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Old 07-15-2011, 03:36 AM
2,186 posts, read 7,865,732 times


This is the second portable Black & Decker Workmate we have owned. The best thing about it is that you can fold it up and take it with you wherever you are going to be working.
After many years of active service in the field, the first one we owned had to be retired. The particle board top eventually deteriorated due partly to heavy duty sawing (in other words saw damage) and partly from exposure to moisture. The metal frame eventually began to rust as well. This is not due to bad manufacturing, but rather to consistent wear and tear. In fact I'd say it is one of those tools that really earned its keep over the years. If we had used it consistently in a workshop, I think it would have lasted even longer than it did, because it really is a robust product.
For this reason I had no compunction in replacing the old workbench with a new Black & Decker WM536. I can't remember the code of the original one, but to all intents and purposes they are exactly the same.
It isn't a large work bench but it is versatile, and we have used it (and its predecessor) for just about every type of wood-orientated DIY and home improvement project possible, from building bookshelves to building carports and garden sheds.
The WM536 Workmate can be adjusted to two different working heights, 1,952 ft (or 595 mm) and 2,542 ft (or 775 mm). The working top is made from particle board and it is supplied with ingenious adjustable pegs (plastic) that you can adjust so that you can use the workbench to hold objects with an irregular shape. The vice jaw length - which is basically the width of the working top - is two feet. The boards may be opened to a maximum distance of just more than 5 inches (or 136 mm). What this means is that you can use the boards like a vice jaw (or vice grip) to hold whatever it is you are working with. So if you need to saw wood, or drill into wood, your Workmate essentially becomes another pair of hands.
It also has a handy foot rest so that you can steady the workbench while you are sawing or drilling.
Black & Decker's WM536 Workmate will withstand a maximum load of 352 lb (or 160 kg).
Although there are several portable work bench designs that are quite a lot cheaper, the WM536 is well priced for what it offers. If you're willing to spend double the amount, you might prefer the WM825 which is also a dual-height Workmate. What is different about this model is that it has an advanced one-handed clamp system that enables the user to use the clamps together or on their own. Also the front jaw (or board) swings up for vertical clamping, which makes it even more versatile when it comes to working on objects with odd shapes.
The WM536 is good enough for me.
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