Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 171, November 2019Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Tool Review: Bora Centipede Portable Workstand
By Jeff Fleisher

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I recently had an opportunity to use the Bora Centipede Portable Workstand and it is a very unique and interesting support system for large sheets of plywood, MDF or other sheet goods. The Centipede is basically a collapsible, portable workbench that expands up to 4 feet by 8 feet depending on which model you purchase. Right out of the carrying case the Centipede is both light and compact and very easy to carry.

The Centipede opens up like an accordion to create a very rigid structure that can support both a wide load, like a sheet of plywood, and a heavy load, like a portable jointer or planer. You can view all of various models, with their individual specifications, on the Highland Woodworking website but to summarize here, the smallest Centipede expands to 2 feet by 2 feet, weighs 8.5 pounds and can support up to 1500 pounds. They also come in 2 x 4 feet, 4 x 4 feet and 4 x 8 feet fully expanded. The largest one weighs 31 pounds and can support up to 6000 pounds. The Centipede has a 30 inch working height.

Each section is made out of a round vertical steel strut and has flat steel slats going between the vertical struts. They are connected at top and bottom and in the middle so they can expand and contract. The top of each steel strut has a polymer 'P-Tops' mechanism to provide a work surface that won't mar your wood. Each P-Top spins 360° and can hold accessories that hold 2x4's and plastic hold-downs. The 2x4s can be held flat or on edge using the U-shaped bracket. The P-Tops can swivel so the hold-downs can be pivoted into position and pressed down. There are other accessories, such as plastic hooks to hold extension cords for storage or out of the way during use and risers so the top can be converted from 30” tall to 36” tall. The P-Tops are replaceable in case they get damaged.

As a test, I setup the Centipede behind my truck to see how well it held a partial sheet of plywood I had in my shop. This is a typical operation I often do to breakdown large sheets of plywood and MDF. I'm getting a little too old to carry these large sheets into my shop so I will pull them partway out of my truck and cut them down. This works well for cutting parallel to the truck tailgate but is problematic if I have to cut towards the tailgate. The Centipede solves this problem.

I set up the Centipede and using the 2x4 holders I put two 2x4's on the Centipede and placed a half sheet of plywood on top.

For a cross-cut, I moved the 2x4s close together so they would support the wood during the cut and after the board separated into two pieces, while the Centipede was able to support the rest of the board.

I could envision using two or more 8 foot 2x4s to support the wood length-wise for ripping the plywood sheet. Also, if done properly, 2x4s could be set across the Centipede at various distances and with the saw blade set shallow you could rip the long way on the plywood and cut shallow kerfs in the 2x4s and have very strong support under the sheet. Finally, the 2x4s are not absolutely necessary because the sheet can lay directly on the top of the Centipede itself, as seen here.

In my case, I used the 2x4s because I was working with a smaller sheet of plywood but you could collapse the Centipede down so that it fits under the sheet of plywood. However, in my testing I could tell that there is a trade-off between collapsing the Centipede too much and stability. I would recommend expanding it up to maintain stability and use 2x4s to support your wood, if necessary.

As a portable workbench, the Centipede can act as a platform to hold your work in both the shop or the field. It makes a wonderful assembly table and at 30 inches tall, it is the perfect height for both cutting and assembling your project. I recently took down and removed an assembly table from my shop to create some additional space and I can easily see the Centipede replacing that table and then stored away when not in use. The Centipede can also be used to support machine tools such as portable planers and chop saws that are typically stored 'out of sight' and then brought out when needed. There are many times when I've used my chop saw outside, on the ground, which is not very safe and not very comfortable. The Centipede can bring those tools up to normal working heights.

Although the Centipede works quite well to support heavier tools like a planer, I did not get the impression that it would provide enough stability for hand tool work like hand planning or working with a chisel. My feeling is that it is too light to provide that sideways stability.

When done with your work, the Centipede is easily collapsible for storage. As shown, this large 4 x 8 foot model doesn't take up very much room in the bed of my truck. The Centipede comes with a carrying case with handle.

I found the Centipede to be a very unique approach to handling large sheets of plywood or other sheet goods. In my opinion it is a very useful accessory in both the shop and in the field for breaking down large sheet goods into manageable sizes. Given that the large size can hold up to 6000 pounds, there are many uses for that type of support; from holding heavy machine tools to a stack of lumber. I liked that it can be folded down to a very manageable size yet holds both large and heavy loads. If you need a portable workbench to handle this type of material I highly recommend you take a look at the Bora Centipede Portable Workstand.

Click here to find out more and purchase your own Bora Centipede Portable Workstand from Highland Woodworking.

Click here to view our Tool Review Archive.

Jeffrey Fleisher has been a woodworker for approximately 20 years and a professional woodworker for the past 6 years. He is the president of his local woodturning club, the Woodturners of the Virginias and past president of the Northern Virginia Carvers. You can see some of the furniture he has made at www.jeffswooddesigns.com. He can be reached by email at furnmkr@gmail.com

Return to the Wood News Online front page

Click the images below to visit some of our most popular tool departments

Wood Turning 
Highland Woodworking Social Media Take a look at the Highland Woodworking Facebook Page Check out the Highland Woodworking Twitter Page View the Highland Woodworking YouTube Channel Pin from the Highland Woodworking Pinterest Page Connect with the Highland Woodworking Instagram Page Read the Highland Woodworking Blog

Highland Woodworking
1045 N. Highland Ave. NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
Tel. 800-241-6748

Email us at email@highlandwoodworking.com
Visit us on the web at www.highlandwoodworking.com

Copyright © 2019 Highland Hardware, Inc.

Errors regarding pricing and specifications are subject to correction.
SOME SALE QUANTITIES MAY SELL OUT and become unavailable at the advertised price.