Workamte redone!

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Blog entry by TerryDowning posted 12-16-2013 05:32 PM 2516 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After 30 years of service, it was time to replace the top of my workmate.

I had some approximately 8 inch melamine from left over from previous project and figured this would be a good replacement.

I used the old tops as a template to place the holes for the new tops.

One side done!!

I bolted the second top on thinking how awesome it will be to have a much larger top. Until I learned about this critical measurement. The handles won’t turn!

So I unbolted placed the old top back in position to confirm the measurement!

I had 2 options at this point. Rip the width so the handles would clear or figure out how to raise the tops about an inch so the handles would clear. I had work to do so I fired up the Table Saw and ripped the width.

The new top is still significantly larger.

FYI, The dog holes on workmates are NOT 3/4” The y must be metric at 20 MM. I don’t have any metric bits or forstners so I went ahead and used 3/4” and wallowed out the holes and finished with a round file to get the dogs to fit.

-- - Terry

12 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8748 posts in 4013 days

#1 posted 12-16-2013 06:28 PM

Well done.
Could you have just put the new tops with their holes all lined up, on top of the old ones and kept the larger size?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View TerryDowning's profile


1152 posts in 3332 days

#2 posted 12-16-2013 06:34 PM

Ya see Paul, You’re a thinker!! At least my head works as a hat rack.

What I did think of though is what a pain it would be to reach under to do the tightening. Another option sprang to mind like re-doing the handles so they would extend past the new top.

Never thought of laminating the new to to the old though. Old tops are now in the trash, and I’m out of the 8 inch stock this project used it up (finally). I’m happy with the result though, at least a 50% larger surface is a good thing.

-- - Terry

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3995 days

#3 posted 12-16-2013 07:16 PM

Terrt the original Workmate holes were 3/4, but they changed to the 20mm size later, makes for fun when you have an older one (like mine ) and try to replace dogs n’ such.
You did a good job on that one !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3754 days

#4 posted 12-16-2013 09:38 PM

Nice Terry!

-- I never finish anyth

View Dwain's profile


623 posts in 5074 days

#5 posted 12-16-2013 11:31 PM

Cool idea! Looks so nice you won’t want to butcher these!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View TerryDowning's profile


1152 posts in 3332 days

#6 posted 12-16-2013 11:33 PM

It’s just a matter of time until they are butchered (It’s just the nature of this particular beast to get beat up). Hopefully these last 30 yrs like the previous set and it’s one my Sons doing the replacement.

-- - Terry

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3222 days

#7 posted 12-16-2013 11:59 PM

When I replaced the boards on my old workmate I ran into the exact same issue. I used some 100 year old oak that was about 1.25” thick. I notched the ends of the one side so the handles would clear.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View whitewulf's profile


456 posts in 4152 days

#8 posted 12-17-2013 12:50 AM

My 3 workmutts have 3/4” holes & black dogs, possibly reason for orange ones??Mine are the single height type. I did make center board that clamps in the jaws, this makes a flatter and much more rigid top.

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View LoriF's profile


119 posts in 3092 days

#9 posted 12-17-2013 12:55 AM

Nice work Terry.

Talk about timing!! I’m glad you shared this today because I started the same project a couple hours ago.
No doubt about it I would have struggled with the same issues with the larger top covering the handles which I didn’t think about it either. I borrowed a 3/4” spade bit for the dog holes,no bigger I do what you did.

Thanks, you saved me from a big head ache…........and I hate picking stucco out of my forehead.

-- There's a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 3283 days

#10 posted 12-17-2013 01:13 AM

Melamine or MDF?

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View CFrye's profile


11352 posts in 3054 days

#11 posted 12-17-2013 12:50 PM

The workmate lives to be chased around the shop with a hand plane another day! Good job Terry!

-- God bless, Candy

View TerryDowning's profile


1152 posts in 3332 days

#12 posted 12-17-2013 04:11 PM

Melamine or MDF?
I’m calling it Melamine as that best describes it.

It’s a manufactured product made of particle board and Formica on either side. The Formica is a brown speckled pattern that came from some library shelving units. 1 1/8 thick for a manufactured product it’s really quite nice and stable.
Since the original design was veneered particle board I figured it’ was worth a shot since I had it on hand. The good thing about the Formica is the ability to remove glue and other sticky things if it get on there.

And yes Candy it still is a workmate so yes planing all but the smallest stock involves chasing it around the shop.

I can’t fold a work bench and get it out of the way or toss it in the back of my Truck. The WM also serves as great holder for my router table and scroll saw.

This WM was a Christmas Gift from my Mother in Law 30 years ago this Christmas (First Christmas with LOML!) I’m one of the few privileged people that really likes his MIL.

-- - Terry

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