Black & Decker Workmate – vintage models – replacement parts


Parts for old Black & Decker Workmate.

We will soon have reproduced handles available! More information to come.

This post is dealing with the Zamac handles that were fitted on many types of early Workmates. These are the handles that have an axle shaft running through the handle knob which is fixed by a capped fixing washer. This type of handle is better than any of the later handles with the “snap in” plastic handle knob and no central axle shaft. The only problem is that the design could have been better – the critical area at the base of the axle shaft does not have enough metal so impact forces will break it.

Below are some pictures of my WM625-E03.

Because of the shape and material, a replacement handle is difficult to fit. There is not a lot of excess material to work with. Any additional material removed will weaken the handle.

A easy solutions would be to fit replacement handle + knob from later models. Probably the P/Ns 723541 (Handle) and 820728 (Knob) will fit without modification. Definitely a cheap fix which many people will find absolutely fine. But if you want to keep the original handles with the through axle shaft and (certain models) the B&D logos, another solution is needed.

The principle here is to keep the original handles and fit them with new axle shafts and knobs. The knob is an exact reproduction of the original. The axle shaft is made from a high grade steel. The only sacrifice made is to fit the knob with an ISO 7380 screw + washer – these look quite similar to the capped fixing washer but can be disassembled for maintenance/ replacement of the handle knob, if the need arises.

We have several solutions to getting your vintage Workmate back in shape and last for many years.

It’s no secret that the old Black & Decker Workmates that were manufactured in Ireland/ Canada in the eighties are far superior to anything that came afterwards. These are typically blue color. It really pays to look after your vintage Workmate, it will last a lifetime. Especially with our replacement parts and instructions.

More information to come!

Inquire for parts, instructions and tips.

Workmate WM-625

Vintage Zamac handles


Workmate type study – KirkHMB


PIV/ Werner Reimers gearbox overhaul

An old PIV/ Werner Reimers gearbox was presented to us for inspection. It is a right angle gearbox with a 1:1 ratio and a 1 input/ 2 output shaft configuration. In the application, the gearbox input shaft is vertical and the two outputs are horizontal. The output shafts counter-rotate. They drive two screw conveyors which move and compact wood chips. The gearbox is part of the hopper of a biomass combustion installation by Kara Energy Systems (link). This is a pretty old installation, delivered in 1980.

Gearbox main data:

  • Type nr.:  L51 B88-M-1-0
  • Serial nr.:    446 172 G2
  • i=      1
  • P=    4,37 kW
  • n2 =    50 rpm
  • M2 =    834 Nm
  • Lubrication: Oil, Mobilgear 629 (replaced by: Mobilgear 600 XP 150)
  • Filling quantity:     4 liters
  • Oil service interval:  2500 operating hours
  • Gear type: Klingelnberg (Cyclo-Palloid)


The gearbox was taken out of the installation because it had completely jammed and did not move anymore. In the time leading up to the failure, noises were heard from the gearbox.

The gearbox had been rebuilt in 2007.

The general approach was to do a disassembly and inspection, report the results and decide on whether to rebuild or replace.

First step was to remove the side cover:

What we saw was a big mess. Much dirt and not a drop of oil. Obviously wood dust had worked its way into the gearbox and likewise, the oil had found its way out! The input shaft could only be rotated a very small amount before it jammed. Metal chips (likely from a bearing cage) were present. We knew right away that this was not going to be an easy fix.

From experience we know that a rebuild was going to be costly. Because of the age of the gearbox, a direct replacement was out of the question. PIV/ Werner Reimers is now Brevini (link), and this type of gearbox has gone out of production a long time ago.

Gema LZ 160 lathe/ Drehbank

Gema machines were built in Germany until somewhere in the 70’s or early 80’s. The company then went out of business. Up until approx. 2006 parts were still available, but this was also discontinued. At that point also the entire archive, drawings, all original factory information was thrown out. I would have loved to get that archive, but it’s gone forever, unfortunately.


  • P160
  • LZ 140
  • LZ 160
  • LZ 170
  • LZ 200

I will concentrate on the LZ 160 model.

It is a medium sized model weighing about 800 kgs. The machine was available in three “between centers” lenghts, 750, 1000 and 1500 mm.

We have 4 of these machines. One is in fine working order, the other 3 are not very good. Problems include: worn beds, worn mechanisms, broken teeth on gears in feed gearbox, broken backgear shifter components. One other machine may be put back to working order, but for the other 2, it looks to be not feasible.

