Maguire Closes His Doors

by | Sep 24, 2015 | 62 comments

maguire workbenches roubo

Beech Roubo Workbench, completed at around four in the morning, on a day this week.

We’ve recently taken on our last order for ‘Maguire Workbenches’.

This has been a difficult decision to make, and so this has been a post which has been sat in my notebook for quite some time. But after much agonising and trying to tip toe around things, Helen and I have chosen to make this announcement concrete.

Our business has gone from strength to strength since starting up and we’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support which we’ve received – all of which has made this decision far from a light one. But when we chose to work for ourselves we were opting for flexibility and to live life on our terms, and for us this is much less about growing business than it is about growing ourselves and our experiences. We like to have the lead on our business and at times it feels like it has the lead on us.

Over the years our range of workbenches has been fettled and tweaked to perfection to offer what our customer’s were requiring to a standard that had become expected of us.
With the designs peaked there’s little left for me to learn and once you repeat the same build over enough you start to feel like the hand planes and chisels are becoming the tooling for a machine.

These are not normal reasons for stopping a business. We’re far from retirement and the business itself is stronger than ever. But we’re not good with normal, and ultimately this isn’t a complete full stop – we have plans to pick the reigns back up down the line, just in a slightly different guise.

workbench dovetail

If you were hoping to purchase a Maguire Workbench in the near future then we would like to apologise for any inconvenience. Please don’t flap around in despair. We’re happy for you to get in touch if you’re eager to be the first ‘in line’ should we be able to open up a spot or two, although we feel it would be far more fitting if we could help you to build your own.

Without ‘Maguire Workbenches’ this website wouldn’t be, as it has helped to provide content and has always been the way we’ve justified putting in all of the time.
Through this website we can now share more of our bench building insight, and with things being shaken up a bit, the new year will see more time for creating.
We’ll be turning our focus to teaching, exploring and building lots of furniture, and this website will be the hub for all of that. There will be more Premium Videos and we get to complete our book – which is becoming the most exciting project we’ve ever embarked on.
In fact one of the first jobs for next year is building a workbench or two for the book…

maguire workbenches leg vice

So far in my life ‘Maguire Workbenches’ is my proudest creation and we would like to thank all of our customers for helping it to happen.

If you are interested in supporting this website then please consider signing up to one of our online Video Series – Find The Details Here

maguire workbenches beech roubo

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About Richard Maguire

About Richard Maguire

As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.


  1. Jeff S

    Congratulations. The two of you not only inspire us to better woodworking, but how to live life.

    • Richard Maguire

      Very kind Jeff, many thanks.

    • peter

      Moving forwards is always healthy, I would like to think you have left a niche that one of your follows could possibly benifit from, ta for all Peter

  2. Chris

    I’m excited for the opportunities that are in front of you. Will you be continuing to offer workbench hardware, or is that going to be cut off with the workbenches?

    • Richard Maguire

      Thanks Chris, very exciting but worrying time!
      We have plenty of stocks in so for the foreseeable future the vice hardware will still be available.

  3. Steve Tripp

    I understand the need to feel challenged and not feel as though you are standing still. Moving on to new things is never a bad thing (well, rarely a bad thing).

    • Richard Maguire

      We very much appreciate your support Steve, thanks.

  4. Michael Forster

    I salute you both – it takes real self-knowledge and confidence to make the change for those reasons. I’m just glad that I got my Little John when I did! I’ll be following the blog agog!

    • Richard Maguire

      Self-knowledge? We make it up as we go along!
      I remember making the best lemon meringue when I approached it like this… mind you there was about fifteen bloody eggs in it!
      Anyway, many thanks Michael 🙂

  5. Martin Gerhards

    Dear Helen and Richard! Your decision shows who you are. All the best for you.

    • Richard Maguire

      Thanks Martin, it’s appreciated. Although I am starting to wonder if I’m spending a little too much time on my own! 😉

  6. Andrew

    Best of luck to you both. As the proud owner of a Maguire workbench I feel particularly fortunate and privileged to have got mine when I did.

    • Richard Maguire

      Thanks Andrew, it doesn’t matter how many I made, it always felt very humbling when someone purchased one.
      Out of interest have you bled on it yet?

