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B&D workmate

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Bill Dawes25/04/2021 11:48:22
471 forum posts

My son recently sent me a pic of his 7 year old Workmate we bought him as a Christmas present.

This prompted me to send him a pic of mine, an original 'Aircraft Alloy' version going back to early-mid 70's.

A few battle scars and rickety joints, but still in regular use, a bit like me really!!

Probably one of the oldest and most useful tools I have.

Bill D.

HOWARDT25/04/2021 12:18:34
777 forum posts
28 photos

I have mine from 1974/5, just missing one of the push in plastic feet but still on the original vice jaws.

Simon Collier25/04/2021 12:54:49
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415 forum posts
60 photos

Mine is 80s. I replaced the MDF "jaws" with solid wood at some stage. As my work benches are covered in stuff, I often set it up outside to do a job. The plastic springs for folding the legs are broken which makes things pretty awkward as they flop about. Recently I looked online for replacements buy they were more expensive than a new Workmate. The most recent use was practising hand cutting dovetails. It is about the most useful, and used, thing I have.

Tony Pratt 125/04/2021 13:07:08
1648 forum posts
8 photos

My late father in laws workmate [late 70's era?] was built like a tank, very heavy. Mine is early 80's era, a lighter model but still well built & I wouldn't be without it!! The new ones look a bit flimsy so as usual built down to a price?

Tony

Henry Brown25/04/2021 13:18:20
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473 forum posts
104 photos

I inherited my late dad's aluminium framed workmate and I have one from the mid 80's I bought when I was renovating my last home. I still use them both, often outside for dirty or dusty jobs or when I need to do DIY heaven forbid. I did manage to get some spares a while back from a Black & Decker shop when I was passing through Nottingham, likely long gone. Seeing this thread I wondered if the plastic parts are still available, a quick brose through ebay showed up most parts are...

larry phelan 125/04/2021 14:50:45
1079 forum posts
14 photos

I have several of these benches, one of them a Workmate, the others are clones [Chinese junk ] which are easier to open and fold up and just as good in every way. I bought them for 15 Euro in Aldi,s years back and am still using them. Not much to go wrong with them, and easy to fix if required No way would I pay mad money for a B&D model, they are good, but not THAT good. They all do the job.

I often have to use them to set up a bench to do something because my "Real" bench is cluttered up with junk.

Am I alone ??

ChrisH25/04/2021 15:00:22
1003 forum posts
30 photos

larry you are NOT alone! I sometimes see my bench, when I'm having a clear up and clear out day, but other days.........

old mart25/04/2021 15:47:14
3316 forum posts
203 photos

I have two, the large 700 is one of the first pressed steel ones, and I was very pleased to find that spare parts are easy to get hold of. I bought a set of feet and bump stops and noticed that the clamping screws and nuts were also available.

Stuart Bridger25/04/2021 15:49:31
528 forum posts
29 photos

Still got mine from the late 80's. The plastic clips locking the legs down failed recently, but replacements available at a sensible price. 8

HOWARDT25/04/2021 16:40:47
777 forum posts
28 photos

Just remembered I have the original instructions filed with other instruction booklets, WM225/325, single or dual height, along with the jig sheet.

Peter G. Shaw25/04/2021 17:27:34
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1309 forum posts
44 photos

Mine is a WM400, bought sometime in the '70's from either House of Holland or Argos, can't remember which. I've repainted it, added tape on the bottom of the legs to make the plastic feet a tighter fit, replaced two of the hinges with bolts (I seem to recall having make a pair of tubes or similar for the bolts to work), added a piece of 1/4inch wood, Ramin possibly, on the inside of the jaws and repaired one of the handles, the casting broke! And still it does all it's supposed to do.

I've bought various add-ons, the arms for holding large sheets, the steel bracket to convert it to a portable saw bench, the special bracket to allow the use of a tool tray on the rear of the rear jaw.

It's been used for just about anything I could cram into, or on, it: holding an old file whilst cutting it up, holding parts of tree branches whilst using a chainsaw, cutting smaller branches & scrap wood using the portable saw attachment, and right now it is being used as an extra table with a piece of plywood on top of the jaws and bits & pieces stored on top. In short, it's been one of the most useful pieces of equipment I've ever bought.

