Best portable workstation

graywings123January 9, 2010

I don't have a workbench and have no place to put one. I want to buy a folding workstation that would enable me to clamp down wood and do some simple cuts. I've seen the ones for sale at Home Depot. Is there something out there elsewhere or on line I should be considering?

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HandyMac

The WorkMate series by Black and Decker is probably the easiest to find. I have two, one is an older model (1996 or so) that works extremely well. The newer one(2002 os so) is not as well built.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 11:29AM
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manhattan42

Buy 2 foldable metal sawhorses and 1/2 sheet of plywood.

This configuration will do the same job better and cost 1/3 what a Black and Decker 'workstation' will....

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 1:30AM
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graywings123

I've done the sawhorse/plywood thing for painting. But I want the top connected to the legs when it comes time to saw.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 3:05PM
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HandyMac

Actually, if I am sawing long boards or plywood, I have sawhorses(metal) with 2x4's attached to the tops for that.

The Workmates are more for clamping pieces for sanding/drilling holes or clamping pipe to cut.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 12:43AM
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kudzu9

graywings-
For someone without a workbench, a WorkMate is very handy for multiple purposes. And if you want a surface to saw on as you described, you can take a piece of plywood, cut it to a reasonable size, attach a 2X2 to the middle of the underside by driving screws through from the top, and then clamp the 2X2 in the jaw of the WorkMate to have a top surface that will stay put. (If you add glue to the connection between the 2X2 and the plywood surface before screwing it together, it should last for many years.)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 4:02PM
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manhattan42

Like handymac said: fasten 2x4s to the top of to your sawhorses.

You still end up with a much better and cheaper and more durable version than the "WorkMate" for about 1/3rd the cost.

You want to waste your money and buy and inferior amateur product by purchasing a 'WorkMate'???... then have at it.

No professional carpenter or builder owns a "WorkMate".

Why?

Because they are JUNK....

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:31PM
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kudzu9

manhattan-
They're not all junk. If you can get your hands on a used version of the original WorkMate, it's built like a tank. I have one that's about 25 years old, and one that is about 10 years old that is lesser quality, but still pretty good. I can't speak to what's in the stores now.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:47AM
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lazypup

I have a B&D Workmate model 300 which was given to me as a Xmas present in 1984 and at the time I was like manhattan, I thought it was at best a piece of home owner grade junk until I found the perfect modification to make it an indispensable tool on my van.

I have a small benchtop type table saw and compound miter saw that I often take on the job and I was forever trying to figure out a simple but safe stand to use under those tools.

My solution was simple. I began by cutting two pieces of 2x4 equal to the length between the legs, front to back on the power saws, and I bolted those directly to the saw base. Then I cut a length of 2x4 equal to the width of the workmate table and bolted that to the previous 2x4's on the midline.

I made a separate frame and attached it to each power tool.

I can quickly set up the workmate, then open the workmate table wide enough to allow the horizontal 2x4 on the underside of the power tool to drop in the slot. A coupe wuick turns of the workmate clamp handles and i have a perfect work stand, which can easily be folded up an tucked in a gang box on the job, in the back of the van or kept tucked away in a closet at home.

Here is a basic illustration of my idea:

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 5:35AM
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randy427

I use two collapsible metal sawhorses and a 5 foot section of old plywood and formica countertop (with 4" backsplash).
Sturdy enough to bolt a medium-duty vice to and I can screw it to the 2x4 runners that are bolted to the sawhorses.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:43PM
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graywings123

It sounds lovely, randy, but I am looking for something more compact than that. How much does a 5 foot section of old plywood and formica countertop (with 4" backsplash) weigh? And does it fit in a closet? I don't have a basement, garage or storage unit.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:49PM
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randy427

It doesn't have to be 5', that's just the piece I had after a remodeling job. Yes, it would fit in a closet. I'd guess it weighs about 30-40lbs. I also use it for scaffolding, so I don't want it to be too lightweight.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:43PM
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manhattan42

Manhattan.
They're not all junk. If you can get your hands on a used version of the original WorkMate, it's built like a tank. I have one that's about 25 years old, and one that is about 10 years old that is lesser quality, but still pretty good. I can't speak to what's in the stores now.

A "tank"?

You kidding me?

A "tank"?

These store bought pretenders are ALL junk!

The very best 'workmate' is ONLY the one you can build.

Don't buy any of the store-available models.

They are all garbage...

Unless you are a kitsch "connoisseur" and really appreciate the best junk available...and don't have any clue what you talk about...Don't buy ANY store-available model!

They are ALL JUNK!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 10:42PM
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kudzu9

manhattan-
When someone voices an opinion that you don't agree with, is it really necessary to hurl a bunch of negative, contradictory statements as if it's a challenge to your authority? I'll accept that you have never seen a WorkMate you like...fine. I have one that is great and I'm quite happy with it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:51PM
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sierraeast

I'm a plywood/sawhorse kinda guy as well, but this rockwell caught my attention. I have portable/folding stations for my cut-off saws, but dont have one for my 10" dewalt contractor table saw. This would work!

Here is a link that might be useful: rockwell work station

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:58PM
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graywings123

Oh, I know, I soooooo want a Jawhorse! I watched the infomercial once when I had insomnia. The price doesn't scare me, but the 43 pounds of weight does.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 5:07PM
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sneezer2

Hate to butt in butt Manhattan is wrong about this.

I have an old one too and it is everything Kudzu says it is.

Not garbage. Not junk. Not a pretender but a very good tool. There are obviously other solutions available and I would certainly not buy a new one. Mine is probably even older, I think close to 30 years and has lasted this long under very heavy use. Should I find another one like it (unlikely), I would not hesitate and it would probably be the least expensive of all the proposed solutions.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:59PM
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bobismyuncle

I am not sure "no place to put one" means, exactly. But a reasonable alternative are "shop boxes" and I-beams.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shop boxes Sketchup Model

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:13PM
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graywings123

bobsmyuncle - No place to put one means I have no place to store it when not in use. I don't have a garage and I don't have a basement. If it folds up, I can maybe tuck it in a closet or to the side of the washing machine. But short of leaving that box in my family room, I don't have a place to store it when not in use. And if I had a work station to make the box you link to, then I guess I wouldn't need to make it, now would I? :)

Last year when I ventured into window repair and paining, I set up a folding table in the family room and laid freshly painted windows on the dining room table to dry. With slow drying paint and window glazing putty, that got old quickly.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 9:11AM
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