Workmate Opinions

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I just moved my workshop into a separate building from my house, but space is very limited. (About 8' X 14') I have decided to forego a build-in workbench and use a foldable workmate. What are your thoughts on the two Black and Decker versions: 225 and the 425? Or is there another brand you would recommend?
Thanks, Richard
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I have a Workmate 425. It will do in a pinch but is not big enough for many projects. And the plastic bench dogs are nearly useless. They don't line up well and won't hold much pressure on a work piece. Similarly, the clamping top sections won't hold enough pressure for anything but very light work. A bench vise it ain't.
I actually built a collapsible table for multiple uses, 1) as an outfeed for the table saw, and 2) as an assembly table for larger projects. The legs are two A-frame assemblies with the legs splayed out at 10 degrees from vertical. The tops of the assemblies are made to fit the width of the table. The top fits onto the legs with cleats arranged in the form of pockets that drop over the aprons of the leg assemblies. Stringers attached to the leg assemblies with hanger bolts and wing nuts (diagonally from near the top of one leg to near the bottom of the other on the same side) give added rigidity and are quickly disassembled.

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"Richard" wrote:

Don't know the model, have had one for several years.
Makes a quick portable table and the clamping mechanism serves as an extra pair of hands from time to time.
A vice and/or a work benck it isn't.
Lew
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Richard wrote:

I'm w/ Chuck...they have their uses, but are <not> substitutes for a bench. I'd go his route or perhaps a wall-hung fold-down that is more sturdy if you can spare the space.
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Now you guys have me thinking in a different direction. The fold down idea would probably work pretty well since my main goal was to be able to get the bench out of the way when I needed the space. It seems like a simple project, but are there any plan available that I could look at for ideas?
Thanks, Richard
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Richard wrote:

I'm sure there are but I don't have any links...I'd just take the size of area I had available and frame up something pretty solid and hang it on some heavy butt hinges. Seems like maybe there was something in the last FWW Shops special issue--I'll try to remember to look this evening and see if I find anything.
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Like Duane said, mount it on butt hinges fastened to the wall studs. Something with a 2X4 frame, a 3/4 or 1" MDF top and fold-up legs would work well (albeit heavy).
I chose a knock-down table because it does not limit me to a single space and I can also use it for other things, e.g., outfeed for the table saw.

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Try yesterday's thread " Plans for bench/question about ergonomics"
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On 18 Jul 2005 12:21:07 -0700, the opaque "Richard"

Schucks Auto Parts/Harbor Freight/Northern Tools/Homier/etc. all have them on sale for as little as $12.99 quite often.
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On Mon, 18 Jul 2005 16:05:03 -0700, Larry Jaques

They're not Workmates. They're not even _close_ to being Workmates.
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I have the 225, and I'm basically happy with it, for what it is. It is perfect for holding my home-made router table, and fine for holding small pieces to drill or finish. Portability/storage is great. However, it is just too small and unstable to use for any serious hand planing or chiseling or sanding, for any large stock, or anything else where you'll put any lateral pressure on it (It wants to tip unless I stand on the little step, which gets pretty awkward sometimes). Also, it is too low for any extended use - my lower back gets sore from bending over (I'm about 6'1"). Four concrete blocks under the legs would solve this problem, but then if you do hit/wiggle it enough, it would fall off and be even worse. I've also thought of making a taller table extension, but then I couldn't use the clamps or dog holes, and my router table top is taller. As for differences between the models, I was considering the 425, but the 225 was in stock at my local Chase Pitkin, and I'd read several reviews on Amazon about the boxes getting pretty smashed up during shipping, so I bought local. I can't imagine the 425 would solve any of the problems mentioned above - afaik, the only differences are in the benchtop (extra block to extend the table and a clutch for the clamping screws). Good luck, Andy
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Richard wrote in message

