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Shop: Portable Collapsible Workbench Suggestions

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  • thin-woodsman
    replied
    I picked up one of those Pegasus tables awhile back, mostly for use as an outdoor base for a miter saw. Surprisingly stable, works well enough for power sawing, but for hand-sawing you'd want to store some tools on the base. Wouldn't hand-plane on it. Clamping is a mixed bag: the underside of the table is waffled not flat, so you have to be very selective about where you put your F-clamps, and the provided-clamps are unusable much of the time (workpiece too thin, too short, too wide, etc). For full sheets of plywood you'd need a second Pegasus or a sawhorse/deadman of the same height.

    Recently I picked up the cheap HF version of the workmate, mostly for the central clamp. Mixed feelings on that one as well. I was able to power-saw 8/4 and 12/4 hardwoods (cherry, maple, iroko) so long as any stickout is compensated for with counterweights (much, much more unstable than the Pegasus, but keep in mind it is the cheap $20 version of the WM style). Once you get to about a 10" or 12" wide board, it becomes difficult to grip the workpiece. Could be fixed by making a new top of the thing, or fabbing some bench-dog jaws that work better than the provided ones. Thinking of filling the legs with cement, or maybe adding some supports so it is more stable.

    Definitely would not use either for metalwork or welding, I got a $99 folding welding table somewhere and while a bit wobbly (again, cement in the legs might help, but I just stuck a couple of the legs into cinder blocks) it works well enough for welding.

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  • psomero
    replied
    Originally posted by ikdor View Post
    I have the Keter and like it better than my two previous workmates. Fairly light, very large table, can leave it out in the rain, clever clamping method not stressing the plastic. Clamping on the sides is not always convenient though as the bottom edge recesses again. Other downside is it's hard to put your foot on it to stabilise, and it does flex a bit, somewhat annoying when hand sawing.
    I'd buy another one if it fails in five years. It's been fine for the last five.
    My 90s vintage workmate spent more time than I'd readily admit in the rain over the past five years and despite going from black to orange in places i don't want it to, it's not any louder than it was originally whilst unfolding.

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  • J Tiers
    replied
    Originally posted by psomero View Post
    WM's are particle board now? I'm on my first one still, which my dad bought in the early nineties and it has a well beaten plywood top.
    Mine has a dense particle (MDF?) core, and a layer or two of thickish veneer on top and bottom. The layers of veneer may be laid N-S and E-W, have not looked closely.

    It has a big 'ol place to put your foot, goes the width of the table

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  • gellfex
    replied
    Originally posted by mikegt4 View Post
    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.
    LoL, thats close to what I do! I have sets of those kind of legs I put on whatever needs them. Often it's a 24" wide by 8-13' scaffold 30" high to work on ceilings without using a ladder. I screw 2x4 vertically on the edges for stiffness and so I can't just walk off! I also have a super sturdy blow molded 24x48 table with adjustable legs that can be 20-36" high. For wallpapering I lay an old luan door on it for a bigger table. I once had a Workmate but it ended up with a girlfriend after the breakup and I've been too petulant about that to replace it in the 33 years since.

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  • BCRider
    replied
    That's the issue with a lot of the retractable leg tables seen out there though. There is nowhere to put a good heavy foot on a lot of them. Of course we can always fake it by positioning the collapsible table against a pole or corner of a wall to take the forces... Or there's always the old traditional beam on horses portable bench....

    I've watched a few of his videos and enjoy the work that can be done with just some pretty basic tools and work holding. In this video he's added a bench vise. But in other videos he relies on a simple planing stop and that foot strap as his primary work holding. It's quite an education.

    一块木头锯凿打磨,无钉子胶水,做成新一代平面鲁班凳【阿木爷爷】 - YouTube

    PS- It also opens up the idea that one could make up their own portable work table. A variation on a simple folding sawhorse that is a linking of two sets of legs and forms an upside down folding "W" and then a top that locks to the upper edges would be totally customizable for height and size. But of course take up some time to make.
    Last edited by BCRider; 01-17-2022, 05:29 PM.

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  • J Tiers
    replied
    You put your foot on the place obviously intended for your foot. Then you can jackplane something on it and not have an issue. I know, I have.

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  • BCRider
    replied
    Ikdor raises a good point on flex in a lot of these tables. If you're doing something with forceful repetitive action like hand sawing through lumber it'll likely pay to put more focus on the stability of the leg arrangement. My gut feeling is that the triangle splayed out legs with top braces such as the Pegasus and Kreg would/should shine a bit more for this. But of course the devil is in the details of how it's all held together.

    With your focus on achieving a higher working height I'm going to guess that the main function won't be for use with cyclical work such as hand sawing or even aggressive hand filing.

