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Benches at various heights


Since I had a car accident a few years ago I have been having greater problems with my back. At this point I am able to work in 1/2 hour segments, first sitting and them standing. My question is one of bench heights. Are there benches manufactured for the standing smith. Or are there benches that adjust to a standing height from a sitting height. Or are there a set of anthropomorphic measurements that will help with creating a bench height that will work .

I am also interested in knowing if there are certain procedures in any part of the metal working world that require standing height at benches.

Can I figure this out on my own? Probably but if it is already done it is a wheel I don’t feel like re-inventing.


Don Meixner

Hi Don,
Can help you there
mail me off list,

HI Don,

I did talk about ergonomics for benches in the old frankenbench plans, once upon a website dark and dr…green.

The short form:
Find a comfortable chair, sit in it so your feet are flat, and back as straight as you can. Sit up straight. Really.
Then have somebody measure from your armpit down to the floor. A pretty good desk height is armpit minus 2-3 inches.
Personally, I have a bunch of different benches, some standing, some sitting. Sitting for precision, standing for soldering and general mucking about. I’ve found it helpful to move around. Keeps the blood flowing. And for larger scale stuff, it makes it easier to get full range of motion on my arms, and get full power for those motions.

As far as buying adjustable ones, no, I don’t know of anybody making any. (Or certainly not that are rigid enough) I’ve got a back burner project to address this, coming eventually to, but not any time soon.
You’ll have to tweak your own. You can take a short bench and put it up on blocks to get it to the ‘right’ height. That’s probably the easiest thing to do.


On Amazon there is a desk for office work that goes from sitting level to standing level with a lever on it, it made me think about my current bench. I love my old antique bench, it is the bomb, but I could use something more flexible. I was thinking about how I could do something like this, but for me it is not critical like you, I have lots of space so I could have some of both types of work benches. But I think this would be good for someone with limited space and very helpful.


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There is a series of garage workbenches that the legs are adjustable to raise/lower the height. My neighbor has a work desk for computer and working and it is hydraulic so he can sit and then when his back hurts he raises it. Knowing you, you will most likely build something! A base used for trade show displays that compresses flat and then is raised up with finger pressure would most likely work. Made by Chief Lift Co. I have one on wheels that I can store under a workbench and then pull it out and expand it when I need to work on it. Motorcycle stand or lawnmower stand that is raised up would also make a great base for a butcherblock top and thus your work bench. Craigslist maybe.

The Chief Lift I have is an older LM Series and supports 100-350 pounds. Can’t compress it without at least 100 pounds on there and will lift 42 inches. PM me if you want more details. You’ve helped me in the past with bracelet questions!
Charlie in PA

Don…After we talked yesterday, I went down and measured my benches. Three are 36" high as is my soldering bench. I have installed a temporary riser on my soldering bench to experiment with raising the work area another 6". I can stand and solder at that height. I don’t know as I will make it permanent. The other two 36" benches are layout grinding and casting and they work fine standing up. My lapidary, press and rolling benches are around 32". This puts the tools at a good height to work with standing. My polishing hood is adjustable in height and I think that my spindle is currently 42" high. My anvil is fairly low and can only used in a sitting position. I may try it on a higher stand too. I have purposefully spread my shop out so that I have to move around and can stagger the sitting with the standing. It helps to have an entire cellar available. I still get yelled at by my PT and trainer for my posture. I tell them that I am working on it, but it is the result is sitting over my bench in a hunched up position for 45 years. Good luck and let me know if I can help with the new shop…Rob

Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the information. I will investigate. I suspect you may have me confused with my brother Rob. The name is pretty uncommon this side of the Alps.

Thanks again. I will look into these bases.

Don Meixner

---- Charlie wrote:

If you decide to build something yourself, it would be worth taking a look at the Skarsta sit/stand desk at Ikea. The height is changed with a crank handle. I’ve tried one at the store and was impressed. It’s pretty solid and the mechanism is extemely smooth and easy to change heights on the fly. I researched variable height desks for months and this one is great for the money. I plan on getting one for my office. You might be able to come up with a similar mechanism that would work for a bench. HTH.

