How many layers of plywood for my new bench?


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Shrinkmd
October 31, 2013, 10:45 AM
I am building a new bench for reloading, and I plan on using the sears 6' metal bench frame and then "glue and screw" some 3/4 sheets of plywood for the bench top. I've seen some people using 2, but others more. I am planning on mounting 2 to 3 presses eventually, so I want it to be strong!

So how many sheets of 3/4 would be best?

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Reloadron
October 31, 2013, 10:48 AM
When I built my bench for the shop it was all wood with the top being 2X6 boards over which went a single sheet of 3/4 inch plywood glued and screwed. A single sheet over the 2X6 boards was all I needed and that bench was sturdy with 4X4 legs.

Ron

DammitBoy
October 31, 2013, 10:51 AM
They make plywood in 1 1/8th" thickness ya know...

Sam1911
October 31, 2013, 11:10 AM
Two layers is good and plenty! (And a whole lot easier to find and cheaper than 1-1/8" plywood.)

GBExpat
October 31, 2013, 11:23 AM
I have made several work benches over the past decade, or so ... reloading bench, gun bench, work benches.

I have provided them all with tops made by laminating 2 pieces of ¾" BC plywood with Gorilla Glue.

All of these benchtops are much more than adequate fro their uses.

MtnCreek
October 31, 2013, 11:26 AM
Mine are two layers of 3/4; one has an extra piece of backing just because I needed a smoother surface on that one. If you have to hit an exact height for some reason, keep in mind 3/4" plywood isn't 3/4" anymore. They cheat ya by about a 1/32nd.

When I built mine, my ocd was kicking in pretty good. I secured the first layer with liquid nails and screws. Gridded it and added a mark 3/4" off the edges with a strait edge and pencil. Applied liquid nails, set the next layer and secured in place w/ a few brads (set the gun to leave them a little high so I could remove). Then chalk lined a grid for short screws and a perimeter for longer screws to hit the structural part of the benches.

mahansm
October 31, 2013, 11:29 AM
Why not just buy the butcher block top? It's plenty strong enough, nicely finished, cut to size, comes with a back rail to keep small things from rolling off, and is available with the rest of the parts.

I used 1/4-20 inserts on the bench to easily mount and remove various items, including an RL-550 B, a Square Deal B, a Super Swage 600, a case trimmer, and a bench vise.

ranger335v
October 31, 2013, 11:43 AM
2"x4" legs are all anyone needs for vertical support, you're only going to reload on it, not support your 4x4 truck and camper.

A single layer of 3/4" is plenty of top thickness IF you add (front to rear) pieces of glued and screwed 2"x6" at the press locations. And have legs within 6" or less of the press locations to take the pressure without flexing the top.

GW Staar
October 31, 2013, 12:12 PM
If you built it with a triple 2X4 torsion beam in front one layer of 3/4" plywood is all you need....the torsion beam does the work of preventing movement during press strokes.

This is the cheapest way to build a bench that is extraordinarily strong. You mount your press with 6" long bolts and fender washers. Torsion beam is glued and screwed.
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel/BENCH4.jpg

http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel/BENCH2.jpg
No.....no cross pieces are needed with this 2'x8' design. The plywood only has to span 18".
Cutting list for such a bench below:
http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel/BENCH1-1.jpg

Ken70
October 31, 2013, 01:39 PM
Find a damaged, solid core interior door, that you can buy cheap. 1 3/8" thick and 80" long and up to 36" wide. You see them that were damaged by the monkeys in receiving. Nobody is going to buy a damaged door for their house, so they're cheap...

Walkalong
October 31, 2013, 01:48 PM
Check out businesses getting construction done. We have tossed out 3 or 4 heavy doors in the last couple of weeks. They make great table tops. All of our work tables have them for tops.

Shrinkmd
October 31, 2013, 02:59 PM
Thanks for the info GW Staar! That looks like it would be cheaper than the Sears metal legs, and that way I could paint the entire thing The right shade of blue, because I'm taking a big sip of the blue kool aid.

