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severe O/T: Black&Decker Workmate Tables

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 36tbird, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. 36tbird
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,084


    My reason for posting this is that I firmly believe other HAMBER's have some abused B&D Workmates off in the corners of their garages like I do. I was surfin' the net looking for replacement parts for my w-m tables. I stumbled on the fact there is almost kind of a cult following for these things. All pretty much feel that the new ones have a lot more plastic than the old ones but they still deserve some respect. Turns out that these things were invented in England and that there is even a book written about them. I went out and looked at my two and discovered that I apparently have a very early one where it is the rear board that moves versus the later front moving boards. The front moving board one has the advantage of positioning the rear board in about 3 different positions depending on the size of the thing you want to clamp down on. The thing that struck me in my search is that someone made the statement that, "you never see one of these things used for sale." I think that is a true statement. I've mocked up and made a lot of parts on the two tables I have. Welding on them is what usually takes its toll on the boards. I need to replace the boards and I was looking for replacements for that when I went searching. I think that the old w-m's may be an unsung hero of the garages. :cool:
  2. pastlane
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,063


    I work setting up estate sales, have sold many of them since last Spring. Cool to learn some history on them.
  3. Brendan1959
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 288


    Years ago I was working on a building site as an electrician, I was talking to an old carpenter at lunch, I asked him what he thought what was the best tool that that had been invented since he started work. I expected him to say the power saw or nail gun, but no he said the work mate. I went out and bought one and I agree they are very handy, but I would not like to be without my Milwalkee battery drill.
  4. I inherited one from my late Father in Law. It is one of the originals. I did buy a newer one at a yard sale and I have one of my own given to me by the very same FIL. The fellow that designed it, Ron Hickman worked for Colin Chapman and did a lot of design work on the Lotus Elan. There are more than 20 million made.

  5. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,483


    Cool, never had one tho I used one on a remodeling job years ago........will keep my eyes peeled at sales!
  6. Never heard of them before! But being in a cult interests me, is there cool aid?
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  7. Thumper
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,610


    The one I got 2 years ago is a piece of shit.....:(
  8. Picked one up for $5- at the local goodwill store. best portable work bench, toolstand etc... ever made. Figure mine is an early one all metal and good wood.
  9. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,169


    I couldn't probably build a car without a Workmade and my "Super Sawzall"! The workmate helps hold stuff down while I cut it off to short...
  10. It's "KOOL-aid" ! And you call yourself a cult member! Phhfffffffffffbttt! :rolleyes: I have one of the newer ones. It's OK, but what I'd like, is it's BIG BROTHER. I wish they'd make one out of wood and steel. And make it a little taller, maybe a few feet longer.
  11. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,283

    64 DODGE 440
    from so cal

    Handy device, they will hold some pretty large stuff where it's much easier to work with. I've had front axles clamped in it for assembly, an 8' ford rear while welding brackets to it, and supported the chassis for the HA/GR while welding it together.

    Then when ya get done, it folds up and sits against the wall out of the way.

    Bought it as a holdover until I got a real workbench and found it to be a great extra set of hands.
  12. I had a counter top model for a long time.
    It didn't get used much, I don't do that much woodwork, but I do have a table saw.
    Great place to stack car stuff.:D

    The W-M I have was dads.
    He let me have it when he quit working in his shop.
    Doggoned thing is way handier than I imagined.
    Great place for my buffer that's usually store away, but when you need it, you need it.

    Strikes me that having another would be great.

    Nice thing about the W-M is that it's a flat surface that's almost always available.

    Geez, last year I was going to yank the body off the 31 on 32 rails roadster and would have had to leave Sweeties pickup out in the weather.

    Easy fix, most of my power tools, bandsaw, grinder etc. sit on stands with wheels in the middle of the garage so I figured I'd hit up a pal and bring some of his light duty 1 1/2" and 3/4" square tubing home.
    Only a touch rusty from being stored outside, but its good for a lot of projects.

    I built a light duty, well braced 6 legged 42" x 96" table sorta frame about 42" off the floor.
    No top, just needed a place to set the 31 body.
    Worked out great, there was a place for the body and the table sorta frame was high enough that the power tools could roll out from under the frame.

    Then . . . one day . . . I needed a flat surface and everything had either a project going or stuff stored on it.
    So I clamped an 18" x 42" piece of plywood to the body frame.
    Worked great, then it got a little small.
    Clamped another 18" X 42" piece of plywood on it.

    Then I got to thinking about it and dragged a 4' x 8' MFD board home and screwed that to the top of the frame and trimmed it to 42" wide.
    Figuring all the while that the body would sit on top of the table just fine.

    Now I'm thinking that since most of the rust sanded off ok, maybe I ought to paint the frame-work.
    And add some easy to make height increasing gizmo's so a couple of taller tools on stands could roll under.

    Yeah, I know what you're thinking.

    Can't leave well enough alone.

    And . . . you're right.

    The new table is stacked up with stuff....:eek::cool:
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  13. DirtyTace
    Joined: Nov 19, 2005
    Posts: 484


    Strange. I was just thinking about this topic last night when I noticed a W-M table in another thread. I wondered the same thing. I've used mine a plenty - it's hacked, burned, drilled, chipped and missing one rubber bumper on one leg (damn things, you'd think I'd fix that). I love everything about it but the weight. Suckers heavy for a skinny dude like me.
  14. I tend to use mine to sit the odd engine and transmission on,
    it just saves my back from all the bending.
    This whole trike is sitting on one B & D workmate;
    I have built a few this way,
    Had to weld the folding mech solid because when I built a Subaru trike the weight was too much and the legs were trying to fold in all the wrong places.

