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We’re students of the old school when it comes to workbench design, so when we first saw Stanley’s Mobile Project Center we didn’t want to like it. We figured that a metal and plastic bench that stands high instead of wide wouldn’t last a week in the shop. We were wrong. Read on past the jump to find out why it’s one of our 2007 favorite tools.

We’ve had a Black & Decker Workmate in the shop since before it was a shop. In fact, I inherited the Workmate we have from my father, who bought it used at a garage sale. But as sturdy as it is, I really and truly hate carrying it around. It’s heavy, and there’s no easy way to carry it without it bumping into your leg when you walk. And folding out the feet individually sucks.

Stanley’s MPC, on the other hand, is quite light. But best of all, it features wheels, which make it a breeze to roll around the shop or into the driveway — wherever you need a little bit of workspace. Its plastic top is much more durable than you’d expect. But on to your — and our — big question: is it durable?

The answer is a resounding yes. We’ve beat the living crap out of our MPC, carting it around to shows and demonstrations, using it as a stand for hammer competitions, painting on it, driving thousands of screws into wood and metal on it (and accidentally into it). Funny story: we used an MPC (and our Skilsaw) to cut all the studs and sheathing for the building we tore down at Maker Faire Austin. We accidentally cut the corner off the MPC’s top while hurriedly cutting some sheathing, but it was still just as sturdy. Afterwards we gave it away to someone who stopped by — a framer who was excited to get hold of it.

Our particular MPC also features the swing-out base that allows it to function as a two-wheel dolly. At first we scoffed at its 220 pound limitation, but again we were foolish in our quick judgment. We don’t keep a big two-wheel dolly in the shop because we have such limited space. But the MPC is always right there — perfect for moving large boxes around or hauling some heavy wood or metal.

The bottom line: the MPC is a true road dog, sturdy enough for heavy use while light enough to save your back. If you’re looking for something you can carry to the jobsite to serve as a small cut table or a sawhorse, you’ll love the MPC. And you can even carry your toolbox(es) on its dolly.

Hell, our MPC rarely finds its way back to the wall anymore as it’s almost constantly in use. That’s about as big a compliment as we can offer. Street pricing starts around $125, though you can score one for closer to $100 if you keep an eye out for sales.

Note: Lowe’s and the ‘Depot don’t like to carry the dolly-enabled version for some reason. Watch out for the version without the fold-down base; it isn’t nearly as versatile. If you can’t find the dolly version locally, check online.

The FatMax Mobile Project Center [Stanley]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

 

9 Responses to TM’s 2007 Favorites: Stanley’s Mobile Project Center

  1. PutnamEco says:

    I’ll be considering one of these if and when my original workmate ever wears out.
    I’m also looking into the FrameX thing. It looks like it might support a full sheet of plywood well.

    http://www.framex.co.uk/default.ink

    And Festool is supposedly coming out with a new multifunction table this spring. (MFT3)

  2. Thermopyle says:

    I’ve been using one for quite awhile in my residential construction business.

    Stanley’s MPC, on the other hand, is quite light. But best of all, it features wheels, which make it a breeze to roll around the shop or into the driveway — wherever you need a little bit of workspace.

    My big complaint with it is in regards to this. You basically have to fold it up everytime you want to move it or tilt it so far over for the wheels to engage the floor that what you have on top of it falls off.

    Otherwise, it’s very nice.

    Also, every one I’ve seen at Lowe’s and HD are dolly-equipped.

  3. jack says:

    Yes, yes!

    this thing absolutely rocks! I had my eye on them at Rona ( canada) for $100, they went on sale for $60. i figured for $60 i could take a risk on it.
    I don’t know what i was expecting but the first time I snapped it open and heard the resounding “Klack!!!’ noise of solidity, i knew it was good. When you can hear something being solid, thats a very good sign 🙂

    Best $60 bucks i’ve spent in a while. I’d buy another at twice the price.

  4. ben says:

    would this device be useful as a base for cutting shelves? I guess I’m concerned with how wide the clamps open as well as the balancing (as a previous comment suggested).

  5. Josh says:

    I bough the one at home Depot with the dolly for $99, works great and will see a lot of use until I can get a work bench built. Even then it will still see some use.
    At the Lowes they had the dolly=less on marked down to to $40 or 60 I believe on Clearance. I am thinking about grabbing another one to have a spare or some more surface to work on

  6. KenManiac says:

    just picked up the non-dolly version today at Lowes, for half price or $43. sticker said ‘clearance’ so maybe they’ll be bringing in the dollified version. apparently they still have some left, just noticed Josh’s comment from last month.

    great price, i thought. nice unit, light and pretty stable.

  7. Tom says:

    Apologies for being a bit off topic; have been googling around and found this post which seems to be close to what I’m looking for:
    I just bought my first house and am looking to start building my own tool collection now that the family is a few hours drive away. I love the workmate (79-001) my grandfather has but from reviews I’ve seen the newer workmates aren’t nearly as high quality – could anyone recommend a look-alike that has the sheer toughness/quality of the old workmates? I’m not sure I’d trust something plastic like this, though the review is pretty good 🙂

  8. Kenneth Littleton says:

    I just bought one on a online aution for 30 dollars. It works awesome. I recommend buying one.

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