Engravers' Dilemma

Hi All,

I have a seating and height problem… engraving.

I’m 6’5" and cannot seem to find a good arrangement for sitting at
my bench and engraving.

Currently, I have my engravers ball in it’s felt block on top of a
turntable…all inside my drawer. My microscope is bolted to my

My problem is my height and size don’t seem to match my standard
bench. It’s difficult to get my legs under the drawer and I’m
constantly slamming my knee into the side drawers.

I use my set up not only for engraving but also for stone setting.

Any engravers out there with ideas or the same problem?

Thanks for your suggestion in advance.
Adam Garret

I placed a frame od 2x4s around the bottom of my bench, effectively
raising the bench 4". Adjust to your own needs.

Ed R

Hi Adam,

GRS makes a shelf for the block (GRS part no. 004-665 for the large
shelf), that uses the BenchMate attachment system. I added two
adjustable height brackets (GRS part no. 004-666) bolted together to
extend their length and when used with the large block shelf it
lowers the block as much as a foot below where it sits in my
benchpan. I have to remove the benchpan to use it in this
configuration, but that works out alright as it just hits my knees
anyway. With this setup, I can use the scope at a normal height and
have plenty of vertical clearance. I’d be glad to share some photos
of this setup if you think it might help, just email me off-list.


Hi Adam:

Depending on my mood, I’m 6’1" or 6’2", so I can sympathize. I hate
American style benches (with the rigid tray) with a passion. I’ve
always preferred the European style with the deep “U” and the
leather bench skin, especially for engraving. You can brace your
shoulders against the side of the “U”, and you can’t bash your knees
against a leather skin. I’ve got a how-to on making a custom bench
out of an old teacher’s desk on my website. Take a look at it, as I
also discuss how to adjust the vertical size of the bench to fit you.
The address is:


At 6’5", you’re going to have to either put your bench up on blocks,
or otherwise customize it for height. It simply was never designed to
deal with someone as tall as you are. I’ve got my microscope and
engraving ball on my Frankenbench, but I’ve got the ball on a GRS
engraving ball tray, so I can set the height that it sits at. You’re
going to have to do something similar. Setting it in the tray just
won’t work with a scope.

Brian Meek.

Adam, do what I had done to my bench that was an ordinary desk. My
Friend raised my bench 14 inches, by putting a big block of wood 6
in wide x 30 in long x 14 in high, but small piers that are about 8
inches under the legs of your bench would work too. This way you can
decide how high you want your bench to be. The top of my bench is
just below my shoulders about 3 to 4 inches. I don’t have to hold my
arms up because they rest on the desk.

Veva Bailey

My problem is my height and size don't seem to match my standard
bench. It's difficult to get my legs under the drawer and I'm
constantly slamming my knee into the side drawers. 

jeweler’s bench is not suitable for engraving work. You should sit
with back straight, elbows on the table and work at convenient
distance from your eyes. I have never used microscope for engraving,
so I have nothing to say about it. But bench should be custom made
if engraving is to be taken seriously.

Leonid Surpin

Hey Adam,

standart benches are made for vertically challenged people. I got
really tired of knocking my knees into the drawer until…

I raised my bench by placing 2x4s under its legs,

suddenly I could raise my chair too and didn’t feel I was sitting on
the floor.

What kind of engraving do you do?

Have a fantastic day,
Hans Allwicher

Your problem is universal. Regardless of your height you must
construct your own bench.

If you plan on doing what you’re doing professionally, you have no

My problem is my height and size don't seem to match my standard
bench. It's difficult to get my legs under the drawer and I'm
constantly slamming my knee into the side drawers. 

At 6’ 5", you must have this problem in other areas of your life,
no? How about putting your whole bench up on cinder blocks, or


I have a humorous answer - lets share. You’re 6’ 5", I’m 5’ and have
the opposite problem (I’m too short for everything!). Maybe if you
share some of your height with me, then we would both be the “right”
height??? No??? Big sigh - just wishful thinking on my part, I guess.

On a serious note, have you tried adding length to the bench legs to
get it the right height for you? I lower all my cabinets to get them
to the correct working height…seems like you could raise thing to
get them to your correct working height.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio


Hello Adam,

like Brian Meek i am about 6’2". Follow the link below, scroll down
to picture number five (workbench vice placement). Here you can see
my setup for engraving. I use a microscope too and this setup gives
me a very relaxed position while engraving or stone-setting.


Regards, Mario.