Is there a website or other reference to those plans? I'm still a little new to carpentry, but I'm trying to learn. I would probably have Home Depot make the cuts for me since I don't have a saw table. How many 2x4 would I need? Would I want the pressure treated or just the standard plain?

Thanks for the info!

stavman11
October 31, 2013, 03:25 PM
Just print what GW Staar posted... has all the info ya need right on it.... he wouldnt have posted it if he didnt wanna share it:p

looks Like a nice bench...... I used Butcher Board for my Tops... at the Time it wasnt designed for Loading... but now they are.... the Top actualy Flexes quite a bit... so have ADJUSTED it since... I also have used 3/4 Sheathing and put 1/8 Melamine on Top... NICE smooth top, cleans easy, and Looks Nice....

3/4" is Plenty as long as you dont overhang it off the edge where the press is Bolted to

I like GW's design of the Front Beam..... Great GRABB spot for the Press to bolt into...


PS

No Pressure Treated lumber... its a soft wood and is kinda garbage to build with... Dry Lumber would be best if ya can get it.... that way it dosent shrink up and cause ya grief... plus you can Paint it right away...
ya 20yrs in drafting and Lumber sales... heck i actualy retained a FEW things....LOL

J_McLeod
October 31, 2013, 03:59 PM
I got by for a year with a singe sheet bolted to a tool stand. It worked great, I just upgraded.

dagger dog
October 31, 2013, 05:04 PM
1 1/2" glued is enough.

I've been using a 3/4" sheet glued and screwed to the top of an old chest of drawers, 2 presses mounted on the end, all the dies and equipment in the 2 bottom drawers, with tools in the top drawer.

I have those plastic sliders on the legs so I can slide the unit into position so I can sit on a stool or stand to use the presses.

I've added a second dresser drawer with a 3/4" top, for use with my lubesizer, black powder drop tube, and to hold all my molds, lube sticks etc. I have peg board on the wall and the dresser drawers acts as a work bench, I have both installed into a corner and have a cheap wheeled office chair to roll between both benches.

Sam1911
October 31, 2013, 05:15 PM
Let me preface by giving the lie to what I'm about to say: I own, and for a long time used, a reloading bench made with a ONE INCH thick solid steel top. Most of the equipment bolts went through holes tapped to accept them. I know the value of the ULTIMATE solid bench top.

But that's not what I use now. For one thing, the bench with its steel legs ended up weighing almost 500 lbs. For another, it is totally unnecessary to go ULTIMATE solid. Buying a butcher-block top from Grizzly (or wherever) for $125-$450 is beyond overkill. It is stiff, and it is undoubtedly hard (being maple), but it isn't likely to be any stronger in the sort of torsional stress that a press puts on it as it tries to hold the press still against the handle force than a doubled 3/4" ply surface would be.

The real key to a good bench is anchoring. If it has to be free-standing (maybe you live in an apartment and don't want to attach to the walls) this is harder, but for most of us, framing the bench supports solidly to the wall studding and subfloor will do more good than an expensive, massively thick table top.

Rule3
October 31, 2013, 05:18 PM
No you do not need pressure treated wood unless you plan on loading outside.:D

Follow the plans or just take one 4x8 sheet and cut it in half, glue and screw together. Make some 2x4 frames and could even use 2x6 for legs.

If I had room, I would go to Harbor Junk (freight) and get their table, I have seen it and it is heavy and will do the job.

http://www.harborfreight.com/garage-shop/workbench/workbench-with-4-drawers-60-hardwood-69054.html

mgmorden
October 31, 2013, 05:34 PM
My old bench used two sheets of 3/4" plywood stacked and it worked fine.

My new bench uses 2x12's for the top which I felt was a little more sturdy.