Woodworkers frequently have a low bench for sawing and using a hand plane, while at other times they would like to have a higher bench for detail work. Jeff Miller has a short video on the Fine Woodworking website that shows a small bench he made that easily clamps on his low bench. It might give you some ideas.


There is a company in Germany which makes adjustable benches, but they are pricey

Hi Don I use a $90 motorcycle hydraulic lift for the polishing machine. Harbor freight.

You pump the jack and the machine goes from sitting hight to standing.

Also I use a “Gymnic Movin’ Sit Inflatable Seat Cushion” That is a thing made by the Italian company that make inflated exercise balls.

Plus the treadmill and computer together. Very helpful for the strength needed to overcome work.

Cheers M

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I have been wondering about that bike lift. I wonder if there is video of it on YouTube. Thanks Martin,.
---- Martin James wrote:

Hi Don.
Passing on the best advice I ever got from a doctor, who at the time was the head doctor for the Australian Olympic team. It’s yours for free.
If you get out of your chair on the right side or left put an open bucket or two full of water there.
Buy a chair with adjustable arms on it, so that to avoid the water spilling all over the floor, you will need to push your self back with your legs and use the arms to push yourself up straight. Jewellers and Watchmakers do a corkscrew exercise every time that stand up

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Thanks John, I shall give it a try.


---- John Stapleton wrote:

This will probably get me some eye rolls, but this little back weight helps me a great deal:

Back Weight counter support

Note that I do not have back issues as a rule, but after sitting focused for long periods of time on my work, my back will start to ache. This support weight helps me.

I don’t wear it all the time, but when I feel it’s needed.

I’ll add that great ergonomics supersede most gadgets, but this support is a nice extra.


Thanks Tricia,

I am sorry for the time this reply has taken. My issues are added to by my shoulders being unable to take anything laying over them. My suspenders and guitar straps are nearly unbearable and require constant adjustment Wear a belt said my sister to me but the belt triggers sciatica that takes days to go away.

In the time since I started this thread I have tried raising my bench as my brother suggested and that is working best. Now I am looking at two stations like Brian suggested.

Thanks again to all.

Don Meixner

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Hi Don,
I write a lot with your brother, however as this isnt technical, ill chip in.
My better half, who by the way is a medical professional, discussed
this with my doc to consider the alternatives , either im a cripple for 10 yrs or feel good and can work normally,
So how do I axchieve this?

Well, he has put me on proper medication for my,
2. the worn out hand joints,
3. the degenerating spine vertebra
4. the anemia,
and Ic ould go on.
That medication is called Fentanyl,
As a patch, started off at 25 micrograms per hr release over 3 days some 4 yrs ago, now increased to 37.5 mcg’s.
result, Can live a normal life ,drive safely, and work for on average 6 hrs aday.
Becasuse im driven ,is it a blessing or a curse?
to make lovely things.
everyfay is creative to me and I wont stop till I fall over.
We here are happy with that.
hope this might be of some encouragement.
whats your quality of life worth?

Dorset UK.

I purchased this setters chair when I wanted something that was small and not in the way as I moved around my new bench area. Surprisingly it was the best change I have ever made for my back! Not having the sharp bend at my hips took so much pressure of my back and it’s great to quickly adjust into the right height for the task at hand. Been raising and lowering my bench for years.

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I have used a secretarial chair for literally decades! It has it’s very own arm-rests and other kinds of underneath buttons for height and tilting. I bought it once and never changed it. There are times where those arm-rests do come in handy, as in just resting your ‘tired’ elbows. You buy something expensive but after so many years, it’s quite cheap!!!

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I so want one of theses. Especially after I tried one at the Portland Jeweler’s Symposium. Stuller had them there. The price is a bit steep but my back keeps whispering to me “Buy the damn chair bitch. I’m dyin’ back here.”
Jo Haemer
Facebook -_
Jo Haemer Gold and Platinum Smith

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