Centipede Support XL Portable Work System Review
Centipede Portable Work Systems are pro level portable work bench systems that really are easily portable and support enough weight to be considered a work bench. With performance that pros will love on the jobsite and prices that DIYers can easily reach, look for Centipede to show up in a lot of places.
Centipede Tools, LLC has come up with a a pair of innovative products that I’m really excited about. The Centipede Portable Work System is available in 2′ x 4′ Sawhorse and 4′ x 8′ Support XL models. Essentially, these work on the same principle as those folding camp chairs that are so popular—but with more points of contact. Add a piece of sheet material to the top, and you’ve got a portable work bench that’s actually got the size and strength to make a significant support.
Both members of the Centipede Portable Work System share the same design characteristics. The frame is made from steel and combines with the structural design to account for the high load capacities. Because it is designed to have more contact points than a simple 4-leg system, it also allows you to put those heavy benchtop tools anywhere on the surface—the weight just gets dispersed.
Polymer P-Tops are located on top of each support. These prevent damage to the work pieces from scratches or marking. They also elevate the top to avoid blades from circular saws or other tools from striking the crucial horizontal supports. Quick Clamps slide into the P-Tops to hold the material in place. The P-Tops will rotate in order to accommodate clamping from your chosen point. The last accessory that’s included with the Centipede Portable Work System are X-Cups. These provide drop-in 2 x 4 support to create an instant sawhorse anywhere on the unit.
Let’s break these products down in more detail.
Centipede Sawhorse Portable Work System
As you can imagine, the Centipede Sawhorse Portable Work System is designed to be a sawhorse solution. Unfolded, it covers a 2′ x 4′ area. Using the same size sheet material, you can create a small work surface. It can hold up to 1500 pounds. This makes a great platform for a compact miter saw or other small benchtop tools. The 2 included Quick Clamps will help hold your top in place. Using the 4 included X-Cups, you can lay a pair of 2 x 4’s across the Centipede Sawhorse to take advantage of the sawhorse feature.
- Includes Centipede Sawhorse, 2 Quick Clamps, 4 X-Cups, and storage bag
- Price: $49.00
Centipede Support XL Portable Work System
The Centipede Support XL Portable Work System unfolds to create a 4′ x 8′ base. A standard size sheet of OSB or plywood creates a work bench capable of holding 3000 pounds. Four included Quick Clamps help keep the top in place. One or two of these on the jobsite can easily create a platform that gives you the kind of space that you normally don’t get to enjoy. Miter saws, table saws, tool boxes, and just about anything else you care to bring to the job can be supported and used on the Support XL.
- Includes Centipede Support XL, 4 Quick Clamps, 4 X-Cups, and storage bag
- Price: $99.00
Using the Centipede Portable Work System
When I first unfolded the sawhorse frame, I was a little concerned about how much movement there was. I set the Centipede Sawhorse up on the cement floor of our shop and placed a pair of X-Cups at each end. I had one perfect piece of scrap 2 x 4, but was out of easy options on the other end. I turned on our trusty Bosch GTS1031 table saw and cut a scrap 2 x 6 into a 2 x 4 for to complete the system. I tentatively put a couple of eight foot 2 x 4’s on top that needed to be cut down to size. When I placed my hand on the board I was about to cut, I was surprised to find just how stable it was.
I had a similar experience with the Centipede Support XL. Set up in the shop, I loaded it with an OSB top to support our table saw and Hitachi 8-1/2″ Miter Saw that was featured in our Compact Miter Saw Shootout. Following my experience with the Centipede Sawhorse, I went at it more confidently. Supporting and using both benchtop tools was just as easy as having them sit on our traditional shop workbenches.
Knowing that both Centipede Portable Work Systems worked as advertised on a smooth concrete surface, I took them on a field trip. Not all jobsites have the luxury of smooth surfaces, so I went out to discover how they would do in less than ideal conditions. Since it’s not only annoying, but dangerous to use miter saws and table saws on uneven ground, the challenge was to see if I could work the system around to make a safe, stable platform. As you’d expect, that is an easier task for the smaller Centipede Sawhorse. It didn’t take much effort at all to find a good working position for it. I had to look a little harder on the Centipede Support XL. Still, in less than 10 minutes, I had a good set up for both.
Particularly with the Centipede Support XL, having so many points of contact with the ground was significant for keeping the system from sinking lopsided into Florida’s infamous sugar sand. That design feature helps keeps it stable among the slight elevation imperfections in the ground. It’s also helpful in supporting the weight of benchtop tools. Had there been just four legs, the OSB top would certainly have drooped (or else failed entirely) under the weight.
The Quick Clamps aren’t much to write home about. They’re just simple rubber covered plastic pieces that slip into the holes of the P-Tops without actually clamping down. My first thought was that I’d prefer my JackClamps holding the top in place. However, my sheet of OSB never moved during cutting. That leads me to believe that the Quick Clamps are adequate for the job.
Because the P-Tops can swivel, I found that the X-Cups liked to move around on me a bit. With no load on them I knocked my 2 x 4’s off a couple of times. It didn’t happen while supporting any materials, though it was a little annoying.
The unknown here is build quality over the long haul. The majority of the construction is painted steel. That will offer corrosion protection. I’m curious how well the hardware will hold up to jobsite conditions, particularly wet and muddy ones. I bring this up because the Centipede Portable Work System has what it takes to be there. I’m done using sawhorses to serve as legs to a plywood table top on my projects. The Centipede Support XL gives me more space and stability than I’ve had previously. On top of that, it’s a truly portable system that folds up neatly for transport to or from the site.
The Centipede Sawhorse is a solid option under load. I’ll be taking it with me as well, but I’ll probably hold off on setting up 2 x 4’s in the X-Cups until I’m ready to put something on it. This is just to avoid the annoyance of accidentally knocking over my supports before I’m ready to use the system. It would be nice to see a way to lock those 2 x 4’s in place.
The Centipede Portable Work Systems get my nod as pro level. However, they’re priced at a point that is friendly to DIYers and homeowners as well. For anyone that’s pressed for space, both systems can easily be stored in your garage or shop. 10 minutes after pulling the car out of the garage, you’ll have a solid work space set up and ready to go.