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  • Shop: Portable Collapsible Workbench Suggestions

    Seeking suggestions for commercially available portable collapsible workbenches.

    I already have a few such workbenches: they all (mostly) serve a purpose, but none of them is fully satisfying.

    A couple of mine are somewhat obscure and may be obsolete now, I don't have band/model details at hand. Two brands that are likely recognizable to others here are the:

    - B&D Workmate (circa e-1980's, but similar to a modern WM425)
    - Nomad Economy Welding Table by Strong Hand Tools

    Criteria include
    • 400+ lb / 182+ kg capacity
    • useful work surface features and dimensions
    • tall table height
    • stable when erected (bonus points for adjustment to accomodate uneven flooring)
    • compact, balanced, maneuverable and light enough for one-handed movement when collapsed

  • #3
    Thank you for the suggestion.

    While scanning for prospects, I bypassed thumbnails of the Keter, thinking that set-up looked more involved than the 'pop-up' characteristics of a Workmate or the Nomad I have come to value. After seeing your tip, a closer look at images on the link you provided reveals that a Keter pops up more easily than expected and does not appear to be the Ikea bookshelf project I initially imagined it to be.

    I am going to look locally to see a Keter up close.

    The 34" x 22" work surface and 1,000 lb load capacity is really attractive - esp with a unit weight of just 30 lbs.

    OTOH, the Keter's 30" table height is a mite low. (The Workmate is 33" and the Nomad is 32".)

    Table height is a consideration for me because the distance from the bottom of my elbow to the floor is 45+". My main stationary bench top is 44" high, the tops of my tables on casters are 40" high. I expect I will have to make my own collapsible workbench if I want one that is 40+", but I remain hopeful of finding something that meets the other criteria and is in the mid-30" range.


    • #4
      Hi Eddy,
      The tables I have include individually adjustable legs. Look at the hole
      on the legs.
      Last edited by metalfixer; 01-15-2022, 01:56 PM.


      • #5
        Product descriptions for the Keter seem to indicate that table height is 29.7".
        Is 29.7" (75.5cm) a minimum and does your's configure to a higher max work height ?


        • #6
          Another video, check the one in the store, I purchased from Costco.
          Keter- Folding Work Table EX - Extendable Legs - Bing video


          • #7
            I don't have any suggestions but in doing a lookup on YT for the Keter I ran across a few side bar videos that might be informative for you if you have not seen them already.

            Worx Pegasus VS Keter Folding Work Table | Review and Demo 🔨🔨🔨 - YouTube
            Best Folding Work Table for the Money! (Hart from Walmart, yes, I said Walmart) - YouTube

            And of course just doing a search on YT for "keter folding table" turned up a heap of specific review videos.
            Chilliwack BC, Canada


            • #8
              Thank you both for the Keter videos. I hadn't thought to check for any - I will look at the ones you have suggested.

              I came across another Keter offering. The legs on this one detach, rather than fold and there isn't the lower second level, but it is a couple of inches taller (32") and costs less. Still has the same table surface area and (surprisingly) MORE load capacity (1,500 lb).
              (edit) The same table is sold under the Husky brand by HomeDepot in Can.

              I suppose I could cut the legs, add inserts made from tubing with enough wall thickness to turn a step on each end for the OEM legs to slide onto and bond/weld the sections together. The legs being separate from the table (and modified to be too long to fit into their molded recesses) would be a bit of a nuisance. But ....
              Last edited by EddyCurr; 01-15-2022, 02:39 PM.


              • #9
                That one video from metalfixer shows the adjustable length legs. But that feature is not even shown in the user manual from Keter or on some other videos. I wonder if it's a feature that was dropped on the current model? Be sure to check that before you buy.

                None of these portable work tables has an overly tall work height. But if you think of it to allow the legs to fold within the size of the top they can't be any longer. So the lower height does make some sense. To get the taller height on any of them is going to require extendable legs.

                One option for you would be to buy one of the tables that you like for how it folds and works and then modify it to put in your own spring button locked extenders that collapse into the stock legs. So you'd add one extra step to the folding and unfolding. Namely to set it down on it's work top with legs sticking up so you can extend the risers when needed then flip it over for use. That way you don't end up with pieces that need to be handled separately.

                I'd also caution you that while these various tables might in fact support 1000lbs of mass I'm not sure I'd want to pull, push or hit the stuff on the table very hard. I see these lightweight resin and extruded alloy options if loaded like that along the lines of the guy standing on an empty pop/beer can. Sure, the can in pristine condition will hold up 200 lbs. But it takes just the slightest tap to cause it to fail. But with 300 to maybe 400 lbs? I think that's a more realistic working weight capacity that still allows for some beating on the work without risk. Even with that I suspect that the plastic resin tops on all these would be at risk of localized puncturing failure from 300 to 400lb items with sharp corners that press hard on the top. Marking the top is one thing. But a really heavy load focused on a small point of contact could be another issue.

                Still, I gotta say that this was a pretty fun and informative rabbit hole to fall into while having the morning coffee. One of the others is the Dewalt folding work table that appears to have the tallest working height at 33 inches. And it's the cheapest option of the lot you can buy at Home Despot in the US. Check the comparison table half way down THIS HD INFO PAGE. And looking at the user videos on YT it looks like it might just be the easiest one of them all for folding and unfolding.

