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Workbench build - ideal dimensions (depth and height)?


CookPassBabtridge
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I’ve been enrolled in a guitar luthiery course for a couple of years (first two bass builds imminent, separate threads to follow!) and to speed up my progress I’ve recently had a workshop built in my garden so I can tinker at home in between classes. Next step is to build my workbench. A bit of research suggests that a 3ft height and 2ft depth are about ‘standard’, is anyone able to tell me whether those dimensions would be suitable for bass building, or do other heights/depths work better?

 

I have the space to be flexible and because I’m building it myself can go for custom dimensions if more suitable.

 

Will update with pics here once the build gets underway 🙂

 

Cheers!

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Go Fukkking Massive :crazy:

 

Actually, you can't really make a bench too long, but you can make it too wide. Check out Rex Kruger on YT, one video about four common mistakes made when building your first bench and one about building an English Joiners bench.

 

I'm going to build one of his in the new year,  it's going to be 1500mm long, 600 deep and about 850 tall. For context my current bench is 2m x 1m and I'm only using a square about 600 x 700 to work on. The rest has become stuff storage.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Si600
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2 hours ago, Si600 said:

Go Fukkking Massive :crazy:

 

Actually, you can't really make a bench too long, but you can make it too wide. Check out Rex Kruger on YT, one video about four common mistakes made when building your first bench and one about building an English Joiners bench.

 

I'm going to build one of his in the new year,  it's going to be 1500mm long, 600 deep and about 850 tall. For context my current bench is 2m x 1m and I'm only using a square about 600 x 700 to work on. The rest has become stuff storage.

 

Thanks both, those measurements are about the ballpark I was thinking then! I'm considering going quite wide (8ft or so) as I have the space to do so and would quite like an area for toolboxes and other storage at one end. I suppose the depth is the biggest question, 600mm sounds like the 'standard', but again I can go deeper if needs be, maybe up to 750mm or so. I'm assuming here that bigger = better if I have the space but equally I don't want to end up building something that's so big I can't reach across it 😂

 

I'll also give Rex's vids a proper watch 👍

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30 minutes ago, Si600 said:

The main reason given for not going too deep is that you can put things at the back without leaning over much. 

 

Of course, if you have the physique of an Orangutan that may not be much of a consideration. 


I do look a bit like an Orangutan, not sure if I have the reach to match though 😂 Think I’ll have to do a few mock exercises like measuring my wrist height from the floor and how far I can stretch across a surface before I decide. 

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Workbenches in my garage have always been X-kitchen Cabinets... so cabinet height 800-850 and 600-650 depth.

Length 1400-1800 or what covers 2 cabinets or a large and a small with a bit oc stool / feet under room, or whatever the long bit of worktop i can find is...

 

Just keep ya eyes open for someone local having a kitchen done in the new year...

 

Edited by PaulThePlug
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5 hours ago, PaulThePlug said:

Workbenches in my garage have always been X-kitchen Cabinets... so cabinet height 800-850 and 600-650 depth.

Length 1400-1800 or what covers 2 cabinets or a large and a small with a bit oc stool / feet under room, or whatever the long bit of worktop i can find is...

 

Just keep ya eyes open for someone local having a kitchen done in the new year...

 


Interesting, what a good idea. Provides storage too! Also further confirms the height I was thinking. Had a proper look in my workshop today and I can’t go higher than that because my sockets are around 90cm off the floor and I want them to be just above the bench. 2ft depth feels about right too so reaching them won’t be too much of a stretch. Just need to decide how long I want to go now 😬

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I had the space so went mad 760 mm deep by just over 4m long. It's actually two plain fire doors screwed down to a frame. The doors are pretty solid and plenty firm enough for my needs. 

I made it quite tall as I hate stooping over, I have a large standard height desk on another wall if I need a lower workspace. 

It sounds nice having around 5.5 metres of workbench, but I have about a metre of workbench at the moment and 4.5 metres of clutter. 

 

One thing I missed out on which I didn't even know I needed, but since seeing it know I do, was an old architect/artwork chest of drawers, the sort you used to see in schools. The drawers are massive but shallow, perfect for bass project in each drawer. It was only £50 but I was too slow. Any others I've seen have been stupid money. 

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Get the over head cupboards as well if they are in the skip... with a strip lamp on the underside of the cabinets.

I left the doors of as there is never enough room to open them... especially the bottom ones by your legs...

4 way trailed to below the worktop means you can plug things in without trailing leads on the worktop, leave them plugged and turn off the 4 way at the plug.

