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Forum topic by crazybrit posted 06-11-2018 05:41 PM 517 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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crazybrit

9 posts in 2113 days


06-11-2018 05:41 PM

I have a workmate 550. Needs a new top. I bought some 1/2” baltic birch that I’m going to glue up to 1”.

There are lots of videos such as this on replacing the top, this one is the same 550 as I have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Y9LTFjUnY

1. Most of the videos I’ve seen, the top is replaced with exact same size. I’m curious if anyone has enlarged the size of the top? It’s presently approx 29 1/4” x 21”. Three separate pieces. Obviously the mounting positions need to remain the same and the depth of the center piece needs to remain the same but I was pondering making the center piece wider, the end pieces wider and deeper. [U]Curious if anyone has tried similar and if there were any pitfalls?[/U]

2. I’d like to integrate a wide metal ruler into the top (route out a recess for it). Anyone done the same? What did you use?

3. I’m also interested in constructing a separate much larger top for it. There are videos which do something like this using a melamine top and 2×4: https://youtu.be/KrI5lQG9rXk?t=180 However I also saw this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmiBw7Xd_UM and I like the idea of the Irwin vise. In the comments section there is a reference to “John Taylor” producing a video on constructing one but I couldn’t find it. Video is overkill but some pics of something similar removed from the table would be interesting to see.


5 replies so far

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HokieKen

6167 posts in 1257 days


#1 posted 06-11-2018 06:05 PM

I recently replaced the tables on my WM450 with some I made to use if for a sawbuck.

You can go longer on both pieces. I think they were about 22” originally and the ones I made are about 30”. The front movable piece really has to be about the same width as the original. If you make it wider, you will either have a clearance issue with the back piece in the frontmost position or the screw handles will hit the table and you won’t be able to turn them. If you really need it wider, you could always make some extensions for turning the screws I suppose.

For the back piece, keep the distance from the front edge to the knobs that locate it in the different slots the same. This ensures that you have clearance when using the frontmost slot position. You can really make it as wide as you want overall. But be careful, if you make it too wide and it’s back heavy, you’ll have to put some sort of weight on the bottom of the WM to prevent it tipping over backwards.

Good luck with your upgrade!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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crazybrit

9 posts in 2113 days


#2 posted 06-12-2018 12:30 AM


You can go longer on both pieces. I think they were about 22” originally and the ones I made are about 30”.

On mine they are 29 1-4” wide (what you call “long”). Viewed standing in front of the table, where you could operate the screw handles.

The depth (what you call “width”) of the three OEM pieces on mine is (front to back) 5”, 7-1/2” and 8-1/2”.

If you draw a vertical line down from the back of the rear 8 1/2” deep piece you’ll just about hit the rear legs, so yes, as you say, making this significantly deeper risks the table tipping back.

The 5” front, you could deepen to 8” and it would then be approx in line with the front of the step and still 3” or so short of the front legs, so no tip over. Obviously you’re extending over free air but unlike the other two pieces, it is bolted to the frame so a bit more stable. I have a TIG welder and may look into whether I can add a support under this front piece, though this pivots (something I’ve never used) so I’ll need to make sure any support maintains this. I have a lathe too so making extenders for the two handles is possible.

So I’ll definitely widen from 29 1-4 to 36. And I’ll probably deepen the front. I can’t say I’ve ever use the step.

Thanks for posting.

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HokieKen

6167 posts in 1257 days


#3 posted 06-12-2018 02:38 AM

Huh… never noticed one having 3 pieces before but after searching, it would seem that my 425 comes with 3 pieces.

I don’t see wht you would have 3 pieces though. Is there some reason I’m missing not to just combine the back 2 pieces into one?

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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crazybrit

9 posts in 2113 days


#4 posted 06-12-2018 03:27 AM


I don’t see wht you would have 3 pieces though. Is there some reason I’m missing not to just combine the back 2 pieces into one?

Yes, the adjustment threads for the front (fixed) board have a finite travel. If you remove the middle and rear boards you’ll see a back position hole and 3 middle holes. You can insert one of the two into various positions to accommodate variable width items you want to lock either between the boards (vice) or between the plastic pins.

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

336 posts in 507 days


#5 posted 06-12-2018 01:49 PM

Check out my Project BD 550 retop http://lumberjocks.com/projects/333065

-- Bill - Rochester MI

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