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I'm getting stuff together to start to reload. I know that I need a large stable bench to work from and I also will need some space for gunsmithing work so I'm thinking somthing long. any ideas on plans, materials, style of workbench to use. Thanks in advance.
Josh


"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non ["something essential" lit. "without which not"] for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or police."
---Adolph Hitler, Edict of March 18, 1938
 
Posts: 28 | Location: Charlotte, NC | Registered: 10 January 2007Reply With Quote
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Basically, a work bench is a loading bench. Any good work bench design will do, with the following additions and modifications.

First, build it as long as you can. No matter howlong you make it you will eventually wish it were just a little bit larger.

I have made a few for myself, helped make a few others. Can give a few tips. But, don't make the bench top more than about 2 feet wide unless you can get to both sides of it. Anything wider just collects "stuff" at the rear. Eventually the growing pile of stuff makes it hard to find stuff in.

Place the top just below your elbows, maybe 2-3 inches, when standing. That allows comfortable working with good access. Then get a swiveling bar-stool high enough to put your elbows at the same hight when sitting.

Make the top overhang its under structure by 4 or 5 inches for comfortable knee room.

Determine where you want the press and put a verticle support under that point. It need not be a heavy leg, in fact a 1x4 is plenty strong enough because it is only in compression.

Reloading generates the largest concentrations of stuff in your home. Try to make 2 to 3 times more storage space than you think you are going to need. Maybe that will be enough but ... maybe not.

If you include drawers for parts and tools, and that's good idea, don't make the drawers deeper than about 4 inches or stuff will get lost. Store large stuff on shelves, not drawers.

Make as many "bookcase" type shelves as possible over the bench top. Keep your overhead shelves narrow, not wider than 8 in., or stuff will get lost in a back layer.

Make one or two wider shelves under the top for storing bulky items. Put hinged doors across them to keep the stored stuff cleaner. And make the bottom shelf high enuff to allow you to slide boxes under there later for really heavy stuff, 8-10 inches of clearance is pretty good.

Install several electrical outlets or power strips on or near the bench for plugging stuff into.

You'll want lots of light. Put four foot "shop" type dual florescent light fixture across the full length of the bench for good visibility and few shadows. Locate them over the front edge of the bench so the light comes down between your shoulders and the bench top for best visibility.

If you are ever going to do any metalic cartridge loading, you will want at least one shelf 3-4 inches below your eye level and near where you plan to mount your powder measure. That shelf will support a beam-type powder scale (the best type, I think) handy and where it is easiest to read.

If you're right handed, keep 10" of bench top to the right of your press clear and maybe 18-20" to the left, as minimums. You will need that much space to put components and stuff while you work!

And, keep sufficent free space for a rifle cradle for cleaning, scope mounting, etc.

Make the bench top itself with a seamless sheet of material, one layer of 3/4" plywood is ok, doubled is much better.

Paint the top with marine grade polyurethane to reduce soiling from the various liquid things you will use. Other tyype of paints are likely to dissolve under some bore solvents. If you do paint it, a light color oil based enamel is best, so you can easily spot stuff on it.

And paint the interior of your shelf units white to help you see into corners while looking for stuff.

Install a fairly heavy 3 1/2 or 4 inch "machinist" swiveling vise at the left end of the bench. Home Depot has them for not much. You will find plenty of uses for it in gun work. (And add a double-wheeled 6 in. bench grinder if you have room for it, it will be handy if you do much gun work.)

Install a paper towel holder at some convienent point, you will use it. And install a pencil sharpener too.

For constuction, use bulk boxed steel "dry-wall" screws instead of nails to prevent eventual loosening of the joints. Add glue to the stressed joints, especially around the legs and top cross pieces. Cheaper versions of "Liquid Nails" or "Elmer"s" types will work well enough.

If you build your bench along a wall, anchor it to the wall studs for total stability. But, most of us put so much stuff in/on the shelves it will be pretty stable even without much anchoring.

A seperate storage cabinet is good. I like the steel twin-door "office supply" types. Cheap ones can be found at some building salvage dealers. Mine are sort of beat-up but plenty usable. They are mouse proof too, which is worthwhile.

Wall mounted plastic storage box units are great for small stuff. WalMart, Harbor Freight and others have them in sets of 12 to 20 boxes or so per unit.

Did I mention that you will have to store a lot of stuff? Powers, primers, cases, bullets, shot, wads, scales, tools, chronograph and tripod, spotting scope, sand bags and front rest, targets and stapler and pasters, loading manuals, books, magazines, case trimmer, dies, bullet molds and melting pot and sizer, tumblers and media, gun cleaning chemicals and rods and brushes and guides and bore sighters, and a few dozen other things.

Eventually, if you live long enough, you will run out of space.
 
Posts: 1615 | Location: South Western North Carolina | Registered: 16 September 2005Reply With Quote
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it does have an edit function. its down the bottom right corner of your post by the quote box looks like an eraser on the end of a pencil to me.
 