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Thanks both. Speaking of length I am starting to worry about clutter a bit now if I go too big - I was thinking if I go long I’d have space for a bench drill etc. BUT I also want a vice at either end, so that wouldn’t really work. Maybe going slightly smaller and leaving space for an extra table for that sort of thing might be better 🤔

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I had the bigger version of this in my joinery shop, it’s now in a smaller workshop, the trough down the middle is very useful for tools n stuff while leaving a flat work surface, you can cover it all with a sheet of ply if you need a complete flat surface to work, the double vice’s are a must , I’ll get a pic next week when I’m back 🙂

4CEE1C42-F4C0-4F10-883E-22294191573B.jpeg

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4 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

I had the bigger version of this in my joinery shop, it’s now in a smaller workshop, the trough down the middle is very useful for tools n stuff while leaving a flat work surface, you can cover it all with a sheet of ply if you need a complete flat surface to work, the double vice’s are a must , I’ll get a pic next week when I’m back 🙂

4CEE1C42-F4C0-4F10-883E-22294191573B.jpeg


Even that one’s a whopper! Yes please a pic of his bigger brother would be cool to see. 

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8 minutes ago, CookPassBabtridge said:


Even that one’s a whopper! Yes please a pic of his bigger brother would be cool to see. 

It was just to maybe give you a few ideas, also the recess in the middle helps to stop tools and fixings etc from getting knocked off while you’re working 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...

UPDATE: I built my workbench last weekend! I went for something pretty standard as I wasn't hugely confident in what I was doing. It is a bit of a whopper length-wise, around 8ft but this was because I had the space and it was the standard length of the ply top - so minimal cutting to size. The height and depth are pretty standard (90cm and 62cm respectively). I am very pleased with it though, just need to add a couple of vices! Thanks everyone for your ideas and advice :) 

IMG_7915.jpg

IMG_7913_2.jpg

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57 minutes ago, CookPassBabtridge said:

UPDATE: I built my workbench last weekend! I went for something pretty standard as I wasn't hugely confident in what I was doing. It is a bit of a whopper length-wise, around 8ft but this was because I had the space and it was the standard length of the ply top - so minimal cutting to size. The height and depth are pretty standard (90cm and 62cm respectively). I am very pleased with it though, just need to add a couple of vices! Thanks everyone for your ideas and advice :) 

IMG_7915.jpg

IMG_7913_2.jpg

Really nice job 👍, and you’ve got power sockets above which is perfect 

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With a single plywood top I strongly recommend skinning it with a layer of 1/4” (or 6mm) finish plywood, masonite or hardboard. Screw it down but don’t glue it. Any time the top gets chewed up you can quickly and easily replace the top layer, preserving the main top. 
 

Another option is to double up the main top with a second layer of 3/4” plywood that stops a few inches shy of the back of the bench. This will create a shallow tool tray along the back and you can then cover the added top with 1/4” plywood as I mentioned above. 

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2 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

Really nice job 👍, and you’ve got power sockets above which is perfect 


Thanks! When I wired up the workshop I looked up what a ‘standard’ dimension for a workbench would be and set the sockets a bit higher than that. Thankfully it worked out OK. 

 

50 minutes ago, Lo-E said:

With a single plywood top I strongly recommend skinning it with a layer of 1/4” (or 6mm) finish plywood, masonite or hardboard. Screw it down but don’t glue it. Any time the top gets chewed up you can quickly and easily replace the top layer, preserving the main top. 
 

Another option is to double up the main top with a second layer of 3/4” plywood that stops a few inches shy of the back of the bench. This will create a shallow tool tray along the back and you can then cover the added top with 1/4” plywood as I mentioned above. 


Cheers for the tip, funnily enough I actually have some leftover ply from when I boarded up the workshop so I can cut that down and put it on there without too much trouble. 

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Looks good, I have bench-envy!

My previous house had a bench in the garage when I moved in, about 700mm deep by 3m long, which meant I had space for a pillar drill at one end and vice at the other. It was also massively over-engineered and had carpet glued to the top which seemed wierd.

I later found out the previous owner used to race classic cars,  the bench was built to take the weight of a big engine and the carpet to provide protection and ensure it didn't slip.

I now have a diddy bench in the corner of the garage at my house, and sold the drill. 😥

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On 31/12/2021 at 19:15, CookPassBabtridge said:


Even that one’s a whopper! Yes please a pic of his bigger brother would be cool to see. 

A bit late and Excuse the mess I’ve been rearranging the workshop , but this is my bench 

00092D03-924A-4E82-A1E4-C2AAF2E20FD8.jpeg

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