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Thread: Has anyone restored a B&D workmate

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    Has anyone restored a B&D workmate

    I have an original one from 1980 ish bought for me by my parents. Itís looking a bit weary now but the new ones just donít look man enough these days.

    The jaws are of a lot better material than modern but mine are well worn, one of the foot lockout plastic clips is broken, Iíve lost a couple of the rubber foot parts. The main frame shows evidence of every colour Iíve used on the work Iíve put it through.

    I was thinking of taking it apart and spraying the main frame but itís well riveted

    Has anyone done anything of a resto on these and sourced any of the original parts

    Any suggestions gratefully received

  2. #2
    Not needed to as mine has been used twice in 20 years, a quick dust and as new.

  3. #3
    Aston,

    Pics of the worn broken parts please.

    Ty

  4. #4
    Parts available here https://www.toolsandpartsdirect.co.u...es-spare-parts.
    Take a look on YouTube or Google for guides.

  5. #5
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    I have one of the early version Hickmates in my restoration queue. Remember them? Cast aluminium H-frames, no height-changing options. Very robust though.

  6. #6
    Unless it's seriously rusty I'd suggest leaving the paint alone (think of it as wabi) and focus on the repair/replacing. It'd be a worthwhile effort as the original ones were far more solid and better built.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  7. #7
    Master
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    Mine's inherited from my Dad... c. mid 70's.

    Solid as hell. It's been in a sea water flood but still going strong. I regularly still use it... more than ever at the moment due to doing a house up.

    A few years ago I gave it a strip down and replaced all the worn bolts for the hinges/legs. It's a little rickety but several times I've looked at a new replacement and they're all absolute made-in-china junk!

  8. #8
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Parts available here https://www.toolsandpartsdirect.co.u...es-spare-parts.
    Take a look on YouTube or Google for guides.

    Just checked that... thanks. Mine's the first model.

    Just treated the old gal to some new feet clips though, tbh, I didn't even know it was supposed to have these.... must have got lost in the last 5 decades!
    Last edited by solwisesteve; 3rd April 2020 at 08:36.

  9. #9
    Craftsman
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    This forum is great!!

    I inherited my dad's a couple of years back, a model one and it has a couple of pieces missing but I never thought or even looked that spare parts would be available.

  10. #10
    Check out ebay you sometimes get people breaking them for spares.

    You'll also find replacement rubber feet, workholders etc on there.

    There also used to be a firm that made replacement proper wood tops for these (seem to recall they were damned expensive though), a search should find that.

    I really wouldn't paint it, as someone said just treat it as wabi.

    Great things the older Workmates, I have 3, the newer ones do feel a bit flimsy.

  11. #11
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Damn. I wonder if my old one is somewhere in the shed, because I need to own one!!!

    (I put this in the same camp as the Bullworker, which I actually bought a few months ago to alternate with weights. A real blast from the past )

    Edit: Checked shed - not there :(
    Last edited by learningtofly; 3rd April 2020 at 11:12.

  12. #12
    Master
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    This thread is useless without pictures...

    Here we have my WM536 in full working order. I reckon itís late 80ís or early 90ís but I could be wrong.


  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by downer View Post
    This thread is useless without pictures...

    Here we have my WM536 in full working order. I reckon it’s late 80’s or early 90’s but I could be wrong.


    Yeah that's later, probably late 80's going into the 90's (might even be later). Any black painted are later.

    Looks like one of the smaller ones. Still a handy thing though.

    Ron Hickman was a genius, always amused me that he took his design to Stanley & other who basically said they'd never sell any & turned him down..(I bet that decision was regretted !) Black & Decker however didn't feel that way & Ron did incredibly well out of the huge sales of it !

    He was involved in the design of the original Lotus Elan too.

    Here's some lockdown reading matter -
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obi...n-Hickman.html
    Last edited by ETCHY; 3rd April 2020 at 12:32.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by downer View Post
    This thread is useless without pictures...

    Here we have my WM536 in full working order. I reckon itís late 80ís or early 90ís but I could be wrong.
    Looks like mine - also suffered from a bit of errant/over enthusiastic saw action
    I got new rubber feet (all 8) plus springs and clamp jaws a few years ago and it's still going strong, probably the most useful tool in my garage.

  15. #15
    An inspiring thread, another proud WM 536 owner. I just had to get mine out of the shed, brush off the cobwebs and a light oiling. Needs a couple of feet and an orange clamp. Some great lock down projects in the pipeline.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Craftsman
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    Using google as reference mine looks to be a Model 79

  17. #17
    Master
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    I have an old all blue one, was my grandfathers - itís super sturdy but weights a tonne - a hop up is ok but a workmates in a different league - I really need to go get it from my dads garage and bring it up to my new p,ace

  18. #18
    One of the things they advocated earlier on in production was sitting on (turning sideways to it & straddling the top) as an option for working on things. It is a bit awkward & you have to make sure it's locked properly but it is quite handy at times for working on stuff.

    It was also originally recommended that you could stand on them as a platform for things like painting your window frames.

    Doubtless these recommendations were abandoned for health & safety reasons..

    I accept no responsibility if you try this & hurt yourself !!

  19. #19
    Interesting thread, I have the first dual hight model, everything is cast aluminium, recently I have oiled and freed up all of the joints as it was getting a bit stiff, it is about time I replaced the top, it must be getting on for fifty years old

  20. #20
    Journeyman
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewie View Post
    I have an old all blue one, was my grandfathers - itís super sturdy but weights a tonne - a hop up is ok but a workmates in a different league - I really need to go get it from my dads garage and bring it up to my new p,ace
    The blue ones are the ones to get ! I had a cheap nasty thing once with a chipboard top, snapped in short order - the old blue workmate is made from really good plywood probably most of them still survive

  21. #21
    Fyi the newer workmates are produced in Asia.

  22. #22
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bry1975 View Post
    Fyi the newer workmates are produced in Asia.
    Not this week!

  23. #23
    Craftsman
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    The jaws on the new ones seem to be poor quality. Are the replacement beech jaws as good as original

  24. #24
    I got new jaws for mine recently (and some other bits) and I would say the replacement jaws are better than the originals I had (mine is black with orange plastic trim, canít remember the model number ... 510 perhaps?)

    As an aside I have to rate the workbench the best ďtoolĒ I have ever bought - so useful.

  25. #25
    Master
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    So I thought mine must be a series one but, after ordering some replacement parts, I think it must be even older... if that's possible! For example my cranking handles are metal. The replacements are two piece plastic. My legs had screw adjustable feet. The replacement ones are simple rubber push on.

  26. #26
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by solwisesteve View Post
    So I thought mine must be a series one but, after ordering some replacement parts, I think it must be even older... if that's possible! For example my cranking handles are metal. The replacements are two piece plastic. My legs had screw adjustable feet. The replacement ones are simple rubber push on.
    Mine sounds the same as yours got it out of a skip at work 20 years ago the one of the threads had gone on it and I just drilled through the casting and put a nut and bolt in I still use it the only plastic on it is the orange plugs which go in the board holes

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