Support Bench Tools on a Workmate


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I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making an...

This is my venerable 35 year old Black & Decker Workmate. I most often use it as a base for several power tools normally mounted on a bench. 

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Step 1: A Space Multiplier

My workmate allows me to make better use of my garage workshop that shares space with our automobiles. Here you see my bandsaw mounted on my Workmate. The Workmate fits into a cramped corner.

Step 2: Support for a Router Table

This is my homemade router table. To use it I need only loosen the Workmate's jaws and substitute the router table for the bandsaw. If I need more space for handling the work I am routing, I can move the Workmate into a more open area, or even take it outside the garage.

Step 3: Mount for a Circular Saw Precise Cutting Accessory

Almost two years ago I published an Instructable on a quick conversion table for making accurate cuts with a circular saw. See it here. I use my Workmate to mount this quick conversion table. I could also use two sawhorses.

Step 4: Cleats

I bolted a cleat at least 2 x 2 inches in size under each of the tools I want to support for use on my Workmate. When I place a different tool onto the Workmate, I must open the jaws enough to fit the cleat on that tool. Then I tighten the jaws so they grip the cleat on the tool as evenly as possible for the best possible grip. 

Step 5: Storage of the Tools

The router table and the saw table both store upright against a wall. The bandsaw is usually in my Workmate, but if I need to support it while it is out of the Workmate, I can use a couple of pieces of 2 inch lumber as shown in the photo.

Step 6: Another Possibility

I have a small Chinese drill press of the type that is exported all over the world. A few years ago I made a welded stand for it. But, I could mount it on my Workmate. Notice the two mounting holes identified by the two yellow text boxes. I could use these holes to attach a 2 x 2 cleat like is on the other tools. If I did use this drill press on my Workmate, I would need to use some 2 inch lumber to store it like those seen in step 5. I do like to use my drill press on the stand I made because the height of the stand makes it easier to use than it would be on my Workmate.

The idea of using cleats on the bottom of smaller power bench tools so I can mount them on my Workmate has allowed me to make available workshop space more versatile and useful. It is a cheap and easy solution for anyone with a Workmate.

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    37 Discussions

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    Edward-Norton

    1 year ago

    I have the very same one. It has been a workhorse for me but now both of the latches that release the table so it can be folded are broken off. So far it has been impossible to find replacements.

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    Phil BEdward-Norton

    Reply 1 year ago

    I looked closely at mine. Can you still grasp enough to release the Workmate so it collapses? My thoughts were that you might be able to make new release levers, or add back what is broken using pop rivets to attach the replacement portions, or have someone weld replacement extended tabs to the part.

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    SerA5

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I just bought one of these things from a graage sale for $5, and can't figure out how to extend it. It appears a very similar model as the one pictured at the top of this page. Can you help?

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    Phil BSerA5

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I took a photo to show you, but server maintenance at Instructables has disabled the upload feature. Stand over the top of the Workmate. There is a gray metal tab you want to depress simultaneously on both the right and left sides of the Workmate. Lift the top of the Workmate as you do until it clicks into place. The gray metal tabs have semi-circular ends and are about the size of the end of your fingers.

    To collapse the Workmate again, pull a spring loaded trigger on each side near the back edge of the Workmate. The feet fold under the Workmate.

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    KimberlyE13Phil B

    Reply 1 year ago

    OMG perfect!! thank you so much. I got mine for 6 bucks, I'm so excited to have a work table

    thanks

    Kimberly

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    Phil BKimberlyE13

    Reply 1 year ago

    Congratulations on your bargain purchase. They are very handy and versatile. Let your imagination flow, but also be safe.

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    SerA5Phil B

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Phil! I did as instructed and popped right up! Awesome!

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    RichardE43SerA5

    Reply 3 years ago

    I have had workmates for the last 30 yrs and use them for many things. If a power tool weighs less than 200 lbs and can be mounted on a 2x4 I have probably mounted it to my workmate- table saw, band saw, drill press etc. also use it for serving table or eating table by mounting a 3'x5' sheet of 3/4 plywood on a 2x4 and clamping it to the workmate. Once used a large piece of plywood for a kids thanksgiving table and was worried it might tip over so I screwed the workmate to the floor. Worked fine for about 8 kids. About the only negative thing I can say about the workmates is they are being built using thinner, cheaper material and price cutting cheaper features.

    Would be willing to pay more for a workmate if they made a model more like the 25 yr old ones.

    A

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    Phil BSerA5

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I tried later and the photo did upload. My finger is next to the release for opening the Workmate. There is another on the other side,too. My thumb is next to the release for collapsing the Workmate.

    image.jpg
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    KellyCraig

    3 years ago

    I have a commercial shop with thousands of dollars worth of woodworking tools. A Workmate has always been among them. I find them useful for many projects.

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    Samw

    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is probably my most versatile bench. I love how it swings down and can be shoved under a standing bench

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    Phil BSamw

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes. My wife bought mine for me. I probably would not have bought one. But, I am really glad I have it.

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    fredellarby

    6 years ago on Step 4

    I wonder if 150 years from now, some expert will make his fortune collecting and dating antique workmates. All well scarred from their many uses. It's one of my most used tools. My railroad rail anvil is the next resident.

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    Phil Bfredellarby

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 4

    Thank you for looking and commenting. I am thinking of making a bench for my circular saw that will fit on my Workmate.

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    doo da do

    6 years ago on Step 4

    I still use my 1985 model workmate. They sure made them to last back then. Thanks for the ideas.

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    claudg1950

    7 years ago on Step 2

    With this setup, your router is offset from the Workmate center and the cleat protrudes at the opposite side of the board.
    What if instead you install two cleats in the underside, each one near an opposite edge of the board. Then, instead of turning the handles to make the WM surfaces clamp the cleat, you turn the handles the other way and EXPAND the workmate surfaces until each surface presses against a cleat.
    With luck, in the centerline you will have a breach large enough to admit the router and the router bit will appear at the middle of the WM table.

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    Phil Bclaudg1950

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 2

    I think it would work. That is a good idea. Would you want to use the Workmate to support other tools? That might affect what you would do and how you would do it. Thanks for looking at this and for commenting.

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    44124gat

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I’ve used a Workmate this way for a number of tools. E.g., Ridgid Sander, Bosch router table, Dremel scroll saw, Delta mortiser, Porter-Cable Omnijig Joinery tool etc. Typically I attach the base more or less permanently to the tool, as shown in the photos above.
    But because the base adds weight to each tool, I plan next to remove all the bases from each tool and make a “master’ base that can be used with any/all of the tools. This will reduce the weight I have to lift to put each tool on the Workmate after installing the “master” base.
    I also made a mobile base for the Workmate so it can be rolled around.

    Another option, especially for something tall or heavy, like a drill press, is to use the DeWalt mobile planer stand # DW7350. This is a very good stand that sometimes come “free” when you buy the DeWalt planer. It is not as tall as a Workmate but has a slightly smaller footprint and has locking wheels for mobility. However, usually it is more expensive than a Workmate, although it sometimes may be found cheaper on the web.

    In fact, I may decide to use the DeWalt stand for my “master’ base instead of the Workmate-I’ll have to think about that a bit. ;)

    DeWalt Mobile Planer Stand.jpg