Workmate upgrades and restore #4: Router table top - can be used for Workmate type benches

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by mafe posted 05-02-2020 03:39 PM 3523 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Table top for Workmate type benches Part 4 of Workmate upgrades and restore series no next part

Router table top – can be used for Workmate type benches
Outdoor workbench for the allotment house.

So last part of the Workmate series for now.

Yes I know Workmates are not sexy, Workmates don’t come with any street credit with the wood guys and yes I can kind of understand if some one is thinking; ‘a Workmate? This guy got all the best tools, several workbenches and then he talks about a Workmate!’.
I find a few things important when we write about woodworking, first of all to tell a good story, no one is interested in you bragging about your skills or project, go to your mother if you just need that, besides that you should try and remember that those you show projects to, might not be on the same level… Remember that you were once proud, when you could cut a board relatively straight, where you might now be at a level, where you get disappointed if it’s not perfect.
Don’t quite know what I try to say here, except that we can always learn something, it might be a little detail in the way it’s done, a new technique or just a mirror to a different life style, where we can see our self in a new light and this is all I’m hoping for.

Here it is, the good old Workmate, with fresh jaws and now the router table top, that I will be making with you here.
The table top could of course just be made bigger, so it could be used as a real router table, or even smaller, so it could be in a big tool bag and be clamped to a table top on site.

Let’s get started, back in my workshop.
Cutting some square pieces, that are app 2-3 cm / 1 inch, bigger than the base plate of the router I will be using.
Some 6mm acrylic one of my friends came with one day, he found it in the trash and thought I could probably use it, even it was quite a fancy color – he was right, thank you Flemming.

As I had decided to make it a Workmate thing, I decided that it should match the design and dimensions, so I made it same length as the jaws and the with was just as small as possible, while useful.
Sadly the jaws on the workmate are so tight, that I could not make it fit in between and so it has to become an on top thing.
Here I have marked up for the dog holes, also where the router plate will be and started routing out a 6 mm bed for it. Using the cordless trim router, that I make it for, but with the plunge base mounted for this operation, using a smple fence I move around, for straight edges.

Like this, next I moved the fence to other side, did that one and finally I used an edge fence to make the two other sides, quick and dirty.

Rounded the edges on the acrylic plate and it was a perfect fit.
Notice I made some dig in with the router in the middle, this could have been avoided with a larger base plate on the router, but as it will be cut out, it does not matter.

It’s critical, that the plate is completely flush with the table.

I will use the smaller trim base on this, so I mark up it’s size.

Drill through on the centre and mark up on the back side.

10 mm hole, inside the cut out.

So the jig saw can come in.
The reason I saw from the back side, is that the surface is flat there.

Getting closer.

And closer…

Marking up the corners.
As you can see I decided to make an extra plate, now I was at it, this one will just be in the box with my router, so I can make a quick and easy router table if needed or just used as a time table as it is.

Drilling and countersink in one step.

The plate can now be fixed with screws.

Using the trim routers base plate as I guide, the holes for attaching the router is marked up.
If you are watching this Jim, then please notice I use my favourite awl, thank you.

Drilling both at once here.

Counter sinking.

Plate mounted on the router.
I now also have a larger router base as a bonus.

Routing through the plate, with the largest bit, I will use as standard.
(I will not make any inserts for this version, put it could be done with a thinner acrylic).

Getting closer.

Drilling holes with 20 mm Forster bit, again almost through and the flip to drill from other side, to avoid tear out.
The table will be made in Workmate style, so it gets holes that match the once on the jaws, like this it can also be used as worktable without the rouer.

I made it at the same time as I made the jaws, so here they are.
It would have been nice, if they could be mounted like this…

The router also got a wee side fence in the disco acrylic.

Next up is the fence, here starting with the stop blocks.
Again some acrylics cut to square.

Rounding the edges with a 45° bit.

The stops will be used on a old fence, I found in the trash years back, but it could be any kind of fence, also just a piece of wood or thick plywood and clamps for the stop blocks.

The fence can also lay down, so I make two sets of holes in the stops.

To mount the pivot end of the fence, I use this thingy…

On the back side.