                From the intense 20 minutes of coffee watching my two faves are the Worx Pegasus and the Dewalt. The Pegasus would be my pick for doing wood working stuff and the Dewalt would be the way I'd go for more of a temporary stand to just hold up some hunk of machinery for servicing. The way the clamps set in on the Pegasus is the clincher for the wood working option.
                Chilliwack BC, Canada


                • #10
                  BCRider. If you don`t know the story of the Lotus employee that perhaps started it all when he designed what became known as the B&D Workmate, look up Ron Hickman. I had long thought that the Workmate was a commercialization of a Lotus race team engineer's pit lane innovation (and as I worked with mine I often believed functionality HAD to have been lost in the commercial transformation) - the Wiki for Hickman tells a bit of a different story. If Mr Hickman actually received anything approaching his full 3% royalty on all 100 million WM's reportedly sold by B&D up to the time of Hickman's death in 2011, then I imagine that he enjoyed a measure of financial freedom.

                  I completely agree with your cautions regarding load capacity.

                  I noticed the 33" folding DeWalt table after posting about modifying the legs of the Keter/Husky. If I had to use a commercial table as purchased, the DeWalt's height and features would put it at the front of the pack. I will look at one in person, but I suspect the DeWalt's leg profile means they will be more difficult to extend to add height.

                  Your idea of including spring buttons has me thinking. The Keter/Husky includes a plastic case that snaps in under the table - if my extensions were detachable (and fit), they could be stored in the case while the legs were snapped into their recesses and everything would be together in the table top. OTOH, providing for a slip-fit may result in perceptible leg movement (beyond what will already be present) to such an extent as to become an irritation. I'm getting ahead of myself here - I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

                  Thank you.
                  Last edited by EddyCurr; 01-15-2022, 04:27 PM.


                  • #11
                    I was thinking more internal fitted legs that slide in and just live right in the stock outer legs. Sort of like the extendable legs on the folding camping canopies?

                    Those spring buttons in single or double ended are out there. Like THESE DOUBLE ENDED ONES . These are the solid pin style buttons which would be very sturdy. You'd just need to find a close fitting but still slip fit tube that fits the ID of the table legs to use for the extensions.
                    Chilliwack BC, Canada


                    • #12
                      About a year ago Rural King (similar to Tractor Supply on steroids) had a closeout on folding table legs, I got 4 sets at $3/per set!
                      I had an old 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood that I used to make 4 tabletops at 2'x3' with plenty of off cuts to use for reinforcement. Total cost was $12 for four tables. I would feel comfortable loading 200# on them but the legs are lighter than what is sold for use under a full size table. They don't take up much room and are light enough to carry to where I need them.
                      You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.


                      • #13
                        The old "workmate" is actually pretty decent, even in the stamped metal form (vs the original metal casting form). While I agree they are not the best, and have drawbacks, I have two and like them.

                        I do not like the Keter and Worx ones, partly because I often use the vise feature of the workmate (not present on the others), but even more due to the fact that I HATE the daggone plastic parts in the others.

                        Yes, the Workmates have particle tops, but I can replace them with plywood if I manage to screw one up. With the plastic, you are escrewed if sny feature of the fancy-a$$ plastic gets torn up. And, you can probably count on the plastic giving up the ghost in maybe 10 years. That will depend on the type of plastic, but they nearly all do it, purely a function of time.

                        My Workmates are on their at least second owner (me) and they continue to be fine. I've probably had them at least 10 years for the older one. If the plastic clamp blocks give up, I can make more, of plastic, aluminum, or material of my choice. They are "fixable", while the big plastic parts of those others mean that if the plastic breaks, its all over.

                        Plastic is just not up to the job of being long-lived and fixable.
                        CNC machines only go through the motions.

                        Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                        Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                        Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                        I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                        Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.


                        • #14
                          Workmates are great portable Worktables, often found at garage sales and on CL sub $50. There is a longstanding thread on Garage Journal about workmates, the main contributor has a Workmate website. Every WM that I have seen has plywood tables. As a point of trivia, the inventor of the WM was an engineer for Lotus (the car company) and designed many of their cars.

                          Black & Decker Workmate 79-001 workbench and vise, type study, downloadable manuals, history and more



                          • #15
                            Originally posted by BCRider View Post
                            I was thinking more internal fitted legs that slide in and just live right in the stock outer legs. Sort of like the extendable legs on the folding camping canopies?
                            If the outboard end of the legs isn't special, I will forego cutting somewhere in the middle. Instead, I'll just add an extension w/ turned shoulder that slips a fixed distance into the leg. Trading off the convenience of an extension that can telescope up into the leg for storage in return for peace of mind knowing that the extension can't telescope up into the leg under load.

                            Originally posted by BCRider
                            Those spring buttons in single or double ended are out there. Like THESE DOUBLE ENDED ONES . These are the solid pin style buttons which would be very sturdy.
                            Thank you for that spring button suggestion !

                            While I've had occasion to pop these parts back into place after they've dislodged from something in the past, I've never used them in a project and they didn't occur to me as means of retention here. (You would laugh at the more complicated approach I considered.) Spring buttons could keep extensions with shoulders from telescoping OUT of place when the bench is picked up to be moved.
                            Last edited by EddyCurr; 01-16-2022, 01:56 PM.