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Thread: Workmate/folding benches

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Workmate/folding benches

    Got a couple of B and D workmates and some others too, all pretty much needing new tops / jaws. The kit gets used outside a lot and inevitably have got wet from time to time. The originals are MDF or somesuch and have worn, gone soft losing their structural integrity especially around the inner faces and the fixing áreas below decks., where the threaded rods and carriers locate.

    I was just going to use planking, pine or redwood but wonder if anyone has tips and ideas , even improvements, while I'm at it. Ta.
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    I just use fir planking. Works fine. I keep the adjusting screws well lubed so they don't mind the weather too much.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Madison Wisconsin
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    9,033

    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    My original from the early 1970s has a top made from what looks like Baltic Birch plywood - many layers, fine texture, no voids, etc. I don't leave it outside, but it's had all sorts of uses over the years, including using it as a mounting bench for about a thousand pairs of ski bindings back when I was in that business. The top has held up so well to hard use that if I ever replace it, it would be with something similar to the original ply.

  4. #4
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    Northern Europe
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    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    I have four of them, and the "compressed wood" on 2 of them failed after getting wet and overloaded. Replaced with some pine planks. I expect the others to fail in the same way in due course. A couple of layers of ply would be good if keeping a flat surface is important, my planks have cupped a tad, but not an issue for how they are used.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
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    5,657

    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    My experience is the same as Todd's the older ones had a birch plywood top and it lasted very well.I have one of those and a much newer off brand example with less good plywood and I know which is likely to have the longer life.Since I have the plastic dogs that came with the original I do wonder how hard it would be to accurately re-create the positions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Victoria BC Canada
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    261

    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    I picked up an old one from the side of the road during a rain storm once.
    It looked like hell but was very well lubed and has given good service, as is, for years now.

    I keep the new B&D one out of the rain.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Now, there's a long story...
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    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    My experience is the same as Todd's the older ones had a birch plywood top and it lasted very well.I have one of those and a much newer off brand example with less good plywood and I know which is likely to have the longer life.Since I have the plastic dogs that came with the original I do wonder how hard it would be to accurately re-create the positions.
    Aren't those ¾ inch holes? Or some such? Why not clamp the "original" to the "new", and then use the "original" as a jig with a forstner bit?
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Workmate/folding benches

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    Aren't those ¾ inch holes? Or some such? Why not clamp the "original" to the "new", and then use the "original" as a jig with a forstner bit?
    so having done a couple today with softwood planks, the plastic peg holes are hardly important. Put them where the originals were, add a couple of extras, cut in recesses for holding round or misshapen stock......
    what was trickier....not difficult but required a bit more care and attention... was the semi recessed holes that hold the tops to the threaded carriers...and one model has elongated slots that take pegs in the underside of the fixed jaw to allow it to be set in three positions.
    If they weren't bang on, there can be a binding issue or sloppiness.
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

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