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Old Oct 10, 2012, 05:04 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Joined Oct 2002
11,219 Posts
Unless you're overly tall or short 36" for the counter style benches is the way to go. If you're a trifle vertically channged you can always add some raised areas for the most frequently used spots with long wedge like ramps around them so you don't tend to trip as you move around. Or a raised pad with simply rolls under the counter with a toe push. If you're taller then you either live with a slight lean, use a stool for a change now and then or look at shims between the counter and lower units that can be easily removed later on.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:09 PM
Addicted to RC
YarSmythe's Avatar
USA, TX, Houston
Joined Nov 2003
2,720 Posts
New photos - 10/10/12

Nice to see forward progress. Shingles are on the roof of the house...Yea! Garage is still waiting for a few more sheets of plywood before they can start on it.

I've got a ton of things on my mind but I'll just post photos for now. When our inspector comes next week, I'll give you the low down on his report. Let's hope it's a good one!

I had to laugh at Matthew's "vertically challenged" comment. I was measured earlier today at 5' 4". I protested. Told them my DL said 5' 5" and I wasn't going to let them write down 5' 4". She measured me again (per my request)...and said: "Sorry, you're still 5' 4"." <sigh>

Now that I'm SHRINKING...the idea of 36" counters makes me feel like a midget. I may have to put step stools all around my counters and work table!
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:27 PM
AMA 910957
EJWash1's Avatar
United States, WA, Hoodsport
Joined Mar 2008
5,228 Posts
When I built my woodworking bench I referenced several benches both for sale and plans and came up with a bench top height of 32". I've built a lot of projects on it of many different sizes and framed-up two R/C models on it. I'm 5'10" and I find it a very good height for me. I also have a stationary cabinet-style workbench and the top is 36". If the 36" bench was all that I had to build on, I'd make due. But it would be somewhat of a challenge for building large-scale models - too high for me.

You don't want to go too low or you'll fatigue your back. Too tall, just plain annoying. If you have the material, try setting a board on a set of saw horses and place one of your models on top. Imagine yourself building it. Then block-up the board until you're comfortable. Don't forget to add-in 3/4"-1" for that anti- fatigue floor mat...

EJWash
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 11:41 PM
wood is good
loNslo's Avatar
United States, CA, Marina Del Rey
Joined Jun 2012
1,316 Posts
EJ--Good post.

You bring up a good point: tailor the height of your workbench to your own specific size and needs.

My woodworking benches are 34-1/2" and 35-1/2", the latter being as tall as I'd want, at 5'7". These are heavily constructed or heavily laden; the smallest has (2) 60-lb lead pigs, for ballast, plus cases of fasteners and tool storage.

But my modeling bench is closer to table height, where I can sit in a comfortable desk chair. It's a portable ~2'x4' building board top that I can secure to a heavy, metal, welding table, or move out of the way, when it is not needed; clamped to the table, it's rock-solid.

For very large work pieces, I've setup extra-low benches in order to bring the project to comfortable working height. I would never be satisfied with a bench which did not provide a solid, stable platform.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 11:43 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Joined Oct 2002
11,219 Posts
EJ makes some good points for bench height. The standard for kitchen counters is 36". But a steak and a few vegtables don't sit up on landing gear either. Same with doing wood working cabinetry. The tools may lay flat but the project itself will typically stand up quite proud of the surface. Even a wing being built on a building board which lays on the counter will suddenly be a reach for a lot of us if the counter is already 36".

So if you're planning on using cheap or used kitchen lower cabinet and drawers it would be well worth considering cutting off the lower kick allowance and drop things down by 3 inches or so. And that applies to even someone like myself at just over 6'. Something I'll be doing for my own cabinetry now that it's been raised here.

Speaking of which for the spots that have kitchen style lower units I'd suggest primarily or all drawer units. Lower shelf cabinets are simply "black holes" with stuff at the back which requires you to get onto your knees. So stick with those being drawer only. Then include a couple of "pantry" like floor to ceiling shelf units for the heavy or bulky stuff.

Quote:
I had to laugh at Matthew's "vertically challenged" comment
Would I be mistaken if my parentage was not called into question along with your healthy guffaw?

