Refurbish workmate copy

Refurbish old WorkMate-type portable workbench

I was given this old piece of equipment and have found it very useful but difficult to use.

It only had two plastic dogs for clamping and one of the cranks for opening and closing the clamping action of the top was broken off.

I first fixed the broken crank handle with a piece of scrap aluminium tubing, an M6 bolt, some washers and spacers and a nylok nut. It looks odd but it does what is required, and the opening and closing of the table is smooth and effortless. (See pic V1)

I then found that the two plastic dogs were not satisfactory (see pic V2) and obviously would not hold a work piece firmly and squarely on the table.

I decided to make some new clamping dogs.

I first cut some pieces of 25mm hardwood dowel in 50mm lengths and got a friend to turn them on his lathe so that I had 20mm at the original 25mm diameter, the next 20mm at just under 20mm in diameter and he last 10mm tapered down to about 18.5mm. (also see pic V3).

After some sanding these PEG-type dogs fitted just fine (see pic V4) and held a work piece really well BUT…

I felt that if I clamped soft wood with the round hardwood pegs they could dent or bruise the wood unacceptably.

Only having some pine lying around, I made four dogs to slip over the pegs so that the clamping surfaces will be flat (see pics V5 & V6). The notches enable odd shaped pieces to be clamped and held too. I think I may have to scrounge around and find some harder, finer-grained wood and remake these because the pine might be a bit TOO soft – not at all hard wearing.

Overall, though, I am pleased with the result.