Author Topic: Construction of Reloading Bench  (Read 551 times)

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Offline Duke Nukem

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Construction of Reloading Bench
« on: December 04, 2019, 01:15:40 PM »
I'm getting into reloading, specifically 9mm for a P10-C, and need to create my work and storage area.  My only option of location is in my shop, an open space where I also do woodwork (read: make dust).  I'm thinking of ways to create a dust-free bubble around the bench, I'd like to avoid building walls if possible.  I'm picturing hinged panels or plastic curtain  . .

My bench top build has begun.  I'm working with construction grade materials and have a top that is 60" x 21" x 1-1/2 to 3".  I have a Lee Classic turret press to mount, and want to make a solid foundation.  I'm wondering if pine 2x material will hold up as a work surface, or do I need to apply a layer of something sturdier.  If I can go with what I've got, I'll stain and polyurethane it, both for looks and for easier clean ups.





Once the question of the top surface is settled, I'll radius the front edge.  My plan is to bolt things to a 2x6 wall, with 2x4's at an angle instead of legs to the floor.  Over the bench will be a shelf and a cabinet for storage, with lighting under the cabinet. Sound like a reasonable plan, or am I going astray somewhere?

Offline tdogg

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 03:32:05 PM »
Might want to reconsider the top stabilization.  You will want a solid support near or directly under the press to minimize bench flex during reloading.  The cantilever design you are working on may not prove stable enough.

My bench uses the same type of top but I don't bother finishing it at all.  I use it too much in my garage to worry about it.  I don't intentionally drill holes in it but if I do, no big deal.  If I wack it with a hammer or whatever, no big deal.  I've been known to just screw stuff to the bench if I need it held down proper, again no big deal.  When I finally want to replace it I can just unscrew the top and for ~$30 screw down three new 2"x12"x12' planks and viola a new bench.  I also have just flipped the boards over and reused them for additional life too.

Cheers,
Toby


Offline Wobbly

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 05:47:41 PM »
What he said, plus...

What you got is fine, but I would brace the underside with 1x4 or 2x4 stood on edge. That braces the top, and gives you something to attach the front legs to. (Attach it to the wall and you triple the rigidity and won't need rear legs.) A free-standing bench sounds nice but getting the wobble out will be hard. So the underside is equally important as the top.



To know where you want the legs, first you need to decide where the press is going to be. If you decide middle, then you might want 3 legs so you can have a leg in the middle. If you decide near the right end, then you can use 2 legs, just bring them both toward the center 20" or so. Heavy legs keep the bench from raising up on the up stroke. (I used 4x6 garden timbers on my bench.)

I'd check Inline Fabrication to see if they have a press mount for your press. Getting the press off the front lip of the bench does wonders for stability. You'll see a lot of Dillon presses raised up on these supports and they are magic.  https://inlinefabrication.com/collections/ultramounts



You need to know the height of your op lever to know how long to make the legs. Also whether you intend to sit or stand. The op lever ball should be right at the height of your shoulder.

As for dust, I just pull a large plastic bag over my equipment. And clear shower curtains are $1 each at Dollar General. 2 or 3 of those would "wall off" a work area fairly good without making you feel confined or claustrophobic.

You got a great start. Keep talking.   ;D
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 05:55:22 PM by Wobbly »
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Offline Duke Nukem

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 07:53:56 PM »
Thanks for the tips, tdogg & Wobbly!  Question- I was looking at the inline fabrication site and see there are three heights of press risers.  Given that I haven't installed my bench yet, and I don't plan to have doors or drawers beneath, do I need a riser?  If so, what height riser should I get? 

It looks like one advantage of a riser is that it gets the mounting points a little farther from the edge of the bench.  I see some installations with a flat metal plate, don't know if that would be as good.  I guess I didn't plan ahead, but I didn't know what I didn't know!

Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2019, 07:55:13 PM »
With a table made of boards running side by side like the pic in the OPs post I'd be afraid the torque of resizing cases would but them apart at the joints.  running braces perpendicular to the long/top boards and screwing/bolting the top boards to the braces underneath would help.

If you mount the press to the edge of the outside board it's kind of tough to have a brace running the length/front of the board.  I ran into that on the one I made for my garage.  Two 3/4" pieces of plywood for the top with 2X4's around the outside bottoms of the plywood.  Two by four legs screwed to the corners and a second shelf (made the same way on top.  With that that 2X4 turned up on it's edge attached to the front/bottom of the shelf there wasn't much of a way for me to grab a drill and bit and drill down through the 2 layers of plywood and the 2X4 and keep those two front bolts straight.  I ended up using some big C clamps.

Now I have it (the press bolted to a big old cafeteria table from a DuPont plant built back in the 1930's.  The dummies were throwing it away and I got a materials pass to save it and bring it home.

2 thick pieces of plywood on top, formica looking stuff glued on top of that, a metal trim/edge all the way around and a very heavy cast iron set of legs with a cast iron brace running from end to end in the middle o the table.  And, I mounted the press near one set of legs to make all that resizing happen in a stronger area of the table/top.

And, you say you're going to load for pistols?  How long will that last before you're resizing rifle cases?  That will put some more stress on your reloading bench.
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Offline Wobbly

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2019, 08:57:07 PM »
It looks like one advantage of a riser is that it gets the mounting points a little farther from the edge of the bench.

That's exactly it. It spreads the bending load over a greater part of the top surface AND locates the load more toward the center of the bench top, rather than allowing it to be concentrated at the edge. It's not that you can't start without it, it's simply that it makes such a huge difference, not just a small incremental step. And being a craftsman, you probably don't want a lot of holes in your good looking bench top.


