I regularly get asked “Joshua, can you recommend a workbench that is affordable, sturdy, portable, and easy to build?”
I used to laugh at the requests. But I recently discovered a historical 18th century workbench that was resurrected from the past by Will Myers, an instructor at Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The old Workbench is part of the Moravian collection at Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Will and I wanted to make an easy step-by-step video (based on his class and his article) so that anyone can build this workbench with hand tools. And we did it!
We just finished filming the DVD: “Building the Portable Moravian Workbench with Will Myers” at Roy Underhill’s school…thanks Roy! (Click here to purchase the DVD or digital download).
In the video we share very detailed instruction, which will help you to become proficient in using hand tools. It’s packed with skills and tips! This could even be a first project for beginners.
Bill Anderson even showed up to lend a helping hand…thanks Bill!
The video at the top of this page shows how quickly the Moravian workbench can be assembled. It’s especially a great workbench for people who live in small spaces (like a city apartment or a basement) or for people who will be doing on-site woodworking.
The video will be published by Popular Woodworking Magazine in a month or two, but you can currently get on the notification list (to be emailed when it’s released) right here. If you’re interested in free plans and resources (like the vises) click here.
Below are some fun photographs that I took during our video shoot…comment below and let me know what you think!
This device is an ingenious tail vise built by Will Myers. He takes special orders, so contact me here if you’re interested in ordering one for your workbench.
If you’ve built a Moravian Workbench, contact me and I can post a photo of your workbench on Wood And Shop!
Below are some photos of the original portable Moravian Workbench (at Old Salem, North Carolina) that inspired Will Myers’ workbench.
In the DVD you will see a tour we took of the workbench warehouse at Old Salem, and you can learn more about the history of the Moravian Workbench.
muy bonito e interesante este sitio ami tambien me gusta la carpinteria
saludos desde tarragona spain
Gracias por su visita! Now let me come visit you in Tarragona!
I’m glad you like the Moravian Workbench!
Great website Joshua! This is an amazing resource for the beginning woodworker, thank you.
You’re welcome Joseph! I’m happy to have you following me!
This bench looks so awesome! How sturdy is the bench Josh? Is the top thick enough to use hold fasts? I wish I could see it in action. Can’t wait too see the how to video!
It’s super sturdy. Yes, the top is thick enough for hold fasts…I use Gramercy holdfasts on my Moravian Workbench. You can see the workbench in action as soon as the video comes out on DVD & Digital Download!
Thanks Joshua! I love your website! It’s my go to buyers guide, and your videos are awesome! I have a few hand tools now, I’m looking forward to building a bench and getting started! But first I must read Christopher Schwarz book ” Workbenches: from design and theory to construction and use”
Andy, I’m glad you love my website! I’m glad the buying guide is helpful. I’ll keep it updated, so keep checking back. Yeah, Chris’ book on workbenches is really great. It’ll help you decide which features will be best for you.
This bench looks like a very practical solution for my small shop. No offense, but will the video and plans translate well if I use power tools instead?
Yes, it’s a perfect workbench for a small workshop. Ha, ha, don’t worry about offending me with power tool talk! Yes, I would recommend that you use power tools to mill all the wood initially. But the joinery is much easier with hand tools, and we show how to do it all!
Joshua, I just discovered your site recently and have been really enjoying it. The content is just terrific.
Can you give some information on the wagon vise Will has on there?
Hi Bill, we’re trying to decide if we’ll sell it on my website, but if you want to get a hold of Will to order a vice, just contact me through my contact page.
I need to build my first real bench. This one seems doable. I like the fact that it doesn’t have a big gaping hole through the leg to accommodate the leg vice screw like the roubo does. I know it doesn’t affect the roubo bench performance, but it just looks wrong to me. LOL!
I just discovered your site and it’s now one of my favorites for teaching the basics to beginning wannabees like myself.
I hope you build the Moravian Workbench! And I’m sure glad that my website has been helpful.
seems like a great design, I like the video where it is shown how to assemble the bench in very little time. I am anxious about the wooden thread, though! Last time I checked a wood thread cutter for this size costs about as much as a complete workbench from Sjöbergs.
No need to buy a tap and die set Heather. In the DVD we show how you just purchase the wooden screw assembly for around $150…much more affordable and saves a lot of time!
how can i order the download of this video?
Here’s where you can buy the digital download Alex. Will you please confirm that this works for you?
Good day! I liked what you are doing. especially liked the workbench. I also like to work with wood, but the possibilities are small. There is no decent workbench. And without it, there is not much that can be done. And places where it is not made. I have a workbench, but it is very primitive. How much will your product cost, if I order it for myself?
Sorry, I don’t sell workbenches. But a furniture maker could make you one.
Josh, the link to download the video isn’t working…don’t know if you are aware…I’m looking to buy the down load on how to build the work bench…
Were you able to get to the download Eric?
Hi Joshua, I ordered and loved the DVD and am in the process of refurbishing some vintage tools so I can get building thanks to your awesome buying guide. In the DVD Will says that there was a resource of information on how to go from 2″x12″ boards to the correct dimensions and I am having quite the time finding that information. If you could help I would be very appreciative.
Hi Marcus, thanks for ordering the DVD! Will you please specify the time stamp from the video so I know where to check what Will says?
Have given the dvd order info to my wife to get me for birthday. But I am guessing you build a right handed version in the DVD. What can I do to make it a left hand version once I get going this spring. Old man young woodworker.
Hey Mike! Everything should be the same, except you put the vise on the right side of the bench, and the tail vise on the left side. Good luck!
Hi, I bought the premium plans for the Moravian work bench. I will start building it soon. I am definitely in buying your tail vise and also wanted to know where I can the big vise you use. I also need to choose what wood to use. I am thinking Douglas fir or oak. What did you use? Thank you
I used Southern Yellow Pine for the undercarriage, and oak or maple for the tops.