Sam1911
October 31, 2013, 05:39 PM
When you consider the properties of a monolithic Spruce/Hem/Fir 2x12 (that's 1-1/2" x 11-1/4"), vs the 10+ plys of material composited together into two sheets of 3/4" ply (still 1-1/2" thick) they aren't stronger, or even close to as strong. (Though, of course, it will still be plenty strong, though the screw-thread tearout resistance won't be as good.)

...Well, now that I stop to think, you might have meant that you laminated 2x12s together on edge, so your bench top is 11-1/4" thick. That would indeed be stronger!

Shrinkmd
October 31, 2013, 08:11 PM
So if I successfuly build the all-wood bench (I like the less expensive part because I'm a little sticker shocked by the 1050, hope its worth it!) I am putting it against the cinder block wall of the garage. What would be the best way to anchor it to the wall? Would it make sense to drill some holes through the back part of the frame and send a couple of bolts into the block wall?

I know a lot more about reloading than carpentry, but I'm learning and really appreciate the advice.

smovlov
October 31, 2013, 08:15 PM
Tapcons (or something like it) would work fine. Probably space them every 24 inches and you'd be plenty sturdy.

http://www.tapcon.com/

witchhunter
October 31, 2013, 09:11 PM
Ken70 hit it. I built a bench out of a fire door from a hospital remodel. the best benchtop I have ever had.

Jcinnb
October 31, 2013, 09:32 PM
I went with 3/4 inch ply under an inch or so "composite" board. I like the very smooth surface of the composite. It has held up for a year now excptionally well. I also put a 2x6 on the bench which really firmly anchors my press. I anchored my bench to wall studies. Finally, I put a small bead of molding around the bench. It has saved countless things from rolling or falling off.

mgmorden
October 31, 2013, 09:38 PM
When you consider the properties of a monolithic Spruce/Hem/Fir 2x12 (that's 1-1/2" x 11-1/4"), vs the 10+ plys of material composited together into two sheets of 3/4" ply (still 1-1/2" thick) they aren't stronger, or even close to as strong.

You're probably right. At the time though much of my decision was based on the fact that I could easily get an 8' 2x12 chopped in two home fairly easily in my hatchback, whilst the plywood would be difficult without a lot of cutting :).

Sam1911
October 31, 2013, 09:42 PM
Ahhhh, that is indeed a very practical concern! :)

cfullgraf
October 31, 2013, 09:47 PM
All good information so far.

To add me 2 cents, rigid is the key. Any flex in the joints or members is undesirable.

There are many ways to increase the rigidity of the bench and mounting ut to the wall is an easy, simple way for most applications.

Making it heavy is another.

For free standing press stands, a wide base is necessary in part to distribute the load and make it less tippy, but also to give you a place to stand on. (Remdmber the heavy part above?)

Finally, I would glue all joints in addition to a mechanical fastener. My preference would be bolts (Remember the rigid part?). If there is flex in the joints, they will get loose making the bench useless over time.

Have fun with your build.

GW Starr provided some impressive information, details, and design. An excellent starting point fi s wood bench.

DM~
October 31, 2013, 09:53 PM
Just in case you want to build one right out of a tree, here's how i build mine...

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6984862#post6984862

It's still doing it's job! lol

DM

PhotoBiker
October 31, 2013, 09:55 PM
Two layers with about 5 coats of Poly have done quite well by me.

Kurastduuks
October 31, 2013, 09:57 PM
I've manufactured plywood for years and you'll be well served with 2 3/4" panels of standard cdx. That would be more than sufficient for any reloading bench.

Otto
October 31, 2013, 09:58 PM
I am building a new bench for reloading, and I plan on using the sears 6' metal bench frame and then "glue and screw" some 3/4 sheets of plywood for the bench top.

