One of the primary reasons I designed the Jack Bench is to be height adjustable is simple, and a question I often get: Ergonomics!
We’ve been hearing about ergonomics for a number of years now, and while they embrace it in corporate settings with every new-fangled thing that comes out, people in the woodworking community ignored it for quite a while. And then they would end up dealing with back pain and the like. A workbench height that is too low is a great recipe for a backache and a workbench height that is too tall for the task just makes things harder than they have to be. And I was tired of dealing with back pain. So I decided to come up with an adjustable height workbench that would be kind to my back. And that design ended up as the Jack Bench.
Ergonomics refers to how efficient people are in their work settings. And I was not very productive with my old bench when I wanted to be carving many nights but dealing with back pain from the previous night’s carving took the fun out of it. Since building The Jack Bench, I’ve heard from many carvers and those doing veneer work that they also have back pain after a good night of working in their shops.
I wanted more than just height adjustment when it came to the ergonomic design of the bench as well. I wanted the ability to stand next to the bench without banging my feet or knees into it, or standing at an awkward angle so my feet didn’t get in the way. That’s why there is a gap in bottom of all of the pictures you see. The legs are on the inside and there’s still room to for your feet so you can get right up next to the bench.
Decrease Fatigue and Maximize Production
With an ergonomically designed workbench, I’ve found I don’t get tired as much and am able to work longer. And I’ve heard the same thing from many people who have built the Jack Bench for their own workshops. It’s not just my back that benefits, but really my whole body. When the bench is lowered, you can put your whole weight into hand planing. And when using power tools, the bench can be set at the appropriate distance for best efficiency so that your arms don’t tire as fast.
The adjustable height of this bench also makes it less of a strain on failing eyesight. Again, without straining out your back, you can get right up close to the project so that you aren’t straining your eyes either. This makes not just your body better, but also give you the chance to make a better project, with fewer mistakes and not as much wasted money redoing something. And wasting a good piece of cherry that had a mistake carved into it is quite a shame. That’s why, at least for me, I really like the ability to get close to my project. It’s easier on my back, my eyes, and my arms. Also, I can now stand or sit and have the perfect table height for either one.
Ergonomic Workbench for Everyone
And the great thing about an adjustable height workbench is that it’s not just ergonomic for one person, but whoever uses it. If you have shorter children or grandchildren who you’re trying to instill in them a love for woodworking, this bench will easily lower to accommodate their height. And then in a couple years, you can raise it up after they’ve had their growth spurts – I know I’ve had to do that for children in my shop.
I really like how much better I feel since using this bench, and luckily I’ve heard from a lot of people who have built the bench for themselves and they all say the same thing. I hope you will too.