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Author Topic: How does this sound for a reloading bench?  (Read 13101 times)

Outbreak

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How does this sound for a reloading bench?
« on: September 01, 2009, 01:00:30 am »
So I finally got my own house, with a garage, so its time for a reloading bench. I consulted some friends who aren't reloaders, but are skilled woodworkers and engineers, and a workbench design from a book I bought at Lowes (I can work with wood, but design is a weak spot for me) and came up with this.

I'm going to take three sheets of plywood, laminate them together with wood glue, pressed together under a couple hundred pounds of water barrels or sandbags for a week or so, throw a 2x4 skirt frame around it to make mounting the legs easier, and probably frame out a "pocket" for the Lee Turret press I have. I figure 3/4" of laminated plywood oughta be a stable enough platform to bolt it down to, but I don't want to try to drill through the thin side of a 2X4 to put 4"+bolts through on the front edge of the bench. I'm just not confident enough in my own ability to drill a straight hole that deep. I'm much more comfortable with a 3/4" hole with some 1.5" bolts.

The bench is going to be my "gun bench," so I'm making it big, probably mounting all of my reloading gear on it, along with a gun vise, with shelving underneath for all the extra kit. It won't be used for regular projects. For that, I'm going to have almost an identical bench on the other side of the garage.

Input? Thoughts?
TexasOutbreak

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    ksuguy

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #1 on: September 01, 2009, 01:27:30 am »
    What I did for mine was go and buy an old steel office desk.  The Boeing surplus store here in town sells them really cheap.   I think I paid $5 for the first one I bought a few years ago for my computer desk.   When I was buying another for the reloading bench, I think the price had gone up to $15.   Still a lot cheaper than what I'd pay for a pre built work bench.

    All I did was put the reloading press on top of the desk,  marked the holes,  then drilled and mounted it.     The hardest part of the whole project was unloading the thing from my truck.   
    Kansas

    Outbreak

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 01:51:56 am »
    hmm...I do have a big old desk I got for $25. Like a big college computer desk, but I don't know if it's got enough structure to it. It might work if I put a metal backing plate under the press to take some of the stress. I could also take the cheap desktop off and put a serious wood top on it.
    TexasOutbreak

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    FMJ

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 02:18:44 am »
    Pics? Maybe we could help you to make a better assessment?
    CaliforniaThere are many like it, but this one is mine.

    ksuguy

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 03:00:55 am »
    hmm...I do have a big old desk I got for $25. Like a big college computer desk, but I don't know if it's got enough structure to it. It might work if I put a metal backing plate under the press to take some of the stress. I could also take the cheap desktop off and put a serious wood top on it.

    Depends on the desk.  I think the ones I got are 1960's-1970's vintage steel office desks with a laminated top that is about an inch thick.   You might be able to find something similar at a place that sells surplus office furniture.   You can always slap an square piece of wood underneath the press for extra reinforcement if you want too. 

    I'll try and snap a picture of mine tomorrow. 
    Kansas

    Thernlund

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 04:21:42 am »
    I dunno.  Metal.  Static electricity.  :hmm 


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    xsquidgator

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 07:19:07 am »
    I think your wooden homemade bench description will be fine.  I'm sure you will but just make it really really heavy/solid so that pulling on the press won't bend or flex things too much.  You can make a pocket for the press if you want, but I think you could get away with a simpler design also- make just a rectangular, solid bench, and attach maybe a 4x4 to the top surface and mount your press on the 4x4.  What I have isn't quite that solid but it's not bad, and it's done probably 15,000 rounds of reloads for me over the last 2 years.  I have some 1x6's that I bolted together (long story, it was easier to do that than start with a 4x4), bolted the press to those, and then c-clamped the boards to my benchtop with about 3 clamps.  The advantage of c-clamping is that it only takes a few seconds to dismount the press if there's a reason too, and it's still quite solid.  This lets the press mounted on it's boards extend out over the front edge of the bench which is ergonomically easier for me.  Just a thought...

