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I bought the Workmate II portable workbench back in 1989, and it held up well for almost twenty years, until I left it on the back porch for a few days and it got wet due to blowing rain.  (Blowing rain is not the friend of the particle-board top.)  On the hunt for a replacement workbench, I came across a really nice one, the Walko.

It comes in two models, the Walko-3 and the Walko-4 — the numbers stand for the number of vertical aluminum rails in the frame.  At first glance the Walkos look similar to most workbenches, almost like a sawhorse with two horizontal shelves, but with these you can adjust the height of your work surface by moving the shelves up and down the side rails.

You can also make both legs lay flat and put your work surface close to the ground or lean it against a wall.  When it’s leaned against a wall you can install the work shelves so that the Walko doubles as a workbench — or you can just lay a panel on it and cut it.  You shouldn’t have to worry too much about cutting depth, thanks to sacrificial synthetic strips that you can cut through.

I really like the look of the Walko, but the price is a bit steep — about $700 and up.  My wife hasn’t hit the lottery yet, so I decided to just rebuild Ole Trusty with some 3/4” plywood.

Walko [Official Site]
Walko USA [Official Site]
Street Pricing [Google]


9 Responses to Walko Workbench

  1. _Jon says:

    I agree the price is high, but as a guy who used to love complicated stuff, I’ve grown leery of things that can do too much. I have a few tools that can be adapted / changed / converted to do something else. For the past few years, they’ve stayed in exactly one configuration. For the rare instance where I wanted to convert it, I had forgotten how to do that ‘magic’ twist that made it all happen, or I put my finger in the wrong place and got a nasty pinch for my efforts. (That usually resulted in a damaged tool from the rapid stop due to my anger / pain induced acceleration in the direction of the ground.)
    I’ve resigned myself to an extra portable toolbox so I can just bring the dedicated tools that I’ll probably need.

  2. Dave B. says:

    There is no way in hell I would ever pay $700 for a portable workbench. In addition to what Jon above says about forgetting how to use some of the features, in my experience the more parts and frills a something has the more likely that something will break. I think I will stick with my homemade sawhorses and plywood (<$10).

  3. Rob R says:

    For $700 it better make me a sandwich and keep my beers cold!

  4. TominDC2 says:

    $700 for a fancy workmate. By my calculation I could by 27 Chinese knockoff workmates like mine for that amount. I wonder if Bentley makes a pickup truck so Walko owners have something in which to tote theirs to the work site.

  5. MattM says:

    In Paul’s defense, the video on the Walko homepage is pretty damn spiffy- it’s not anywhere near tempting me to drop that much money on it, but it’s an intriguing system, certainly worth viewing at least.

  6. Jason says:

    Stanley FatMax Mobile Project Center

  7. Steve says:

    Yeah lets give to money to China so you can buy more beer. Hey you should save a lot with the free health care.

  8. Joe says:

    The only people bitter are the one who don’t own one. I do. I didn’t at first until I learned how to use it. The investment sucked, but it’s turned out to be a good work surface and a durable tool. If you’re the type to pull out the B&D Workmate only one or two times a year, no, this isn’t a good deal for you. If you need a dead-flat work surface for cutting WHOLE SHEETS of panel goods, and you don’t want to fart around with sheets of pink foam board, then you might be interested. I’ve always had a woody for new technology. Cordless phones, microwave ovens and VCR’s all used to cost 10x more than they do now. I didn’t wait five years though to enjoy the benefits. Suck it up naysayers, I have a “Big One”. And a big table too.

  9. Shannon Love says:

    Europeans like this sort of multi-function tool because they don’t have a lot of room compared to North Americans. There houses are smaller, doors are even smaller, work vehicles smaller and their higher degree of socializations means labor is more expensive as well. They need one thing they can squeeze into wherever to get the work done. If it saves labor that’s even better. You could pay for this entire bench with just 100hrs or less of European skilled labor cost.

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