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As my dad is a Vietnam vet, I’ve always had a soft spot for the men and women in the armed forces. So when I heard from several of them that they were interested in buying one of my portable workbenches, I thought I could do better than sell them something.

I enlisted the help of woodworkers Steve Schafer and Mark Hochstein, who volunteered their time and materials to build these benches for the two servicemen.

Both Steve and Mark have completed their benches and are in the process of getting them to their recipients. One of the benches Steve built is shown above. You can see Mark’s on his blog: Gunpowder Woodworks.

So thanks to Steve and Mark – you have both made it possible for someone to do woodworking in a place that is entirely unfriendly to the craft.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Plans for this workbench will be in the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, which will be out very, very soon.

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Showing 15 comments
  • Ronald Deal

    How about a pdf file of the plans, just print and take to the shop!

  • Jackie Guynn

    This sounds great my one question is now big is the portable bench? When at home the size and weight isn’t a problem but being restricted to two duffle bags and a ruck sack doesn’t leave much room. Of course any good troop will find a way, my question is small enough to pack or do I need to talk to the motor sergeant or the supply sergeant when we relocate from base to base? – USArmy

  • yoseph76

    Hey everyone,
    I wanted to say thank you for the support that this community shows towards our service members. It is awesome and greatly appreciated.

    I normally dislike playing on peoples’ sympathies for the military, but I am making an exception for this project. I’m active duty Army (14 years) and I’d really like to get started in hand tool work. I’ve made a bed and some bookshelves with powertools, but I’d really like to work wood and not lose any more of my hearing (I was artillery my first few years). I had planned on working up to building my own roubo workbench, but how do you start with hand tools if you don’t really have a workbench to learn/practice on?

    If anyone else is interested in making one of these Milkman’s Workbenches, please let me know. I would help out with materials/shipping. And it goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyways) that I would be hugely appreciative. And you could feel like you were paying it forward because I will build a copy cat and send it to my little brother-in-law that is stationed in Alaska. Thanks!

    Joe Anderson
    U.S. Army

  • sandalwoods

    Thank you, Steve and Mark! It is great to know these will go to two of our heroes.

    Al Navas
    Army, ’66-68


    Greetings fellow creators of dust of the saw! Just dropping a line to thank you…I’m on my 32nd year of a very rewarding career in the US military. I’ve taken troops to many parts of the world and have had the privilege of commanding some of the finest men and women our world has to offer. To see this out-pouring of support to our folks “in the mix” validates why we do what we do and we can’t do what we do without the support of our citizenry. We’re all privileged to live in the greatest nation this world has ever known. Thank you for your kindness, your generosity and your thoughtfulness. I’m proud to serve and I’m proud to stand with the likes of fellow woodworkers like yourselves. Cut ’em straight!

  • gumpbelly

    Here`s to those who serve our country, and to those who help them get through life.

    Thank you

  • Jonas Jensen

    This is such a good idea.
    Thank you Steve and Mark for building the benches.

    Jonas Jensen

  • dmac4870

    To All,

    From a serviceman’s (Navy) perspective, thank you all for your support, it makes a difference and means a lot. When I was deployed to Afghanistan it was unbelievable how many unsolicited care packages would arrive with goodies, and even more. That made a huge difference during some very long months. Seeing that support continue at home is just above and beyond and speaks volumes to the character of the community.

    Thank you all again.

    Very Respectfully,

    I am SO looking forward to the June issue and will definitely try my hand at building the bench! and just in time for another move!

  • dndculp

    We have an active woodworking group who contribute their efforts to community projects. We have built built everything from bird houses to 18 reproduction windows for an historic log cabin.
    If there are other Vets who would like to have portable work benches let me know, we could do a couple.

  • KC Kevin

    Good work. If anymore are needed I could enlist some help. I know a few woodworkers who would help.

  • rbowers10

    When will the plans be posted on-line? Their is a VA Hospital a few miles away and I need to get started on making these for the vets need them.

  • oldster

    When in OZ, I learned the compliment:
    “Good on ya’ mate”.

    Lee the saw guy)

  • tsstahl

    June 2013 issue of…Cat Fancy?

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