    My bench for the first year was just a Black and Decker workmate that I c-clamped two 3/4" plywood sheets to, with another board bolted to those which the workmate clamps hold onto.  I used a couple of 1/2" I think bolts on the corners to hold the plywood together.  Put a board across the bottom legs of the workmate, and then put a bunch of weight (lead, 5 gal pail of paint, whatever I could find) on that to make it more solid.   Even that was solid enough to hold the lee classic turret press on and do a bunch of reloading.  After I upgraded my reloading bench, I kept the workmate bench next to it and that's my casting bench now.  Being so simple, I can just take the plywood off of the workmate if I need to hold something like the workmate was actually intended to do.  Again just a thought, but that workmate was cheap, easy, and flexible.
    « Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 09:28:28 am by xsquidgator »

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #7 on: September 01, 2009, 08:32:28 am »
    It'll work fine.  Even better if you attach it to a wall.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    bmitchell

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 10:10:22 am »
    I like a taller bench.  I'd like the option of standing and having things at a comfortable level.
    Dad's workbench always annoyed me because it was so short.

    Ben

    only1asterisk

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #9 on: September 01, 2009, 11:08:29 am »
    It'll work fine.  Even better if you attach it to a wall.

    And/or load it with some weight.  You'd be surprised how much force goes into some operations.  Not too long after I started handloading I was making tables with loading with 100's of pounds of lead and tools jump up off the floor.

    Outbreak

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #10 on: September 01, 2009, 12:04:14 pm »
    Oh, yeah, my design is heavy alright. And it's gonna be a bit taller. I intend to stand for most things, and keep a stool there for reloading.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    only1asterisk

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #11 on: September 01, 2009, 12:28:37 pm »
    .

    bmitchell

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #12 on: September 01, 2009, 04:09:28 pm »
    Sounds good.

    Ben

    MarshallDodge

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #13 on: September 01, 2009, 11:09:28 pm »
    It sounds like a good idea but the three layers are overkill in my opinion, two should be fine.  The biggest thing you want to spend your money and efforts on is the base.

    Here is mine from when I built it in 2006:


    It has 4x4 legs, with 1x4's across the sides and back.  I laid a solid core door on top and a 3/4" piece of that waferboard stuff screwed to the top of that.  The press straddles that 2x6 underneath perfectly.  The two front screws of the press go through the waferboard and the two rear screws go through both the waferboard and the door.  With it being on carpet I had a little rocking at first until I filled the cabinet with reloading supplies and now it is rock solid.  A shelf across the midpoint of the 4x4 legs with some weight on them would help as well.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." -Thomas Jefferson

    kunkmiester

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #14 on: September 01, 2009, 11:52:36 pm »
    Here's what my general purpose bench is:  5/8" plywood with 1/4" masonite on top.  Don't glue the masonite, or whatever else you use, that way you can take it off when it gets too scarred up.  Below the front edge is a piece of 1x4 glued flat, and the 2x4 frame goes behind that.  A shelf up above is made similarly, but narrow enough to give you some overhead space.  I drilled through the 1x4 area in front to mount my Lee, though it's small enough, the setup might not work with a larger press.

    A decent piece of plywood screwed to a good 2x4 framework will support a huge load.
    WashingtonEvil is Evil, no matter how small

    Outbreak

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #15 on: September 02, 2009, 01:59:50 am »
    Great stuff, guys! Thanks for all the feedback!

    MarshallDodge, I hadn't thought about the press straddling the frame. I really like that idea. And you're right, three layers is probably a bit much. I got that from a workbench design, but two will probably be more than enough, especially since I'm going to laminate it, whereas the workbench layers were supposed to be nailed together.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    cpaspr

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #16 on: September 02, 2009, 12:59:52 pm »
    I'm a little confused.

    You said you were going to laminate three sheets of plywood together, but you also said "I figure 3/4" of laminated plywood".  That sounds like you will laminate three sheets of 1/4" plywood.  Am I reading that right?

    My bench is two pieces of 3/4" plywood glued and screwed together where the presses mount and the doubled portion extends about six inches to each side and maybe twelve inches behind the presses.  Single ply otherwise.  No flexing discernable, but if a rifle case starts to jam reversing the process tends to want to lift the entire bench off the floor.
    Oregon

    Outbreak

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #17 on: September 02, 2009, 01:45:36 pm »
    Sorry. I plan on using 1/2" plywood. My public math degrades late at night after a post-flight beer or two. Total now of 1" of laminated plywood, not 1.5".
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    cpaspr

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #18 on: October 28, 2009, 11:28:41 pm »
    A couple of weekends ago I took my benchtop off and took a jigsaw to it.  But first I cut two more sheets of 3/4" plywood the same size.  Cut a 9"D x 14"W rectangle out of the front, where the presses mount.  Cut matching 5"D x 9"W corresponding pieces out of the other two pieces of plywood.  Glued and screwed them all together.  Made a duplicate 9" X 14" double thick.  Mounted the new (to me) Dillon 550 to it.  Drilled matching holes in both "inserts" to go all the way through the bottom sheets, and installed T-nuts in the bottom panel.

