Work Table Height

Stephen Enggass

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Hello Everyone,
I will be building a new work table and am looking for feedback on comfortable height. I have a workbench now that is 36" tall, but can get tiring on the back if working/bending over a lot. I'm thinking of building something higher - any ideas on what you have found to be the most comfortable height? I am average height of 5'-10.5"... Thanks.
 
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Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Keep in mind, the higher the table, the harder it is to reach across it.
 

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I second what Pat says. I think a good rule of thumb is to make the table height such that your forearms are almost parallel to the ground. I am
6' 3" (in the morning), and my table is about 42" in height.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm 6' 2"+ and I larrySized my tables to a height of 41". Works well for me.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
In my opinion, the best table height is elbow-high. With that, you won't need to bend over much, but you can still reach far across the table-top. I'm 6'-1" and my tables are 42" high...except on that's 36", for shorter employees, but most of them like the tall table better, too.
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
My tabletop is 41-1/4" high, and I am 5'5". This seems to work very well for me. Plus it allows for storage of full-size matboard underneath, long side down.
:cool: Rick
 

Stephen Enggass

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
My tabletop is 41-1/4" high, and I am 5'5". This seems to work very well for me. Plus it allows for storage of full-size matboard underneath, long side down.
:cool: Rick
That's a god point about the mat board. Any tricks as to building the slots underneath for holding boards? Pictures maybe? Thanks!
 

charming

True Grumbler
Having spent a summer working in a bakery, I discovered that all of the pain I felt had nothing to do with the table height, and everything to do with the ability to have my feet partially under the table so I wasn't constantly partially bent over.

But what do you mean by "work table"? Do you mean working with customers and showing them framing options? Or do you mean where you do your assembly etc?
 

charming

True Grumbler
Keep in mind, the higher the table, the harder it is to reach across it.

I was thinking that some of the posters that said their tables are 40" high seems very high to me. My work table is my vacuum press top which is probably around 36". Very comfortable especially when I am handling 48" pieces by myself because I can reach across. I am 6'2"
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
That's a god point about the mat board. Any tricks as to building the slots underneath for holding boards? Pictures maybe? Thanks!
There's an online class about building tables & fixtures on the Framers Only Facebook forum. My designs are constructed out of 1/2" melamine-covered particle board. They are extremely sturdy and go together like a 3-D puzzle. You can disassemble them and reassemble them using simple tools.
Check this: https://www.facebook.com/groups/393302711109534/search/?query=tables & fixtures&epa=SEARCH_BOX

The WCAF Expo class referred to in the video was last January. It was a very popular class, but it will not be on the schedule for 2020, unfortunately.
 

shayla

WOW Framer
Our shop worktables are 36", which is just right for our lady helpers. Too short for me, at 5' 11", but I'd rather have it work for them. Our newer tables in the basement are perhaps 42" high. Bear in mind Dave's comment about reachability, though. Somewhere in between would suit me best for fittings. Another time to remember Dave's note is when installing a wall-mounted glass cutter. The higher you make the base, the higher you'll have to reach for big pieces. For this reason, the base of ours is about 26" from the floor.
 

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Our shop worktables are 36", which is just right for our lady helpers. Too short for me, at 5' 11", but I'd rather have it work for them. Our newer tables in the basement are perhaps 42" high. Bear in mind Dave's comment about reachability, though. Somewhere in between would suit me best for fittings. Another time to remember Dave's note is when installing a wall-mounted glass cutter. The higher you make the base, the higher you'll have to reach for big pieces. For this reason, the base of ours is about 26" from the floor.
Our 37" tall fitting is the perfect height for 6'1" height. Great ability to reach.
Our design table is at 33". It also seems to work well for what we are doing, but that is by accident. Made of leftover cabinets from the previous business.

Our wall mounted glass cutter base is at 16". I would love to raise it up, but the legs don't extend anymore. I may look into replacement parts to make it higher.
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'm 5'7" and my tables are 40". I can reach across when I need to but it is comfortable for me. I started with work tables at 37" and rebuilt them to the 40", 37" was just to low for me making them uncomfortable to work on.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
There is no "one size fits all" solution.
There are tall people who like shorter tables and there are shorter people who like taller tables.:cool:
Our tables are 37" and it works for me and the other guys.
We are all around 5'10".
The design table is much lower, about 28" so you can look straight down at the samples and the artwork.
 

bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
I don’t remember what height my framing table is, but I think it’s in the 30-34” range. I originally built it for one of our UV printers before moving the printer to our newer production suite.

