“ Brand: Silverline / Type: Work Bench „
I'm a bit of a DIYer and like to have as much useful equipment around me to help me do that DIY as easy and as safely as possible, such as power tools for those heavier jobs to hand tools for the more, shall we say, delicate jobs.
But one little tool that I just as useful as any of my other tools, if not maybe a little more useful that some, is a certain tool that is there to rest things on so that I can do things like cutting, drilling, sanding, shaving... well you know the score. And that little tool, if I can call it a little tool, is on fact a work bench which any self respecting DIYer should have, with this work bench being from a company called Silverline, with the full name being the Silverline workbench TB01.
Firstly. Allow me to give you a briefing on what this workbench looks like...
The main frame is shaped like two 'A' frames joined together by a couple of metal slats and a couple of strips of wood. The metal used is a lightweight hollow square which makes the bench strong yet light enough to carry around, weighing around 5kg in all.
Apart from the metal frame there are the two sections of wood, which is where the main work goes on as this is where you place you wood and the like in order for you to get on with your work. The top is basically two sections, each one being 110mm wide by about 550mm long and a good 30mm thick. When they are together you get a flat 550mm by 200mm, which can expand up to about 550mm long by 600mm wide.
Each section has ten holes drilled into each them which are there for the 'blocks' to drop into so that you can trap your work into it, keeping it steady when you want to work on it.
It comes with eight 'blocks' in total, four little 'stump' like ones and four larger ones which have a curve on one side of them and a slot on the other three sides. All the slots and curves are for gripping such things as wood so that it stays sturdier in them.
The front wooden section has a measuring aid etched on it, which consists of a centimetre guide along the edge and a protractor in the centre.
It has rubber feet so that it doesn't float around the floor when your sawing through something, which makes it a bit safer than using a chair to put your wood on.
To help steady the material you're working on this bench comes with eight little plastic 'studs', four small ones and four larger ones. These 'studs' slot into the little holes that are drills into the wooden tops, ten on each piece, 20 in total, position in strategic lines so that the 'studs' can be placed in which ever hole you need to slot it in in order to steady your work.
Using the bench...
The first thing you have to do is actually put it together, which may look a bit on the tricky side, but as there are only a few pieces you'll soon get it together, all you will need really is a screwdriver and a spanner, or something to grip the nuts.
But once it's together, standing about 800mm high, you just have to open it up by pulling one end away from the other, creating the 'A' frame so that the bench stand firm on level ground.
The top sections, the wooden pieces, can be opened at different distances, meaning that one end can be opened a little whilst the other end opens more, (for example) so that you can clamp odd shaped things without any difficulties.
To widen the top sections, giving you more work surface, you simply turn the two little handles which, if turn clockwise, expand the top, whilst turned the other way, close the top.
It does store away, folding into itself sort of, but when it is folded up it measures about 550mm x 1000mm x 160mm, so it can fit into most sized sheds or even a cupboard. To collapse it you simply tap centre of the 'bars' on the side frames, which should then fold upwards. Then you simply push the front of the bench towards the back, or visa-versa, and the bench will fold on itself.
In theory this is a fine piece of equipment for the budding DIY enthusiast. The 'A' frame sides make a good support for the wooden tops and the way the top sections can be adjusted simultaneously it great for working on 'odd' shape pieces of material, managing to grip what ever you put into it with ease.
Sadly though, this particular work bench is not as good as many work benches that I have used. In fact, it is possibly in the top three of the worst work benches that I have used.
Don't get me wrong, it has good points, such as the plastic 'studs', which are pretty strong in themselves, considering that I have managed to saw into the larger four, and three of the 'stumpy' ones as I've been using the bench, and they are still as sturdy as they first were.
The larger ones are pretty useful with there shapes and indents, managing to help grip the material I am working on, although sometimes, if I've been a bit hasty, they have slipped slightly, but nothing too serious.
The smaller, 'stumpy' ones are only really useful for steadying such things as plywood as they are only a few mm high and any wood higher would simply flip over the tops of them.
It opens quite wide, and together with the fact that you can move the plastic studs around the top, popping them into any of the many holes, it can grips several different sizes of wood and the like.
Then there's the rubber stoppers which are on the four feet which really do help this workbench grip the floor when you're sawing away, (for example). So that you're not chasing your work around the room in order to cut through.
But that is where the positives end for me, with the negatives really taking over, making me frown.
Firstly, the maximum weight this can take, or so the package claims, is up to 100kg, which sounds like it should be ample for most DIY household work. But alas, during a bit of work on this, using materials which way a lot less than 100KG, the metal legs on this do tend to groan a little too much for my liking, making me a little uneasy as to put any excess weight on it.
In fact, a few times when I've leaned on it, holding the work in place whilst cutting through it, I swear I've actually felt the legs on the verge of collapsing, which is not good at all, especially when you're using a power jig saw or even a circular saw.
Then there's the measuring aid I mentioned, which is imprinted along the side of one of the wooden tops. Although this is a good idea, in theory, but the fact that it has faded away to the extent that most of the numbers have disappeared, it is now as useful as a jelly hammer. To be honest, I noticed that it actually began to fade the first time I dragged a piece of wood over it, which I wasn't too impressed about but thought nothing of it as it was only a cheap work bench to start with.
This measuring aid isn't the be all and end all, and if it was just this as the negative I wouldn't really care.
So what about the price then...
This workbench can be bought in most DIY stores for around the £15.00 region, which sounds like a good price indeed and would be a cert on first inspection. That is until you start to use it and realise that you may have actually bought something that could be more of a danger than a delight.
Would I recommend this work bench..?
To be honest, I'd have to say NO, mainly due to the fact that, as any DIYer knows, you do have to sometimes press your body weight onto a work bench in order to steady the material you're working on, and this workbench just doesn't feel as if it's up to the job of holding that much pressure for too long, which is not a good feeling when you're doing a bit of cutting and shaping.
Even for the low price of around £15.00 I'd still have to say no because if this collapses in the middle of your 'circular saw' cutting it may be more than the wood your cutting, and watching as your hand drops off the end of your arm can't be a good sign. So for me it is probably worth adding the £15.00, that this one cost, towards a better quality workbench, such as the Black and Decker WM301 or the more costlier one the WM626 with footstand. (and yes, I have had the privilege of owning and using both so do expect a review on them soon).
© Blissman70 2012