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Avoiding hunching over a workbench?


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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Folks, 

Recently have been struggling with my shoulders not enjoying the amount of hunching over my workbench that I've been doing and it's now impacting on life things hurting that shouldn't etc etc... So how do you avoid it? 

Raising the work surface looks like it'll help but you still need to lean forward over the bench and indeed have it low enough to exert force when cutting for example... 

 

All thoughts very welcome - anything to avoid the shoulder pain...


Thanks

Ralf

 

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I've noticed the same thing of late -  my layout is intentionally "chest high" but having no work bench I have only the option of window sill, dining table and a "bench" in my laundry room / cupboard.

My worse habit seems to be hunching over when there's no need to!  My second worse is a weird habit of keeping redundant objects in my hand while attempting intricate work (IE glue tube lid held in palm by ring and little finger of left hand while attempting intricate gluing of model!) I don't know why I do it but it's a habit that annoys the heck out of me!

My advice would be work at chest height where possible.

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We had this issue at work when checking drawings (there is a vicious rumour that they bought school desks to save money on full height ones :D).

 

Because we are on wheelie chairs we drop them to their lowest hight if we have multiple drawings to do. It stopped us getting back pain and it stops your natural tendency to lean forward. Mostly it's varying position helps, rather than hunching over for hours at a time, and a good source of light.

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  • RMweb Gold

 

I have always set my workbench at breakfast bar height, 1m or thereabouts, and used a height adjustable chair/bar stool. It's also a convenient height to stand and work at. Now the years of strain on the ligaments in my knees, rotator cuffs in my shoulders and my crushed vertebrae have all caught up with me I find it the most comfortable way to work.

 

Mike.

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Worth considering that when doing heavier work such as sawing, filing and cutting, the experts tend to stand up.

 

Also make sure you take a breather every now and then. Even if it's just a few minutes to go to the toilet or make a drink. Have a stretch. Take a look out of the window.

 

 

 

Jason

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I guess if money was no object I would consider one of those fancy moveable standing desks. I used one for work some time ago and found it a revelation to my back health and general health. But there must be a more DIY solution for modellers

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This is a too personal question to have a single answer. The height of my modelling bench was determined by trial and error using a pair of tressles and a length of old worktop. The most useful addition to the final bench were large shallow drawers on roller runners and another set at 90degrees so that'll my hand tools are within reach. I too use a roller stool rescued from the school skip. This batch were not a good purchase as the backs of the chairs lasted only a couple of years before breaking.

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3 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

Worth considering that when doing heavier work such as sawing, filing and cutting, the experts tend to stand up.

 

Also make sure you take a breather every now and then. Even if it's just a few minutes to go to the toilet or make a drink. Have a stretch. Take a look out of the window.

 

 

 

Jason

The height adjustable kits are surprising not ‘that’ expensive - relative to buying the desk.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/FLEXISPOT-Adjustable-Electric-Two-Stage-Automatic/dp/B07HFZP1Q3/ref=pd_lpo_196_t_0/258-9988496-2069329?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07HFZP1Q3&pd_rd_r=c5f0c7c1-a1b6-4f1a-964c-a6ff01303511&pd_rd_w=tlbIp&pd_rd_wg=52NfY&pf_rd_p=da0677f5-a47b-4543-8b54-10be576b8f26&pf_rd_r=PRQETYEV0M3CXC3X39HT&psc=1&refRID=PRQETYEV0M3CXC3X39HT

 

I’ve been thinking about this as I suffer the same as the OP. My concern with the kits are what there lateral support is like when apply pressure when cutting/filling etc... not a fan of a wobbly desk!

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Having Arthritis of the spine in two places I can empathize with you. I bought an old bureau secondhand for £20 as well as a gas lift 'computer' chair for the same amount. For any cutting I stand up to do it and as has been said, take short breaks, I have some modelling items purposely just out of reach to make me move.

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3 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

Worth considering that when doing heavier work such as sawing, filing and cutting, the experts tend to stand up.

 

Also make sure you take a breather every now and then. Even if it's just a few minutes to go to the toilet or make a drink. Have a stretch. Take a look out of the window.

 

 

 

Jason

I’m not an expert but I stand up. So at least part of my technique is right ! I have a jeweller’s table, which is higher than I’d expected for working height - probably says something about how some professionals prefer working with desk at about elbow level.

