I will be getting into reloading within the next couple weeks but I'm just kind of running over some things in my mind. First off, I live in an apartment right now with all carpeted floors and i was wondering if its possible to have a nice solid, sturdy bench when its sitting on carpet without screwing it into the wall? I am allowed to put some nails in for pictures and clocks but i don't think they would appreciate bigger holes for screws/anchors.
I thought about mounting the press to my makeshift desk which is 2 file cabinets with a 3/4 inch piece of laminated mdf that's doubled up so the top is 1.5 inches. its actually fairly sturdy just pulling on it with my hands but the file cabinets do twist a little bit. I've never had a press before so I'm not sure how much pressure they put out when using them.
Mainly I was thinking about building something else since my desk isn't really that big to begin with. I hate to think about what it would be like with cabinets of powder and bullets and primers. I've seen quite a few of the NRMA benches that people built and thought it might be heavy enough to smash the carpet and padding down and hopefully make it a little more sturdy. Does anyone have one they built that isn't anchored to the wall?
As you can see, I haven't really made up my mind how I'm going to be doing this. I was hoping some of you reloaders would chime in and let me know of some suggestions. Thanks to everyone!
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May 19, 2010, 12:47 AM
I'm using a bench made up of a solid core door supported by 4x4's. Nothing is bolted to the wall, but the "top" is bolted down to the legs.
I think an improvised bench would work fine. You might have to attach the top to the file cabinet with some brackets.
MDF probably won't be up to the job and will crack in use. You might consider something a little stronger, like a couple of sheets of plywood screwed together for that same 1.5" thickness.
May 19, 2010, 01:02 AM
A reloading bench doesn't have to be as rock solid as you might think it does. I've seen some downright flimsy ones that worked just fine. As long as the bench can take about 30 to 40 pounds of downward pressure without capsizing, it should do well. There is no need to anchor it horizontally to a wall.
May 19, 2010, 01:09 AM
Thanks for your reply. I thought about that after I posted it. I have a sheet of rubber padding like the stuff you line cabinet drawers and tool boxes with and it seems to keep the mdf from sliding on top of the file cabinets. but I did notice after i started pulling on the top some more that when the file cabinet twists, the mdf doesn't and so most of the mdf separates from the top of the file cabinet, leaving a gap in the front. Hopefully that makes sense. Maybe I can take the drawers out of the cabinets and put some screws through the top and into the mdf to attach them more permanently. I still wonder about storage though. Any more suggestions are certainly welcome!
May 19, 2010, 01:22 AM
If the file cabinets were loaded with papers and stuff and the MDF was clamped or bolted to the file cabinets, that would definitely be a sturdy base.
I am using a wooden desk I had and clamped a 3 1/2' x 3' piece of 3/4" plywood to it. That is plenty sturdy for me, even on top of carpet.
May 19, 2010, 01:24 AM
I went to Walmart and got a $40 plastic shelf kit 4' wide by 5' tall and 15" deep to hold my books and dies and other stuff. So far it is holding up really well except the shelf with the books on it is beginning to sag.
May 19, 2010, 01:26 AM
My bench is a 6 ft. folding banquet table! I cut a couple of 2x12's to lay across the legs to put stuff on, and I have some shelves sitting on the back of the table against the wall. This all adds weight for stability, but the whole shebang is freestanding, not bolted to the wall. Yeah, it flexes a little, but works fine.
May 19, 2010, 02:23 AM
I made my bench out of a half sheet of 3/4" plywood and 2x4's. The table is 2 foot by four foot. I put a shelf on the lower half and use it to store all of my lead bullets on. The weight makes it very stable on the carpeted bedroom floor. I can't move it with out unloading it first. It is rock solid.
May 19, 2010, 02:52 AM
This will take a bit of time and effort to put together, but you'll only ever make it once, and it can't break if you make it properly.
my first bench was a 2' long .750" plywood that my press was moounted on that I c-clamped to the dining table when I needed it ( was single then) worked great untill my gf wanted to eat at the table...FWIW
May 19, 2010, 06:54 AM
Getting spent primers out of the carpet will be fun . . .
May 19, 2010, 08:23 AM
One, a Black & Decker Workmate worked well for me for two years with my Lee Turret Press. It's old and it did start to warp a bit, but had I beefed it up with an extre piece of 3/4" plywood it would have done better. It's light and small and could be broken down if I needed the space. It's legs spread out and give you a 50% larger base than work area so the thing won't tip over unless you're cranking on some monster rifle cases.
Two, figure something out to put under your bench to catch dropped stuff, from primers to powder and everything in between. An old bedsheet would work great. It needs to be soft, or have sides, because if it's hard (ie. cardboard, plastic or even a tarp), primers will bounce or roll.
You do NOT want to drop a live primer only to find it with the Hoover. Potential KB.
May 19, 2010, 11:25 AM
My "bench" is a TV stand. Works great. :)
May 19, 2010, 01:40 PM
a Black & Decker Workmate worked well for me for two years with my Lee Turret Press.Exactly. I've seen one of these with a solid top installed used as a portable reloading bench. I plan to use a WM225 to mount a single stage press so I can do case prep and/or bullet seating at locations other than my permanent bench ... including at the range. Mal H is right: all you really need is the ability to exert 30-40 pounds of downward pressure without the platform tipping over.
May 19, 2010, 08:22 PM
Thanks for all the replies!
sxenopho, Now that is something I might have to try. Looks fairly simple but also very sturdy and heavy and definitely saves room, which is important in an apartment!
NuJudge, I'll be using the Hornady Lock n Load which has a spent primer tube. Thanks for the concern though
Quoheleth, Thanks for the tip. Never thought about dropped powder! I'll be sure and put a bed sheet down or something
Thanks again for all the suggestions.
May 19, 2010, 08:34 PM
I'm using a gov't surplus desk with the center drawer removed and have been for years. In a carpeted room no less.
ETA till I see an example od a primer blowing up a vacuume I'm gonna file this concern with the other usual urban legends.
Besides at these prices dropping a primer is like losing a diamond. You'll look till you find it.
May 20, 2010, 05:24 PM
levsmith - I built mine as an island intentionally because I like access from all sides. The bench is 45" tall and the presses are mounted directly over the legs on 5/16 steel plate. The uprights are composite "fake wood" from Lowe's, they weigh a ton. The shelves are reinforced 3/4" plywood 2'x4' (you don't need a monster work surface if you keep it clean). Note the rug under the bench, it aids in making it very solid and stable.