I admit, I'm reluctant. 31", for such it would be if we follow the "knuckle joint of the pinkie" rule, seems so very low. But as I worked the far stile of the doors by holding the plane in front of me like a tea tray and swept it along, with nothing like the level of control I'd have wished for and barely any downward pressure at all, it occurred to me that if I could get above it a bit more, it'd have made my life considerably easier. And my shoulders would have thanked me too. So I'm practically decided I'll go for it.
I'm still vacillating on the matter of the tail vice, but I finally made up my mind that, however cool, the flip stop option was not for me. I love the idea, but it would have meant top stretchers, which I'm really trying to avoid. Eventually it dawned on me that any horizontal surface in the workshop always ends up with "stuff" on it anyway, so chances are I'd never be able to get to the flip-stop to actually flip it...
Meanwhile I'm just about getting straight in my head the order of events once I get started. Alas, the first one will be dealing with some light surface rust on machine tables. Sigh. Really it's a miracle it's not worse, as nothing was actually put in a long-term storage condition. More like the Marie Celeste where everything in the workshop was left as-is at the moment I left it. Heigh ho.
Anyway, I'll leave you with a workbench-related quote from 2001, from a writer who was, as I understand it, building his first bench at the time. 38" tall and with the stretchers bolted because "Workbenches, you see, are subject to a lot of racking back and forth. A plain old mortise-and-tenon joint just won’t hack it."
"With the bench complete, I was pleased with the price and the time it took, which was about 30 hours. However, I’m now itching to build a cabinet beneath the bench and to add a leg jack for planing the edges of long boards. Maybe I’ll get to that next issue, or maybe I’ll let a future granddaughter take care of those details."
Or maybe he went on to build another bench. Or twenty...