Fence goes over the bolt.

Just a 20 mm plastic or wood, with a hole in it, a bolt, washer and wing nut.

For the other end one of these clamps, I think it was from a jewellers bench pin.

Slightly modified to fit in the T track, but actually it was not needed.

It can now pivot from side to side and be locked down, with the clamp.

Close up.

Starting to look like a router table.

Let’s test it out.

Using the stops to make a stopped cut.
Works perfectly fine.

The top.

The bottom, with router base mounted.
There will be no router lift, this will be manually.

Here you see the stopped routing on the base.

Like this you can put the small edge guide / fence on the router, while the plate is attaced.
To use it like this, for more freehand stability.

Or on the table, if that’s all you need.

It will be plenty for a lot of on site jobs.

Back side, with router mounted.

Had to make a small cut out for the fence screw.

Finally it was time to make a starting pin.

I had a piece of aluminium bar, so just a threaded rod, a threded hole in the bar, washer and a wing nut.

Mounted on the table.

Here we are back in the allotment, the jaws are mounted on the table and four bench dogs are put in them.

Router top in place, ready to make panels.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, or perhaps open the eyes for other ways.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

7 comments so far

View Dunky's profile


1 post in 455 days

#1 posted 05-02-2020 04:26 PM

Very cool! I have had a different style of Workmate for years, but basically the same idea. I don’t use it very often anymore but is a great mobile platform when I need to take my tools from my shop to the site/area of the project. Thanks.

-- Mark in SoCal

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26455 posts in 4267 days

#2 posted 05-02-2020 04:38 PM

WOW is that ever a handy setup. You did a fine job on all the parts for it!!
Mads, I did notice the awl. I’m glad you like it. I have one is each room of my shop and I use one every day.

cheers, My friend…...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View lew's profile


13385 posts in 4917 days

#3 posted 05-02-2020 11:23 PM

Thought that looked like one of Jim’s fantastic awls!

Wonderfully designed addition to your collection accessories.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View AJ1104's profile


1332 posts in 2821 days

#4 posted 05-03-2020 01:02 AM

Such a great idea and new color makes this all seam so hip!

-- AJ

View Brit's profile


8334 posts in 4004 days

#5 posted 05-03-2020 02:52 PM

Wow Mads, you put a lot of effort into that one. Looks like a very useful bit of kit.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View madts's profile


1957 posts in 3501 days

#6 posted 05-03-2020 04:59 PM

Hej Mads: It is always fun watching you going on a journey. I seem to never know where you will end up. Lots of very good ideas in this series.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View mafe's profile


13204 posts in 4251 days

#7 posted 11-13-2020 12:47 PM

Hi guys,
Just discovered I never replied.
madts, Thank you. I feel just the same way, I never know where I’m going. Luckily I often end up in good places. Laugh.
Brit, Yes it was fun making, so I got carried away, I kind of love these jig / tool building projects, it’s like a free ride of joy, playing with tools and wood, to make new possibilities. I have already used it a lot, so it was well worth the build. You are the uncrowned Workmate killer, so I could become the uncrowned Workmate renewal midwife… Big laugh.
AJ1104, Smiles, yes the Plexiglas really made it shine, it was actually a piece of scrap a friend gave me, after he found it in the trash, so double joy. The hipster Workmate! Laugh. Thanks.
lew, Yes I am the proud owner of a Jim awl, I love it and use it a lot, it always makes me happy when using it. Kind of funny I always disliked the Workmates and now I use it a lot in the allotment, for all kinds of projects, often as a garden workbench, for all the restoration projects there.
Jim Jakosh, Dear Jim I love the awl, I show it off with pride telling people the story and it always make me smile and send you a warm thought when using it. Thank you again. Thank you for the fine words, coming from you it is a great compliment, as you are the master part maker. The workmate came from being a surface for painting, to a enjoyable work surface and multi function tool, so I enjoy it.
Dunky, Thank you, surprisingly useful these benches, not for fine wood working, but for all kinds of around the house woodworking – so I start to understand why they were so popular.
Big smile guys, thanks for the comments, best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics