Seeking input from the reloading-bench engineers :)


June 28, 2007, 06:39 PM
Last weekend, to set up my Lee Classic Cast, I did some ugly drilling -- didn't take any pictures of the setup, which is to the benefit of your eyes, but basically I drilled three holes in a piece of 3/4" pine, put the press on top of the wire-frame ("Metro-style") industrial shelf, and the pine beneath, then bolted it all together ala Frankenstein. Not the steadiest mount, but worked well enough for depriming.

In order to make a better mount for more delicate operations, I've come up with the design pictured in amateur fashion here (cross-section).

1) Any reason it shouldn't work? :)

2) If it looks conceptually OK, a further question: the top of my Metro shelf will be 18" x 48"; I have plenty of wood (in the form of one 4x8x3/4" sheet of plywood) to cover the whole top if I wanted, but I was thinking of a strip about 12" by 18" (that is, a foot wide, and running the distance of front to back of the shelf). Does that sound sufficient? The whole top would be nice, but quite a bit heavier, more bolts to bother with ...


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June 28, 2007, 07:15 PM
I doubt you'll find a way to turn a wire mesh shelf into a suitable reloading bench. Even the heavy gauge stuff would be too flexible. I know at times I have to get rather rough with my press.

June 28, 2007, 08:25 PM
I agree with krochus, your problem would be the lack of strength from that light shelving. (And you will lose most anything you try to lay on it; bullets, cases, primers, etc.) Use your plywood for a more conventional bench and place vertical support under the press, at both the front and back edges.

Most benches use at least 2x4 legs, and 4x4 are common but such mass is not neccesary. Any good 1x4 is plently because the pressure is in compression or tension, straight down or up. And unless you place a lot of heavy stuff on or under your loading bench you will need to anchor the legs to the floor to keep it from lifting off the deck!

For assembly, you are headed in the right direction by using glue and screws or bolts, not just nails which will work loose over time. And make your bench top no wider than maybe 24 inches, 20 inches is good, but as long as you have room for.

June 28, 2007, 10:00 PM
You can do something like this only on a smaller scale. Build the bench out of scrap 2x4s and 2x6s and if possible bolt it to the wall. Mount the press on a separate piece of wood so it can be moved to make room for other loading needs.

June 28, 2007, 10:27 PM
If you just plan to reload (and not anything heavier) I can direct you to a website on how to build a very simple workbench. I just build 1 over the weekend my self.

Let me know if you're interested.


June 28, 2007, 10:50 PM
I do my reloading on a very heavy GOVT surplus desk.

June 29, 2007, 07:01 AM
I built a very heavy duty work bench some years ago, but I use it for all sorts of projects so I'm constantly moving my press and scale and stuff on and off. It became a waste of time since I'm not always working on a batch of something so I just built a lighter duty bench. I put some heavy tools on the bottom shelf and the bench is pretty solid. I just need to mount my press and put a light overhead, and a shelf and I'm gold.


June 29, 2007, 10:46 AM
I think your set up will be fine. I probably would go ahead and us the exesting wood you have on hand and do the entire top. More for the weight, rather than the strength.

I have the same press mounted on my bench. Unless you are sizing 50 BMG, almost any method of mounting, using all three bolts, should be fine.


June 29, 2007, 10:57 AM
I used to mount the rockchucker on the front of the bench and screw the bench to the wall.

Now I put the rockchucker on the end of a long board that hangs off the right end of the bench.

That way, when I push down real hard on the press handle, the counter force is gravity on the length of the bench with the bench having leverage on it's side.

What does it all mean?
With this trick the bench does not have to be stiff, strong, or attached, just long.

Bad Flynch
June 29, 2007, 01:56 PM
Well, one idea did occur to me: add epoxy to the wire mesh layer so that the whole thing becomes like a sandwich. Sorta like a layer of reinforced concrete, but gluing the whole thing together.

June 29, 2007, 04:44 PM
Lovesbeer99 -- sure, I'd be interested in the project web site (for building a bench) you used. Even if I don't use it directly, it might give me some good ideas :)


June 29, 2007, 04:52 PM
Sounds like you are using the metro-shelf just as a frame. I would ditch it entirely and construct out of wood. Seems that the wire is going to be far too prone to flex. Maybe not at the points where it is sandwiched but at the points where the wire shelf connects to the shelf frame would be a concern.

June 29, 2007, 11:29 PM
Thanks, fellas -- you've all made me think harder about the Metro shelf as the basis of a reloading bench. That doesn't mean I still won't *try* it, but I think a compact all-wood bench will be constructed on a parallel track, and I think long term is the better way to do things.

The concern raised by several people about the flexibility of the shelf / strain on the wires is a legitimate one, but I *think* overstated; these shelves are dern strong. (The ones I have are the restaurant-grade ones; I'm sure there are stronger ones, and I've also seen considerable weaker ones available as kitchen island-type furniture. When I used one as described in the first post of this thread, I was unable to detect any flexing (though it's certainly possible with sheer muscle force to cause some minor and temporary deformation just pulling by hand on such shelves, esp. twisting diagonally end-to-end). Any movement I could find then of the press was because of my quick-and-dirty mounting hardware attachment :) Even the small piece of pine I was using really seemed to spread the force well, which is why I am at least optimistic that a much larger slab of it would do even better.

A new thought, based on the ideas here, is to make a "coffee table" reloading bench sized to fit beneath the lowest shelf (the exact height of which I can determine) of one of my metro units, with a thick plywood bench surface and (stubby) 4x4 legs.

When I build my own castle (rather than living in fairly small places*), I will adopt a slightly different approach ;)


* Small being relative; the "small" apartment I share with a schoolmate at the moment would be immense in the crowded cities of Asia, and would cost far more than I could afford in NYC or SF (if I were interested in living either of those places).

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