Workbench / Workmate

Hi,
Being only 13 and on a small budget, I am yet to buy a workmate.I don't want one which is essentially a table, I want like a workmate. Yesterday, trying to handhold a piece of wood whilst filing it was no fun task. Please can you give me any recommendations. Also it must be very sturdy.
Cheers,
SB
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SB asks:

WorkMate is Black & Decker's brand name for their folding workbench. It has several gripping systems, but comes in various cost ranges. There is some competition here in the States, but I don't know about the UK. You might want to check your local stores to see which B&D models are available, or what the competition is. I think the top of the line WorkMate (the 400?) is well under 100USD, if that's any help.
Charlie Self "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." H. L. Mencken
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On 14 Nov 2004 09:48:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Anyone who has to build or fix houses _needs_ a Workmutt. They're a very clever piece of design, and a really useful tool as a large portable clamp.
As a workbench though, they're terrible. Too tall and spindly, too light and just not stable for work with hand tools. Power tools work fast, with light forces. Hand tools work slowly, with high forces. You need a heavier and more stable bench.
Given what I think Sam's budget is likely to be, then he should either borrow a Workmate or spend money on something else, but not buy one.
You need a workspace and a workbench. They're the basic tools of woodworking and you don;t get anywhere without them.
If you can't get a workspace, make smaller things. You might end up as a luthier, but you'll still get to do some woodworking.
If you can't get a workbench, then there are some ways around it. Japanese techniques use low trestles and a planing beam instead of a "bench". Carpenters use trestles more than benches, because theyr'e working on things that are big enough to "become their own bench". Green woodworkers might use a "shave horse" instead of a bench,
Generally though, you're going to want a bench. This should be as big and stable as you can manage, and it may need to pack away somewhere.
Best way is to buy one. It's not easy to find them, but S/H benches are a bargain. Old school woodwork benches can change hands for as little as a tenner, and that's with a pair of cast iron vices on them!
A bench I used for some time was an old firedoor (solid timber, not hollow) on a pair of trestles made from metal brackets and some 2x4 rough timber. It's now on its third owner. The idea of a loose top on trestles has a lot to recommend it. I'm not saying "Go and buy a firedoor", but when I saw a firedoor going cheap in a sale, I recognised that it could be a bench and so I bought it. Keep your eyes open.
Trestles themselves are a good thing, especially if you're working plywood with a handheld circular saw or jigsaw. Make a pair from 2x4s and plywood boxing around the ends. If you make one a little longer than the other, they nest and stack in half the space.
If you're working in a garage, then you might need a bench that folds away, but can be hung from a wall for support. A simple 2x4 frame and a plywood top with dropdown legs isn't too hard to build.
Have you got your Axminster catalogue yet ? What about the bench ideas in there ? There are £50, £70 & £99 benches in Machine Mart that are a bit flimsy, but they do the basic job, are better than a Workmate and already have a vice on them. It rarely hurts to have two, so get one of these, then build something better in a while.
Your first bench will be upgraded before too long. Everyone always wants a bigger and better bench.

Really ? There is _no_ competition for Workmates in the UK. B&D have _ferociously_ defended the brand and the design. There are a few vaguely similar machines, but nothing gets close. Wolf and Triton have some large "machinery centres" that are static folding benches without the clamping, and there are some very minimal Lucky WorkFriend cheap "trestle clamps" with no worktop space on top. Neither is any substitute for the Workmate.
If you ever get the chance, snap up an old cast aluminium H frame Workmate - a bit nicer than the pressed steel versions.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Andy Dingley notes:

I'd love to have one of the old versions, but I've only seen ONE.
Sears and Wolfcraft put out competitive models some time ago. There were enough differences that no patents seemed to be infringed--back in '78 or so, B&D was getting ready to sue Sears over their then model. I don't know what because of that suit, but my guess is it was settled out of court. When you look at the time span, you realize that for the U.S., the patent dates are long past. Direct copies of the older versions would be dead legal, I'd guess.
Charlie Self "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." H. L. Mencken
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Hi,
Are you in the UK?
If yes check out http://www.index.co.uk/rf/navigation/product.do?productS240813&Mis_item_id &D!6280442&SN 9673202&Ntk=pca_id&Mis_item_loc_id=1&versionid˜6&Nu=this_product&Nty=1&thisprodS240813&categoryid 9673202&SNu=pca_id&SearchType=littlewoods_search&Ntt!6280442&SearchText=workmate&Dx=mode+matchall&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial&Np=1&N=0 ...
That's where I got mine
-----------------