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  • RMweb Gold
11 hours ago, Ray Von said:

My second worse is a weird habit of keeping redundant objects in my hand while attempting intricate work

Haha, I’m not sure that’s better or worse than my worst habit of putting such redundant objects down, presumably right in front of my nose, then not being able to see/find them again without a fingertip forensic search. By which time, I’ve been distracted by a different job.

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The basic sub-supports for Cwmdimbath are skip raided Ikea dining tables, one slightly higher and larger than the other.  The lower one protrudes from beneath the sub-baseboards sufficiently to give me a work space which is employed in conjunction with a wheelie office chair that is also the operating chair.  At the other end of the layout, the higher table serves as a storage area and a standing work bench, and it is to this that the small vice is attached.  Sawing and that sort of physical stuff is done here, standing up!

 

I am old, feeble, and prone to aches and pains, and find that, after an intense session of close work like glazing coaches or putting door handles on, my eyes are shot and my shoulders, back, or neck, or some combination of them is hurting.  I try to give myself frequent breaks away from the layout in the living room with a cup of tea on the setee, but occasionally get enthralled by the modelling and suffer afterwareds.  Operating is very comfortable on the wheelie chair and I can do it all day!

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13 hours ago, ITG said:

Haha, I’m not sure that’s better or worse than my worst habit of putting such redundant objects down, presumably right in front of my nose, then not being able to see/find them again without a fingertip forensic search. By which time, I’ve been distracted by a different job.

Oh dear, you too? I was cleaning my track this afternoon. Paused to investigate some scenery then couldn't find where I'd put the cleaning rubber. My other bad habit is wiping my fingers on my clothes. Not a good habit if you're putting mod rock down.

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Havin had quite a few "workbenches" over the years, and currently in the building of a short term, temporary affair in the cellar....

 

Something that is about breast bone height*  with a concave front is the way to go for close up work.

Standing up of course, it is much better for you, and with very good light.

(apparently at 60, one needs three times the light to see the same as at 20...)

 

* that is about 4 foot 4 inches ish for me....

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks all for the input, the main focus seems to be a) stand up, b) work at a suitable height not just that of the table chosen! 

 

I suspect my "work bench" is actually far too big as it's made of two square tables which are 800mm square but about only 800mm from the floor, so I can't easily reach things on the far wall / edge nor is it high enough... Also it's c1600mm wide which is actually more space than required and thus fills with clutter, 

 

Cheers

Ralf

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  • RMweb Gold
8 hours ago, LBRJ said:

(apparently at 60, one needs three times the light to see the same as at 20...)

 

That explains a lot!

My new bench is in front of a North facing window, but I still need a daylight bulb to assist.

 

 

7 hours ago, Ralf said:

Thanks all for the input, the main focus seems to be a) stand up, b) work at a suitable height not just that of the table chosen! 

 

I suspect my "work bench" is actually far too big as it's made of two square tables which are 800mm square but about only 800mm from the floor, so I can't easily reach things on the far wall / edge nor is it high enough... Also it's c1600mm wide which is actually more space than required and thus fills with clutter, 

 

Cheers

Ralf

 

My workbench is an old solid wood Spanish door topped with cheap ply "(Madera contrachapada", which translates to "shite wood that you wouldn't buy unless it was all you could get even though it is more expensive than quality birch faced ply in the UK") which is just over 2m wide and 800mm deep and allows me to split it up into areas and have the soldering corner permanently set up.

 

Mike.

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10 hours ago, LBRJ said:

Havin had quite a few "workbenches" over the years, and currently in the building of a short term, temporary affair in the cellar....

 

Something that is about breast bone height*  with a concave front is the way to go for close up work.

Standing up of course, it is much better for you, and with very good light.

(apparently at 60, one needs three times the light to see the same as at 20...)

 

* that is about 4 foot 4 inches ish for me....

 

Very much agree about the light. From the age of fifty I realised that I was doing all my best modelling in natural daylight and forsook my bespoke cellar workshop for the dining room table or a tressle table in the green house . When we moved I had the chance to build a new garage workshop with a modelling room in the corner and ensured that it had double aspect windows facing North and East.

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