Mention has been made of "knock-offs", ie copies made by other than B&D. My daughter has a "knock-off", the design of which is so poor that the folding arms for the legs stick out rather than lay parallel to the legs as mine does. In other words, B&D may be more expensive, but it is proper engineered product.

Cheers,

Peter G. Shaw

Samsaranda25/04/2021 18:05:36
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1193 forum posts
5 photos

Mine is a recent model only a couple of years old, had problems with the fold down legs, they are so flimsy so I took them off and put them in the scrap bin. Wish I still had my old original that dated from the 60’s, used to belong to my father, it was built like the proverbial brick outhouse, the recent models aren’t a patch on the originals. Dave W

Peter Cook 625/04/2021 18:16:26
156 forum posts
50 photos

Mine is the 1970's alloy one. Bought for me by my parents when I got my first house - possibly to celebrate getting rid of me! It still works well and is (like Larry's) mostly used as a temporary bench.

The most useful accessory I have is a sheet of 19mm ply with a block screwed across the bottom so that It clamps into the vice jaws. It has M8 inserts let in at the correct spacings to tie down the power tools for which I have no other bench space ( or which I prefer to use outside). It has fixings for the bench grinder, angle grinder stand, chop saw, an old B&D drill press and a horizontal stand for the B&D two speed drill that was supplied by the same source at the same time, and which I use for wire brushing or polishing.

Nicholas Wheeler 125/04/2021 18:25:52
723 forum posts
51 photos
Posted by larry phelan 1 on 25/04/2021 14:50:45:

I have several of these benches, one of them a Workmate, the others are clones [Chinese junk ] which are easier to open and fold up and just as good in every way. I bought them for 15 Euro in Aldi,s years back and am still using them. Not much to go wrong with them, and easy to fix if required No way would I pay mad money for a B&D model, they are good, but not THAT good. They all do the job.

I often have to use them to set up a bench to do something because my "Real" bench is cluttered up with junk.

Am I alone ??

No, I agree completely.

 

Here's one I bought for about £8, twenty years ago:

 

workmate.jpg

 

On it, I have built and painted engines, ported cylinder heads, made assorted repair panels, welded engine mounts and other heavier fabrications, used it for the sort of woodwork that's normal and  as a painting stand. Chucking it in the car is no big deal. It's lived outside the entire time I've had it, and about five years ago, the original surfaces finally broke. So, having spent about five minutes replacing them with some offcuts form my neighbour's decking that were already an appropriate length, i also treated the clamp screws to a squirt of oil. As you can see, I have no qualms about clamping work to the top, and cutting or drilling into it - I have another couple of pieces of decking if needed. This is a good example of why buying the 'best you can' isn't always a good policy; I have used the genuine ones, and they don't do anything better enough to make spending the extra justifiable.

 

As and when it does need replacing, I'll buy a matched pair of something similar which would make handling larger sheets or lengths easier.

Edited By Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 25/04/2021 18:26:52

Lee Rogers25/04/2021 18:50:53
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137 forum posts

After nearly losing a finger for about the fith time I junked a clone version and got a Bosch. Very expensive but I'll never regret it

geoff walker 125/04/2021 19:22:42
459 forum posts
176 photos

No mention of cost of the early ones.

Mine is from 1974/ 75 period.

It cost over £40 which was a serious chunk of money then.

I expect you could buy an inferior one for £40 now but how much for 1970's spec now?

Ady125/04/2021 19:46:35
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4689 forum posts
713 photos

I got a "proper" B+D about 15 years ago for 85 quid from B+Q.

the downward clamp part is very useful at times but its pretty weighty compared to the 15quid trestle style clones from Lidl so those ones get used a lot more in my workshop, they make very good portable tables

Edited By Ady1 on 25/04/2021 19:47:40

Clive Hartland25/04/2021 22:05:27
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2719 forum posts
40 photos

Mine is stil hanging onnthe garage wall, never used.

Clive Hartland25/04/2021 22:05:38
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2719 forum posts
40 photos

Mine is stil hanging onnthe garage wall, never used.

Michael Gilligan25/04/2021 22:46:51
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18734 forum posts
916 photos

History : **LINK**

https://toolsfirst.com/workmate-workbench-history/

MichaelG.

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