Sears makes a butcher block top for their bench frame. It's 1 1/2" thick and it's stronger than two pieces of plywood.
Plus, you will not need to cut, glue, sand or apply a finish. It looks good too.
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00914961000P?mv=rr

http://c.shld.net/rpx/i/s/i/spin/image/spin_prod_237487101?hei=315&wid=315&op_sharpen=1&resMode=sharp&op_usm=0.9,0.5,0,0

Kevin Rohrer
October 31, 2013, 10:03 PM
I stayed away from plywood because of the cost and went with 2x12s" and 2x10s". I also didn't use nails (which will work loose over time) or screws for the most part as I didn't think they were sturdy enough. I did use long screws to attach the top to the base, and they have done a good job of staying together.

The bench is bolted together using 5/8" bolts. Much stronger and can be dissasembled easily. This bench isn't going anywhere, no matter how much force I need to apply. And I have had to apply LOTS of both upward and downward force when resizing 7.62mm MG brass. :cuss:

An early pic:
http://i666.photobucket.com/albums/vv29/KevinRohrer/Reloading/IMG_0238.jpg

smovlov
October 31, 2013, 10:20 PM
I also like to add a masonite top to my benches. Its cheap, smooth, dont have to paint anything, and if it gets torn up its easy to replace. I usually fasten it with small nails and it holds well. The 1/8" variety has worked well for me.

dsm
October 31, 2013, 10:35 PM
My bench top is 3/4" oak plywood and have 5 presses mounted in a row and I have no issues. Top is screwed to kitchen cabinets for the base.

GW Staar
October 31, 2013, 10:37 PM
Thanks for the info GW Staar! That looks like it would be cheaper than the Sears metal legs, and that way I could paint the entire thing The right shade of blue, because I'm taking a big sip of the blue kool aid.

Is there a website or other reference to those plans? I'm still a little new to carpentry, but I'm trying to learn. I would probably have Home Depot make the cuts for me since I don't have a saw table. How many 2x4 would I need? Would I want the pressure treated or just the standard plain?

Thanks for the info!

The plans came of a project I did on my own bench which started life as a bench to work on motorcycle motors on. I had to beef it up to convert it to a reloading bench when I got displaced from my original reloading room. Wife needed the space.....and I'm so magnanimous.:rolleyes: Being a building contractor and having done structural engineering for many years I had the tools and knowledge do it right, and I was taught to share.:)
Though my own bench has drawers and a middle leg, neither are necessary for rigid 2'x8' bench. I also added 2 extra 2x4's and some quarter-round to each leg for looks. I have pictures demonstrating those too.

For your information, if you just right-click on a picture then click "view image data", you will see that this comes from a photobucket account.

Under "Location" is the picture's .jpg url: "http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel/BENCH4.jpg"

If you copy it all except "BENCH4.jpg" to the clipboard, you will have a direct url to all my open to the public Photobucket torsion beam bench pictures.

Like this: http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel

Pressure-treated stuff is on the rough side....I wouldn't like it.....but then neither do termites.:rolleyes:

http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel/IMG_0429.jpg

GaryL
October 31, 2013, 10:58 PM
One thing I've thought of doing, and have not seen posted here, is a recessed bench front for a free standing application. It should be exceptionally stable if it is well built. So instead of the torque being applied in front of the front legs, it would be behind them, and the torque would help hold the bench in place. Then add some low shelves underneath for components and ammo for mass, and it won't ever move. Unless the ammo's gone and there's no bullets for weight.

DM~
November 1, 2013, 09:33 AM
That's one of the advantages of the CO-AX press. It can be mounted pretty much anywhere in the bench top.

I like mine recessed into the top like this,

http://www.fototime.com/22B562BD8870656/standard.jpg

and as you can see, i rotate it toward me a bit too.

DM

Rule3
November 1, 2013, 10:01 AM
The plans came of a project I did on my own bench which started life as a bench to work on motorcycle motors on. I had to beef it up to convert it to a reloading bench when I got displaced from my original reloading room. Wife needed the space.....and I'm so magnanimous.:rolleyes: Being a building contractor and having done structural engineering for many years I had the tools and knowledge do it right, and I was taught to share.:)
Though my own bench has drawers and a middle leg, neither are necessary for rigid 2'x8' bench. I also added 2 extra 2x4's and some quarter-round to each leg for looks. I have pictures demonstrating those too.

For your information, if you just right-click on a picture then click "view image data", you will see that this comes from a photobucket account.

Under "Location" is the picture's .jpg url: "http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel/BENCH4.jpg"

If you copy it all except "BENCH4.jpg" to the clipboard, you will have a direct url to all my open to the public Photobucket torsion beam bench pictures.

Like this: http://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad195/gstrad/Bench%20Remodel

Pressure-treated stuff is on the rough side....I wouldn't like it.....but then neither do termites.:rolleyes:


Dang! Get a real bench!:) You can build me one anytime.!

Potatohead
November 1, 2013, 10:09 AM
Nice "jam box" there DM :)

Shrinkmd
November 1, 2013, 10:38 PM
Silly question: I can only fit a 7' bench and not 8. For the lengthwise pieces, should I just subtract 1 foot from each of them? I assume the legs stay the same.

Also, to make sure it is level, would I need leveling feet and drill them into the two legs? I'm not sure my garage floor is perfectly flat. And then attaching the plywood bench top, would I screw it on from above or could I do it from below, depending on the right length of wood screws?

Thanks again for the great info. I'll post pictures when I'm done.

Hungry1
November 1, 2013, 10:49 PM
I'm a little late to this thread, but I used a modified version of these plans for my bench.

http://www.somerssportsmen.com/bench.pdf

Ken70
November 1, 2013, 11:40 PM
Silly question: I can only fit a 7' bench and not 8. For the lengthwise pieces, should I just subtract 1 foot from each of them? I assume the legs stay the same.

Also, to make sure it is level, would I need leveling feet and drill them into the two legs? I'm not sure my garage floor is perfectly flat. And then attaching the plywood bench top, would I screw it on from above or could I do it from below, depending on the right length of wood screws?

Thanks again for the great info. I'll post pictures when I'm done.
I was gonna post something about why someone with the kind of income a psychologist in New Jersey could earn and PAY someone to make a bench; but I won't....

Shrinkmd
November 2, 2013, 08:54 AM
I was gonna post something about why someone with the kind of income a psychologist in New Jersey could earn and PAY someone to make a bench; but I won't....

For many things, it is more meaningful if you do it yourself. People who focus exclusively on earning and paying people to do things often feel unhappy and dissatisfied, as they wind up missing out on some of life's more rewarding moments.

I have no problem paying Mr. Dillon and his friends in Scottsdale to put together that press, however ;)

GBExpat
November 2, 2013, 09:13 AM
Since the years that I helped care for my folks who had stroked, my sister has referred to my firearms and woodworking hobbies as my Therapy. :)

And I still consider them to be part of my daily, um, Maintenance Therapy Regimen. I find reloading, especially, to be calming.

stavman11
November 2, 2013, 10:33 AM
Silly question: I can only fit a 7' bench and not 8. For the lengthwise pieces, should I just subtract 1 foot from each of them? I assume the legs stay the same.

Also, to make sure it is level, would I need leveling feet and drill them into the two legs? I'm not sure my garage floor is perfectly flat. And then attaching the plywood bench top, would I screw it on from above or could I do it from below, depending on the right length of wood screws?

Thanks again for the great info. I'll post pictures when I'm done.

a simple answer is Yes:D

Reduce all the Length pieces by 12"
Basicaly A,D,E & F would be shortened by 12"


And i agree... I pay people to work on my Diesel truck.. what do ya really do with 14qts of Oil...LOL

But I enjoy the tinkering and doing projects Myself... yes it is a therapy for sure...

just like Tinkering with Loads, Cleaning my Guns, Flying RC Planes... its all the same, well Kinda:p

have fun Building it Bud


Stav..........

DM~
November 2, 2013, 10:40 AM
And i agree... I pay people to work on my Diesel truck.. what do ya really do with 14qts of Oil...LOL

I mix it 50/50 with clean diesel, double filter it, and pour it into my fuel tank for summer fuel. My diesels run just fine on it, and i get some payback on my oil purchase.