I’m faced with a similar problem but fortunately don’t have to
contend with your height. A common “solution” has been to put the
bench on blocks to raise it but when I did this I found the chair I
was using couldn’t be raised enough to compensate whilst using the
scope as the focal distance did not change. (This may not be a
problem being 6’5")

My solution is going to be to make a dedicated bench for engraving
with an idea that has been around for a couple of years now. Find a
floor mounted drill press - either a cheapie or one that doesn’t work
too well - get rid of the machinery on top and cut the verticle post
to fit snugly under the bench. Secure it on the underside and use the
adjustable platform as your work area. You might find some photos of
these benches on the major engraving sites.

I am currently using a “european” style jewellers bench with a thick
MDF board braced as the working area. The block sits on this on a

Good luck,

Hi Adam,

My husband is also your height (6’5" for those who did not see the
post) and since I am 13" shorter we have had some interesting
placement compromises when dealing with counter tops, door handles,
etc. during our marriage…

In order to maintain good body alignment when you are seated at your
work space, you should have your legs positioned so that your thighs
are parallel with the floor and your shins are perpendicular to your
thighs, and the floor, with feet flat. If your knees are pointed up
you are in too much of a squat and you will have stress on your lower
back, not to mention the bruised knees.

If one’s seat is too high (this is for all the shorter people who
are reading this) there is stress on the hips and sometimes
mid-thigh, causing sciatica symptoms in the hips or numbness, folled
bu muscle fatigue, where the edge of the chair is the fulcrum to the
thigh. I’ve experienced both of these.

So the first thing to address is the proper height of the chair. You
can have someone look at you in the chair from the side to determine
the alignment or you can set up your camera on timer and take a
picture of yourself to see how you are sitting.

It sounds like you then might need to reconfigure the work station
by raising it up several inches, I’m thinking at least 4" from the
sound of it. Then you can raise your bench pin holder/block holder
to hit you about mid-chest. If you have a GRS system, they have a
plate that can raise the whole affair to suit yout needs and this
might be all you need on the bench. I have my bench pin at about
collarbone level but when I engrave, I need to be a tad higher. This
will keep you from bending too much at the shoulders, which can
cause that awful sharp ache between the shoulder blades. Remember
that just raising the block will not help your seating situation.

You can raise the bench up on blocks of 4x4 post or bricks. But make
sure whatever you use is stable and will keep the bench from moving.
You might consider using some L-brackets to anchor it to the wall.

My bench is made from three 12" kitchen cabinet bases and 8 feet of
counter top material we bought at Lowe’s. This gives me two stations,
one for my bench pin and one for wax carving, theoretically. In fact,
the extra space is currently taken up by clutter. Ack! But I just got
a new Graves mark XL5 faceting machine yesterday (Awesome! It does
everything! even chews your food for you) and will put it in that
space. Also getting ready to set up a separate 4 foot soldering
station with natural gas next week, and we will use the same type of
material to build the base. The cabinets can be put up on bases to
make them taller.

Best of luck,
Nel Bringsjord

Hi Adam

I spend a couple of hours engraving most days.

My set up consists of a work bench - really a work table from Sam’s
Club. Dimensions are 6’ x 25" and 38" to the surface which is maple
about 1& 3/4" thick. The best part is a drill press table that can be
adjusted for height. The column of the drill press is cut off at the
appropriate height to fit under the bench.

Have another person observe while you sit in the chair you use. Make
sure your feet are on the floor, your thighs parallel to the floor
and your back straight. That’s where the other person comes in, to
make sure your posture is correct. Given that there is 38" you should
be able to comfortably fit your frame under the work bench.

The drill press part is great, but GRS sells a shelf for engraving
blocks that is less money which works well and is adjustable. You
could attach a leather apron to the bottom of the work bench to
catch metal or whatever. I bolt my microscope to the back of the

I have not heard of a dedicated engraver’s bench. But as has been
said the tools you make yourself are the best.

I’ve tried a couple of things and this set up I really like. Can’t
think of anything else.


I would like to thank all that responded to my dilemma. You all had
wonderful ideas and I will try some of them. I had already added
about two inches to the legs with some 2x4 s and that helped. The
real issue now is just the field of view problem with using my
microscope, if i raise the bench up then the chair hight needs to go
up so that i can look into the microscope, again field of view
between my work and lens plays a huge factor. I am sure getting the
large block shelf that holds the turntable and another grs plate
would solve the problem, but the fact that we have carpeted floors
also plays a roll. Can’t have a sparkling carpet, then i would never
find those diamonds that seem to be so desperately trying to
escape… I have a feeling a low profile block could solve this
but don’t have the money for a new block… Well I will let you all
know what i come up with. Thanks Again!!!

Adam Garret

To adjust your bench to a different height, Google ‘bed risers’ for a
sturdy solution.


There are alternatives in lenses, as well. Check in to changing the
objective lens power. This is the lens, added to the lens on the
bottom of your scope. Changing the power of this lens will effect the
working distance. Google “microscope lenses”.

Ken Weston