      • Andrew

        Only occasionally – it has had more than its fair share of sweat and tears, though.

  7. John Verreault

    This is a very big step and I’m sure has taken a lot of courage to make. I am happy that you’ve just moved to a “new room” in your life but haven’t closed the door to that previous one. Congratulations to both of you.

    Now for the self-serving bit. Are you willing to let any teasers out about what the next Premium installment might be? Inquiring minds want to know…



  8. Ant11Sam

    Best of luck and cheers to your “new” wood work_ing path! 🙂

  9. Micheal Kingsley

    Good Luck Richard!
    I know from experience it is oh, so, hard to make that leap into what you want to do, from what you know is a good way of making a living. Keep your head up and run with it!

  10. Polly Becton

    Wait, what? “Maguire Closes His Doors” seems the wrong title. May I suggest another?

    “When One Door Closes, Another Opens” seems much more appropriate to my mind.

    Or maybe, in your lives, “One Woodworker Enters, Two Woodworkers Leave” to distort a rather goofy meme.

  11. Ed

    Well done, and good for you on making not just a hard choice, but what sounds like the right choice.

  12. Derek

    Best of luck in all you do!

  13. Pete Maddock

    Well done lad, I hope everything works out for you and Helen, I really do.

    However, I for one, would like to be able to watch you and learn from you, how to make one of your Maguire workbenches. As I do need to make myself a good quality workbench as part my own wood working progress.

    Anyway, good luck and best wishes to the both of you,
    regards Pete.

  14. Larry Jackson

    Richard, can you share a link to the hardware you still have for sale, with pricing and shipping costs? Thanks, Larry

  15. Stephen Melhuish


    I remember going for a meal with you and Helen in one of the pubs not too far from Cressing Temple Barns wood show some years ago, we talked at some length about why we all do what we do and what inspires us to carry on.
    Your Maguire bench sits at the heart of my shop and with great appreciation for the work you put into it i hope to continue using it for all my projects in the future.
    Richard this venture is the continuum of all that you and Helen are so be proud that you’ll be putting your energies into the very same things that matter, the things that you make are the result of that positive energy.

    You’ll make a success of it because you care about it and you both want to do it, what better reason for such a venture.
    My very best wishes and all good vibes to you both, you are both stars.
    See you again some time.
    Cheers both

  16. Walter

    Good News / Bad News

    Regardless, may I send Blessings for your both in whatever you do.

    Let’s talk more about the hand plane building process… There is not enough content on why we should be making our own simple planes.

  17. Ilya Gromov

    I totally understand your reasons and greatly respect you guys for it… While I probably would never have purchased one of your benches (time spent earning money needed to buy one can be spent in building one myself – with much more enjoyment) I was hoping to get one of your pinless vise things.
    Or may be you can suggest what can be used as such – I remember you said in one of your videos (or a post) that you had to tweak things to make it work right – that knowledge would be immensely appreciated!!
    (I’m currently contemplating a cross between your Little John and old English style with the apron design)

  18. Dave


  19. patrick anderson

    I read this post with a sense of irony as I had thought about suggesting a workbench as a premium video build. I held off though as I felt it was a bit like cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    I look froward to more videos and the book and wish you both the best of British!

  20. Stefan

    I admire your decision and I wish I would have the same power as you.
    All the best for your new business ideas and plans.
    Hope to see a lot of new stuff here in the future.


  21. John Gibson

    I live a long hike ‘across the pond’ from you, so the idea of a ‘real Maguire’ bench is a wee bit impractical. Nonetheless I admit to some wistfulness. Three cheers for you both for your integrity to decide and announce this move the way you have.

    Might we hope, if you expect the bench hiatus to be a long or permanent one, that you will share some of the insights you have gained to help others with their own benches? Not suggesting you work against your own commercial interests, but hopeful that your generosity might lead you to publish some of your knowledge (maybe in a premium video or ‘das Book’?

  22. Michael

    Takes a different kind of class to move on like that. Cheers.