The Gema machines were no “A” quality machines like Weiler, Schaublin etc. Although they work absolutely fine, they lack the refinement of a top quality lathe. Having said that, the ergonomics are very good. The quality of the castings is not the best (porosities). The machines tend to be leaking oil, often from inadequate design to keep the oil in.

Gema LZ160_009

Our best machine (picture) has collets and a lever-operated collet closer. I have not yet seen this on other machines.

Also, on older machines the feed gearbox was Norton type, while later machines were fitted with lever-operated gearbox.

Van Norman No. 6 milling machine

Here is our nice Van Norman milling machine.

This machine was owned by 1 private owner for more than 40 years and saw little use.

This machine is for sale.

  • X, Y and Z all hand operated (no power feeds)
  • Swiveling head, for horizontal and vertical milling
  • Very heavy sturdy machine for it’s size

In good working order. A fun little machine for hobbyist or professional with occasional use (toolmaking, construction etc.).

Several options.


More / better pictures to follow!

Lorch AV1K / A6K / AVIK lathe/ Drehbank

Here is our Lorch lathe.

This is a very nice small lathe. It was owned for 40+ years by 1 private owner and saw little use. It is original and complete. No restoration needed.

  • Full set of collets with conventional collet drawbar
  • Original cast iron one-piece stand (not very often found)
  • Separate banjo + toolrest, supposedly for woodturning.

This machine is for sale.


(more and better pictures to follow)


KTB (Kantonales Technikum Biel) lathe/ Drehbank

Here is a very nice old machine built by a remarkable builder: Kantonales Technikum Biel, which is actually a school. How strange that a school would build metalworking machines, actually at the quality level of, for example, Schaublin.

It looks like a very high quality machine. I doubt whether it was ever restored.

This machine looks in pristine condition. I would have loved to buy it, but unfortunately, it was already sold.

20150523_121615 20150523_121638 20150523_121726

These machines are quite rare, and one in this condition with all the options and stuff is still more rare! About these machines, there is next to nothing on the internet. Also no information on the website.

Heid – Sensitast/ Sensimat/ Neomat lathes

Heid from Austria made very unique and interesting lathes.

The Sensitast/ Sensimat machines had the unique feature of separate ways for the tailstock. This allowed the main bed ways to be completely covered, which reportedly reduced wear to almost zero.

This machine layout required a lot of extra material to be used, and thus, these machines were very heavy.

The machine shown below has a revolver type tailstock.


These machines only come up for sale very rarely. Not surprising, as they were extremely expensive when new, so they were sold in small numbers.

The separate ways had a number of advantages, another one being that steady rests could be placed anywhere along the length of the workpiece without interfering with the movement of the carriage.

The thread cutting leadscrew is placed in the center of the main bedways. It is fully covered from the environment and continously lubricated. Also it does not exert a force couple on the carriage, making thread cutting more accurate and minimizing wear





Also there is a version which seems to be a “budget” type perhaps, it has the same basic layout but does not bear the “Sensitast” tags. The headstock side of the machine is noticably smaller and different from the “Sensitast”.

aparte heid

aparte heid1

aparte heid2

Sensitast machines were often used for copying. The copying equipment is shown below. The feeler is mounted on a feeler arm. The workings of the Heid copying is very well explained here:

heid feeler01.JPG


Also there was the option of relieving. This required an additional gearbox top left of the headstock, a drive shaft, and a special cross slide. Also this option is well explained in this link: Relieving would be used mainly for manufacturing milling cutters, taps, dies etc. for metal- and woodworking machines. This link shows the operation: relieving lathe .








Here is a very fine and seemingly complete example. This machine looks almost like new. Note the shaft between centers above the tailstock carriage. Here the copying template is fitted. Also this machine is fitted with the relieving equipment.




We have full documentation available for both the Sensitast and Sensimat machines. If you need this, please drop us a line.


The Sensimat is actually the full copying version of the Sensitast:



The Neomat is an entirely different beast altogether. The unique feature of this machine type is that the headstock and tailstock have an adjustable center height:



(source: Widmers)

The aim of this feature is to have a very large range in center height. For small diameter pieces, the center height as adjusted to be small, so the machine is very rigid. With large diameter pieces, the center height is increased to the value needed to accomodate the workpiece. The reason for slanting the surface on which the headstock and tailstock are mounted, is to move the workpiece further back as the diameter increases. This will keep the resulting force on the cutting tool always between the bed ways:


Here is a video of a Sensitast machine working in copying mode (with a very strange and dangerously mounted chuck on 3 “studs”… Sensitast copying