Author Topic: reloading bench  (Read 4064 times)

Offline spooky-1

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reloading bench
« on: July 25, 2011, 05:45:59 AM »
Hey guys/gals,

I'm an avid wooodworker and want to get into reloading as soon as I move (this fall), I want to build my own bench to fit what I hope will be my "gun room". My question is what is needed for a good reloading bench? Is it just a good solid top with drawers? Or do I need leg space like a desk in order to sit and reload? Should it be anchored to the floor? I'm looking for input from you guys that do reloading at home.

Offline hillclimber

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Re: reloading bench
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2011, 12:59:27 PM »
Well, I've had a few different benches over the years. Some small, some large. You want it solid. I've never hooked one to the floor, or wall, but some folks do. The height is important to me. I had one bench that was about the height of a desk, and it really bothered my back and neck. The bench I use now is made from an old set of kitchen cabinets and it works really well for me. I can either stand, or use a stool.
I had another bench that I built from 4"x4" hemlock with a piece of UHMW nylon for a table top. It worked well too, but had no storage space.
When I was trying to figure out what I wanted for a bench, I took a 12"x1/2" piece of aluminum plate and mounted my press to it. Then I was able to clamp it to most any table with a c clamp. That's how I figured out what I wanted for a bench.

OldManSchmidt

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Re: reloading bench
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2011, 05:21:41 PM »
I bolted mine to the wall.  It has no drawers.  I have cabinets for that purpose.  I put it at a good height for me to use while sitting on a bar stool with leg room underneath so I can get as close as needed to be comfortable.  Bear in mind that when you cycle your press, you are going to be putting significant force and leverage on the press itself.  Build enough counter top to grab and hold 3/8" lag bolts.  I made the mistake of using 2" drywall screws and washers once...only once.  That press hurts like the dickens when it comes loose and nails you in the kneecap.

I expect heavy will work as well as bolted down if you have it heavy enough.  If you will be storing a few thousand rounds of ammo low and to the back of the unit, you will probably be fine.

BTW, I use a bar stool because I find it awkward to reload while sitting. I can't get my body over the lever nearly so well and therefore cannot get my body weight behind the push.  It isn't that it takes tons of pressure to cycle a press; it's just that bringing an extra 60 lbs. or so of body mass to bear makes it so much easier.  Plus, I find that it makes it easier for me to move around to reach for components, stretch my legs, etc.  It takes a lot of effort to haul this much dead weight out of a chair.

Offline hillclimber

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Re: reloading bench
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 01:14:57 PM »
I found that reloading while sitting at desk height didn't work well for me either. 8)

Offline spooky-1

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Re: reloading bench
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 07:03:29 PM »
guys thanks alot for the poop on the bench I have an idea but will wait for a ew more days to see if you guys give me any more nuggets of wisdom.

OldManSchmidt

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Re: reloading bench
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 08:15:47 PM »
Here's a nugget for you.  Make sure your reloading room has enough room.  Mine is 6' x6' and is way too small.  It is all the room I have for that operation, so I make do, but about 3' more each way would be a lot better.  Also, make sure you have plenty of room for shelves, cabinets, whatever.  You have to put components somewhere as well as finished rounds.

A tip, put your bench somewhere that you can stop airflow.  That is, no fans or vents blowing when you are measuring powder.  Some of the better powder scales can be thrown off by a considerable amount by air blowing on them.  I have personally seen the electronic scale I use change by 2-3 grains if I happen to breathe directly on it.

And one more thing, light that bench up like you are an 80 year old blind man.  You cannot, cannot have too much light on a reloading bench.  It helps avoid eye strain and makes it much easier to notice when something isn't right before that something turns your handgun into a hand grenade.

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: reloading bench
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 03:21:03 AM »
Good advice on having enough room....

Here is a picture of my current bench.



I built it tall enough that it is comfortable to work on while standing up.
I also have a bar stool that is high enough for me to sit comfortably while I reload if I choose to.
Notice too that the top of the bench is very light in color. 
I had stained my last bench a dark wallnut.  It turned out to be a poor choice. 
Spilled power and shot disappeared on it.
My new (20+ year old) bench has a top layer of maple veneer plywood sealed with several coats of Urethane.
Wanting to get the most flexability out of my bench, I cut a set of 12"x12" tool mounting plates out of hardwood.
My different tools, are mounted to these plates and can be changed out using the four quarter inch bolts common to each corner.
(I reamed out spaces on the underside of the bench and glass bedded quarter inch wingnuts...) Very sturdy.
I also counter sunk the holes on the top of the bench.
When I need a clear bench without tools to get in the way, I have four counter sink bolts that fit flush with the top of the bench.
This picture only shows one of the desk lamps that I have installed on each outside corner of the cabinet.
Lots of light adjustable to where I need it.
Also out of sight on the right side of my bench, I have a power bar with six outlets installed just below the top edge of the bench.
Very handy location if I need to use power tools.
On the far left of the picture you can just see a corner of the fold down shelf/door that I mounted my scale onto.
Having the scale at near eye level makes it easier to use.
When I'm done, I move the scale into the cabinet and close the fold down door.
This keeps dust and other crud off the scale when not in use.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Steve