building table - what material is easiest on the forearms? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-18-2015, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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building table - what material is easiest on the forearms?

some table surface materials feel bouncier / more forgiving on the forearms. i find this to be the case in library and college classroom furniture. i think they are all made of particle board. the herman miller everywhere table - a 24" x 48" x 1" particleboard sells for $400. my school uses haworth tactical tables which is also made of particle board.

i was thinking that these furniture makers use particle board for low cost and greater profit margin. however, i have a solid poplar desk and a plywood desk and neither are as forgiving to the forearms as the library furniture. maybe they are onto something?

so, what determines how forgiving / easy on the forearms a table top can be? solid wood vs particle board? solid vs hollow core? does a layer like laminate or formacoat make a noticeable difference?
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-18-2015, 04:58 PM
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I really don't see how any different species of wood you could sense the difference on your forearms. The edge profile could make a difference. Some have fairly sharp corners where some are more rounded.

Particle board is used to reduce the cost in modern furniture. Not only is particle board used the veneer covering it is getting so thin you can almost see through it. In the event such a table was damaged and needed refinishing there usually isn't enough wood on the table to do it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-18-2015, 05:02 PM
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some table surface materials feel bouncier / more forgiving on the forearms. i find this to be the case in library and college classroom furniture. i think they are all made of particle board. the herman miller everywhere table - a 24" x 48" x 1" particleboard sells for $400. my school uses haworth tactical tables which is also made of particle board.

i was thinking that these furniture makers use particle board for low cost and greater profit margin. however, i have a solid poplar desk and a plywood desk and neither are as forgiving to the forearms as the library furniture. maybe they are onto something?

so, what determines how forgiving / easy on the forearms a table top can be? solid wood vs particle board? solid vs hollow core? does a layer like laminate or formacoat make a noticeable difference?
Forearm comfort probably isn't even a consideration for them. Material cost, availability, and stability are their primary concerns.

Honestly hard, is hard, I can't imagine the surface is playing a part in how easy it is on your arms. The factors I see are height in relation to the chair, and the edge. I've never put that much weight on my forearms when at a table or a desk. Perhaps posture and core strength are playing a part in this as well?
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-21-2015, 10:01 PM
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Height and edge profile is the most important issue for comfort. Type of wood? doesn't matter w/ regards to the OP's question.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-22-2015, 03:26 AM
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Height and edge profile is the most important issue for comfort. Type of wood? doesn't matter w/ regards to the OP's question.
Exactly. If you want comfort at a desk or table, get a comfortable chair with adjustable height.

If it ain't broke, it'll cost too much.

Form follows function... Unless my wife wants it pretty, then... Form is function
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-22-2015, 06:33 AM
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Height and edge profile is the most important issue for comfort. Type of wood? doesn't matter w/ regards to the OP's question.
+1

George
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-23-2015, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the feedback everyone. in this case, i'm going to go with a solid poplar table top for half the price of a particle board hyped up herman miller table. i already have excellent table legs with casters.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-23-2015, 09:48 PM
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so, what determines how forgiving / easy on the forearms a table top can be? solid wood vs particle board? solid vs hollow core? does a layer like laminate or formacoat make a noticeable difference?

My opinion is the height and finish contribute to the comfort of a table.
If the height is moved up or down only a little bit, it might become more or less comfortable to your forearms. The final finish can also effect the feel of the table. Is the table slick? A top with the slightest amount of roughness could become uncomfortable after several hours. Table tops can be made of solid wood, veneer, laminate or many other types. Each top will have a different feel.
I don't think we can actually feel the hardness of the wood with our forearms. Most modern school furniture is made of plywood veneer these days.
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