The table is a little low right now. My Cassese V-nailer is at one end, and I have to put stuff on the table surface to keep moulding level when I’m joining. I plan to add a few inches to it soon...just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I’m 5’-11”, and a 36-38” table height is good for me. I have one employee who is about 5’-0”, and several of our tables are too high for her. As Neil said, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
 

Al B

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Our tables have been the same for over 65 years. The legs are 36" with the top adding about 3/4 of an inch depending what it was covered with - plywood, indoor/outdoor carpeting, cardboard, etc. Through the years - all sizes of women and men (tall, short, fat, skinny), and children have put projects together at these tables. I never had a problem or heard anyone else have a problem.
 

Blackcat

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I'm 5'3, and my main fitting table is 38" and is very comfortable for me to do average to small pieces, although large pieces would be easier on a slightly lower table due my being shorter than most people. I have noticed that the top of my main work table comes just past my belly button (so if I leaned in against the counter it feels like it presses at the exact height of my belly button), this is also just below my elbow (maybe a 1/2" to 1" below), so maybe you can use these anatomical markers to help you figure out what would be most ergonomically correct for your (and your staff's) particular height. I would focus more on having the height come just below your elbow than anything, I really think the 1/2" lower is perfect. Make sure to account for any floor pads or fitting table layers you may add.

I agree that it is important that your feet be able to fully fit below the work space, since the alternative means you will be leaning forward and locking your knees more, both of which are really bad ergonomically and will cause various problems the longer you do them.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Our tables have been the same for over 65 years. The legs are 36" with the top adding about 3/4 of an inch depending what it was covered with - plywood, indoor/outdoor carpeting, cardboard, etc. Through the years - all sizes of women and men (tall, short, fat, skinny), and children have put projects together at these tables. I never had a problem or heard anyone else have a problem.
My back would revolt in nothing flat if it had to work on a 36" high table. While my two fitting tables are 41", my older mat cutter table and joiner table are 39.5" high. I have thought about raising both of them.
 

FramerInTraining

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
We use 36” work tables.
 

JB Garrett

Grumbler
One of my requirements when opening our place was to have an adjustable-height table as I knew I would not be the only one doing all of the "fitting" work. We built an adjustable table that can raise or lower with a crank handle (hydraulic legs). It's also on heavy-duty wheels (that lock to stay in one spot) in case we need to move it. (The last place I worked had a table that was the perfect height for the owner but not the rest of us.)
 

nikodeumus

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
worktable.jpg
Here's my workbench.
39 1/2 " tall ( with space for toes under table).
49"deep by 64" long worktop (not including mat cutter).
Various sized cubbies for mat/foamboard, etc. storage.

Only thing I would change is placement. Not being able to walk around on both long sides can be problematic when working on very large pieces.
It can be awkward to lift and turn frame packages when finishing the backs, or when trying to stretch large canvas.
My space is small, so there's no way to position the table with short end along wall. :(
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
All my benches are 33", except for where I do mat assembly which is an A0 drawing board with a
green cutting mat on top. That's more like 36", but I can tilt it. I do mat lining on it.
I like the lower height even though I'm 5' 11". Easier to reach over. I suppose it's what you get used to. 🙂
 

nikodeumus

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
I like the lower height even though I'm 5' 11". Easier to reach over. I suppose it's what you get used to. 🙂
I'm 6'3" and I get a sore back leaning over my bench. Sometimes I kneel on a stool to get lower to the work surface.
I'd boost my table higher if I could.
But then, I'm sure there would be some unforeseen disadvantage I hadn't thought of.
I really like the idea JB Garrett mentioned, an adjustable table would be fantastic!

I agree, it's what you are used to. As others have mentioned, there's no perfect sweet spot for all situations.

A trick I came up with is to use carboard boxes underneath a glass/mat/back package when fitting the frame over it to raise it to a comfortable height. Especially useful for sliding metal frames onto medium/large packages :


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nikodeumus

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
One of my requirements when opening our place was to have an adjustable-height table as I knew I would not be the only one doing all of the "fitting" work. We built an adjustable table that can raise or lower with a crank handle (hydraulic legs). It's also on heavy-duty wheels (that lock to stay in one spot) in case we need to move it. (The last place I worked had a table that was the perfect height for the owner but not the rest of us.)
I'm really curious about your table.
Did you come up with the design from scratch?
Where does one get hand crank hydraulic legs?
Got any pics to show?
 

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
The previous job that I worked at had an unnecessary riser under the table, and a step the same height as the riser on the two designated working sides of the table.
Occasionally one would step backward off of the step, and stumble.
No major accidents, but I would not recommend it.

I would love a pair of Carpenter's Stilts, but not for the shop.

Brian
 
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