What Size Should a Woodworking Bench Be?

If you are in the woodworking business, it would be almost impossible to imagine taking on your craft without a woodworking bench.

They may be simple but they are one of the most essential tools in your shop. When it comes to size, how big should a woodworking bench be?

The average workbench size is 32” wide, 40” lengthwise, and 36” tall. However, when choosing the size of your workbench you must consider the space you have to accommodate the length of the piece, what width is most appropriate for your style of work, and which height is most comfortable for you.

There is no generally perfect size for woodworking benches when it comes to size.

The workbench that you choose or build yourself is dictated by your own individual needs and how well the workbench is able to work with your usual materials as well as your body.

Still, there are several common recommendations to consider when choosing a woodworking bench size.

Continue reading to find out the things you must consider before choosing the size of your woodworking bench. 

What to Consider Before Choosing a Woodworking Bench Size 

A woodworking bench, even if you are dealing with smaller projects, is a must-have in any woodworking shop.

They are the one place where you always have a spot to glue things together, measure out projects, put together plans, and even occasionally be a storage spot for all those random items that somehow end up in your shop.

More, you will need a woodworking bench for many of the manual portions of your project that have to do with sawing, cutting, and trimming your wood.

With it being so imperative that you have a woodworking bench, it is even more essential that you have one that suits your exact needs.

What is so great about woodworking benches is that they come in just about any width, length, and height that you could ever imagine.

If you aren’t looking to purchase one, then by building your own, you can make it even more customizable. 

There is no reason to have a woodworking bench that you are uncomfortable standing at.

Especially considering the amount of time that you will likely spend at your woodworking bench if you are a serious woodworker, it is worth investing in a woodworking bench (or making one for yourself) that is the perfect dimension for you and your unique needs.

So before you buy or build, take a few minutes to see exactly what your needs are with this invaluable piece. 

Consider the Length You Need for Your Woodworking Bench 

Unless you are working in the great outdoors, it is likely that you only have a limited amount of space to work within your shop.

Even if you have a large woodworking area, there is so much space that can be allotted to the multitude of tools that are either currently within it or will eventually be taking up space.

Of course, you can opt for some incredible storage and organization options for your tools, but you will still need a woodworking bench to work with them on.

This means that you have to consider the length of your woodworking bench so that you have enough room to work, but do not go too oversized that you end up cluttering up your space and leaving no room for your additional woodworking tools. 

Everyone would like to have 90 inches worth of length to sprawl out even the biggest boards, but the simple fact is that this is not a possibility for most (nor is it necessary).

Go to the area that you plan to fit your workbench and measure out the length of the space.

Once you know how much room you have to work with, you can then determine how long or how short you have to go.

The availability of space will likely dictate the length more than what kind of work you do. 

Consider the Width You Need for Your Woodworking Bench 

When it comes to width, you might be thinking that the most important factor is the space you have available for your woodworking bench, however, there is a bit more that is involved in this aspect of decision making.

Although space does play a factor, you really want to consider what width is comfortable for your reach.

If you have a workbench that you will not be using as a double-sided space, then you want to be able to reach the back of it without having to strain. 

Even more, if you plan to keep any type of drawers or storage units on top of your workbench, you are going to need enough space to store those objects while simultaneously having enough room to work.

If you have a 12” deep drawer on the top and only have a 24” wide woodworking bench, that leaves you only 12 additional inches to work.

This may sound like plenty, but when it comes down to it, that is a very tight space to work within. 

With the length and width of your woodworking bench, this is really where you want to consider the type of woodworking that you will be achieving.

If you are working on smaller projects, you might not need as much space.

But, if you plan to spread out and use long pieces of lumber, you will want to make sure they are supported so that they do not warp.

Consider the Height You Need for Your Woodworking Bench  

This might be one of the most important aspects to consider when either purchasing or crafting your own woodworking bench.

You are going to spend countless hours at this spot tinkering, sanding, measuring, planning, and everything else.

It is crucial then that you are in a comfortable stance when you are at the workbench.

To have a hunched posture or to have to be straining to reach the table comfortably would be an absolute nightmare long term. 

You want your woodworking bench to be right about at elbow height in a resting position.

If you have to raise your arms or have to bend in order to reach this position and it is uncomfortable, then the workbench is either too tall or too short for your height.

Whether you are building or buying your woodworking bench, measure from the floor to your resting elbows and this should give you a good gauge of how high the bench should be. 

If you are worried about needing to adjust the height for different projects or for any other reason, there are fewer permanent options for height.

When buying, look for those woodworking benches that have adjustable legs.

If you are building your own, you can either create your own adjustable legs (if you have the skillset for that type of build) or you can purchase risers that will help to give your bench a bit more height when needed. 

While there are pretty standard heights for woodworking benches, this is where building one yourself will really come in handy.

You get to consider if you are taller or shorter and how that will impact the type of woodworking skills you will test out on your bench.

Plus, you can allow room for if you plan to press into your tools and need the woodworking bench to sit a little lower, or if you want to keep the bench at eye-level for detail work.

Consider the Quality of Your Woodworking Bench 

Many times, it is easy to opt for the cheaper option of any tool or machine.

When it comes to woodworking, there is a need for quite a few different tools and at the end of the day, the cost of them adds up.

Therefore, when you see a deal, it is only natural to feel like paying into that option is the best choice for your budget.

Although this may save you in the moment, paying for something that costs less, but also is of lesser quality, could end up costing you in the end. 

When it comes to your woodworking bench, this is a piece that you are going to be using day-in and day-out.

It is going to experience constant handling and because of this, you need to ensure that the woodworking bench you have either purchased or made on your own is going to be able to withstand the wear and tear that comes with daily use.

You want a woodworking bench that can hold up well regardless of how often it is used. 

You want a woodworking bench that is made of solid materials, is well constructed, and has overall good reviews. If you are buying one, these are the points you need to pay attention to.

If you are making your woodworking bench, be sure to select a quality wood that will withstand the wear and tear that you bring to it within your shop and construct it in a way that is functional yet also sturdy. 

You do not have to choose the most expensive material or the highest-end brand for your woodworking bench, but you do want one that is going to last you throughout your time in your woodworking shop and can retire along with you when that day comes.

Quality does not always mean the most outrageous price, but it often does mean that the cheapest choice is not going to be your best bet.