  23. Dave

    I can’t imagine how difficult this decision must have been, but I think that anytime you reach a fork in the road, you can’t go wrong by choosing the path that will bring the most excitement and happiness into your life. So, congratulations to both of you. And I’m looking forward to the possibilities of more premium video content and the book!

  24. Barry lowis

    My best wishes for the future to you both. Looking forward to be part of your journey. We like the idea of “teaching”, it would be great for my son Chris and I to be your students if you decide to do any short courses.

  25. Jasper

    Richard, Helen,

    I am very excited to see what this decision will bring you.
    Saying ‘stop’ in time is better than boiling over. Trust me on that one.

    Have you read Richard Sennett’s “The Craftsman”? If not, this may be a good time. It has some good passages on repetition, learning, boredom and taking control. And the Master’s place in a community.

    That latest workbench looks very sweet. And sound. Not exactly a three minute workbench.

    Good luck!

  26. Adam Bayliss

    I’d like to wish you both the very best for your future, health and happiness to you both. Thanks for the inspiration.

  27. Stephen Halliday

    Evening Helen & Richard,
    I’m very proud to be an owner of one of your magnificent workbenches. I have built a number of projects now using my bench and through the course of those projects I have learned a great deal about woodworking, and myself. I have you both to thank for that in some way.
    I wish you all the very best for your next phase!
    Cheers, Stephen Halliday (Hinckley)

  28. Martin

    This must seem like a very happy/sad day for you both. Your benches are like works of art which will appreciate in value for the people lucky enough to have bought them. Best wishes for the new venture, I’m sure it will be just as successful as Maguire Benches.

    Regards Martin

  29. Marc Sitkin

    Even “Downton Abby” came to an end. Best of luck.

  30. Nathan

    Congratulations! It’s always a mix of excitement and sorrow to watch a business evolve. We trust that you know what’s best for you and your family and we know that you’ll continue to provide the quality of content on par with the quality of your benches and vises. Best of luck!

    Also, may I ask what that finish is on the hand wheel on the leg vise? That is the most beautiful hand wheel I’ve ever seen!

  31. Lee

    Sad, but in a good way, all the best for what the future holds,

  32. Peter Zimmer

    Richard and Helen, At the age of 73 I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted moving on to new ventures as my life evolved. Take satisfaction in the work you’ve done, hold it lightly and know that it will continue to grow in the skills you have learned.
    You both instill in me a great sense of joy and adventure. Always remember, the path that doesn’t grow is merely a dead end.

  33. Eric

    A brave decision but one that you will not regret. I have enjoyed the spoon rack and look forward to other projects (and rants). It is on my list to build myself a workbench and with your guidance I do believe I could!
    Good luck – a new chapter – enjoy!

  34. Salko

    Please excuse my boldness but I don’t quite fully understand why anyone would give up on a successful business. If your orders are overwhelming why not just employ people and expand your operations and have someone to manage your business to free your time so you can concentrate on building your online school which I feel may develop into a real woodworking school.

    • Walter

      Salko, Alway leave on a high note they say.

      Once a business runs you more than you run it. That’s the time to move on.

      Same thing with having too many possessions. Do you own them or do they own you?

      • Salko

        I guess I can never understand until I cross that bridge, I’m neither successful nor a failure, everyday I’m faced with new challenges, new ideas, never a dull moment so I wouldn’t have a clue what it’s like to do mundane jobs. None of that comes without a price, I don’t have time for anything but I do make time to force myself out of the shop once in a while, that’s the high price kids grow up fast I don’t want to look back in 50 years time and say I’ve spent my entire life behind my bench and not a day with my son.

        I wouldn’t give up my craft irrespective of how hectic it got but I also wouldn’t give up on family time either it’s creating that equal balance that some people just can’t seem to do. I thank the Lord for teaching me how to do this well. I am content.

  35. Kermit

    American baseball player Yogi Bera recently passed away. He was well known for this:

    “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

    Looks like you have. Best wishes!

  36. Paul Bouchard

    Much admiration and best wishes.

  37. enl

    I am sad, but happy as well.

    If I had the money, I would have purchased one of your benches as a cross between fine furniture and utter practicality, beyond my skill to produce, but within my skill goals. Being in the US and not being financially enhanced made this not practical.

