And now, a picture of my new loading bench!


Mike Irwin
January 4, 2004, 02:21 PM

The work area isn't all that big, but it's just freaking head and shoulders above what I had before. The bench sits where the bookshelf used to sit, only the book shelf was about 2/3rs as wide as the top I now have, so you can imagine I didn't have a lot of room.

I mounted the shelves yesterday. I went overboard on the hardware, but I figured I'd be storing my bullets up there, and we all know how heavy bullets get.

I have one more shelf to cut, and I'm probably going to add a shell in the knee area under the top.

I also want to mount a light under the shelf on the bottom. I've got a 4 foot fluorescent over top of me, which gives good general light, but it's a little too far back and I cast a shadow, and the back of the workspace is kind of dark.

The back room where this is located isn't all that big, and it's kind of chopped up, so I don't have a lot of usable room, unfortunately. Just out of sight on the right are the air handler for central heating and cooling and the water heater. If I ever have to replace the water heater, I'll have to disassemble the bench.

I do need to get slightly higher stool. I thought I was mounting the press high enough that I could operate it while standing (my preferred method of loading) but no go. I have to sit, and the chair that's there is just a little too low.

I'm now thinking of some sort of bench-top priming mechanism...

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January 4, 2004, 03:05 PM
Looks good. Small, but I like how you took advantage of a space that otherwise wouldn't be used. (At least by me!)

January 4, 2004, 03:13 PM
Looks nice, now let's see how long the bench stays clean and organized!:D

January 4, 2004, 05:41 PM
I got one of those high backed stools that swivels. Man, it's the program. Kinda gives the advantage of standing (high up) but super comfortable

FWIW...I'm gonna post pix of my new set-up when I figure out how to use the new digital camera. I got some storage bins from Home Depot that clip onto a rail. Mounted above the bench...makes a great place to store all kinds 'o crap and they come in different sizes

Hope the set-up works OK

January 4, 2004, 07:41 PM
Making the extra shelves is a good idea. You will never have enough shelf space.

January 4, 2004, 08:02 PM

Looks good!

Have you had a chance to use the press yet? How's it working for you?

Mike Irwin
January 4, 2004, 10:29 PM

This evening I finished decapping and sizing about 500 .45 ACP cases that I had stored. I've not yet loaded any ammo.

I was thinking about modifying the press so that it worked by pulling up on the handle, but when I got it apart and looked at it, it would have been a much greater hassle than leaving it as a push down actuated press.

When I tried to get everything back together again... WOW! Talk about a pain in the butt! :) I knew where everything went, it was just getting the spring washers lined up so the pivot pin would fit through, etc.

I really think this press is going to be pretty much as I had suspected -- a perfect fit for the way I like to reload.

You should feel proud...

It was your press, which you passed on to me, that cause me to build a whole new loading area.

You know, I think I'm going to get a cactus for the desk top! :D

January 4, 2004, 10:39 PM
Originally posted by Mike Irwin:
It was your press, which you passed on to me, that cause me to build a whole new loading area.

You know, I think I'm going to get a cactus for the desk top!

I feel just like a proud papa! :D Glad it's working out for you.

Steve in PA
January 5, 2004, 12:24 AM
My reloading bench is an old computer desk, with the shelving built by me.

Steve in PA
January 5, 2004, 12:41 AM
This is the other half.

Dave R
January 5, 2004, 11:33 PM
Congrats, Mike. Looks very functional. ;)

I'm sure it'll make your life easier. Wish mine were as nice as yours. Oh, well, someday...

Steve, that's an impressive "desk conversion". You are giving me ideas....May have to shop the garage sales for a sturdy ol' desk with a lip on the top.

Mike Irwin
January 6, 2004, 12:25 PM
I was actually considering doing what Steve did and converting a desk, but I would have had to have found another place to put it as the area where the new bench is wouldn't have been able to handle a desk.

I've gotten very used to loading in small areas, so this is going to seem like heaven to me.

Even if you can't find a desk with a lip on the top, a desktop can easily be plated with two 3/4" sheets of plywood with an edge strengthening band to make a VERY durable work top.

Brian Williams
January 6, 2004, 12:47 PM
I have an old office cabinet that has a nice square edge and mounted a press on it and it works great.

January 10, 2004, 10:41 PM
This is mine, after cleaning:

January 10, 2004, 11:07 PM
Good deal Mike .... and after what you described having before... it will undoubtedly be luxury. Those shelves will fill ..... FAST!!! The swivel stool could do well .. my std stool works well tho no where to put my knees!

As Mike knows by bench is pretty much a converted old sideboard thing ... but augmented by masses of shelves and those component tray deals ... as ever tho .. the bigger it gets ..... the more you find to clutter it with!! Many things can be adapted tho ......

Steve ... I see ''Mr Trusty'' (SKS) sittin propped up nearby! :p :)

January 12, 2004, 02:00 PM
OK Mike, what's the Dillon blue thingy down on the lower right of your picture.

Anything blue should be on top of your loading setup.

Jim :D

Mike Irwin
January 12, 2004, 03:43 PM
Believe it or not, I think that's a plastic grocery bag from one of the local grocery stores.

It's not Dillon, I don't own any Dillon equipment.

I'll check when I get home, but I think it's an empty bag that had been holding fired brass.