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  • ikdor
    replied
    I have the Keter and like it better than my two previous workmates. Fairly light, very large table, can leave it out in the rain, clever clamping method not stressing the plastic. Clamping on the sides is not always convenient though as the bottom edge recesses again. Other downside is it's hard to put your foot on it to stabilise, and it does flex a bit, somewhat annoying when hand sawing.
    I'd buy another one if it fails in five years. It's been fine for the last five.
    Last edited by ikdor; 01-17-2022, 02:56 PM.

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  • EddyCurr
    replied
    Originally posted by MattiJ View Post
    Ridgid seems like made for actual use, dunno about availability in us:
    https://www.ridgid.eu/bg/en/work-tables
    Thank you. I like the metal-edged wooden top. I am not seeing availability in NA for the large #15841. Online prices for that model seem to be in the £ 380-420 range (ex-VAT), equiv to € 455-503 and US$ 520-574.

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  • psomero
    replied
    WM's are particle board now? I'm on my first one still, which my dad bought in the early nineties and it has a well beaten plywood top.

    Leave a comment:


  • J Tiers
    replied
    Secret for clamping?

    I just use the clamp features and it works. I never knew there was a "secret", I just put the lugs in the correct holes and clamped whatever it was. Yes, there are sizes that are harder to clamp,, or too big. Never had much trouble with the clamping.

    Maybe my secret is that I never got an "instruction book" because I bought them used. I never read about what I was "supposed to do". So I just use the clamping the way it looks like it should be used, and it works.

    Plastic toolboxes break. Metal toolboxes bend.... and then if you need to, some whaps with a hammer get them back to reasonable shape. That does not work with plastic, and often, neither does glue, or even "plastic welding".

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  • EddyCurr
    replied
    JT. I wrote earlier that my Workmate dates back to the e-80's. On reflection, it might actually date back to the m/l 70's. I can't be certain because my Workmate sat unloved in its box for at least 20 years after I first tried it out and then put it back in its box in disgust, intending to return it to the store.

    The return didn't happen. Sometime in the '00's, I needed a portable work surface. Out of desperation, I pulled the WM out of its packaging, laid a piece of plywood over the table and have used the WM in similar fashion as necessary ever since. When heat is involved, I lay a large piece of 1/8" plate on top of my plywood.

    For me, the "clamping" or vise mechanism of my vintage B&D Workmate is its most infuriatingly ineffectual feature. I have never successfully clamped material shaped like studs or planks in the Workmate. The Workmate table sections just buckle up out of place as soon as clamping pressure begins to build and the workpiece shifts out of place. What is your secret for clamping, JT? IME, the WM table design is just not fit for purpose, as far as clamping is concerned.

    In contrast to the Workmate, the built-in clamping features demonstrated in the videos of the Keter and (to a greater extent) the Worx tables look REALLY useful.

    About the comments expressed regarding the plastic table tops. I am not a fan, either, but plastic is not a deal-breaker for me.

    While a careless, forgetful moment with a saw or a router could be terminal for a Keter/Worx workbench, the prospects of such an occurrence seem low. Aside from one shallow drill bit dimple and some handling abrasion, the particle board tops on my vintage WM remain pristine. I imagine I will continue to use a sacrificial section of plywood on top when warranted. As for durability - I guess time will tell. If it is possible to draw any conclusions based on several '00's-era Israeli-made plastic Stanley toolboxes that continue to hold up well, the Keter/Worx tops stand a chance of lasting longer than I am likely to have use for them.
    Last edited by EddyCurr; 01-16-2022, 05:15 PM.

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  • EddyCurr
    replied
    mikegt4. I had the good fortune to salvage/be gifted with three shop-built folding leg tables similar to the ones you describe. These tables feature 3/4" tops like yours, but they were built perhaps 60 yrs ago for banquet service at employee/customer shop functions. Fittingly, they received a bit more care and cosmetic attention than the average shop table. The plywood selected appears to be a decorative grade with a very attractive grain to the top surface. It received a 3/4" hardwood edge around the perimeter and an application of an appealing reddish clear stain.

    The folding legs are a little less than rock steady, but this might be due to wear from use over time. The legs certainly have adequate capacity and the tables collapse to become very compact.

    Unfortunately, a surface height of just over 30" means these tables are too low for ME to work from comfortably while standing.

    However, lots of leg clearance underneath the top makes the tables fine for use while sitting. So two of the tables (measuring 30" W x 50" L) now serve as semi-permanent workstations for electronics and 3D printing in a university student's basement maker space. A pc of 3" x 3" x 50" aluminum angle has been attached to one side of the electronics table - it provides a mounting place for two articulating work lamps on each end and a 3' power bar with 9 outlets across the middle. It also acts as a fence to prevent things from falling off the far side of the table. When the table is collapsed, the angle protects the lamp bases and the power bar without taking up much additional room.

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  • MattiJ
    replied
    Ridgid seems like made for actual use, dunno about availability in us:
    https://www.ridgid.eu/bg/en/work-tables

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  • BCRider
    replied
    Happy to help!

    For what you're thinking the even easier to install single ended clips would work superbly.

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