If i'm REALLY lazy, i use it to start fires in my woodstove...

DM

GW Staar
November 2, 2013, 02:10 PM
Silly question: I can only fit a 7' bench and not 8. For the lengthwise pieces, should I just subtract 1 foot from each of them? I assume the legs stay the same. Yes, and Yes (at least if you want close to a 36" high bench).

Also, to make sure it is level, would I need leveling feet and drill them into the two legs? I'm not sure my garage floor is perfectly flat. And then attaching the plywood bench top, would I screw it on from above or could I do it from below, depending on the right length of wood screws?

Thanks again for the great info. I'll post pictures when I'm done.

The way to level your bench can best be explained with an example, then you can adjust for your own situation:

First, cut all the horizontal parts of the bench, then lay them out on the floor where they go. Then, using a level follow the bubble and find the highest corner and start there.(bubble always moves in the vial to the high side)

Now for the example:

1: High corner in this example is the front right corner (this corner is where you just use the plan measurements on the leg).....so from there level the right end 2x4 and shim up the low end until level and measure the void under it. (example is 1/4")

2: Measure up the wall on that end, the plan's "H" measurement, 35-1/4"+1/4" and mark the wall at 35-1/2" from the floor.

3: Level the long back 2x4 by lifting the low end, shim, and measure the void under the low end. (example...left side is another 1/8" lower)

4: Measure up the wall on the left side 35-1/2"+ 1/8" and mark the wall at 35-5/8" from the floor. Chalk a line between marks and you have where the back 2x4 support goes.

5: Last corner: level the same way, the left end 2x4.....example is another 1/4" lower. So then that leg's "H" cut measurement is 35-1/4 +1/4"+1/8"+1/4" or 35-7/8" long.

As a final check level the front beam member, you should find after shimming the low end, that it's 5/8" lower than the other end.

On the top...do screw it on, from the top, with lots of 1-1/2" deck screws. With this design, the top provides additional resistance to torquing. When you stroke the press, besides trying to twist the heavy beam, you attempt to lift the top from the back wall.

Drill and countersink. Below flush allows you to hide the screws with putty if you plan to paint it all blue. If you stain use twice as many small head trim screws also counter sunk. Color putty them after you stain and varnish.

Cut your top to fit the support members exactly, then add a 3/4"x1-1/2" trim all the way around giving you a 3/4" overhang. I like to notch my trim so I can mount my presses 3/4" further back....but that's a personal option. You mount the presses using 6" bolts and use the wide fender washers (2 each) above the nuts to distribute the holding powder across beam members.

Obviously. this isn't the only way to build a bench, but combining the cheap material price, short build time, and a rock solid beam makes it attractive.

Shrinkmd
November 5, 2013, 12:32 AM
I'm making progress, glued, clamped, and screwed the benchtop plywood together, and I glued & screwed the three pieces of the torsion beam together. Everything is drying overnight, so I will try assembling the frame tomorrow or the next day.

Questions:

1 - How many screws to put the top on? One every inch, two inches? A double row or just singles along the edge? Should I use wood glue/liquid nails on the frame as well? And should I add some screws into the torsion bar as well, or only around the edge of the frame?

2 - I was going to ask about using a water based stain on wood putty, but I did a quick search and found Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler, which can be stained with their water based stains and finished with their topcoats. One problem solved, just gotta find some since Home Depot didn't have it.

3 - I'm still a little confused about the leveling process. I haven't tried the measuring yet, so I will and get back to you

4- When mounting presses on the front edge, the big bolts will be going through the torsion bar, right? I hope I don't hit any of the many screws I used in between those three layers! I guess a metal drill bit will chomp right through?

