The Portable Moravian Workbench at The Woodwright’s School

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by WoodAndShop posted 01-06-2015 01:57 PM 17834 reads 15 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

[See this original blog post here] 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 be emailed when it’s released).

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.

elow are some fun photographs that I took during our video shoot…comment below and let me know what you think!

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.


-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials:

7 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile


1704 posts in 3374 days

#1 posted 01-06-2015 05:43 PM

Looks like a great and very practical project. What is the hand crank device at the end of the bench in one of the above photos?

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View WoodAndShop's profile


149 posts in 2393 days

#2 posted 01-06-2015 06:58 PM

Ron, thanks for watching! That device is a tail vice. It’s pretty simple, but amazing!

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials:

View CarterR's profile


86 posts in 2902 days

#3 posted 01-06-2015 08:08 PM

What company makes that tail vice? Or is it shop made? Very cool.


View WoodAndShop's profile


149 posts in 2393 days

#4 posted 01-06-2015 08:14 PM

Carter, Will Myers made the tail vice, and he’s willing to sell some. Just contact me through my website if you need to order one.

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials:

View waho6o9's profile


8947 posts in 3461 days

#5 posted 01-06-2015 08:39 PM

Fantastic blog thank you!

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1108 posts in 4691 days

#6 posted 01-06-2015 09:54 PM

Best bench I’ve seen in a long time!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

554 posts in 3882 days

#7 posted 01-07-2015 02:29 AM

Thanks for pulling this together Joshua. This workbench is on my to-do list (I have two 4 1/2 inch white oak slabs drying as we speak) and the video is on my purchase list.

Good luck with the roll out of this video!


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics