' wouldn't be out of place, you might even find open space on it when you need it
    "Well, yeah, seven smoothers may SEEM like enough, but you have to understand..."

  10. #10
    Brian,

    A good rule of thumb is not to make the width any wider than your reach to the other side. As far as length..... well..... just as long as you have room for. Go for it

  11. #11
    Brian, I know you only asked this question to see if you could break the record for most responses on this forum . I had a 30" by 8 foot and it was great but usually held 'other stuff' as I had so much room. My next bench will be 30" by 8' again but I am attaching it to a wall. If I was going with a free standing design I could go smaller; 24 to 30" by 6'.

    Only you know how much room your projects take. Visualize a larger project, walk around this virtual object and map out how much surface you may need. I also keep a rolling worktable (30" by 48") in the shop. This acts as my 'I'll just set this down here" area and saves on actual required bench space.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  12. #12
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    Brian, listen carefully,

    30 X 96
    Best Regards, Ken

  13. #13
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    I like to be able to work a bench from both sides. Thus, the width for me which is comfortable is 26 1/2". But, length? As long as possible, basically. Most important is how the bench will hold your work. On my 2 main benches, I have traditional tail vises, and love them! One has an Emmert No. 2, and the other an older Richards Wilcox gravity drop half nut quick action. Both are good vises.
    Alan Turner
    Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

  14. #14
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    Thanks guys.

    Been looking 'round the 'net and there aren't many places that make custom sized wood workbench tops. Most are the standard 24", 30" and 36" wide by 60", 72" and 96" and most of them are 1 3/4" thick.

    Any suggestions on how thick? My Anant vice would fit a 4" thick top with shims but i haven't decided on and end vice yet. I'm hoping to find something at least 3" thick, 4" would be better but I'm sure the prices go up exponentially.

    The search continues.......

    Thanks again for your input! I'm leaning toward 3' x 10' but we'll see whats available

    Brian
    The significant problems we encounter cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

    Never let your fears decide your fate

  15. #15
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    Brian,

    I have been watching this as I was wondering where that you were going to get a custom bench top from. I did not even know that there was such a thing- other that the standard work benches. I do not really know but I would think that the cost, as compared to building it yourself, would be way up there.

    Allen

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