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Workmate 550 Upgrade

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Project by Bluenote38 posted 08-13-2017 02:12 PM 3523 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Workmate 550 Upgrade
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My Workmate 550 was struggling with a warped and cracked top so it’s been relegated to a dark shop corner for almost 10 years. I finally dug it out and re-topped it with a pine 2×8 after seeing John Taylor’s video. I couldn’t be happier!

And with judicious application of a file all the Workmate dogs now fit the 3/4” dog holes. I also added an aluminum scale I’ve had laying round for ever. Looking forward to using it soon … Maybe I’ll put it on casters(?)

-- Bill - Rochester MI





14 comments so far

View Popsnsons's profile

Popsnsons

378 posts in 2821 days


#1 posted 08-13-2017 04:29 PM

That’ll come in handy. Makes me want to add a center piece to my portable fold up bench.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

29208 posts in 2706 days


#2 posted 08-13-2017 06:52 PM

You did a nice job on refurbishing this.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1281 posts in 1054 days


#3 posted 08-13-2017 07:05 PM

Nice This is an inspiration for me to rehab mine.

-- Desert_Woodworker

View LesB's profile

LesB

1368 posts in 3283 days


#4 posted 08-13-2017 07:47 PM

Looks great.
My shopmate must be at least 35 to 40 years old. I have replaced the top boards a couple of times but it looks like you made a center board to fill in when the jaws are open. I like that idea. Pine may be a little soft. I may try 1 1/8” plywood sub floor material instead or oak.

-- Les B, Oregon

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

1328 posts in 661 days


#5 posted 08-14-2017 01:35 AM

Looks just too nice to “damage”.

A few years ago I re-furbed my in MDF. I HATE MDF, so I really don’t mind bashing it about, even if it’ll need a facelift sooner than later.

You wont regret giving it a set of moving shoes, but please don’t use cheap small wheel on it or you’ll loose a noticeable amount of stability. When I re-furbed mine I put a set of el cheapo budget wheels on it only to replace the next day… couldn’t buy replacement wheels on the same day.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

513 posts in 1424 days


#6 posted 08-14-2017 02:30 AM

I like this a lot.

Before this, I not heard of “the John Taylor video”. I found him on youtube, but don’t know which video you watched for the inspiration. I will check a few of them.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View John's profile

John

999 posts in 1110 days


#7 posted 08-14-2017 05:09 AM

Good job restoring a very handy mate!

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

219 posts in 228 days


#8 posted 08-14-2017 10:39 AM


I like this a lot.

Before this, I not heard of “the John Taylor video”. I found him on youtube, but don t know which video you watched for the inspiration. I will check a few of them.

- jimintx

Try this one John Taylor Replace Your Workmate Bench Top for Under $10 – #36. I may still add a couple of his features like the long slots and dog holes on the edges. He has 5-6 more where he adds other things too.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

219 posts in 228 days


#9 posted 08-14-2017 10:42 AM


Looks just too nice to “damage”.

A few years ago I re-furbed my in MDF. I HATE MDF, so I really don t mind bashing it about, even if it ll need a facelift sooner than later.

You wont regret giving it a set of moving shoes, but please don t use cheap small wheel on it or you ll loose a noticeable amount of stability. When I re-furbed mine I put a set of el cheapo budget wheels on it only to replace the next day… couldn t buy replacement wheels on the same day.

- LittleBlackDuck

Lol… that’s why I used pine and I STILL hate to damage it. Also, I’m convinced and in just having it now open and usable I realize that it really does need “moving shoes” – so on to the next project.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

1328 posts in 661 days


#10 posted 08-14-2017 01:18 PM



..... really does need “moving shoes” – so on to the next project….

- Bluenote38

B38, As I mentioned go for hobnails rather than ballet shoes. When planning, consider final height. I “mounted” my workmate (400) on the moving platform with the extender legs folded. I lost that “flexibility” feature, however, being mounted on the rollers I never fold it up.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

219 posts in 228 days


#11 posted 08-17-2017 11:28 AM


..... really does need “moving shoes” – so on to the next project….

- Bluenote38

B38, As I mentioned go for hobnails rather than ballet shoes. When planning, consider final height. I “mounted” my workmate (400) on the moving platform with the extender legs folded. I lost that “flexibility” feature, however, being mounted on the rollers I never fold it up.

- LittleBlackDuck

I’m torn between exactly that. Without wheels it will get folded and put away and maybe never see the light of day again (I’m a bit lazy) With wheels it another flat surface to pile crap on (but at least I can move the crap around). I’ve got a set of good 3-1/2” wheels I can use – so maybe??

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View LesB's profile

LesB

1368 posts in 3283 days


#12 posted 08-27-2017 04:46 PM

Those are some great ideas for the Work Mate but one of the main reasons I originally got mine (close to 40 years ago) was it’s portability. I don’t often do work outside the shop but when I do the Work Mate is my portable work bench.

-- Les B, Oregon

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

1328 posts in 661 days


#13 posted 08-28-2017 02:18 AM

LesB, from your explanation above it seems as though you have ported the WM (seldom) for a long time and store it folded (often) for just as long. Mine sits on top of a shop built mobile base. That way I can use it 100% of the time in the workshop and use the remaining % outside the workshop (was never good at that + and – stuff). Just lift it up, fold it, tuck it under your armpit and carry it where ever the armpit permits.

PS. The beauty of it is that when you are carrying it around outside your workshop you won’t be tripping over the vacant mobile base… the missus or the dog might, but you wont.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

219 posts in 228 days


#14 posted 08-28-2017 03:43 PM



”... sits on top of a shop built mobile base. ”
- LittleBlackDuck
Thanks I just bought a set of caster knowing that I needed them but couldn’t remember where I wanted to use them. This weekend’s project – a mobile base for the WM550

-- Bill - Rochester MI

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