There are times when I believe that Albert Einstein was a woodworker. Seriously. I mean, this guy knew about the space-time continuum… which basically means that the less space a woodworker has, the longer it seems to take to get anything done…
At least I think that’s what he meant. After all, there are lots of times when I am working on a project when I run out of space on my workbench. That’s a bad thing, because I will be attempting to do too many thing on my poor overworked workbench. So, say, I’m trying to mark out the rough boards, juggle my plans, keep handy tools in easy reach… and try to keep something like my thickness planer there so I can do all of the work of getting the boards down to the right size for the project.
What I really need is more surface area, but I couldn’t fathom where I would build more bench area. After last year’s miter bench update, I’m pretty much out of room. No, what I need is some kind of portable work area I could set up, then tear down again after I am done with it.
Good thing my friends at Porta Mate sent me one of their Power Tool Workcenters. Of the work stands I have used (and, believe me, I have used lots of them), this one is the most tricked out I have ever seen. For starters, it has a stable base that supports a very generously-sized tool stand. The whole shebang supports nearly 200 pounds, so most portable power tools will easily be supported. That top is also adjustable for height, so you can jack it up for work where you need to have it closer to your eyes, or drop it for larger power tools.
The base also boasts a nicely sized tool tray. So, if you need to keep some tools handy to adjust your power tool, or you need some clamps to secure it to the stand, this is a pretty handy place to stash them.The real fun comes in with the adjustable roller supports. You can mount a ladder-type support with telescoping arms that hold the roller assemblies in place. This allows you to get more work support for items such as your thickness planer, so the boards won’t be flopping about on the infeed or outfeed side of the tool. Pretty handy things to have for this tool, a portable drill press, a miter saw.. the works. The best part of this baby is that it takes less than five minutes to break down for storage. Bolts are tightened using plastic handled knobs, and by removing six of them, you can have it folded flat and ready for storage in a jif. If you are a woodworker with tons of space, maybe this isn’t the tool for you. But, if you are like the rest of us mortals who struggle to find a space for every operations, the power tool workcenter might be worth the investment.
And, you don’t have to be a genius.