5 - Is it worth putting on the pre-treatment for the water based stain? I usually use oil based stains, so it isn't an issue. I know I'm making a giant blueberry colored bench, not a fine rifle stock, but I don't want it to be blotchy. I've done several stocks and other items before with stain, so I have some experience with this. Also, I'm planning on assembling everything first, then doing some light sanding on the legs and benchtop prior to staining.

6- Tell me more about adding the trim pieces. I assume that I would be purchasing 3 pieces of 3/4"x1-1/2" lumber or just screwing them onto the sides to cover the laminated plywood. Do you need to know the dimensions of your press prior to notching the trim, or can you do it after the long piece is installed?

I was tempted to PM, but I figure other people will be building and the knowledge is a good thing to share.

GW Staar
November 5, 2013, 01:45 AM
I'm making progress, glued, clamped, and screwed the benchtop plywood together, and I glued & screwed the three pieces of the torsion beam together. Everything is drying overnight, so I will try assembling the frame tomorrow or the next day.

Questions:

1 - How many screws to put the top on? One every inch, two inches? A double row or just singles along the edge? Should I use wood glue/liquid nails on the frame as well? And should I add some screws into the torsion bar as well, or only around the edge of the frame?

If you glue the top on, screws every 6" is plenty....no glue double that. Gluing the frame isn't necessary as long as you screw it together with doubled 3" deck screws (see drawing).....especially if you ever plan on moving it. But you can of course. Screw into the torsion beam across the front member and the rear member.....but plan ahead...try not to put screws where your press bolts want to go through. Also screw to the back and side supports.

2 - I was going to ask about using a water based stain on wood putty, but I did a quick search and found Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler, which can be stained with their water based stains and finished with their topcoats. One problem solved, just gotta find some since Home Depot didn't have it.

You are on your own with the water-based stains. I've never used them. Not that they're bad, I just don't have any experience with them....old fashioned oil base type.:rolleyes: Oil-based stains aren't blotchy, but sometimes some woods don't take stains well everywhere. The trick is to add just a little stain to tint the finish varnish.....to even things out. I'd think you could do the same thing with water-based finishes....but make sure stain and finish are compatible chemically.

3 - I'm still a little confused about the leveling process. I haven't tried the measuring yet, so I will and get back to you

Read and do one step at a time.

4- When mounting presses on the front edge, the big bolts will be going through the torsion bar, right? I hope I don't hit any of the many screws I used in between those three layers! I guess a metal drill bit will chomp right through?

Yes you go through the beam with 6" bolts. Use large fender washers above the nuts. Try to miss the nails. If you can't, don't try to drill too fast with too much pressure or the bit will try to go around.


5 - Is it worth putting on the pre-treatment for the water based stain? I usually use oil based stains, so it isn't an issue. I know I'm making a giant blueberry colored bench, not a fine rifle stock, but I don't want it to be blotchy. I've done several stocks and other items before with stain, so I have some experience with this. Also, I'm planning on assembling everything first, then doing some light sanding on the legs and benchtop prior to staining.

Again, not an expert with water-based stains. See answer above. Blueberry!....amazing. Should be an interesting experience. :D

6- Tell me more about adding the trim pieces. I assume that I would be purchasing 3 pieces of 3/4"x1-1/2" lumber or just screwing them onto the sides to cover the laminated plywood. Do you need to know the dimensions of your press prior to notching the trim, or can you do it after the long piece is installed?

The plywood should be the same size as the frame. I used putty covered finish nails to mount the trim. I mounted my presses first, then trimmed around them. I used a drum sander in a drill to make an indent for the press handles where needed. I didn't glue it, because I may want to change equipment some day, and re-trim.

I was tempted to PM, but I figure other people will be building and the knowledge is a good thing to share.

As long as this is your thread you're making me get wordy in it's okay. :D

horsemen61
November 5, 2013, 02:42 AM
I got lucky and bought a. Very nice old desk for five bucks

Sam1911
November 5, 2013, 07:47 AM
1 - How many screws to put the top on? One every inch, two inches? A double row or just singles along the edge? Should I use wood glue/liquid nails on the frame as well? And should I add some screws into the torsion bar as well, or only around the edge of the frame?Every 6" along the edges, every 8" in the field is plenty. Especially if you're gluing it, too.

