What material for reloading bench top?


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Wayne02
January 24, 2010, 04:33 PM
I have a very heavy duty bench in my shop that I am going to use for the reloading bench. This bench is made out of large timbers and is extremely heavy and stable. It currently has a plywood top over the timbers and has been used for mechanic work up until now, and it is pretty chewed up.

I would like to put a new top over the plywood before I bolt the press down and start using it for reloading. The bench is 72" x 28" so I would like a piece of material this size. I looked around the local box stores for damaged or returned pieces of kitchen counter top but have not found anything yet.

Is there other materials that would be suited for a reloading bench top? Something that is smooth, easy to clean, and robust?

Thanks

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EHCRain10
January 24, 2010, 04:42 PM
Since you have timbers underneath of the table top, I would suggest MDF its cheap flat and very easy to work with. As long as your timbers are at least 2 inches thick you should be ok because the MDF will add some strength to the timbers.

NorCalRanches
January 24, 2010, 04:43 PM
I found a great deal on a couple bundles of Pergo laminate flooring. Some pattern that didn't match anything else the store had. Stuff is great. Tough, yet you can drill through it. Surprisingly chemical resistant. My only regret is I got a fairly dark color, a lighter color would be best.

rcmodel
January 24, 2010, 04:48 PM
Just get a sheet of cabinet grade birch plywood in any thickness. Even 1/4" would work if the current top is very sturdy.

Glue it down on top of the old top, and slap on a couple of coats of clear bar top finish.

The light birch color will make finding things and clean-up easy.

Also, sometimes, you can find scraps of white or light colored Formica at a floor covering store that would make a great top covering. They sell them cheap if they are too small to do a complete counter-top with.

rc

USMCJG
January 24, 2010, 05:08 PM
I use two layers of 3/4" plywood glued and nailed together as my bench top.

delta5
January 24, 2010, 05:10 PM
What kind of wood do they use for butcher chopping blocks? Like the type that hangs out in front of the grills at the Waffle Houses...

rcmodel
January 24, 2010, 05:17 PM
Usually hard maple.
Except the imported ones made out of Mystery wood?

http://grizzly.com/products/G9916

rc

Rembrandt
January 24, 2010, 06:09 PM
I'd highly recommend using a sheet of PVC, for the size you need it would run about $100. We use this material on equipment and machinery we make & sell for Industrial applications. It's incredibly tough, cleans up well, and is very nice looking. Can be cut and shaped with common woodworking tools. I use it for all my reloading mounting plates.....good stuff!

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=44947&catid=733

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/images/products/sheet/45084p.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/reload%20room/trimmer-swag.jpg

Sport45
January 24, 2010, 07:32 PM
I have a very heavy duty bench in my shop that I am going to use for the reloading bench. This bench is made out of large timbers and is extremely heavy and stable. It currently has a plywood top over the timbers and has been used for mechanic work up until now, and it is pretty chewed up.

I'd just put a fresh plywood top on it and start chewing it up again.

Not really... I'd probably just mount the press and get to business. :)

drivadesl
January 24, 2010, 08:51 PM
My current reloading bench uses a 3/8" plywood top over 2X6's for strength. It works fine, but if I had to do it over, I would consider a formica or corian top. The standard sized formica tops come pretty reasonable from HD precut, just need to find one that fits your benchtop. The advantage is smoothness, and easy clean up so no oils or solvents will soak in, and spilled powder would wipe/sweep up easily. Just something to consider.

bullseye308
January 24, 2010, 09:14 PM
Get one sheet of 3/4 cabinet grade plywood. Cut the first piece to match the top and piece the bottom layer from the rest. Screw the bottom layer to the table then put the solid piece on top and glue them together with liquid nails. Let it set for 36 hours and you are good to go. Get some teak oil & rub it in for a good finish.

NorCalRanches
January 24, 2010, 09:51 PM
I guess if you are just using it for reloading another smooth (the cabinet grade mentioned above) piece of plywood is fine. But I do gun cleaning/repair all on the same bench. The toughness and easy clean up of the laminated flooring is really nice. I was looking for formica but all the pieces in the 'reject' (or as I like to call it, the 'bargain') bin were too small.

