Ireland’s First Shared-Access Furniture Workshop

Benchspace Cork

Benchspace is a shared access workshop in Cork City. It was established to provide affordable access to workbenches and professional standard machinery to local furniture makers, designers, and particularly to graduates and early career professionals.

By sharing the cost of equipment, rent and commercial rates, Benchspace significantly cuts the cost of starting a new fine furniture or woodworking business in Cork.

Our ambition is to create an incubation space for new creative businesses, thereby fostering employment and contributing to the cultural and economic fabric of the City.

Benchspace Cork is the first coworking workshop of its kind in Ireland, the project is inspired by similar successful projects in Holland, the UK and Australia. Such projects have turned post-industrial spaces into seed-beds for a new generation of creators, designers, and techies. Our space is in the former Ford factory in Cork which has a tangible heritage as a centre of commerce and production.

Tailor Made For You

Have an idea for a furniture piece?

Or, maybe a space that needs something special?

The talented furniture makers at Benchspace can help.

The first step is to start a conversation, contact us through the form at the bottom of the page.

As part of Cork’s exciting new maker space, you will meet other makers, and share their knowledge and experience. There are opportunities for collaboration, inspiration, sharing of costs, networking and just staying in touch.

  • Get advance notice of new classes and a 10% discount as a Benchspace member. 
  • 10% discount on all items except special offer items at McQuillans Tools, Oliver Plunkett St.
  • A R Brownlow and Frank Clark Tools both  offer  trade  prices  to  members, worth  10% to 20% per purchase.
  • New members can avail of a free wood turning lesson with turner Tony Farrell, email us to book your lesson.

Most importantly, membership fees support the Benchspace dream, to make Cork a capital of making, to support makers as they launch their careers. So even if you don’t live here now, you can still help by becoming a member now. Membership fees are an important source of income for Benchspace Cork, which is a not-for-profit organisation.

Membership is for 12 months.

Thank you for your support.

Running Mondays at 7pm from 15 January – 26 March (10 weeks, excluding 19 March)

Suitable for beginners, this class will introduce the techniques used in furniture making, in particular to frame construction which is a core element of furniture and wood construction.

Students will start by learning basic joinery and hand skills including marking out, planing, sawing, and morticing with bench chisels. They will then apply these skills in making an Arts & Crafts style picture frame using a locally sourced Irish hardwood. Surface preparation, assembly and finishing will complete the piece.

The woodworking skills acquired in this class are essential to learners wishing to undertake larger projects in the future.

Please Note

A minimum class of 4 is required to run this event. 18 years or older. Price includes all materials and Eventbrite fee. All tools and safety equipment are provided.

Running Wednesdays at 7pm from 17 January – 21 March (10 weeks)

Teacher: Martin Horgan

Suitable for beginners, this class will introduce the techniques used in furniture making, in particular to frame construction which is a core element of furniture and wood construction.

Students will start by learning basic joinery and hand skills including marking out, planing, sawing, and morticing with bench chisels. They will then apply these skills in making an Arts & Crafts style picture frame using a locally sourced Irish hardwood. Surface preparation, assembly and finishing will complete the piece.

The woodworking skills acquired in this class are essential to learners wishing to undertake larger projects in the future.

Please Note

A minimum class of 4 is required to run this event. 18 years or older. Price includes all materials and Eventbrite fee. All tools and safety equipment are provided.

Running Thursday at 7pm from 18 January – 22 March (10 weeks)

Teacher: Anthony Aylward

Suitable for those familiar with the basic techniques* of woodworking, this class introduces case construction which is the basis of box, cabinet and drawer making.

Students will start by learning a series of board joints using hand tools such as cutting gauge, saw, chisels and hand planes. They will then move on to the final project, which will be a dovetailed ‘jewellery’ box in an Irish hardwood. Surface preparation, assembly and finishing will complete the piece.

 Over the ten evenings, you will learn how to use and maintain various hand tools, safe ways of working, intermediate box joinery and come away with your own box, and a new confidence in woodworking!

Please Note

A minimum class of 4 is required to run this event. 18 years or older. Price includes all materials and Eventbrite fee. All tools and safety equipment are provided.

*It is recommended that learners complete our level 1 or comparable woodwork project before undertaking this course.

Running Friday at 6pm from 19 January – 23 March (10 weeks)

Teacher: Victoria Breathnach

This short course introduces the safe operation of a number of woodwork machines with instruction on preparing solid wood and working with sheet materials.

Being able to machine sawmill timber to flat square stock opens up a world of possibilities to furniture makers. Sawing to size and dimensioning completes this first section.

