Need Help Designing a Sitting Work Bench

I am 73 yeas old and on supplemental oxygen 24/7. I lack the strength and stamina to stand ng at my power tools.My first project is to build a workbench where I can sit and work. Due to mobility issues, I would like two columns with drawers. I’m thinking 3-4 drawers on each side of the knee well.

I will CNC foam for inserts to hold the tools in the drawers. Any suggestions for cheap 2-color foam will be appreciated.

Due to space issues, I’d like the bench to be between 4-5 feet and 2 feet or so deep. Since, as always, money is an issue, so Douglas fir seems a good idea. Thinking 4x4s for legs. Top from 6x10, cut down to 3-4 inches thick. I think I would have trouble mortising the legs into the table top. Considering my height (6’, 2") please recommend a seated height.

I have a 12 inch thickness planer and a 6 inch jointer–no strength for hand planing except touch up.

Thank you in advance for any ideas you have.

Best regards,

Allen Curry

You didn’t mention a wheelchair, so I’d recommend an adjustable-height stool for sitting at your workbench. Get one with pneumatic lift for quick and effortless height adjustment of the seat. For some tasks you want to have a higher approach to your work than for others, so this gives you options. If you’re on portable O2 when you’re in the workshop, perhaps you could make a wheeled trolley/stool combo that holds the concentrator/O2 tank, and then you can move about your workspace without getting up.

For your workbench, I’d think about leverage. If you’re going to be doing most of your work from a seated position, and you want to be able to use your body weight/strength, build the workbench lower to give you the best access to your projects. If you’re mostly doing fine detail/finishing work, then build the bench higher so you can see your work better. But, remember… with an adjustable stool, you can have all the options.

What about dining table height? That’s typically around 30 inches from the floor to the table surface. Working backwards, tha’s 26 to 27 inches height under the top/inside the knee well for drawer space, which should be enough for one or two deep drawers on a side, and a shallower drawer for smaller things on either side.

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Kimberly, it was very kind of you to post such a lengthy response. I have four adjustable seats for various places in the shop. No wheelchair. I have two very large O2 tanks that have overhead tubing to facilitate movement about the shop.

Leverage and other recommendations are good. I think I was unclear in my post. I really need assistance in drawing up plans, I have built workbenches before, so that is no problem. But creating a knee space with drawers on each side is where I need assistance.

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.



@AllenRCurry Build two boxes for your drawers. Each should be 30" high. The depth 22" . Build the drawers into these boxes. Have the big box store cut the sizes of the plywood for you. This will be easy to work with and easy to transport home. For the workbench top, use a solid core door slab. They are relatively inexpensive and are perfectly flat. The store can cut this to five feet. Top done. To attach the two boxes with drawers use pocket holes and screws. Drawers are very easy to build. I have many videos that may help you. Here is one on building the drawers.



Great suggestion about the two boxes, I had not thought of that. I routinely have Lowe’s cut my plywood. Not the most accurate, so I have them cut slightly oversize and trim on my table saw. I have watched many drawer making videos on You Tube. Will look at your link. I am very appreciative of the ideas, thanks to you I have a good idea of what to do.

Thanks so much and best regards,


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