Benchwork height

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by gmbrd, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. gmbrd

    gmbrd New Member

    Good day gentlemen,
    I am about to move and rebuild my layout so I thought I would get some opinions (and I know there is alot of them out there) on bench height. My old one was 47 in. and I am 5'4". This was excellent for viewing, about eye level. Before I get started again, maybe there are some considerations I haven't thought about. How about it everyone? :)
  2. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    :D Finally, a topic that isn't rocket science. Whew.

    IMHO, bench height is mostly about one's personal taste. There's a significant tradeoff between access (i.e., the lower the benchwork the farther in one can reach) versus viewpoint (the closer to eye level, in most people's opinion, the better).

    I'm making my layout at 48" - I'm 6'3" so I could've made it higher, but my reasoning was that the 1x4's I'm using for legs comes in 8' lengths - hence, I can get two of 'em from one board.

    Proud Member, Rock Island "Cult"
  3. Catt

    Catt Guest

    I would have to say that if you were happy with it before that high you should do it again.:D

    I'm just over 6' and my layout is about the same height as yours and I like it because if I sit down I get the same view you get.

    The Purrfect railfanning height.
  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi gmbrd!
    My rule-of-thumb is that the benchwork should be about chest high. I think for most of us, that's about 18"- 20" less than our height, so for you, 47" is about right.
    This is assuming, of course that you like working on & operating your layout while standing up. If you would rather do things from a seated position, then see what chest height is when you're sitting, & that will tell you about where your benchwork needs to be.
    I guess the main consideration is, the lower the benchwork is, the harder it will be to get underneath it when you need to.
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    layout height?

    Mine is 1100mm (43") as that is the height of the prefab shelving I bought that supports it. I wanted something at a reasonable height, so I didn't break me back every time I leaned over it! I'm 198cm (5' 17"), so i wanted a reasonable height. It could be a bit higher, but I'm happy with the height. Also good for viewing when sitting down as well.
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    I'm 5' 7" and the base height of the layout is 41" rising to about 49" at the highest point. I like to run the trains sitting down and use an adjustable office chair for my "engineer's seat" At the base height I'm at eye level and have to look up slightly to watch the trains go over and thru the mountains. I built an 18" step stool to stand on to reach those part of the layout that are too far away to reach standing on the floor.
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Woodie, 5'17"? God Damn!

  8. gmbrd

    gmbrd New Member

    I knew it! You guys showed me the the best way to go about it. It never dawned on me that I could have it sitting down. DUUHH! Thanx again.
  9. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    My layout is 43" to 48" tall and if you sit down on a regular chair all you see is the table edge. So I got a nice cushy bar stool to sit on and it works great, plus standing up it is a good height to work on, I'm 6' tall.:eek:
  10. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    My new layout is going to be 66 inches high!

    It's not that I'm 8 feet tall. The op isle will have a floor raised 16 inches.

    The reason for this is that there will still be plenty of standing headroom under my 8 foot ceilings, but there will also be lots of room under the layout for storage shelves (I have a large collection of MRR magazines) and I can even have a duck-under that doesn't take much ducking --- not to mention that all the work that needs to be done under the layout won't be nearly so uncomfortable. Also, under one wing of the layout, I'll have my work bench (accessed from the non-raised floor side) snugled under there nicely.

    There will even be storage under the raised floor. I've found that there is no such thing as too much storage.

    Bill S
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I'm six feet and my wife is 5 foot 3 so we compromised. My latest layout is just below her eye-level. It's also just below my arm level so that sweaters and baggy shirtsleeves (anything except a t-shirt) catches on scenery & buildings & cars. I usually have to use a portable step to do work in the back half.

    The height was arrived at prgmatically. The support for the layout is IKEA shelving and the benchwork is L-girders that sit on the top of the uprights.

    (For those who don't know: IKEA is the Athearn of the furniture business -- almost shake the box kits.)
  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Bill Stone.....I remember years ago reading about a club layout in one of the mags that was built like that only they built it high enough for a 6'6" man to be able to stand up under it. Of course they had a 14' or 16' ceiling to work with in a large warehouse type building. I think it was the Central Model Railroad Club of New Jersey if I remember right.
  13. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    After many layouts, single and double decked, I am now almost done creating my newest layout and hopefully the final one. It has all the good things from my previous experiences and I would like to think I have learned something. It is single level and is 58inches from the floor. It gives me the best viewing for my 6ft. height and I love it. Now, to do some of the track and scenery, I have to use a step stool but that hasn't been a problem. My layout is designed for walk around so no time for sitting. It is easy to do under track work at that height too.
    So GMBRD I suggest setting a height that is just below armpit height. This gives premium viewing but still allows you to reach in about two feet if needed.
  14. RI541

    RI541 Member

    Mine's 38" how I came up with that number I dont know I thought it was 48" oh-well to late to change it now.

    5'17" is pretty tall I used to work on a crew where no one was under 6'3" except me.
  15. gmbrd

    gmbrd New Member

    You know, guys, When I posted this question I thought it was pretty cut and dried. But now I'm really torn. I'll have walkaround capabilities, I enjoyed the eye level of my old setup but I can't spend too much time on my feet. (moved furniture for 17 years) What to do , what to do... I got alot more feedback than I figured on.
  16. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Sorry we have confused the issue here GMBRD.:rolleyes: If I was in your circumstances, I would get an office chair on wheels so you could scoot around instead of walk around. So depending on the height of the chair I would still have the layout at a height that would be at the level of my armpits while sitting in the chair. Hope this helps.:D
  17. gmbrd

    gmbrd New Member

    Thanx Matthyro, it's not a big deal. I meant that it would be handy to sit in an office chair and scoot around but then I would have to invest in a creeper to do the wiring!;) ;)
  18. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Well creepers aren't expensive and you could probaly find one at a garage sale. I used one to wire under the lower level when I had a two level railroad. You can have it free the only problem would be getting it from here to you. The wiring is only done once if you get it right the first time but you will operate the railway many times
    Where there is a will, there is a way!:D
  19. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The spec' for the height of the mainline tracks on the modules in my group is 39" from the floor.
    This turns out to be true for the first module set up, after that, it depends on how level the floor is.
  20. gmbrd

    gmbrd New Member

    It's funny that you mention about the floor being level. I'm moving the layout from the loft of my garage which happens to be suspended from the ceiling by three steel rods. There's nothing level about it. Building the new one will be boring in comparison.:D

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