MAC ALLISTER FOLDING WORKSTATION. Ideal For Indoor and Outdoor Workshop Use
About this deal
The clamps are low quality, interchangeable and the bench sizes seem the same but I've never actually measured them. They're versatile and okay for what they do but I wouldn't recommend them as your sole woodworking bench - too low for all day use and not rigid enough for hand planing. To save costs it comes as a big bag of bits, so you’ll need to do about 40 minutes of assembly yourself, but once built you are left with a pretty basic – and small – bench. But it is uncomplicated, easy to use and folds up to a smaller size for storage. The 4.5kg weight means it’s not too much effort to lift off a hook on a garage wall either – that’s less than half the weight of most other benches here.
Mac Allister Multicolour Foldable Folding Workbench (H: 755mm
The “step” is useful for steadying the bench while sawing and can be used to work on taller parts, such as the top of a body panel. The downside is that folding and unfolding the Clarke is a time-consuming business, with legs to be deployed and knobs to be tightened. But it is reasonably compact when folded. These are almost universally known by the name of the original – the Workmate – which was invented in the 1960s by a Ford and Lotus engineer. Whoever makes them now, they allow you to safely clamp parts to cut, paint, clean or disassemble in comfort and safety.It folds up into a compact and almost flat shape, making it practical to hang on a wall. When unfolded, the hinged legs allow for two working heights, meaning you can work on taller items without having to stand on your tip toes. There’s also a step, which can also be used to steady the bench while sawing or wrestling with a rusty bolt.
Keter Folding Work Bench | Toolstation Keter Folding Work Bench | Toolstation
At first glance the Clarke bench looks similar to our winning Workmate, with legs that can be deployed or folded to give two possible working heights. It also has a step so you can put a foot on it comfortably to steady the bench while using a saw, or can reach high up if working on a tall parts such as a bumper. We couldn’t find a workbench any cheaper than the TB01, so as you might expect, it’s free of frills and requires about 30 minutes of assembly time. Yet once built, the Silverline does most jobs reasonably well, with horizontal-only clamping planks. These are less versatile, but the uncomplicated mechanism means it folds up smaller than the Minotaur for storage and weighs just 4.5kg, too. Folding workbenches provide a safe platform to put parts on and clamp tight while you work on them. Once you’re finished, the benches neatly fold away to maximise garage space. We put six designs to the test to see if the original Workmate has a vice-like grip on the Best Buy title, or a rival can set a new benchmark in our workshop How we tested them
Most of us will have some Silverline tools in our garage or shed. They are good value and useful for jobs which you don’t do often or won’t need anything too sophisticated, such as chisels and hammers. The TB01 follows the same pattern and is excellent value; in fact it is the cheapest workbench we could find. I have two of the Keter, a McAllister and a Forge Steel - The McAllister and Forge steel are own brands (Screwfix, B&Q) but basically badged items. I've not noticed any difference between them. They were bought at different times - normally when on offer somewhere.
Mac Allister Folding Workbench 850mm - Screwfix
If money was no object, we’d choose the innovative Mac Allister Folding Workbench. It is easy to use, and the size of the surfaces makes it much more useful for most automotive tasks. It also folds down neatly for storage. Some classic Morris owners might buy this good-value workbench just for the name, but it has another useful feature. In addition to the conventional clamping action of the two plank-like work surfaces, they can also be individually tilted to 45 or 90 degrees. This makes it far easier to hold awkwardly shaped or large components.There are some downsides though. The half-hour it takes to assemble the bench might be forgotten after a while but is certainly an irritation at the time. But the weedy 100kg capacity means you’ll be a little limited as to what the Minotaur can be used for, and it feels a little wobblier when faced with a heavy wheel or other weighty component. The work boards themselves are larger too, with handy measurements for length and angles which could make fabricating parts easier. Once you’ve finished working, the Draper collapses easily and folds almost flat to make storage easier.