The Rent-a-Bench Program

A HUGE thank you to the Maine Community Foundation and the Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation for their support of this program!

OPENING WEEKEND! Beginning Friday, May 3rd, 9 am – 5 pm

After that, we are open Thursdays – Sundays

9 am – 5 pm

We currently have 4 spots available at any given time.


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How it works:

Sign up or drop by to use the shop on an hourly or daily basis. You provide the wood and supplies for your project, and we provide the tools and some instruction (if needed) to help you along. If the lack of a certain tool or the right space has ever stopped you from completing a woodworking project, the Rent-a-bench program is now here to help!

Our goal is to provide the community with affordable, creative, and safe access to a fully equipped woodworking shop — but we also need to keep the lights on, the insurance paid for, and the tools sharp. By asking everyone to pay in a fair share to use the facility, we can keep this community space well maintained and affordable for all. 

Rates:

Daily rate: $50

Half-day: $25

Hourly: $7

Reserve your time online for a full day or half day. At this time, our booking system can only handle full or half-day reservations. If you need less time, the hourly rate is $7 an hour. Everyone signs in when they first come in, so you’ll just pay for what you use.

Reduced rates for low or fixed incomes are available upon request.

Please email us at info@tearcapworkshops.org or call 207-625-3396 with any questions or concerns.

Community Woodworking Shop Rules:

  • Safety. If you don’t know how to use a tool, please ask for help. If you need an extra hand or some advice with your project, please ask! We’re here to keep you safe and succeed with your project. Hearing and eye protection is available for all shop participants. The goal is to leave with the same number of fingers and eyeballs that you came in with.
  • Be respectful and kind to those around you, the space, the tools, and yourself. Working in a shared space requires a little extra communication and care — but together we can make this a phenomenal and inspiring place to work.
  • If you carelessly damage a tool, you are responsible for replacing it.
  • Please leave your pets at home; service dogs are welcome.
  • No smoking anywhere on Tear Cap Workshops property.
  • Some varieties of exotic wood are highly toxic and cannot be used in the Community Woodworking Shop. The shop staff will assist you in determining whether the exotic wood product is safe for the community space. In general, we encourage folks to use local wood whenever possible.
  • Other consumable products, such as sandpaper, glue, screws, and nails, are available for purchase. If you bring your own, please be sure to label them with your name.
  • We do not allow painting inside the shop because of fumes and fire danger. (Also, if other people are working, the dust will probably ruin your paint job.) We ask folks to paint at home, or by special request, we can help you set up something outside, completely at our discretion. We remind everyone that oily rags and flammable liquids need to be handled with extreme caution.
  • Stay safe, think before you act, be kind, have fun and get inspired! We’re here to help you succeed with your project. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

If you reserve the time, please be punctual! If you’re more than 10 minutes late, your reserved time will be forfeit if someone else is waiting for the space. If you can’t make it, please let us know as soon as you can.

FAQ:

  1. Rent-a-bench Availability: We will be open Thursday – Sundays, 9 – 5, beginning May 3. You can use the shop for as long as you need during those times. (2 hours, 4.5 hours, 7 hours, etc.) We currently have 4 spots available at given time to ensure adequate work space and access to tools.

Available benches:

  • East side bench: 2’ 6” x 6’ pine top bench
  • West side bench: 2’ 6” x 6’ pine top bench
  • One half of the Megabench: 3’ 6” x 8’ pine top bench
  • The other half of the Megabench
  • Presto Bench: 5’ x 9’ pine top lift table

In addition to the bench rental, there are shared use tools throughout the shop. These include: a bandsaw, 2 chopsaws, drill press, tablesaw, along with a variety of hand tools. There is currently one small planer available for a small quantity of boards during rent-a-bench hours. (24 inch planer coming soon!) However, if you need the planer for more than a few boards, please contact us to schedule a special time to do so. In order to cover the cost of electricity that such a big machine requires, there will be a higher shop rate to cover that cost.

2. Skill Level: At this time, we are asking all rent-a-bench participants to self-evaluate their own skill level. The rent-a-bench program is geared for those with at least basic woodworking skills to ensure the safety of everyone in working in the shop. Our shop steward will be on hand to answer questions, provide some instruction, and make sure everyone is staying safe. In general, each participant can have about 10 – 15 minutes of assistance every hour. If you know you’ll need more than that, please contact us to schedule a private lesson. If you’re at the beginner level, we can still help with your project! If you need to learn the basics, or brush up on your woodworking skills, please contact us to schedule a private lesson. With a private lesson, we can give you the individualized, full attention you need to succeed and stay safe with your project, so you can move on to enjoying the rent-a-bench program in future. We are also working on offering some beginner-level classes, and will have more information on that soon!

3. Materials: Rent-a-bench participants are responsible for providing their own wood and consumable materials. (Sandpaper, glue, screws, nails, etc.) We will have these items available for purchase if needed. We also have some local wood available for purchase:

Tear Cap pine, grown and sawn on site, is available in a variety of thicknesses for $1 a board foot.

We also have some hardwoods available — maple, birch, and oak. Please inquire for information about quantity and pricing.

Our friends at the Local Wood Initiative also have a full list of Maine-sourced wood:

https://www.localwoodworks.org/products

Participants are welcome to bring their own wood, but there are restrictions on the type of wood allowed on machines. Exotic woods can be extremely toxic, and certain types are not allowed in the community space for everyone’s safety and well-being. A full list of wood toxicity can be found here:

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/

Reclaimed lumber can also be incredibly problematic because of nails and accumulated grit. Using reclaimed wood on expensive machines is always a risk —so participants who use reclaimed wood need to understand that they are responsible for any broken or damaged blades or equipment.

The Makeville Studio has a comprehensive list of every wood scenario we could think of:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rbJhOiaSy10fuSuPHizvA67zgR88MRTHUfi7IZ8ee3k/edit

Please ask us if you have any questions or concerns. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and the machines in good working order.