I got a couple of emails about my reloading bench that’s in the insane spring post. Instead of answering one by one I thought I would just do a post on it.
When you start to think about reloading, the first thing you need is space. You actually don’t need a whole lot. I have a buddy that mounted a single stage Lee press to a bar stool and mounted the legs to a steel plate and he just keeps it in the closet except when he needs it. I have also seen where people have mounted their press to a drill press stand without issue.
All that being said, I knew early on I wanted a progressive press for handgun rounds so I was going to need something a little more robust. I have a nice workbench in my shed but I didn’t want to reload out there as I think humid summers would quickly rust the press. So I decided to take over part of the second bedroom which left me with about 6×6 feet space to work with.
So you have a few options, you can build or buy. If you were looking to buy; Stack-On makes a small reloading bench that’s around $140 that has metal legs and an MDF top. Looks like it may be a little flimsy but is a super compact option. Harbor Freight has a woodworking bench that I think would be a great option for anywhere from $160 to $120 depending the weekly deal. There are also some fold up options out there. But I think I would avoid them. With a progressive press there are some cases, with rifle rounds that you are putting a significant amount of force on the press and the bench.
For the money I decided to build my own. Startwoodworking.com has lots of great do it yourself plans, one of which is a Simple, Sturdy Workbench. Here is the link to the page. I think they do a step by step video if you sign up for one of their monthly plans or you can just use the plans they provide HERE.
I made a couple modifications – they use a threaded rod and a router to put the whole thing together which looks cool and may be more robust but I think it’s less work just to use lag bolts of the 6” verity. They use MDF for the top and shelf below. I highly recommend MDF as its super smooth. The last thing you want on a reloading bench is a bunch of nooks and crannies for gunpowder to get into and at some point you will have gunpowder everywhere. The MDF makes cleanup super easy.
My local lumber yard didn’t have 4×8 sheets of MDF but they did have 2×4 sheets so I went that route as I was not going to need the overhang for the bench vice. I also only picked up two sheets, one for the top and one for the shelf. If you look at the plans they have you use two sheets of MDF sandwiched together for the top. For the bottom part of the sandwich I just used a 3/4 sheet of plywood which I glued to the top with gorilla glue and cut it down to fit inside the frame. That way I get the rigidity of the sandwich but with the aesthetics of just the one top piece. Other than that it was just some simple sanding with a palm sander and 800 grit on the MDF in between coats of poly.
You need to poly the MDF. You may get it all together and say it looks great and you don’t want to do the extra work. MDF is extremely susceptible to moisture. If you set a glass on it with condensation or if you get a drip of water on it, it will bubble. A few coats of poly and you should be good to go. Sand it in between coats with 600-800 grit sandpaper or steel wool and it will be as smooth as a baby ass.
All in, it took about 4 hours to put together with stain and poly. Its a good morning project once you get the lumber. I hope this helps and if you have additional questions feel free to email us, post them on Facebook or our google + page, or leave them in the comments below.
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