    Now, I can undo two bolts, swap inserts, and go from a pair of single-stage RCBS Jrs. to the Dillon, or back.  Same 17" x 25" bench.
    Oregon

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #19 on: October 29, 2009, 12:46:02 am »
    Outbreak-  You top sounds fine.  The key here is having the total bech package be very heavy and/or securely anchored to a wall(s) for stability.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    StevenTing

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #20 on: October 31, 2009, 10:01:18 am »
    Here is mine from when I built it in 2006:


    It has 4x4 legs, with 1x4's across the sides and back.  I laid a solid core door on top and a 3/4" piece of that waferboard stuff screwed to the top of that.  The press straddles that 2x6 underneath perfectly.  The two front screws of the press go through the waferboard and the two rear screws go through both the waferboard and the door.  With it being on carpet I had a little rocking at first until I filled the cabinet with reloading supplies and now it is rock solid.  A shelf across the midpoint of the 4x4 legs with some weight on them would help as well.

    I like your bench.  It looks good and appears to be simple.   Did you use the dimensions of the door, or did you cut it down a little bit?  Do you remember what your total cost was to make this bench?  This looks like something I want to try but I don't have any powertools to cut.  I'd have to figure it out at Home Depot and have them make the cuts for me.
    Utah

    MarshallDodge

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #21 on: October 31, 2009, 11:40:35 pm »
    The door was cut down and the current dimensions are 76 x 25".  If I remember correctly I cut it off the edge where the hole for the door knob goes.

    The idea for my bench came from these  plans from the National Reloading Manufacturers Association.  When I first built this bench in the mid 90's I had to send them $10 to get the plans but now they are available online.  :cool
    You could use the dimensions from the plans to have Home Depot cut the wood.

    Mine originally had the lower shelf but I took it off on the second build.  I put Rubbermaid containers underneath it and like it better than an open shelf.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." -Thomas Jefferson

    StevenTing

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #22 on: January 16, 2012, 11:36:52 am »
    The idea for my bench came from these  plans from the National Reloading Manufacturers Association.  When I first built this bench in the mid 90's I had to send them $10 to get the plans but now they are available online.  :cool
    You could use the dimensions from the plans to have Home Depot cut the wood.

    Mine originally had the lower shelf but I took it off on the second build.  I put Rubbermaid containers underneath it and like it better than an open shelf.

    I know, I'm bringing up a thread that is 2+ years old.

    I finally built the bench in the plans you linked too, less the cabinet.  Pretty awesome, pretty sturdy.  I had to make some modifications as the plans make a 6 foot bench and I only had 5 feet of space.  Now that it's all done, I wish I made one more modification.  Without the cabinet, I've got 34 inches of depth to play with.  I wish I would have shrunk it to 30 inches or even 28 inches so I could reach the back wall.

    One thing, it's a very tall work bench.  Perfect for standing or sitting with a high stool.  I made the legs 2 inches shorter and threw on some 3 inch casters to make it easy to move.  Table top sits at 45 inches.  I should have made the legs another 5 inches shorter.

    Either way, excited that I have a bench now.
    Utah

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #23 on: January 16, 2012, 09:41:45 pm »
    Steve, you can substitute whatever you want back there instead of the cabinets. Plastic storage bins for example, are cheap, and will do the same job.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    StevenTing

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    Re: How does this sound for a reloading bench?
    « Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 10:36:25 pm »
    Steve, you can substitute whatever you want back there instead of the cabinets. Plastic storage bins for example, are cheap, and will do the same job.

    Yup, that's what I'm doing.  Wife picked me up some plastic bins.  I also added a 4 foot powerstrip on the underside of it to plug in all of the gadgets.

    I got the press installed with all of the dies.  Last thing I need to do is get new batteries for my scale and fine tune the powder bar.  Can't wait to start cranking out rounds.
    Utah

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