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Bench Artisan Academy

Bench Omaha

When Bench started, we were simply a public workshop focused on making woodworking skills attainable to the everyday person. Over the last couple of years, we’ve grown to include much more than just woodworking.

We’ve offered classes in multiple trades such as metalworking and screen printing, moved to a much larger space, opened a co-working space, and welcomed a variety of artisans to run their businesses out of Bench. Multiple furniture builders and wood artists, a jewelry designer & metal smith, a ceramicist, and a photography team now call Bench home. We’ve hosted dozens of events (including December’s Making Omaha event), met loads of wonderful people, and been truly amazed at what this humble idea has grown into. It’s safe to say that Bench is continually becoming a hub for artisans in and around Omaha.

We’ve gotten to this point rather organically, but we want to do our best to move forward with intentionality and provide quality resources to our local community of makers, both hobbyists and professionals. With that in mind, we are launching a new program called Artisan Academy at Bench. Our current goals for Artisan Academy are simple:

1. Provide hobbyists and aspiring makers an approachable outlet to learn new skills  

We’ve been doing this since day one of Bench’s existence. We are simply expanding our class offering to include more trades and share valuable skills with a larger audience in our community. We’ll continue to offer our woodworking classes on a monthly basis and will offer a rotating variety of other classes over the course of the year. As of now, Bench’s equipment offering will remain focused on wood, metal, and screen printing. We’ll utilize our co-working space for pop-up classes and, when appropriate, we’ll take this show on the road (visit artisans at their studios!)

2. Provide experienced artisans with a platform to teach and share their skills

We’ve had a few friends of Bench teach classes over the years, but there are plenty of talented people throughout the community (and even under Bench’s roof) who don’t get the opportunity to share their knowledge often enough. We provide the stable infrastructure (process, marketing, facility, payments, etc), so artisans can just worry about teaching what they know best. We will be hand selecting teachers to ensure a balance of quality and variety in this program.

3. Provide resources to artisans to help grow their business

We want to help people build things better, and that includes their businesses. Whether you’re a hobbyist looking to take your hobby full time or a seasoned maker who simply wants to grow your company, we want to provide a place to learn from those who are further along on the journey. We’re thinking along the line of things like how to set up an Etsy store, connect with your customers via social media, or photograph your products.

Check out our upcoming classes at benchomaha.com/classes. Logistically, we can’t offer every hands on trade that our community desires, but we want to at least explore all the options. We are so excited to continue serving our community in this way. Thanks to everyone who has been part of journey thus far. And to those that haven’t, come see what Bench is about!

This program will evolve over time, just like Bench has. If there’s a particular hands on skill you’d really like to learn, or a professional artisan who you feel would make a great teacher (maybe yourself?), we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to drop us a line at BenchOmaha@gmail.com

Learn to build in 2015

Talk to anyone who’s spent time in a workshop and they’ll tell you endless reasons why it’s satisfying to build things with your own hands. Here’s just 15 reasons why we thinks you should learn to build in 2015:

1. It’s rewarding. As humans, we were born to be creative.

2. It’s economical. You can build high quality furniture for a fraction of the cost of buying.

3. It teaches patience. There aren’t many short cuts, but the end result is worth it.

4. You’ll meet some wonderful people. Our community of builders is so supportive of one another and anxious to share tips with those new to the craft.

5. Woodworking knowledge is impressive. Your new vocabulary of traditional wood joinery techniques will make for great discussion at the next cocktail party.

6. Woodworking results are impressive. Guests will take notice of your handbuilt furniture, trust us.

7. It’s custom. You can built with precise measurements that suit your living space.

8. You’ll become a better problem solver. Mistakes happen, and you’ll learn how to turn an accident into a unique feature of your project.

9. It’s a great time to think. You probably get your best ideas while mowing the lawn or taking a shower. Just wait till you start daydreaming with a random orbital sander in hand.

10. You’ll appreciate other furniture more. You’ll recognize quality and learn what to avoid when buying furniture.

11. It’s win-win. You’ll be investing in yourself and supporting a local business.

12. It’s active. Sure it’s not like you’re running a 10k, but it’s a lot better than sitting on the couch!

13. It’s Fun… maybe even addicting. Some of our hobbyists even stop by on their lunch hour to work on their projects.

14. It builds confidence. You’ll be surprised by what you’re capable of!

15. It’s timeless. For as long as we need a roof over our heads and a place to sit, carpentry skills will be relevant.

Weekend Warrior Membership

We’ve been working for a while now on ways to make membership more accessible.  Our goal has always been accessibility, to tools and equipment, work space, materials, skills, and training. Now in Bench’s new home we will be able to offer a more affordable Weekend Warrior Membership that will get unlimited access to our Factory Floor (fully equipped with shared workbenches, Hand tools, and a finish booth) as well as our Drafting Commons (benches, clean coworking space and lounge for design work, project planning, and any work that requires a desk, coffee, and wifi.) Members also get discounts on Shop Passes, Classes, and Materials.

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Bench Retail

 

On September 28th, as Bench turned 1 year old, we opened our new retail space at Bench.  Bench has always been focused on making trades more accessible to everyone. That is why we created a space where anyone could work in a professional wood and metal shop, it is why we started teaching classes to anyone who wanted to learn, and it is also why we have now created a space to showcase and sell some of the best in local hand made goods.

Everything in Bench’s Retail is handmade locally.  Much of it is made at Bench but we have also asked some of the most talented local makers to offer goods for sale at Bench, and they loved the idea.  We are now proud to announce that we are carrying goods from; KevinMcClay.com (BenchMate), Roost Artisan Home (BenchMate), TimbeSmithGoods.com (BenchMate), Artifact Bag Co,  Measure Cut Cut

Come check out all of the amazing goods for sale by local makers. We are open 6 days a week.

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Bench Classes

We have had a huge demand for classes ever since we started offering them in January.  We are now offering our Intro to Woodworking course nearly every month.  After our sixth round of classes we decided to revamp some of the material to make it more applicable.  We also decided to make this series a mandatory part of beginning to work at Bench.

This was a difficult decision for us because we love making Bench immediately accessible to anyone who may need it.  However we have also seen that people who first take this course have a good understanding and familiarity with the shop and are able to work significantly more effectively in the shop.  It also takes a huge weight off our minds knowing everyone has taken our shop safety class.

So if you’ve thought about wanting to work at Bench, get signed up for a class and we can help you get started.

Bench Launch!

After a lot of hard work and elbow grease we are ready to launch Bench. Its very exciting starting a business from scratch. There has been a lot planning and preparation to get here, and it has been worth it. Many of our friends and family and even people we do not know have supported us in last several months. We want to say thank you to everyone that bought a tee-shirt, gave to our kickstarter campaign, told your friends about our idea, or any of the other ways you’ve helped. We really appreciate it and thank you for being a part.

Tonight we are having our Launch Party to kick off the start of a Bench, and we hope you all will come and celebrate. We’ll have refreshments, tasty treats and discounted memberships one-night only.