The second section places the emphasis on sizing panels for making cabinets, bringing learners through processing of sheet material such as plywood, MDF and chipboard on the panel saw. Cabinet connecters, hinges, handles and other hardware are introduced.

Benchspace operates a machine driving licence safety system for all users of the workshop equipment. Completing this course will move participants to an Amber Badge on:
– Pillar Drill
– Surface Planer
– Thicknesser
– Bandsaw
– Panel Saw
Learners completing this course are eligible to commence self-guided projects in our Guided Maker Sessions.

Please Note

This course is designed for learners having considerable woodwork experience. It is highly recommended that learners complete our level 2 or comparable woodwork project at a minimum. 

As your safety is our highest concern, course is limited to 6 places. As a result the cost is a little higher.

A minimum class of 4 is required to run this event. 18 years or older. Price includes all materials and Eventbrite fee. All tools and safety equipment are provided.

Benchspace Bites & Kinsale Gin

Thanks to everyone for making last Saturday such an enjoyable morning. Kinsale Gin very kindly donated some bottles and glasses and we had some really enthusiastic makers in the workshop creating gin caddies to...

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Fundit crowdfunding campaign a huge success.

Fundit crowdfunding campaign a huge success. Thanks to everyone who donated, spread the word and gave encouragement over the 5 weeks. We made it, the final total pledged was €8,225.00, exceeding the target by an impressive €725. We received the email addresses of...

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Crowdfunding coming to a close.

With the Friday deadline for their crowdfunding campaign looming, the boys and girls at Benchspace have been working very hard to spread the word and seek support for the workshop fit-out. Amazingly, some generous supporters have pushed us over the finish line two...

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Fergus Somers

Fergus Somers

Director

Fergus is a furniture design teacher in CSN in Cork, with an interest in 3D design and digital fabrication.

Brendan Corcoran

Brendan Corcoran

Resident Maker

After graduating from Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, Brendan Corcoran first worked in Cork, and then moved to Toronto to enhance his learning, working with well-known Canadian Makers.
His style combines long-established traditional construction techniques with modern contemporary minimalism. Using locally sourced, native hardwoods, he draws out the woods’ inherent beauty to compliment his designs.
Brendan’s work includes furniture, smaller pieces of cabinetry, jewellery boxes, chess boards, cutting boards etc. He also works on kitchens and commercial installations.
Always striving, Brendan is currently exploring custom knife making.

Sean Breen

Sean Breen

Director

Sean is from Cork and currently lectures in GMIT Letterfrack, the centre of excellence for furniture making in Ireland.

Peter Keane

Peter Keane

Resident Maker

Peter Keane, Furniture Designer, is a graduate of the Furniture Design Course at Coláiste Stiofán Naofa, Cork. For the excellence of his final project, he was awarded the RDS Graduate Award for his design of a Torii Butsadan/Buddist Altar. This design was exhibited locally and nationally. Peter is interested in working with Hardwoods to create custom pieces and product ranges for the national and international markets. He is available for commissions.

Tony Farrell

Tony Farrell

Director

Tony Farrell is a successful woodturner, his work has been exhibited internationally and is on sale both online and in retail. He is former engineering lecturer in CIT and current chair of Cork Craft & Design, a not for profit that assists craftspeople and designers to market their work through exhibitions, events and through their Shop in Douglas Mills in Cork.

David Scannell

David Scannell

Benchspace Working Group

Brian Leach

Brian Leach

Resident Maker

Brian is an experienced craftsman and musician who designs and builds one of a kind musical instruments with unique character. He recently completed his studies in Musical Instrument Building and Repair at St. John’s Central College Cork. Drawing on two degrees in Astrophysics and Music Technology, he designs his instruments with a solid scientific understanding, technical intuition and an artist’s eye. These instruments are then executed using traditional hand woodworking techniques, creating bespoke pieces that are made to last.

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Interest in Benchspace


Start-ups, start your business here

Benchspace exists to allow makers turn their passions into their professions. If you want to start your own fine woodworking business then we’d like to help to providing space and equipment at an affordable price. Instead of many individual bills, we charge one fee to cover all of your machine, space, power, waste and workshop insurance costs. We work hard to keep this fee as small as possible.

But more than that, we want to create an environment that encourages creativity, cooperation and excellence. By working alongside other makers, and participating in a culture of sharing and collaboration, we believe that together we can become more than the sum of our individual parts. By collectively reaching out to the community and beyond, we aim to establish the reputation of Cork as a centre of excellence for design and making in Ireland and beyond.


A bench space with full access to the machine workshop is €350 p/m including all bills and utilities. 


If this sounds like something you’re interested in then

Apply Now

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Benchspace, Cork