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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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Old February 18, 2010, 01:25 PM   #31
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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Old March 11, 2010, 10:35 PM   #35
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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
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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.

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File Type: jpg reloading bench 001.jpg (232.4 KB, 689 views)
File Type: jpg reloading bench 002.jpg (232.5 KB, 487 views)

Last edited by coptersteve; March 11, 2010 at 11:56 PM.
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Old March 14, 2010, 10:29 PM   #37
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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.
No such thing as a stupid question. What is stupid is not asking it.
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Old March 23, 2010, 05:06 AM   #39
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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.


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Old March 23, 2010, 09:12 AM   #40
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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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Old April 27, 2017, 07:03 PM   #41
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Harbor Freight reloading bench

I just built my Harbor Freight workbench. Several thoughts:
First, the quality control at Harbor Freight must have gone down-hill. None of the four drawer pulls were flat on the bottom. All were convex. Also, one of the drawer fronts was so poorly finished and sanded that the grain was flaking up and providing plenty of splinters. WhHen I called the number on the assembly instructions, I was told that they don't carry that part and I needed to call the store I bought it from to get a replacement. Bear in mind that I bought the 2-year service plan on the table.
When I call the store I was told to bring in the workbench and they would replace it. The whole thing!!! Problem: I not only used the bolts provided, I glued it together as well. The thought was to have a long-lasting, solid work surface. Besides, I was NOT going to spend the 3 hours to dis-assemble the bench, then another 3 hrs to build another one. I'm not young and not in very good shape.
About the press mounting piece. I have an OLD RCBS Jr2 press. It doesn't have the base flange as big as ClemBert's Hornady. I'm thinking I will build one similar to the slotted one for ease of removal, and add a vertical flange to the front of the mountiing plate for strength.
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Old April 27, 2017, 07:45 PM   #42
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Hey ClemBert, don't forget lee makes a mounting plate for their presses that allows not only quick removal but you can change from one press to another and it would also stiffen the area it was mounted in. Here's an amazon link to it:
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Old April 27, 2017, 08:15 PM   #43
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While it is an old thread, I used the same bench with a few modifications.
I added a layer of 3/4" plywood to the top and made 3 9"x9" 3 sided dovetail inserts to mount presses on. Underneath the bench are "t" nuts, so the inserts screw in through the both layers of the top.

Last edited by surveyor; April 27, 2017 at 08:25 PM.
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Old April 27, 2017, 10:55 PM   #44
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Brother dedicated one to his Dillon 1050 . Its on a riser,he has a case feeder,bullet feeder,in process trimmer,vacuum for the trimmer,rack for spare toolheads...

He loves the setup and it works well for him.

As a person builds a kit like that,some up-engineering is possible. Angle brackets,tee-nuts,a braced steelshelf bracket to re-enforce a leg,etc.

He has another,taller bench for other presses and tools.

In a basement,vertical 2x12's from the basement floor to the overhead floor joists make a structure that is the nominal 2x12 in depth. Shelves, can be incorporated into those.

24 in long 2x6 lumber can be bolted to those to provide support for an overhanging 24 in deep benchtop you can get your knees under. About bar top height works with a tall stool.
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Old April 30, 2017, 02:36 PM   #45
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I was looking at that one, when I go the other bench from Harbor Freight. I got the metal one, with the peg board, and the shelf/fluorecent light in it.

I gotta say for a first bench, I like it.

I would however recommend that more fasteners be put in the center of the bench area, so as the top does not flex. Mine the particle board actually cracked around the press. I have since added 1/4" finished plywood glued, and screwed to the top.
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Old April 30, 2017, 04:36 PM   #46
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Bought one and removed the clamp since I won't use it. The table is only an inch thick, so I glued/screwed a piece of 1.5" oak board. Plugged the holes with a wooden dowel/Gorilla Glue. Attached my Lee Turret and have loaded 280, 7mm RM, and 6.5 Grendel, all FL sized. The position of the legs make it very stable. A great upgrade from my 1970 table fashioned from an oak door. Oh, and all drawers work fine.

Last edited by GeauxTide; April 30, 2017 at 04:43 PM.
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Old May 1, 2017, 08:46 AM   #47
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Build your own

I build my own benches, and believe me I am no carpenter. They are rough but they are strong enough that I can sit thousands of lbs on them and they will hold. They do not move either. The general design is simple.

4x4's for the legs
2x6's for the perimeter support between the legs cross ways and front to back (turned perpendicular to the ground, "I beam " style)

1x4's or 2x4's for the bottom shelf slats
2x6's or 2x'10's for the table top slats w/ a piece of plexi-glass over the top but cutouts in the plexi glass for presses.

Then, reinforced with a 1/4" steel plate under each press running all the way to the back of the bench distributing any turning force to the entire table top.

You can put it together eith 1/4" lag screws. Only tools you need are a saw, square, tape measure, and drill/bits. ...A level would help too.

But beware, they are HEAVY which helps when reloading, but moving it will require some assistance.

Also, putting an overhead shelf or back board is simple too.
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Old May 4, 2017, 05:51 AM   #48
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Here's mine, suites me just fine

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Old May 4, 2017, 08:15 AM   #49
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Mississippi I also built my own. I found it much better to build it to fit my needs rather than making something work. I too use 4x4 legs, lags screw etc. It's holding enough stuff to make over 20k rounds and will be just as sturdy 10 years down the road.
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Old May 4, 2017, 01:00 PM   #50
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I use a CAD program to draw out everything I build. I love working with metal because I know metal is stable but my benches in my new shop had to be wood. I used 4x4 for the legs, 6 of them for my 8 foot bench. The legs were cut with dados so the 2x4s would mount flush and add strength. The top frame has 2x4s dado'd around the top and the top is laminated OSB 1.5" thick. The working surface is a replaceable 1/4" hardboard. It has a lower shelf that is 1" thick for storage of heavy parts. The legs are fitted with height adjusters for leveling. Drawers are provided for tool storage for larger tools that aren't kept in my two roll cabinets. Construction is close tolerance glue joints with screws adding strength at the joints. All the 2x4s were trimmed to 1-1/4"x3" to be dimensionally accurate.
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