I see some installations with a flat metal plate, don't know if that would be as good.

Flat plates spread the load over a bigger area, but can't stop the front edge loading.


I guess I didn't plan ahead, but I didn't know what I didn't know!

That's why we're here. So you can ask.  ;D
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Offline Earl Keese

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 09:02:35 PM »
Mine is built like Wobbly's suggestion. An extra front center leg near my presses and screwed to wall studs on the back(no rear legs). I use stained and urethaned solid core door blanks for bench tops. Super sturdy, cheap, and easy to replace. After trying an Inline mount, I would never go back. It makes more difference than you'd think, it's a game changer.

Offline Duke Nukem

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2019, 10:11:55 PM »
Thanks, everyone!  I have my Ultramount ordered, I think I'd better wait until it gets here to set the bench height.  In the meantime, I can get started on the cabinet for over the bench.  I'll post more pictures when I'm farther along.

This will be 3" thick for most of the top, and has three pieces of 2x4 running front to back sandwiched in the middle.  2x6's on the top and offset seams for the lower layer, all glued and screwed together.  I'm going to try my cantilever/angle support idea first, I can always add vertical legs if it isn't absolutely solid.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2019, 09:21:15 AM »
My bench top is 3/4" A/C plywood with sanding sealer finish. I backed that up with 2 layers of 3/4" particle board, and the underside is braced that with 1x6 along the edge, and 1x4 under the central portion. It's all glued and screwed.

I've learned that a basic wood surface is the best. I had a hand-me-down bench with steel frame and a Formica top. It was really stiff, but every time a loose primer hit that Formica it went skittering off to Never-Never Land. Six years later I'm still finding those primers.

Overhead cabinets are great. Just remember to place them high (or keep them shallow) enough to miss the tops of the press. I had my 550 on the left end, but when I got my much taller 650 things had to move to use the cabinets. If you only want to do it once, I'd offset the cabinets.

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Offline romukom

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2019, 06:23:43 PM »
I hope that Wobbly does not mind that I borrowed his picture  and modify it.  Another way to to stiff the blench is to install a side panel along the line where the press is going to be.  The leg beneath the press for sure stiffens the bench.  Also attaching the bench in the wall studs it will make it even better as mentioned earlier.  Just imagine; you are basically trying to flip the bench when pushing the press lever down.



Here is what I did.  if you look closely the front legs are inline with the front legs instead of behind as we typically see.


"My garage is very small that forces me to have my stuff in casters or hung in the walls.

My woodworker bench is from Festool MFT bench (43" x 28"). I made the roller cart to house the MFT bench, vacuum and other tools. The MFT table has holes on it so that you add stoppers, clamps, etc like a welding table.

Because the MFT bench has a attachments slide rails, it occurred to me to build a pedestal for my Loadmaster an attached into my MFT bench instead of building a dedicated bench.

The Loadmaster pedestal is made out of 2x4's and 1/2" AL plate that was leftover from a project. I made the front legs to be further out from the press to minimize flexing. At the bottom, some adjustable screw legs from Lowes. When I reload, I put a sheet of craft paper on top so that I don't loose stuff in between the MFT and the cart.
When reloading, I sit in front of the bullet seating station (7-8 o'clock as viewed in the picture) that way I have a clear view of the powder level before placing the bullet.


My MFT workbench


Loadmaster pedestal attached to workbench


Loadmaster recessed in "


By the way here is my youngest one helping loading some clean 9mm cases into the case feeder


Offline Duke Nukem

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2019, 07:58:29 PM »
Here is what I did.  if you look closely the front legs are inline with the front legs instead of behind as we typically see.

I'm not sure what you mean "front legs inline with the front legs", but I get the part about putting bracing at the point of most effort.

  I have the top ready to mount now, and I'm trying to figure out the right height.  After looking at what other people have done, I decided I need to work it out based on the height of the stool I didn't own yet, so I picked one up today (28").  From a seated position (standing is about the same), measuring to where my shoulders are to correspond to the handle of the press, going down 19" to bottom of press, and down another 9" for the Ultramount riser, that bench is going to be about 21" off the floor . . . I'm going to have to build another bench above this one so I can reach stuff!  Maybe I made a math error, as I don't think I've seen anybody else's bench that low.

  I'll look at it again tomorrow, it might all become magically clear!   ???

Offline painter

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2019, 08:35:29 PM »
I just attach the loaders to framing and don't consider the top as part of the equation.

2x4's vertically are plenty rigid. ;)
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Offline romukom

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2019, 11:53:10 PM »
Ooops!  Sorry, I guess that my mind was thinking fast got shorted while typing.  What I meant is that normally a reloading press is mounted at the edge of the table where the press' ram is closer to you than legs of the table.  In this case the table is susceptible to "flip" while pushing down the lever.  Now if you somehow have the table's legs closer to you than the press; it is the table will resist the tendency of "flipping".  Think of a boom crane truck. The outriggers are deployed before operation of the crane.

Here is an example of what I mean.  This little aftermarket bracket was used to stabilize the press.  Basically you are transferring the force to the floor.  If you remove the stabilizing leg, it is more likely that the wire cart bench will tumble.


Offline Duke Nukem

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2019, 06:51:28 AM »
Thanks romukom and painter! 

I was right, things became more clear overnight- I woke up knowing the problem; one of the dimensions I was using was wrong (press base to lever knob is only 10").  The correct math has the bench height at 30", I can live with that.  Now on to building a base and bolting things together.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Construction of Reloading Bench
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2019, 08:22:29 AM »
Thanks, everyone!  I have my Ultramount ordered...


Don't forget the height of the Ultramount in your calculations !!
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