My workshop is 16' x 8' and I have space problems too!
I have a 15' x 2' worksurface along one wall with my RAS about 4' from one end. Under the 4' section is my router table which fits to a folding stand (aluminium sort of step stool for decorating).
Opposite wall has 1' deep shelving all along, floor to ceiling except for the last 4' and that's where my table saw (on castors) lives when not in use. Can't use router table & table saw at the same time - bit awkward sometimes.
All my power tools live in their cases on the shelving or in plastic crates along with all the wrench's & stuff.
I have a workmate that's around 25 years old and I clamp various 'bench tops' to that (simply screw a 2 x 4 underneath). One 'bench top' is a 4' x 2' kitchen work top used for assembly & glue up. Others are for routing, cutting large panels etc.
Works pretty well - but you have to be very tidy!
Dave
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On 7/18/2005 5:54 PM David Lang mumbled something about the following:

Damn, and I'm complaining about a 16x18 work area. Guess I need to do a better job of organizing.
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Odinn
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I would definitely buy the dual height. Comes in handy for those times you might actually use the thing as a sawhorse. First I bought didn't have it, because I was being cheap. He spent 15 years as general purpose bench and horse before retiring to a semipermanent status as chainsaw sharpening station in the garage.
My router "table," benchtop mortiser, Leigh jig box/bench all clamp into the workmate. I even hand plane wood using the plastic dogs. Of course, I keep one foot on the step, and have a sharp iron.
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Richard wrote:

Cannot add much more to this discussion - all good points to consider. I can tell you that I have TWO Workmates, each is at least 15 years or more old. I use them extensively but not as workbenches. I have "customized" them both with touches unique to how I like to use them. No regrets to having purchased them. In contrast to another post I do find the plastic bench dogs occasionally useful.
The most redeeming feature of these tools is that I can neatly tuck them out of the way when I am not using them. If you are expecting them to suffice as a workbench look elsewhere. If you want a versatile tool that can function as an occasional utility work surface with some additional clamping virtues then you are spot on.
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FWIW Richard, I have an old Workmate and couldn't tell you the model number. Like you, I am severely limited on space. I would love to build a real, 400 lb. bench but wouldn't have anywhere to put it. In the meantime, I use the workmate, a couple of sawhorses with a sheet of plywood, and lots of roller stands. To date I've built a bed, two nightstands, a hutch, a dresser, etc.... I'm not saying it's perfect, far from it, but I find I'm able to do what I want with what I've got. If nothing else, it'll help as a bench, when you decide to build a real bench (never really understood how to build a bench without a bench haha). Cheers, cc

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I was in the market for one a few months back with a similar problem. The 225 seemed way too small and flimsy, and all the 435 I could find had a warped table. I was very unhappy with either. The one day my wife picked an older one up at a garage sale for $5. The thing is built like a tank. If you can find one from anyplace this is the way to go.
For what it's worth: In my shop I'm currently using the workmate and an old closet door between two sawhorses. This setup seems to be working fine. I've been making cabinets to free up storage space so that I can start on a 'real' bench.
Either way the workmate s a good addition to the shop.

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I have 2 of the old original Workmates and use them a lot... they can do a lot of things, but workbench is not in their job description...
If you have to, use a solid core door that's hinged to a wall and folds out of the way when not in use.. NOTE: this only works well if you're not a junk collector like me, and fill up every flat space with stuff.. If you can be anal enough to clear everything off of it when done and fold it up, they work well..
BTW, After many years of bruised ankles, I finally sacrificed some wall space to hang the workmates up when not in use.. the worst part is that after you stumble on them, they fall into anything that's damageable or expensive available.. *g* Mac 03 Tahoe Widelite 26GT Travel Trailer replaced 1958 Hilite tent trailer 99 Dodge Ram QQ 2wd - 5.9L, auto, 3:55 gears
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Not be a junk collector?! Why do you think I had to move my shop into another location? All my table space has been covered in the garage :)
Thanks everyone for the comments They are very helpful...
Richard
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On 19 Jul 2005 10:43:22 -0700, the opaque "Richard"

A heads up: Watch for O'deen to offer a special price on a certain two-piece Workmutt one of these days. (It could happen.)
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