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Author Topic: WorkMate Overhaul  (Read 5032 times)

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Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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WorkMate Overhaul
« on: April 26, 2010, 09:21:42 PM »
I have a WorkMate portable workbench that I bought about fifteen years ago. I used it a lot for quite a while but have not used it in the last couple of years because the top which was made of some type of MDF material had seriously deterioated.

I decide to overhaul the old beast. I tore the frame down to parade rest, cleaned up and painted all the metal parts and reassembled the frame with mostly new fastners.

After flirting with the idea of using maple for the new worktop, I sidled over to the local Orange Box Store and bought some Southern Yellow Pine to glue up into a new workbench top. I sliced and diced and glued it all up and wound up with a nice solid top...

The only problem was it was not nice and flat and evenly thick and it had a moderate amount of excess glue on both the top and bottom. I thought about trying to true it all up with a hand plane and decided I'd pass on that pleasure at this time. So I made a router surfacing sled and used the router to smooth out both sides.

Once the surfaces were trued up I layed out and drilled the holes for mounting the top to the frame and holes for the bench dogs. A quick sanding job followed up by two coats of poly floor varnish I happend to have and it was ready to finish the assembly.

Of course I know if there's no pictures it didn't happen...



Rough top needs to be smoothed out and evenly thicknessed.



Router surfacing sled ready to go.





Quite a bit of improvement over the rough surface.



The process does produce a lot of shavings.




Sufacing complete.



WorkMate with new paint job and new work surface.





The new top has plenty of holes for benchdogs. 
 
 
I didn't think to get "before" pictures. Maybe Olen and DanG could testify to how bad off it was...

Now, what am I going to make using this rejuvinated tool???

Herb

Offline woodsteach

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 09:41:57 PM »
that looks Great!!

woodsteach
Brand X Swing Mill, JD 317 Skidloader, MS460 & 290, the best family a guy could ever dream of...all provided by God up above.  (with help from our banker ; ) )

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 09:56:39 PM »
that looks Great!!

woodsteach

Thanks woodsteach.

And it's already coming in handy, see my topic about using my sycamore to build a picture frame (http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,43671.0.html)

Herb

Offline fishpharmer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2010, 10:01:44 PM »
Well done.  You're very industrious. 
Built my own band mill with the help of Forestry Forum. 
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The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work. --Tom A. Edison

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 09:41:37 PM »
One of the things I don't like about the WorkMate is the watsted space between the workbench legs. Originally it had a canvas contraption that pretended to be both a shelf and storage space. It look almost as uselrss as it was and I took it off the bench when I repainted it. But I can use some storage on the unit and decided to build a combination box and shelf.



Wasted space between legs of the WorkMate.




Jig for cutting box joint on tablesaw.

I decided to use box joints (also known as finger joints) to join the four corners of this box. I've never cut this joint before so I found the design for a basic jig for cutting the joint on a table saw. The secret to this jig is the small square peg that's used to align the slots as you cut them.



In progress cutting box joint fingers in end of box side.

Note the use of the peg to align the next cut.



Plywood bottom for box is rabbeted to fit into rabbet in sides of box.



Ends of two sides ready for glue.

Note the tape which minimizes the stray glue stains. Also note the two rabbets in the sides, one for the bottom and the other for a support rail for a tray that I plan to make for the unit.



First box joint clamped during assembly.



Using strap rachets as clamps for final box glue up.




Box is assembled.

More to come as I finish this up in the next few of days.

Herb




Offline Don K

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 09:56:14 PM »
I have a workmate with the same sickness. It has been out to pasture a few years. I am inspired to bring new life to it.   ;D ;D     Thanks Herb.

Don
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Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 11:00:01 PM »
I have a workmate with the same sickness. It has been out to pasture a few years. I am inspired to bring new life to it.   ;D ;D     Thanks Herb.

Don

Don,

You're welcome.

What I'm winding up with is better than it was originally and also better than not having any kind of bench at all but I'll be happy when I've got a real shop space with a serious workbench...

But in the meantime, good luck with yours if you decide to overhaul it.

Herb

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2010, 09:18:05 AM »
You got SYP at the Orange Box store?  Must be a locally available thing, cause it's not available here in the land of corruption, I mean Illinois.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2010, 12:49:31 PM »
You got SYP at the Orange Box store?  Must be a locally available thing, cause it's not available here in the land of corruption, I mean Illinois.

Brad,

Yes, both Home Depot and Lowe's stock SYP #2 construction grade, starting with 2X6X8 and going up to 2X12X12...

It's not "hardwood" but it will suffice for this benchtop.

Just one of the perks of living down here on the Redneck Riveria...


Herb

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2010, 09:52:55 PM »
It's been a busy week here but I've managed to make some progress on the storage box for the WorkMate.



Front and back side box edges cut with dovetail style joints to hold front and back rails. The rails will rest on the metal frame and support both the box and the lid for the box.



Rail cut to fit the dovetailed front side.



Joints fit, although a bit sloppy. But when glued up it should be pretty solid.



View of box with back and side top rails installed. Also shows runners for shallow tray.



Box with lid in place.



Box in place, resting across metal supports.

Still need to build a shallow tray to fit inside box and cut a hand hold in lid. Then a quick sanding and a couple of coats of varnish and it will be done.

The workmanship isn't furniture quality by any means but overall I satisfied with the results. One objective was to build it without using any nails or screws. I've accomplished that and it is very sturdy.

Herb

Offline JohnG28

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2010, 12:25:57 PM »
Thats some very fine looking work, great job. :)
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Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: WorkMate Overhaul
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2010, 12:51:18 PM »
Thanks John.

Herb


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