Posts: 735 | Location: New Zealand | Registered: 17 August 2006Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the info. I appreciate the advice.
josh


"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non ["something essential" lit. "without which not"] for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or police."
---Adolph Hitler, Edict of March 18, 1938
 
Posts: 28 | Location: Charlotte, NC | Registered: 10 January 2007Reply With Quote
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Also, for shotshell loading, get a large jelly-roll pan and put it under your press, either centered or offset just a bit to catch shot & powder spills, you will have some. You could even have the edge of the pan hang off the bench about 3/4" to 1", and drill a hole in the corner to sweep powder and shot to, for cleanup.


Mike
 
Posts: 34 | Location: Galveston, Texas, USA | Registered: 23 January 2001Reply With Quote
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I just got back from the Habitat for Humanity store and saw some stuff. Would it work to use a pair of kitchen cabinets and then lay a solid door on top of them and bolt it to the top. I would have space in the middle for a chair and on the end to have a press and more presses later if necessary. Do you think that would work? thanks
josh


"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non ["something essential" lit. "without which not"] for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or police."
---Adolph Hitler, Edict of March 18, 1938
 
Posts: 28 | Location: Charlotte, NC | Registered: 10 January 2007Reply With Quote
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I have seen cabinets work fairly well, depends on how tall you are. As stated above on width, unless you can get to the other side a door is a bit wide.
As to cleaning and loading on the same bench. I know a lot of guys do, I don't anymore. Some of the solvents used are bad for brass, powder and primers. You would be suprised of how solvents kind of spit and splash from a barrel when cleaning, let alone the fumes that can harm primers.
Jeff
 
Posts: 646 | Location: Kansas US of A | Registered: 03 March 2002Reply With Quote
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the NRA and SAAMI sites both have some nice blueprint sets you can download.

Rich
DRSS
 
Posts: 23062 | Location: SW Idaho | Registered: 19 December 2005Reply With Quote
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I have found excellent reloading benches at local goodwill stores and Salvation Army stores. I got a full size Steelcase desk for $15.00 a few years back. It came complete with all the drawers; it was just old. I found a credenza (long/narrow desk) built of oak with all the drawers last fall. This is starter stuff. Jim C. is correct in that you will outgrow anything you build if you stay at this long enough. However, unlike my wife's furniture, my stuff don't have to match or be colour coordinated.
 
Posts: 242 | Location: Newton, MS | Registered: 08 August 2005Reply With Quote
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I had a set of plans I got from the National Reloading Mfr's Assn, but now can't find them on their website. Built the top/cabinet from their plans, and the table was a salvaged flood victim that was a drafting table in a prior life. I put a double thickness top on it of 3/4" MDF (medium density fiberboard). It is just fine. Only thing I'd change would be to have drawers on the table, but then I just haven't built them yet.


An old pilot, not a bold pilot, aka "the pig murdering fool"
 
Posts: 2704 | Registered: 14 October 2004Reply With Quote
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I second the previous poster on the NRMA plans. Built a bench exactly to those specs thirty years ago. STILL solid as a rock. Just built a longer and wider brother to the original for my Spolar loader. Eight feet long and 36" wide.

The beauty of those plans is that the bench CAN be taken down, moved and rebuilt with some screws and carriage bolts and still be solid as a rock.

Go larger and with more shelves than You think You will need. And as previously mentioned; GOOD lightiung is a must.

FN in MT


'I'm tryin' to think, but nothin' happens"!

Curly Howard
Definitive Stooge
 
Posts: 350 | Location: Cascade, Montana | Registered: 26 October 2005Reply With Quote
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My ex used to bitch that we spent too much time apart when I was downstairs reloading. She has been replaced, but I am also rethinking the "time spent apart" issue. Has anybody here ever tried to build an "upstairs" reloading bench?
 
Posts: 42 | Registered: 01 May 2009Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by wretch:
My ex used to bitch that we spent too much time apart when I was downstairs reloading. She has been replaced, but I am also rethinking the "time spent apart" issue. Has anybody here ever tried to build an "upstairs" reloading bench?

Just drill some holes in your kitchen counter and voila! -- upstairs reloading bench with a fridge nearby. beer
 
Posts: 283 | Location: SW Oregon | Registered: 12 June 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by jtinidaho:
quote:
Originally posted by wretch:
My ex used to bitch that we spent too much time apart when I was downstairs reloading. She has been replaced, but I am also rethinking the "time spent apart" issue. Has anybody here ever tried to build an "upstairs" reloading bench?

Just drill some holes in your kitchen counter and voila! -- upstairs reloading bench with a fridge nearby. beer


The new wife isn't an ex yet. When that becomes a project I'll get back to you for tips.
 
Posts: 42 | Registered: 01 May 2009Reply With Quote
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I built one of these 25 years ago works great

http://stevespages.com/pdf/bench.pdf


Don't let your fears get in the way of your dreams
 
Posts: 139 | Location: Oklahoma City | Registered: 20 January 2005Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by ok hunter:
I built one of these 25 years ago works great

http://stevespages.com/pdf/bench.pdf


Just copied it to computer. Thanks.
 
Posts: 42 | Registered: 01 May 2009Reply With Quote
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