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MikeHoncho's picture


I am curious what the "ideal" height of a tablesaw surface should be. I suspect that it's a relative measurement based on the operator's height, and also that the need for a mobile stand, leveling feet, or the sheer weight of the tool itself probably causes many people to simply accept whatever the height of their tablesaw ends up being. Nonetheless I wonder what the ideal is, and more importantly, what the safe limitations might be. I'm sadly unable to afford a cabinet saw at this time and my Craftsman 10" contractor saw seems quite "tall" at about 38" off the ground (on a mobile stand that raises it about an inch or so off the ground). The leading edge of the blade also seems quite far from the front of the table. I'm not familiar with what the variation from table to table might be. I ask for your thoughts. Thanks.

WoodRae's picture

(post #125344, reply #1 of 4)


In an ideal world, you could stand at your saw with you arms relaxed at your side, raise your hands so they’re parallel with the floor, and your palms would be at the desired tablesaw table height. In other words, the saw’s height should allow you to get upper body leverage over the work, so you can push stock in comfort and with better control using your upper body weight, and not your arm muscles.

In the real world, I look at all the other table surfaces in my shop, and try to get them to line up with each other. For example, a mobile outfeed table should be the same height, or a hair under, the saw’s height; your router table may be nearby and shouldn’t be higher that the saw so it won’t interfere with processing sheet goods; you may keep you jointer near the saw (which is very handy during milling operations) and its fence may get in the way if it’s higher that the saw; a workbench makes a good outfeed or sidefeed table and shouldn’t be higher than the saw. You get the idea.

From my experience, 34 in. or 34 1/2 in. are the ‘standard’ tablesaw heights you’ll find in most shops. Mobile bases typically raise that height to an uncomfortable level, and unless you’re 6’6”, I suspect your own saw is too high at 38 in. Some woodworkers get around this by nailing work platforms to the floor around their saws, or by adding really thick floor mats. Others forgo the standard commercial mobile bases and build their own devices that allow the saw to sit on the floor without raising its factory height; a wheeled, pivoting mechanism drops down and levers the saw off the floor when you need to move it. There have been some clever designs published in the magazine over the years. Why not search the Fine Woodworking archives to see if there’s a design that suits your needs? Try searching ‘mobile bases’ and let us know what you find.

Best of luck,

Andy Rae

MikeHoncho's picture

(post #125344, reply #2 of 4)



Thanks for your reply. I'm in a bit of a quandry as to what to do now. I do feel that the 38" height of the saw is a bit uncomfortable though it is still workable. I will probably use a platform for the short term to raise myself to a more comfortable height. Having everything else lower than the saw, at this point, is quite easy. Thanks for the average table height info as this will at least ensure that I don't build shop cabinets and surfaces that, at minimum height, are too tall for a new cabinet style saw.

cowtown's picture

(post #125344, reply #3 of 4)

To cowtown's pea-brain and 5.5' height, 36"  seems to be an established working height in many areas of workspaces.  However it happened, that's what my TS bed height is.

That being said, I also have another TS, one which is only used for rabbets and dados, and as it has to fit under the existing main saw table, with fence and dust hoses etc, it's table height is around 31"


I find no difficulty tranferring from one machine to the other, so I've just gotta say that if there is a "hard and fast" rule as to height, it's likely either inefficient or wrong or prpogates some other BS dogma of .

 What more perspective can I provide.?

As for apologizing for the Craftsman 10" ts, no worries mate. That short saw I described, the one with the dado blades on it, well it is a craftsman, purchased used for 100 bucks over 30 years ago, used by myself and employees to fabricate many complete stores and kitchens, and only retired from substantial use last year. Yu might have to replace a motor, fence,  or part or two along the way, but don't apologize for it .


WoodRae's picture

(post #125344, reply #4 of 4)

I'm with you, Cowtown. There is no hard and fast rule on tablesaw height—or any tool, for that matter. The 'established' tablesaw height of 34 to 36 in. is more likely the result of manufacturers deciding for us what they think we need in terms of shape and size, and then streamlining the production process, which involves standardizing sizes for efficiency. That doesn't make the finished product ideal, because we humans come in an infinite number of sizes and needs.

The good news is that we are free to 'make' out own tools by modifying what manufactuers offer, such as raising or lowering a tablesaw to a height that suits us.