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SB wrote:

set on a workmate, B&Q were selling their copy for about Β£10 each. Two of them and Andy's fire door to go on top when needed would give you a very flexible system for holding stuff and as a bench.
--
Geoff Beale
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A workmate is a good starter, until you can graduate to a real workbench. A pair of sturdy sawhorses is also an option. You can build a clamp on the top of your sawhorse using a wedge principal. I'm sorry I don't have a link - I've seen one somewhere but cannot find it at the moment.
Woodworkers for centuries made ingenious of various shapes of wedges to hold wood. I'd suggest you read up on that.
Before I got a workbench, I had a large metal vice bolted to a piece of plywood. I clamped it to the top of a sawhorse with two F-clamps.
Bob
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Recommended because you're 13...
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberG078
$19. They OFTEN put it on sale for $10.
Not necessarily very sturdy as you put it, but save up your money for a car or something.
Jay

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FriscoSoxFan writes:

He won't have any money to save. That 10 buck item is going to be a bank breaker to ship to the UK.
Charlie Self "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." H. L. Mencken
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On 15 Nov 2004 14:34:43 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Is the free shipping for $50 orders only for the US?
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mac davis asks:

I dunno, but the item was supposed to be 20 bucks on sale for 10 bucks. I don't think SB wanted 5 of them.
Charlie Self "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." H. L. Mencken
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wrote:

A couple of years ago, I found a kit with a pair of sawhorses and a bench top that fit on top of one sawhorse. The top had a built in vise with several movable dogs. It is all plastic, and wouldn't stand up to heavy use, but is fine for basic hand and Dremel carving, cutting light wood with a jigsaw or drilling. Mine has lots of scratches from my X-acto razor saws. I think the package was about US$20 at Sam's Club. I see similar kits at Lowes once in a while.
I have a mini-workmate, the B&D version that clamps to the edge of a table or workbench. It's also for light duty work. If I had room, I would either get the full sized Workmate, or build a full workbench, but that's not in the cards for my current house. Maybe after I retire, if we do move to Arizona, . . .
I also check Big Lots occasionally for discounted tools. Most of them aren't worth carrying home, but occasionally there are some real bargins on brand name products. It all depends on whose warehouse they cleaned out last month. I once found a PanaVise that works very well for holding parts from my grandchildrens' Tommy Tank sets while I put them bck together. That ball mount is very convenient.
Bob McConnell N2SPP
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Not yet having a dedicated workshop, although that's in the offing shortly, I do all my work using a B & D Workmate which I've had for years. Very sturdy but, of course no replacement for a permanent workbench if you have the space even at the back of the garage.
Malcolm Webb
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Sun, Nov 14, 2004, 8:47am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (SB) claims: Hi, Being only 13 and on a small budget, I am yet to buy a workmate.I don't want one which is essentially a table, I want like a workmate. Yesterday, trying to handhold a piece of wood whilst filing it was no fun task. Please can you give me any recommendations. Also it must be very sturdy.
Hmmm, 13, 13, I was 13 once. I think. LOL
Seems to me I've either posted plans for a workmate-like table, r ran across some. I'll try checking and see what I come up with, and post 'em, if I find 'em.
If you clamp the wood down to a table top, or such, then file it, might have better results. Or, make an "L" shaped fixture - two pieces of wood, glue sandpaper on the upright side, then lay the wood flat on the bottom piece, and slide it back and forth on the sandpaper. Or clamp the wood, and glue sandpaper on a long straightedge, and then sand.
JOAT Any plan is bad which is incapable of modification. - Publilius Syrus
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These might help. http://www.jeffgreefwoodworking.com/pnc/ShopProj/woodvice/index.html http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip033100sn.html
JOAT Any plan is bad which is incapable of modification. - Publilius Syrus
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