This is an original Black and Decker Workmate from the 1980’s. For a while in the ’80’s it was my only carving bench. Then in the ’90’s it went to shows where I was doing demonstrations. Currently it lives outside the carving shop as a solid platform for working on projects that produce prodigious amounts of wood waste, like bowls.
From the paint and varnish you can see that I also use it for finishing. In all those years the only thing that has broken is one of the plastic handles. Today, I got around to replacing part of the bench top. It finally rotted away. Later this summer I’ll make a new one for the opposite side.
I doubt that any of the later iterations of this work surface could take as much abuse as this has and still be working. And remember it sits outside through New England winters.
The plastic hold down on the rear surface is a recent add on from Lee Valley – they are still making add ons that fits this bench.
If you find one of these at a flea market or yard sale give it a good look. It was made solidly in the USA when * Black and Decker was a top tool maker. I expect mine to keep going for many more years.
*As an aside I add that many later imitations were made of the original but did not have the sturdy steel construction.