Winston_Smith
January 24, 2010, 09:54 PM
Durcon.

pbratton
January 24, 2010, 10:38 PM
I found a place in town that had stacks of 8' laminated office doors that were taken out of office buildings during demo.

It's a GREAT surface.

Oyeboten
January 24, 2010, 11:21 PM
For various heavy Work Benches, I usually use a Solid Core Wood Weneer or Masonite Veneer Door ( ie: Exterior grade/weight/thickness, solid-core, 'flat' - no panels )...Commercial or Residential Door.

Miss-Bores ( Door Knob/Lock location to wrong spec) can usually be had very cheap ( 5 or 10 bucks ) from Commercial Door Shops.


Add any edging one wishes...if one wishes.


Re-Loading Bench wise, haven't finished mine yet...but, I plan to cover the Working surface with Wool Felt.

Drail
January 25, 2010, 08:15 AM
I have always used ribbed rubber matting so things don't roll of the bench but spills can be cleaned up easily. It also keeps glare from overhead lighting from making your eyes tired.

1SOW
January 25, 2010, 05:53 PM
Another thing to consider are the back and side edges.

If you use plastic, aluminum or even wood, leaving about 1" sticking up above the surface will prevent those "aw crap", there goes another primer/bullet/case/nut bolt/tool on the floor beind the bench.

crawfobj
January 25, 2010, 09:41 PM
I used a solid core door for mine. When it gets too scuffed, I'll resurface it with a sheet of formica. HEAVY and very sturdy...

Hesenwine
January 25, 2010, 09:46 PM
I topped mine with that brown (Maonite? Fiberboard?) 1/4" stuff. It's very smooth on one side and rough on the other so it glues down really well and is almost indestructible. Cleans up easily and is not expensive. Underneath is 2 layers of 3/4" plywood glued/screwed together.

Hey_Allen
January 26, 2010, 01:23 AM
I ended up with a 'reject' formica counter top from a local home improvement warehouse store.
To support it, I built a frame out of a couple of 4x4's on end, with 2x4's boxing it together, and some 3/4" ply strips across it's depth to allow me to glue the top down.

It's surprisingly sturdy, and still light enough that it can be moved with a person on either end, even though it ended up over 6' long.

If you find one that was for a kitchen counter, they usually have a round-over front lip, as well as a 3-4" back board built in, which takes care of small bits trying to roll off the back.

FROGO207
January 26, 2010, 07:28 AM
I used a sheet of 26 guage galvanized sheet steel. It is tough and you only need to ground the metal then the press and measure are automatically grounded. Static free is safe for me.:D

Wayne02
January 26, 2010, 07:53 PM
Thanks for the replies, it sounds like there are several options I can look into.

I am a bit concerned about the current tops ability to take any sort of adhesive due to the many years of oil/grease/solvent soaking it has absorbed. I do have a sheet of 1/2 osb I could screw down on the existing top and that would give a clean surface for adhesion.

I don't know if I've ever seen cabinet grade plywood, probably because I hang out on the cheap side of the plywood aisle. :) I take it that cabinet grade is smooth enough to finish without having to sand?

Sounds like I need to get back to HD and Lowes and check some of this out.

Thanks

tunnug
January 26, 2010, 08:06 PM
I used to work in a cabinet/countertop shop and we had what we called the bonepile, odd, damaged or leftover countertops in different sizes/colors, you could stop by any local shops and ask them about their ding & dent stuff, you could save quite a bit and they'll be happy to lower the bonepile size.

benzuncle
January 26, 2010, 08:15 PM
I skinned out the top of my bench with quarter-inch tempered masonite. It's hard and slick, lays flat and doesn't warp or buckle. The through bolts of my Lee Classic Turret press hold it in place along with a couple strips of half-inch plywood that act sort of like a baseboard along a wall. Because it isn't glued in place, if it ever gets too tore up, I'll remove it, use it as a template and make another.

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