Hey, you should have gone for the medical first thing in the morning . I understand that it's quite normal to stretch by up to an inch while we sleep then compress down during the day as our spines are loaded up. I'm not sure how long it takes to drop back to "normal" though.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 05:29 PM
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planeman's Avatar
Atlanta, GA USA
Joined Sep 2001
1,862 Posts
A suggestion for wheels and casters: Try Harbor Freight and Tractor Supply.

I have spent a lot of the year putting my machines on casters as, though my basement shop is large, years of collecting machines has made space a problem. I found out two things: The Chinese casters are really good if you buy carefully and pay attention to the caster load specifications, and heavy machines really don't need locking casters. If you are putting enough lateral load to move the machine when working, you are definitely doing something wrong! I have an 850 lb table saw and put it on cast iron casters with rubber treads. Each caster is rated at 320 lbs for a total of 1,280 lbs (4 casters). I can still move the saw to reposition it for really large ply or boards, but it takes a strong yank or hip nudge to get it moving. And the casters cost $4.50 each on sale at Harbor Freight as compared to $16 or more at an industrial supply house.

Planeman
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 07:17 PM
wood is good
loNslo's Avatar
United States, CA, Marina Del Rey
Joined Jun 2012
1,316 Posts
It's more of a problem with lighter machines, particularly those which are mounted to the commercially made rolling bases with hard wheels. For these, I just kick a wooden wedge underneath to prevent it from rolling.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 09:25 PM
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USA, TX, Houston
Joined Nov 2003
2,720 Posts
This next story is 'sort of' workshop related so bare with me.

I have a 14 year old recliner that I love. Fits me like a glove. Got it at Sam's Club for $300. It is not a masterpiece of craftsmanship and the covering is leather blend stuff. The years are showing (tears, stains, lumps) and we all agree it is time for a new one.

My wife and kids gave me a Father's Day gift of "Go Buy A New Recliner"...but after several months of looking in MANY stores (expensive and cheap), I could not find one that I liked. There was a nice one made by FlexSteel that looked similar to our couch but it was over $1000!! No thanks. I also went to a few upholstery shops and both said the chair frame was 'cheap' and that recovering it would cost more than $700-$800. I love the chair...but not THAT much.

Today, I picked up another Sam's Club recliner for $400. It looks good in the den but it doesn't feel quite right (yet). Maybe I need to squish down the foam and leather for a few days to see if it forms to my butt (and my short legs). Testing in progress.

Why did I bore you with this? Well, it's how I feel about the height of my future counters and workbench. After reading all the good advice you guys have been sharing, I can't decide which height is the right fit for me. As a 5' 4" (formerly 5' 5") guy, tall counters are not good for me when I sit. And, since I tend to sit more when I build, it makes sense to bring the counter height back down.

I have the option right now to customize everything in the shop for "ME". I think I'll try EJ's idea and set up tables at different heights and give them a try. I built my son a little desk using a broken cubicle counter and installed IKEA adjustable legs. I'll take it out to the backyard and put a 2'x6' piece of wood on it and see how it feels. I'll probably shoot for 34" and see how that goes.

The workbench is very important for this shop so I'll start working on the plans and let everyone chime in on their ideas (and hopefully praises).

And now some QUESTIONS!!

Question #1: Do you guys use peg boards to hold your tools? If not, how do you store your tools around your workshop?

Question #2: Anyone using a dust collector in their hobby room?

Question #3: Stool or chair? With or without wheels?

Question #4: Do you use a dry erase white board?

Question #5: Anyone using a mini-split A/C unit in their workshop? Model? Opinion?

Question #6: Someone mentioned mats on the floor. Use them? Type?

And please share your workshop photos!
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 10:25 PM
wood is good
loNslo's Avatar
United States, CA, Marina Del Rey
Joined Jun 2012
1,316 Posts
1) No. I use rollaway and top cabinets, tool bags and tool rolls.

2) No.

3) Chair with wheels; stools without.

4) Pencil and paper.

5) No.

6) No.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 11:23 PM
AMA 910957
EJWash1's Avatar
United States, WA, Hoodsport
Joined Mar 2008
5,228 Posts
Question #1:
Most of my portable tools and hand tools are in cabinets and rolling tool boxes. I do use pegboard with the metal fixtures to hold some of my hand tools I want at my workbench. Though, refer to question #2

Question #2:
Anyone using a dust collector in their hobby room?
Yes. I use a dust collector at each of my stationary power tools and a dust collector hanging just below the ceiling. Without a dust collector, dust WILL settle on your peg board mounted tools. Plus, you do not want to breath dust for years and years...

