The Rent-a-Bench Program
*We are changing things up a bit!*
Rent-a-Bench will now be open by appointment only!
Please reserve your spot by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at 207-625-3396.
How it Works:
Please call or email us to make an appointment to use the shop on an hourly or daily basis. You provide the wood (or you can buy it from us) and supplies for your project, and we provide the tools and some instruction 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!
Reduced rates for low or fixed incomes are available upon request.
If you would like a private lesson, please contact us with any questions. If it’s something we can do, we’re happy to schedule a special session. The suggested rate for private lessons is $20 an hour.
Note that it’s possible to schedule a private lesson for an hour or two, and then switch to Rent-a-Bench time once you get the hang of it. If you think you’re going to need a lot of help with a project, or you’ve never used the tool you’d like to, please reach out to schedule a lesson. This way, we’ll be ready for you and able to give you the full attention you need to stay safe and successfully complete your woodworking project.
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.
Please email us at email@example.com or call 207-625-3396 with any questions or concerns.
A HUGE thank you to the Maine Community Foundation and the Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation for their initial support of this program! And many thanks to the Fisher Charitable Foundation and the Kendal C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation for their support in continuing the program.
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, eyeballs, and ears 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.
- No reclaimed wood. Due to damage to the equipment, risk of embedded nails, screws, grit and concerns around lead paint exposure, we no longer allow reclaimed wood in the shop.
- 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 can’t make it, please let us know as soon as you can. If you make an appointment and miss it, we will ask that you prepay for Rent-a-Bench time going forward.
- Rent-a-Bench Availability: Please call or email ahead to make an appointment. Couples or family groups are also welcome to come work together. The suggested rate for 2 people working together is $15 / hour.
- Payment: Regular shop time is $10 an hour; Private lessons are $20 an hour. You sign in when you arrive and pay for the time you use. You can use the shop for as long as you need to (2 hours, 4.5 hours, 7 hours, etc.) We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, check, cash, Venmo, and Paypal.
- 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.
- Materials: Rent-a-Bench participants are responsible for providing their own wood and consumable materials. (Sandpaper, glue, screws, nails, etc.)
Please note that we do not allow reclaimed and some exotic hardwoods in the community space! If you have any questions about the suitability of your wood, please give us a call or send us a message.
It’s ideal when folks bring in clean, dry lumber from a local lumberyard, but we also have some Tear Cap pine, grown and sawn on site, available for $2 a board foot available for purchase.
We also have some hardwoods available — maple, birch, and oak. Please inquire for information about quantity and pricing.
Please ask us if you have any questions or concerns. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and the machines in good working order.
10″ SawStop Tablesaw with a 32″ side extension
Panel saw (4′ crosscut)
Lathe and turning tools
2 sliding crosscut saws
Tormec Sharpening Wheel
Marking and Measuring: Squares, bevel gauges, transom points, chalk lines, straightedges
Saws: all types
Brace and Bit