Jul 29, 2014

Reloading Bench

Back when I started reloading, my "bench" was a 20" square butcher-block table. I had enough room for the press, powder measure, a reloading tray, and a scale if I was doing precision loads. All my powder was kept in a nearby cupboard, along with primers and bullets. Dies and brass and other small bits were kept in a small filing cabinet. It worked, mostly.

When we bought the house, I had long-term plans to build a larger bench (right after closing and insulating the third bay of the garage to become a workshop, and refinishing the deck, and replacing the garden shed, and...), but that never happened. With the move last year, that turned out to be a good thing.

Now that we're mostly settled for the time being, and with the new .308 in the stable begging for precision loads, I decided it was time to start reloading again. I ordered a 2x4basics workbench kit from Amazon ($70 to my front steps) and picked up a dozen eight-foot 2x4s, a sheet of 3/4 B-C plywood cut 24/24/24/12/12(x48)*, and a 24x48 piece of 1/8" hardboard (Masonite).

I took things home and cut the following lengths of 2x4s:
12 - 48"
6 - 21"
2 - 39"
4 - 30"
1 - ~48.5"
(I ended up with a full 8' and a 40-odd-inch chunk leftover, which is fine.)

Then I screwed all the boards into the brackets following the handy pictorial "directions" included with the kit, and ended up with a nice 2'x4' bench. A handful of 1" drywall screws anchored the hardboard on top, and I built the shelving up on top of that, with the heights adjusted so I could get kegs of powder on top, and have plenty of room to work underneath.

Initially the bench felt wobbly - not weak, just that it was teeter-tottering on the legs. That changed in a big hurry when I started loading it up with equipment and components. It's now rock-solid and not going anywhere.

I picked up a couple architect-style LED desk lamps from Walmart and discarded the base in favor of drilling a 1/2" hole in the top shelf I'd built. A power strip on the side of the bench feeds those and an RCBS electronic scale, plus the tumbler as needed.

A few 2" lag screws hold the press down, and tonight I'm going to grab a small bench vise from Home Depot to mount on the other end.

End result? A pretty solid bench for a minimal investment (about $200 including the lights and power strip), no fudging around with building corners, and a great space for me to work on reloading or other gun stuff:

* - If I was cutting this again, I'd make it a 30" deep bench instead of 24". It doesn't take up a tremendous amount more space and would provide a LOT more space for storing things.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Very nice! I'd agree with extending the top to 30", that would give you a 6" overhang and more room to sit comfortably...