The Workmate

I have only been woodworking for about a year. In this time I have moved from the patio table to a Black and Decker Workmate 425. The patio table was fine for a time but the Workmate has allowed me to clamp stock for dovetailing. I couldn’t have learned to do it on the patio table – it was circular…

The Workmate is awesome for apartment living and has exceeded my expectations. To use it for hand planing I butt it against a wall so it doesn’t run away from me. The jaws hold the work so I can work on the edges and ends, and the little red plastic stops help clamp for face planing. For thin stock I have a bench hook for the task. Best of all, it folded up and was stored in the spare room between sessions.

I think the next step is to build a solid Schwarzian bench but for this I will need to wait until I can live in the same place for more than a year: I’ve moved quite a lot in the last 10 years and moving a heavy, large bench would have been out of the question.

***to read a more recent workmate post, click here***

4 thoughts on “The Workmate

  1. One method I’ve used to hold round stock on the workmate style bench is to get some 45-degree moulding and build a little cradle (eg V shape) that I could mount in the vice. You then build a second /\ shaped piece and clamp it as normal over the round stock and it’s unlikely to move. Line the faces with drawer liner rubber if you need extra grip


    • So it is like this… ===(o)=== in cross section? (the === are the workmate surfaces).

      I am impressed at how the workmate can be adapted for different pieces of work. My only gripe is that this week I tried to plane the surfaces of my wheel layers but the slats of the workmate surface are not perfectly flat relative to one another. Shims could be used, or perhaps I could make my own slats out of solid or plywood.

      Also, I enjoyed reading your recent blog posts! I, too, have been de-rusting and tuning up some old hand planes. Posts like yours are incredibly helpful given that I have very little experience with it.

      • No, the other way round. Build it so it’s running along the vice – glue two 45 pieces to a block of wood (or run a V groove with a router) then use clamps at the ends to secure it.

        The workmate style is great, my only real issue is that they move to much for more than light planeing. And that issue of the surfaces not being flat is one of the reasons I’m building a full bench now, no matter what I did I couldn’t get them right.

        Glad you like the blog, thanks for the link to it :).

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