January 12, 2004, 04:14 PM
Check your areas for used office equipment companies. Usually one can find a sturdy (and heavy) metal office desk for a small amount of money. What might be best is a small metal desk, like a student desk. Mine is an old memeograph desk from my church. Top is about four foot wide by three deep.

January 12, 2004, 07:54 PM
My humble loading area.

(wish it was heated...)


Mike Irwin
January 12, 2004, 09:40 PM
"wish it was heated..."

One of those oil filled electric radiators would likely do a very good job if it's not too large of an area.

One of the benefits of those is that you can put a pan of water on top of them to add humidity to the air, which in the winter helps keep you and your toys from drying out and helps keep static in check.

January 14, 2004, 04:25 PM
I bet none of you have kids! At least none big enough to reach the bench and mess with your settings or components.

I can't get away with leaving powder, primers, or even inert bullets lying around. Primers and powder for obvious safety reasons, good bullets because they get taken for slingshots etc.

I can't imagine having a progressive all set up and ready whenever I need it. I have four boys who love to use wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers,etc. on whatever they can find. I'd have to do a full setup before loading every time, just for safety!

I have my humble rockchucker on the bench, with all dies, powder, bullets, and primers locked up. Today I went to reload some M2 Ball and had to take the powder measure out, assemble, change measuring inserts from pistol to rifle, mount on bench, calibrate. Take out and install dies. Remove brass from hiding and primers from safe, and priming tool from hiding. Prime cases. Fill measure with powder, and begin to charge. Remove scale from safe, assemble, zero, and begin checking charges. Get measure to throw desired charge, charge a few cases, get called out for an emergency (I'm a Doc). Pour out powder from charged cases,remove powder, primers, primed cases, bullets and place in safe. Lock up, go to hospital. Now I'm in my office waiting for a call back from another hospital, and I know for sure that I'll get home too late and too tired to finish the job, so guess what? I'll disassemble the whole setup and start again another day.

And you know what? I wouldn't change a thing. Someday I'll have the cosmic reloading setup. I'll be able to leave a valuable tool on the bench, and find it there next time I need it. I won't have to hide or lock up anything.

And the house will be quiet and neat, and I'll be lonesome.

January 14, 2004, 06:05 PM
And the house will be quiet and neat, and I'll be lonesome. Always two sides to everything in life it seems Khornet.. pro's and con's .. it is ever thus for the most part. :) You are right, of course, to keep secure the critical components ... no choice there eh.

I guess being ''so far on'' nowadays I am very happy with my totally private set up ..... and glad to have the luxury of loading and guns in my office (apart from certain ''temptation'' factors! :p ).

I do still miss my own kids ... but am lucky my sons lives and works not too far away .. and my daughter visits on vacation ..... so, I give in to privelages of age ..... quite gracefully!:)

Mike Irwin
January 14, 2004, 07:06 PM
Nope, no kids. Two dogs.

January 14, 2004, 07:24 PM
Hello doc khornet.

How about getting yourself a heavy gauge metal double door office cabinet with shelving. One that you can lock up when you have to leave the loading process.

That way, no one's going to mess with your propellents and primers, or any of the rest of your loose gear.

As to the press itself, get a heavy canvas bag shaped more or less to the press's width and height. This bag can have a draw string threaded though brass hole gromets with snaps that can be padlocked at the base of the unit. See the Dillon Blue Press catalogs, they usually show such an item.

You probably could get away with buying one of their covers and use it.

Good and safe loading, doc.


January 14, 2004, 08:32 PM

I've got one son, but he's in college now. Trust me when I say that I "paid my dues" with exactly the kind of regimen you detailed when son was younger.

Now I just wish I had him around, interested enough to join me. :(

But, I hold out hope that maybe someday...


Steve in PA
January 15, 2004, 12:43 AM
No kids at this time. In my previous marriage, my reloading was doen in the basement, but my kids never touched anything.

Now, all I have to worry about is the cat coming up on the bench to see what I'm doing :cuss:

January 15, 2004, 07:23 AM
I forgot to mention the damn cat, who climbs up and spreads herself over whatever manual I'm reading or whatever tool I need next. It's uncanny.

January 18, 2004, 12:33 AM
I built my first reloading bench in a closet! Open the door and pull up a chair. My reloading bench and shelves now takes up about half of my basement. :D

January 18, 2004, 09:38 AM
g56, that's exactly where my bench is right now. I don't have a lot of extra room, so I built it into the closet of our computer room / spare bedroom. I figure that when we have kids (soon I hope!) then I can put a lock on the door.

This photo was taken right after I built it. It looks a little more 'lived in' now ;)

Oh, and Mike, that looks like a great start! Is it in a utility room or garage or something?

January 18, 2004, 11:05 AM
Now that is very nice. Good setup.


Mike Irwin
January 18, 2004, 04:24 PM

That's in my basement in the laundry/utility room/workshop.

Just off to the right of the picture is the air handler for the heating system and the water heater.

You can just see at the very left edge of the picture the door leading into the finished portion of the basement.

Across from the door is the washer, dryer, and laundry sink.

Because of the way the guy who finished the basement did it, it's not a very efficient room. It's very oddly shaped, because he tried to make the finished portion of the basement as large as possible. It's shaped something like an E with the upper and lower legs cut off. It's not at all how I would have done it, but I'm not going to get into major demo.

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