About us

 The Acanthus Workshop is a school established by professional furniture maker Charles Bender in order to fill a void in the market for amateur woodworkers. Few schools in the country are run by successful professional woodworkers so how is a hobbyist to learn proper techniques and efficient use of time? Seeing this void, Acanthus Workshop was formed. The foundation of the school is good techniques in a safe working environment with classes taught by mentors who are passionate about woodworking. We bring this all to you in small classes (no more than six students per class) so you can maximize your learning experience.


 Our Mentors:


Charles (Chuck) Bender is our lead instructor and managing partner of the Acanthus Workshop. He began seriously woodworking at the age of 12 in his parents’ basement making pieces of furniture for friends and family. He studied under Werner Duerr at the Central Chester County Vocational Technical School (now called the Center for the Arts and Technology) throughout high school. Werner taught his high school program exactly like his apprenticeship in Germany. The students were taught to blend hand tool use with power tool use. Chuck teaches that same philosophy today.

After graduation from high school, Chuck began working for other cabinet makers in order to hone his skills. After having spent nearly ten years working with Irion Company Furnituremakers, and having worked his way to heading up their chair and casework production, Chuck decided to branch off on his own. Since 1991 Chuck has been building a reputation for building the highest quality 18th Century furniture in the country. His work can be seen in museums, private collections and at some of the finest juried craft shows in the country.

In 2007 Chuck added the title “woodworking mentor” to his list of accomplishments by starting the Acanthus Workshop. He’s received numerous woodworking awards throughout his career and has appeared in local and national magazines and newspapers. Also in 2007, he began sharing his knowledge publicly by writing for Popular Woodworking magazine and teaching skill driven classes at woodworking shows across the country. In 2009, and again in 2011, Chuck was a presenter at the Woodworking in America Hand Tool Conference. In 2010, he’s added a new line of instructional DVD’s which will be available through the school website.


Glen Huey was one of the Senior Editors at Popular Woodworking Magazine. We’ve known Glen for longer than either of us is willing to admit. Throughout the entire time we’ve known Glen, we’ve been thoroughly impressed with his excellent craftsmanship. Somehow we’ve managed to convince him to come teach an occassional class here at our school.

Glen the the author of numerous woodworking books, the star of countless instructional DVD’s and an all around great guy. He is truly an inspiration to us and countless other woodworkers throughout the world.


Matt Bickford bought and began using his first set of antique hollows and rounds several years ago in an effort to reduce reliance on his router table and very limited tooling that went along with it. He quickly recognized the extraordinary flexibility only a couple pairs of hollows and rounds allow. Due to the constraints of antique tools Matt started making planes for himself and ultimately turned professional in March, 2010.

Matt encourages and teaches the use of the many unfenced planes of the past. After understanding the layout necessary for these tools and various profiles, only a few planes in combination can produce scores of unique profiles. Learn the layout and let us say good bye to future tooling needs together!

Freddy Roman is a graduate of F.I.M.  (or The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts) in the study of furniture making and restoration.  In addition to his formal training, Freddy has worked and studied with many craftsmen to further hone the skills necessary for period furniture. 

Since graduating from F.I.M.  Freddy has been making new furniture based on antiques, furniture reproductions, and performing restoration and conservation for museums and private clients.