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Old February 5, 2010, 07:44 PM   #26
F. Guffey
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Purchase the work bench, add a shelf between the table top and drawers.

I worry about SOLID when it comes to material in furniture, SOLID WHAT? particle board, solid ply wood, solid chip wood? In my opinion a solid piece of wood is not a good ideal if it has a grain, if the top has a grain the press would require installing on the end of the table and operating from one end or the other even if the top is SOLID laminated, Old work benches that were solid laminated were had through metal bolts or dowels run through them to prevent them from separating, splitting or just cracking.

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Old February 9, 2010, 04:14 PM   #27
ClemBert
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I went with the Harbor Freight bench. At $140 I think it'll make a great little reloading bench given the tight area I have inside the house. I've already assembled it and it would appear that it is heavy enough (over 110 lbs empty) to stay in place even when lifting up on a press. I have fully adopted UK's idea to glue/stack the two left drawers. This gives a drawer with a depth clearance of nearly 7 inches from the bottom to the bench top trim. I will also use UK's idea to utilize the clamp on the right side to hold in place a reloader platform made of plywood and 2x4. This will allow quick setup of any reloader mounted to a plywood platform and easy removal for storage.

Thanks guys for all your input. Eventually, I take a few pics and post them.
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Old February 17, 2010, 05:43 PM   #28
ClemBert
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PART 1:

As promised I'm back with pics of how the Harbor Freight bench turned out.



Just as UK did I stacked the two left drawers to make one deep drawer to hold taller items. The left drawer is 6.75" deep. The two right drawers are 3" deep.



I used hurricane framing ties to connect the drawers together leaving the bottom out of the drawer on the top. Framing ties can be found at Home Depot, et al.



I made a 1.5" platform for the reloading press using leftover 3/4" plywood glued together. A 2x4 was glued and bolted to the bottom of the platform per UK's instructions.





This allows utilization of the vice that comes with the workbench to hold the platform when in use.


Last edited by ClemBert; February 17, 2010 at 05:50 PM.
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Old February 17, 2010, 05:44 PM   #29
ClemBert
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PART 2:

The reloading press and powder measure were bolted to the reloading platform.





As you can see the platform is easily removed and stored below allowing full use of the flat surface of the workbench for doing firearms maintenance. No tools are needed to install/remove the reloading platform since the vice is what clamps the platform to the bench.



BTW, this is what my drop tube looks like for stuffing 40 grains of GOEX blackpowder into a 45 Colt case.



At $140 for the Harbor Freight workbench this seems like a reasonable solution for those of you with limited space inside the house. I'm not a power reloader like some of you. For now, I only have my humble Lee single stage press for reloading 45 Colt and 40 S&W. The workbench is solid and stable. The bench weighs over 110 lbs empty. The added weight of the press and other goodies stored in the workbench add to the overall weight allowing for stable downward and upward pressure on the press.


Last edited by ClemBert; February 17, 2010 at 09:41 PM.
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Old February 17, 2010, 07:51 PM   #30
David Wile
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Hey Clembert,

You did a real nice job with that Harbor Freight bench. Your method of mounting your press on the wood plate and then securing it with the vice is a good idea and may work out just fine for what you do. It is handy to put in place and handy to get out of the way for other work.

Over the years I have found that I prefer something more solid for some of the work I do, but that may not be true for you. If you find you do some sizing or whatever that requires the press to be mounted more solidly, I am sure you can add one or two lag bolts through the plate and into the bench when in use and remove them when done. Also, if your bench tends to come up when raising the press handle, you can add some heavy weight objects to the lower shelf or even bolt the front legs to the floor with angle irons.

Again, you did a nice looking job, your pictures are great, and I hope you have a long enjoyable experience in the reloading craft. Cheers to you, and thanks for showing us what you accomplished.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
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Old February 18, 2010, 01:25 PM   #31
ClemBert
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Thanks Dave.

That vice platform is actually very secure and solid in place. Adding lag bolts wouldn't add anything in this situation. Referencing the pic below, the holes in the 2x4 were very precisely measured and drilled. It turns out that the two support/alignment rods of the vice are very tight in this workbench with virtually no slop. Thus, when the alignment rods are put through the 2x4 of the platform do not allow any vertical movement but only because I precisely measured and drilled the holes. This approach is slightly different than what UK did with his reloading platform as he slotted his 2x4 to make it a little faster to install/de-install. The vice, in my case, clamps the platform to prevent horizontal movement. In fact the fit is so tight one can not grab the platform and pull up on it. It is as though it is bolted to the surface of the workbench. That 1.5" thick platform in itself is pretty beefy and heavy.