    Found that hospitals have big stainless workbenches with a neat drain gully
    (don't want to think about what they are used for),
    Two of them together should take a small hot rod,
    so hense my next plan is to do just that,
    always wanted to build one,
    but all the bending, too much.
    Ok way bigger than the B & D which has served so well ( at least half a dozen trikes ),
    but kind of continuing the idea of the movable workbench ( oh forgot to say these stainless tables are on monster rubber tyred casters, so moving them is easy, down side is not folding, but then stainless so can store outside minus wheels if not needed for a while.
  15. 36tbird
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,084


    For parts, I found a list for the new one's on Grainger's website. You might find the rubber bumper. Maybe we should all contact B&D and get them to make some commemorative models without less plastic.
  16. willysguy
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,215

    from Canada

    I've had one for at least 15 years, a real handy tool. It would be great if you could bet a metal top to replace the pressed wood for doing metal work.
  17. publicenemy1925
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 3,187

    from OKC, OK

    Had mine about 15yrs too and DAM if it ain't the handiest bench out there.
  18. I've got a Workmate and I use it almost everyday. My Grandpa bought it for my Dad for Christmas in the late 70s and Dad never used it. I started using it to fix my bike when I was riding BMX bikes as a kid. I've managed to hang on to it for all these years. I'm doing some wood projects right now and it is a valuable set of extra "hands". I have a tiny garage and there is no room for a workbench in there, so I use the W-M out there sometimes.

    I mostly use it in my basement for alot of little projects. We rent so I can't build a real nice workbench down there. When I make teardrop knobs, the Workmate is a great help. I use a few make shift tools and get great results. I took a 2 X 4 and drilled holes in it. I use fat zip ties (police style) to hold my buffer to the board. I then clamp the 2 X 4 in the Workmate. I have various grit sanding wheels that I change on the buffer to shape and smooth the knob. I set the buffer on a low speed and lock the trigger and go to work.

    Granted, a nice work bench, a vice, drill press, bench grinder and so forth would be nice, but for the lack of work space that I have the Workmate always helps me out. I can't imagine doing alot of the little projects I do without it.................E
  19. MIGHTY
    Joined: Sep 18, 2006
    Posts: 448


    I had an early model rear moving table for at least 10 years. Fire took it out but I got two of the newer ones that tilt. The're awesome! They are also bigger than the old ones.
  20. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,466


    Yeah,they're a great tool.The good ones must've been built back in B&D's glory days,when they weren't the darling of SlawMart's offshore tool inventory.
    I'm the proud and happy owner of my Pops WorkMate and lucked into finding one while cleaning out a basement for a friend.
    They are a great time saver and are quite handy.

    Everybody should have an older model of one!
  21. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,869


    I agree with the above. I bought my at a moving sale. (I guess the dude wsan't too handy).

    It's be burned, welded, painted, oiled spilled on, and it keeps coming back for more.

    I never really gave it usefullness much thought until you brought this up.

    Great post!
  22. Slonaker
    Joined: Jul 21, 2005
    Posts: 523


    Wow. I have never even seen one of these, but I remember them from commercials from years ago. I guess I need to keep an eye out for one.

  23. AHHHHH I had to look em up, I have one!! Its one of the real basic ones, it was my grandfathers, I remember when he got it I was small enough to sit in between the legs under it! That makes it more than 30 years old! I couldnt have been more than 3-4 years old, man I even remember what was on TV as I sat under it, a show about the LochNess monster!!

    It has hardwood tops and the only plastic is the handles to wind the top back and forth.
    My step father had it and was going to throw it away!
  24. Ah hahahahaha............... They're autopsy tables. :D Make sure the suckers are CLEAN!
  25. I've thought about those many times...usually when I'm working on something and think "I bet one of those workmates would help...if I had one". The feedback here seems to tell me to look for an old one at a garage sale or swap meet, it'll be my new years resolution. Thanks.
  26. Mart
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,445


    I have one that I have only recently started using. My Dad gave it to me a few months ago, he got it from my uncle when he downsized a few years ago.
    I now know it is an early one, with the rear moving jaw/table. The el cheapo "bench n vice" in the background pales in comparison. The only problem with mine is thet there are some plastic clips that hold the lower legs out. They are broke on two legs so they sort of dangle when you lift it up, but I can live with that. I will take more care of it now I know how old it is.


  27. btmatt
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 227


    And I thought i was the only dummy doing metal work on my workmate. BTW press platens make righteous tops when the wooden ones get a little too crispy.
  28. swimeasy
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 1,067


    I have 3 and the old ones (look at my signature) are great, but stay clear of the new crap!!
  29. Lotek_Racing
    Joined: Sep 6, 2006
    Posts: 690


    Damn, I just found out my old workmate is an antique...

    It's been broken, welded back together and had many new tops put on it but it's still kickin'.

  30. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    I have one that is at least 35 years old tripped over it 21 years ago (on my bithday)and broke my hand. That is the only problem I ever had with it. A piece of 3/8 plate goes on top to weld, I use it all the time.
    I bought a new one last Saturday to use in the house to reload ammo, it does have some plastic, but should hold up.

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