5212 Pulaski Ave.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144
Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

Build a Joiner's Workbench Course

Build A Joiner's Workbench
Instructor: Alan Turner
9:00-4:00 pm 
Class Size: 12 maximum

August 21 - 25, 2017

This class teaches the design and construction of a traditional joiner's workbench. At the end of a busy 5-day week, each student will have built a serious workbench.


A sturdy, flat topped bench capable of firmly holding work in a variety of ways is perhaps the single most important woodworking tool in any shop. In this course PFW covers the theory of workbenches, various designs developed over the years, and a variety of vises and other work-holding hardware. Each student builds a bench to be used for generations. If you love woodworking but have never had the privilege of working on a serious bench, you are in for a treat as you will build your own bench on one of the Studio's traditional woodworking benches built by Alan Turner and Mario Rodriguez.

The top is 3" commercial butcher block, made from strips of 8/4 stock.  This means that the grain of the top is essentially quartersawn, which makes for a top with less movement than plain-sawn lumber; it should stay flat and stable.

The finished size is 7 feet long, 28-1/2" wide, and is built at a height customized for each student.  The length can be shortened to fit each student's home shop, although less than 6 feet is not recommended.

Materials -- The Materials Fee is $1450.  This fee includes a 7 foot long commercial butcher block slab, 3" thick.  It also includes the wood for the base and hardware.  Also included is the new Veritas quick release sliding tail vise and a $200 credit towards a front vise.  We are waiting to see if the Jorgensen large quick action front vise will be available.   In short, all you need to build this bench is included in the materials fee, with a slight possibility of a small upcharge for the front vise.  

Note:  When this class was originally scheduled, we offered a choice of front vises, but effective May 19, 2016, the Adjustable Clamp Company, maker of the Jorgensen vise, discontinued operations, and so the alternate vise is not now available, but this may change as another firm is acquiring Jorgensen. 

Tuition: $800, plus a materials and vises fee of $1450, for a total of $2250.  Please note that PFW needs at least 3 weeks advance notice in order to source the proper materials.  The last day to sign up is July 31, 2017.

Here is the tool list.

There are three ways to register for this class.
• One can click on the sign up button below.
• Give us a call at 215-849-5174.
• Send us an email and we will forward the registration materials.


  • New Date - August 21 - 25, 2017 - 5 days (moved from July 17)



Tail vise detail

Base construction detail