I think for now this bench will not require additional support to hold it to the ground. I estimate about 75 pounds of weight on the right side of the bench where the press is. I'm not sure, for my current reloading requirements, I would apply more than 10 or 20 pounds of upward pressure on that single stage reloader. The back wall adds a lot of support too. I may add the ground bolts as you suggested if at some later time I need to apply more support for upward movement of the press. For now I should be good to go.
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Old February 19, 2010, 12:33 AM   #32
riverwalker76
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For $40 and a little of your time you can make a better bench than that using 2x4s, 4x4s, and a couple of 2x12s as the benchtop. Just a thought.
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Old February 19, 2010, 09:50 AM   #33
ClemBert
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Thanks, but I think I'll pass on the $40 2x4 bench. Just a tad bit too cheesy looking for my better half's tastes since this goes inside the house. Gotta keep her happy too. I already have a couple $500 benches in the garage but they are too big and ugly for inside the house.

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Old March 11, 2010, 09:52 PM   #34
sandsquirt
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Good looking bench. Thanks for the write up and pictures. I have been eyeballin' that bench at Harbor Freight for a while. I have decided on the Lee Classic Turret Press and have been undecided if the two will work well together. Like you my bench will be in my house my SHMBO will not let me build it out of 2x4's. I like the quick mount idea, I was needing to mount the press on the right side. My next idea was to build a rifle or cleaning stands using the peg holes. Did you mount the bench to the wall?
Eric
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Old March 11, 2010, 10:35 PM   #35
ClemBert
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Quote:
Did you mount the bench to the wall?
Yes, I did. The rear left and right corners are bolted to studs in the wall. It was rather easy to do. I drilled a hole under the left and right corners of the bench with a 1/4" drill bit then used a 3 1/2" long screw with a hex head and a washer to cinch that puppy tight against the wall. That bench will not move in any direction. And that platform I made doesn't budge one bit either.

I'm also going to use those peg holes to make a rifle cleaning and dis-assembly setup as you indicated.
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Old March 11, 2010, 11:50 PM   #36
coptersteve
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Harbor Frieght Bench

I have the same bench except with a single drawer in the middle. I used a couple of 2x4's to mount it to the wall. It works great. I load pistol ammo only. This is actually a woodworking bench made for bending wood, like for a bentwood rocker. My late father in law had my bench and that's what he used it for. My mother in law gave it to me after he passed. Check out these pictures. I have it set up in my garage right now. I plan on relocating some of the stuff around the bench and set up some shelves. It works fine right now.

Coptersteve
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File Type: jpg reloading bench 002.jpg (232.5 KB, 123 views)

Last edited by coptersteve; March 11, 2010 at 11:56 PM.
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Old March 14, 2010, 10:29 PM   #37
sandsquirt
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Thanks for the info. Keep the pictures of the updates coming.
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Old March 20, 2010, 03:56 AM   #38
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I personally have a massive steel bench that I made for reloading and it has been in use since the early 70's. Since moving to this area, I dont have very many shooting buddies but I do have 2.

They both are learning to reload and have been using my stuff to do it with. Mind you, I dont object to the equipment being used once in a while, but it does make it troublesome when I want to use it and it is in use.

After reading this eye opener (Thanks for all the pics). I convinced one of them to pick up one of these benches for himself which he did. We finished putting it together yesterday and I was impressed with its quality. It is now mounted against his wall in his "gun room" and awaiting delivery of reloading equipment from Midway. It should arrive this coming week.

Somehow I feel that this thread is greatly responsible and I wish to thank all of you.
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Old March 23, 2010, 05:06 AM   #39
Johnnyz
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Input is Welcome

I build workbenches for a living. I started 5 years ago and am building 100% american products, except for vises since no US company seems to make one.
Last year I had clients asking for reload benches, and we built some. Since y'all are commenting on the Harbor Freight Bench(China). I thought I would ask for your input on the one I build. I will not mention my Company name since I am only asking for constructive suggestions.

Thanks,

John
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Old March 23, 2010, 09:12 AM   #40
cwok
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Suggestions

Consider offering a strip light unerneath the overhanging portion of the top shelf. As we get older, we hope to have more time/$$$ for our hobbies, which may or may not happen, but our eyes don't get any sharper.

Mounting a loading press normally requires that the bench have some 'overhang' because the ram handle and ram are below the bench top.
It might help to mention how much overhang the bench normally has.
.
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