The Portable Moravian Workbench - Popular Woodworking Magazine

The Portable Moravian Workbench

 In Shop Blog

A good workbench is worth its weight in gold, and building your own workbench is often the first right of passage for an aspiring woodworker. For workbenches, there’s also a balancing act between weight and portability, size and strength, materials and vises. While the Portable Moravian Workbench may look a little different than the English and French designs that are so popular, this design, based on an 18th-century workbench from the Old Salem community of North Carolina, hits on everything needed for a woodworker.

First, there’s the wood screw leg vise with massive holding power. Then, there’s the wedged mortise and tenon joinery that solidly locks the base together, giving you a frame that doesn’t flex under use. Finally, there’s the bench top made of two parts: a solid, hefty work surface up front and a tool well in the back. To top it all off, it’s able to be broken down into movable parts, meaning it can travel with you to your next shop without having to rent a forklift.

In Building the Portable Moravian Workbench, your host, Will Myers, walks you through each and every step needed to go from raw lumber to a bench that will last a lifetime of use in the shop. In addition, you’ll learn new hand tool skills and how to create a wooden screw vise as well as how to choose the best wood for your bench. If you’re looking to build your first bench or a portable bench, this project video hits the sweet spot.

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  • Mark_Fisher

    I built this bench as my first serious handtool project. It certainly isn’t ready for a Popular Woodworking photoshoot, but I learned a lot and the bench is incredibly functional and can be built for not all that much money. I’d highly recommend this bench if you need something portable or just need a solid bench for not too much money.

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