20 December 2013

Comfy Cob Bench Ergonoics

Love the look of a cob bench but not sure if clay will be comfortable to sit on?  Comfort is more about ergonomics than the surface material.  A cushy couch can be uncomfortable, which a wooden chair can be superbly comfy.  The difference...they key...is how the body fits on the seat.

cob bench at Black Ankle Vineyard's Tasting Room the I designed & built in Maryland

Here are some tips for building an ergonomic, comfortable bench:

  1. The height of the seat should allow you to sit with your feet flat on the ground in front of you.  Otherwise the lip of the seat will cut off the circulation in the back of your thighs and your legs will fall asleep.  15 to 17 inches high is about right for most people.
  2. The depth of the seat should be deep enough but not too deep.  If it is too shallow, then you are literally sitting on the edge of your seat.  If it is too deep, then you can't sit back comfortably against the backrest.  14 to 18 inches deep is about right for most people.
  3. The seat should slope down slightly toward the rear.  This lets you nestle into your spot.  A 5-degree slope is about perfect.
  4. The backrest should support you and slope back slightly.  The ideal angle between the seat and the backrest is about 100 to 110 degrees.
  5. The base of the bench should give you room to pull your feet back toward your body.  When your knees are less than a 90-degree angle, your quads are more relaxed, so the sitting position if more comfortable.  So the front face of the bench should slant away from the front edge of the seat (instead of going straight down to the ground).  The point where the base meets the ground should be at least 3" back from the front of the seat.
The biggest tip of all, is to test your seat out as you build it.  Literally sit on it as you build.  See if it feels good.  See if your feet can comfortably touch the ground.  See if you can lean back comfortably on the backrest.  Keep testing and adjusting until it feels perfect to you.  And most importantly...have fun cobbing!