    I still will look to your designs for guidance and you web site for education.

    I look forward to and wish well for the change in course, and am confidant that with the skills both of you have and share, contentment of success is assured, if not the absurd riches of royalty.

  38. Tracy

    “we feel it would be far more fitting if we could help you to build your own.”

    I think that says it all right there. It reminds me of the proverb: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

    I’ll be signing up for some online courses just as soon as it’s financially feasible for me.

  39. chris bailey

    Good luck on a brave decision; not an easy one to make. Hope the future is bright, pleasurable and successful and… keep up with the great website, which everyone must find so informative and entertaining!
    Best wishes for the future,
    Chris Bailey

  40. Pete Aron

    “…you repeat the same build over enough you start to feel like the hand planes and chisels are becoming the tooling for a machine.”

    At times in my profession I’ve felt like a tool for being in a machine. I suppose that’s the same thing. I made similar decisions to yours and been better for it. So I have great respect for you both for recognizing the problem and choosing to break from it and am really looking forward to seeing what becomes of this new direction.

  41. Michael j king

    I fully understand your position. I know you have loads more to offer beyond making benches. Just a thought but Maybe you could close this chapter by writing a book about workbenches with plans of your designs? Or simply selling the plans? It’s a way of keeping your contributions to woodworking benches going onwards into the future.

  42. Len Aspell

    Richard and Helen

    I really admire the reasoning for your decision and I am sure even greater success will follow and I very much look forward to following the adventure you are both embarking upon.

    Looking forward to seeing more instructional videos and rants and premium projects. I am also looking forward to the book once published but recognise there is a long way to go before then and a great deal of work on your parts. I wish you both every success.

    The decision to cease bench making is both a sad one but also a happy one for you. I am of course personally delighted that your last bench is coming my way. What an absolute honour that will be and I very much hope I will put it to many years of good use and hopefully not drip too much blood on it. A whole new meaning to blood sweat and tears.

    I endorse much of what others have said and wish you well and I know in my heart that you have chosen the right path for you both. What a delight.


  43. fred wheeler

    Life is not about money (despite what the world may tell you) and there are far more important things to strive for. It is obvious your creative side is thirsty to produce more and that is a good thing. Keep up the good work, enjoy being creative and enjoy even more – your time and your family – those things are priceless. 🙂

  44. Bob

    Life is not about money when you have money but when your broke everything is about money.

  45. Peter Zimmer

    Richard and Helen, At the ripe age of 73 I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted moving on to new ventures as my life evolved. Take satisfaction in the work you’ve done, hold it lightly and know that it will continue to grow in the skills you have learned.
    You both instill in me a great sense of joy and adventure. Always remember, any path that doesn’t move you forward is merely a dead end.

  46. TJA

    Hi both , sad day but I am one of the lucky ones with one of your benches , this chapter closes , another begins .chapeau TJA

  47. Ian M. Stewart

    That’s a brave move – Bravo!

    Others have said everything that I would wish to say on this and more, but I too add my best wishes for your and Helen’s future in whatever you do.

  48. Martyn

    Congratulations on your new ventures guys! Video series is great.

    Would you dust off your ‘tap n die’ for the odd order of a vise in the future?


  49. Javaca

    I really admire the courage that shows from this decision. You really pushed the boundaries and are a great inspiration. Best of luck to you both, and looking forward to your new endeavors 😀

  50. Sir Kevin Parr Bt

    I feel glad to have found you on line. Teaching us is your vocation and Im ready to watch your videos and learn from an expert

  51. Ed Evans

    Dear Richard and Helen, the best of luck on your new directions. It’s always exciting to start something new. I was startled when I heard until I learned that you were still continuing your website and video series. You have been an inspiration to me and have given me confidence even in my woodworking and ability to learn it. I am just now completing my workbench. While at 2’x6’ it isn’t as grand as yours I’m still proud of it and not shy to show it off. Using the confidence I’ve gained working on this bench I will next begin building a 14’ wooden sailboat. Again, best of luck on the new path and I’ll be looking forward to new content on the website.


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