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rtgreen
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Portland, Oregon
1322 Posts

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Hey guys,

I just finished building my new workshop. It is a separate building from my house (which should keep my wife happy Smile ) , but the space is limited. About 8'x15'. I have decided to use a folding workbench to save space. Has anyone used the Black and Decker Workmates? I don't do a lot of heavy work, but I am used to a large built-in workbench. Any opinions?

Thanks,
Richard
Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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I've not used what you are speaking off, but my workshop is in a 1-car garage. What I have done is built a series of three storage tables on wheels. One for my table saw, one for my router table and one from my compund sliding mitre saw. These come out of the garage when I use them and back in when I don't. Each one has lots of storage space under it, and this has the added bonus of helping to keep my garage sawdust free.

And yes, that is MY opinion
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magicmanrob
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158 Posts

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I have used one and continue to do so. It makes a good portable work bench and does a good job of keeping pieces clamped with its built n clamping system.
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Richard:

I use a similar product extensively in the field for cabinetmaking, construction, and occasionally, welding. It's been used and abused in ways that violate both common sense and the maker's warranty, yet it continues to serve me well. Like most hybrids, it does not perform specialized tasks well, but it accepts a wide range of generalized tasks without complaint. Recommended.

Alternatively, what about a solid core door set horizontally, folding down from the wall?

Leland
Joe Mansfield
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I have two of them and I use them every time I'm in the shop!
markjens
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N. CA
213 Posts

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Leland, I smiled when I read your advice. I was thinking of offering the exact same advice. I have the Workmates, and while it is handy to have them clamping onto my kids RC cars and other small things that I am working on, they are pretty small. I suppose if one needed the smaller Workmate, I could recommend them without hesitation. I would, however, also recommend a door, hinged as recommended, with fold down legs on the front corners. It is dirt simple to do, and strong as Sears. Both of these alternatives will fold up and out of the way, conserving space in a major way.
George Ledo
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SF Bay Area
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For years I used an old door across two sawhorses in the middle of the garage, even when I had a nice custom-build workbench against the wall. It's amazing how strong a simple hollow-core, honeycomb door is. When I needed to screw something onto the surface (like an assembly jig), I just clamped a piece of 3/4" ply onto the door and I was all set.

Nice thing about doors is that they come in different standard sizes, from 24" up. They're generally 6'-8" high, but you can cut them down and refinish the cut edge. And they're inexpensive.
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tabman
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USA
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Why not just put an island type bench together using some scrap 2 x 4s, a piece of 3/4" plywood for the top and a couple of shelves using locking castors so you can move it around. Adjust the size to fit the space so you have room all the way around. With your building size you could make it about 30" wide and store it at one end across the width of the shop. I think George's idea of two saw horses and a door is better than using one of the B & D folders, it just won't give you enough space using only one and once you start building stuff in your shop you will wish for more bench space - mark my words!!!

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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George Ledo
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SF Bay Area
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Good point, tabman. Not only does a movable island give you lots of storage space underneath, but you can also work on all four sides of it. And, if you plan the height accordingly, it also becomes an outfeed table for the table saw.

If you go this way, make sure to leave a lip all the way around the top for clamping. An inch is okay, but two gives you more flexibility.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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Tabman, you are soooo right,

I can not tell you the number of things I have thrown together at the last minute to give me more bench and holding space. Everything from saw horses to plastinc containers stacked up high. You can never have enough table space in a workshop

Cliff
Magic is like Science,
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tabman
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USA
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Cliff, I'm right with you on this topic. Only the brave enter my shop. I have added three more bench tops this year and they are all covered. Bench space is king. The more space, the more projects. I have workstations made of small sheets of 3/4" ply that I move around from bench to bench and there's stuff stacked to the moon, some so sensitively balanced that a puff of wind would blow the pile down. Now, if I could only remember to put the heavy stuff on the bottom!!!

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
rtgreen
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Portland, Oregon
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Thanks everyone for all the advice. Here's what I've done for now. It turned out that Schucks Auto Supplies was clearing out some folding benches that were simmilar to the cheap ones sold by Grizzly. They were only $8 a piece and I was able to get 2 of them. They are basically sawhorses with some clamping ablility. I cut a piece of plywood 3'x5' and can use that as a table top across the folding benches for now. I will probably buy a door soon to replace the plywood top. I think this will work fine for now, but as I start building (I am going to put together a simple "Walking Through a Ribbon" this weekend for an upcoming show.

Thanks,
Richard
tabman
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USA
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Sounds perfect Richard. Maximum utility and minimum money. My favorite combo. Congratulations on your new shop. Hope to see some great magic come out of it soon!!

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Euangelion
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Richard, check with local lumberyards to see if they have any doors damaged on oneside with punctures or such. You can often save big bucks that way. Just put the puncture side on the bottom.
Bill Esborn

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rtgreen
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Portland, Oregon
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Excellent idea -- cheap and perfectly functional! Just my speed SmileI'll look around this weekend...

Thanks,
Richard
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