Question #3:
I dont have a stool or chair, but I’d opt for a stool. A stool, with a cushioning spring. No wheels (lazy?)

Question #4:Not sure what for.

Question #5:
I’m in Arizona, it ain’t gonna help!

Question #6:
At least 3/4”, thicker is better. Woodworking store, Harbor Freight. Change them out annually.

EJWash
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 12:21 PM
The Prez....... again
kenh3497's Avatar
United States, IA, Rockwell
Joined Jul 2011
3,821 Posts
My dust collector is nothing more than a 20 inch box fan with the same size furnace filter on the intake side of the fan. It works amazingly well. It is set up to the side of the spot I'm working. I turn it on a couple of minutes before I start a sanding project. This sets up a current of air movement to help carry sanding dust to the fan. Low or medium speed is all that is needed.

Ken
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Old Oct 20, 2012, 11:49 PM
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YarSmythe's Avatar
USA, TX, Houston
Joined Nov 2003
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Update 10/20/12

Builder has finished framing, plumbing, and electrical (sort of). Roof is finally completed too.

First problem I had to deal with is electrical. The good news is that both dedicated 20A circuits I ordered were in the right locations. Bad news...the idiot electrician ran every other outlet in the garage to the same breaker! 15 outlets on one breaker. Stupido. They even added a sub-panel next to the main box in the garage and what did they do? They tied everything in the garage to the MAIN box and only ran interior house lights into the sub-panel. I'm the one who recommended the sub-panel so they could use it for my WORKSHOP!

I had a talk with my salesman (another idiot) before I left and told him I wanted my workshop outlets tied into one 15A breaker and the rest of the outlets in the garage into something else. What I don't want is the garage door opener to start up and put a surge on all my electronics in the workshop. Man...if I wasn't at this house every day checking on things, the roof would be inside out.

...sigh...

They also screwed up my request for the insulation in the workshop. Our house is an "Energy Star" home that uses foam spray insulation in the attic and exterior walls. I told them I wanted it for my workshop. They said their records showed only "regular insulation" for the garage. BS.

...again, sigh...

I sat down with my iPad this evening and a pad of paper. Did searches on workbenches and drew up some sketches. Nothing to show for right now but I've got a rough idea how it'll go. I may scrap the wheels and opt to move the table "when necessary" with those furniture moving discs. When I have something closer to my final plan, I'll post an image.

Pics from today.
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Old Oct 20, 2012, 11:53 PM
Addicted to RC
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USA, TX, Houston
Joined Nov 2003
2,720 Posts
Quick bits:

- The original Pine trees still in the neighbor's lot are dumping a ton of needles on my garage. Two of the trees are all brown but the builder says they can't touch them. Does anyone recommend gutter treatments/attachments to help reduce the build up?

- Builder started to cut out a hole near the back door for an exterior light. I was all "Wow, thanks" until the contractor said it wasn't supposed to be there so they'll be ripping out the siding next week to put a new piece back in. Lovely. Pay more to have it torn out rather than going to Home Depot, pay $20 for a light, and finish the job you started. <grumble>

- Did I mention we'll be getting a really nice covered patio over on that side of the garage after closing? I'm sure my wife will say it is completely OFF LIMITS for outdoor painting.

-Lee
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Old Oct 21, 2012, 12:57 AM
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LaGrange, GA
Joined Jun 2009
1,811 Posts
Did you not have all this in writing? Your plans should have specified the circuits and what type of insulation to use. Where are the metal plates over the wiring? Make sure they install those before the drywall goes up or you're sure to hit a wire sooner or later mounting something to the wall. Glad it's coming together anyway, you'll enjoy it even with the minor annoyances.
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Old Oct 21, 2012, 12:22 PM
Do it Right, the first time!
CoolerByTheLake's Avatar
United States, MN, Hermantown
Joined Dec 2008
5,016 Posts
Too bad to hear abut the electric. Back in the late 80's I remodeled a former house--extream!!! I was lucky at the time I could do it myself. Everything was how and where I wanted it. And when the state inspector came by it was approved without question. Even gave me a nice compliment, said it was a better job than 95% of the contractors he had seen. There is only one way to do wiring, and that's the "right"way!
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