3 - I'm still a little confused about the leveling process. I haven't tried the measuring yet, so I will and get back to youYou're basically using a level to find the highest spot where a leg will go and then calculating how much extra length to add to the other legs to get the bench to sit level. Nothing wrong with adjusting it for a more precise fit after the fact, if you have to.

4- When mounting presses on the front edge, the big bolts will be going through the torsion bar, right? I hope I don't hit any of the many screws I used in between those three layers! I guess a metal drill bit will chomp right through?Yup, too many screws can be a pain, and don't help anything. You can drill right through the beam for long bolts, or if your bolt holes land over solid wood just use lag screws. Plenty strong for the application. If all you're able to hit is a single layer of plywood, I'd use a through-bolt with a fender washer behind the nut.

6- Tell me more about adding the trim pieces. I assume that I would be purchasing 3 pieces of 3/4"x1-1/2" lumber or just screwing them onto the sides to cover the laminated plywood. Do you need to know the dimensions of your press prior to notching the trim, or can you do it after the long piece is installed?I'd install the trim and get everything finished before mounting anything. Then set the press where you'll want it to go and mark around it to show you what will have to be removed. Then score and pare away the trim carefully with a sharp chisel for a clean job.

wally
November 6, 2013, 06:31 PM
Mine is 4x4s (2x4s would work but you'd need twice as many) squeezed together with threaded rods and a single layer of 3/4" marine plywood on top. Its also bolted to the joists in the wall. Very solid.

Crosbyman
November 6, 2013, 07:50 PM
I use 3/16" steel plate on top of one 3/4" piece of plywood on five tables.

Devilfrog
November 7, 2013, 09:51 AM
My last benchtop I built was built on a layer of 2x's under 3/4" plywood and a sheet of "tile board" on top which gave a smooth and very easy to clean work space. The presses mounted to rails so they could be removed / changed giving me more work space.

Clark
November 7, 2013, 03:10 PM
I have built thick reloading benches and thin reloading benches.

There are other considerations; bench weight, bench shape, press to be used, and what the press is expected to do.

Remember statics in college?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statics

My father, the gun designer, talked that way. He would have said there is a moment arm the press knob couples to the bench.

I am still back in grade school, thinking and talking in terms of leverage.

My old cursed rockchucker puts such a force on the bench that it has to be mounted at the end of a free mounted bench to keep the legs of the bench from lifting.

The co-ax press puts very little on the bench in terms of constraints.

I found that I am better off mounting the bench to the wall if the rockchucker is trying to tip it over.

James2
November 7, 2013, 07:58 PM
So how many sheets of 3/4 would be best?

I just used one and beefed up the press location with a piece of 2x6 under the top. Plenty adequate.

Sheepdog1968
November 7, 2013, 08:58 PM
Just in case you want to build one right out of a tree, here's how i build mine...

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6984862#post6984862

It's still doing it's job! lol

DM
That's really cool.

Shrinkmd
November 11, 2013, 12:39 AM
Well, the top is screwed on. Some of the glue smeared when I put the benchtop on, but hopefully enough is still there. Plus a whole lotta screws!

I put some Elmer's stainable wood filler putty in the countersunk holes, but I think I need to hit it again. Will the putty sand flat? I tried to fill the holes neatly, but then when I used the putty knife to level it, some small amounts fell out. If I oversmear a bit will I be able to sand flat later?

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=191055&stc=1&d=1384147210

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=191056&stc=1&d=1384147210

GW Staar
November 11, 2013, 12:52 AM
Yes, I usually over fill and sand with an orbital after 6 hours or so. If some falls out it was a bit too dry. add some more fresh and sand.

Shrinkmd
November 17, 2013, 11:58 PM
Should I stain it a second time, or do you think it will be blue enough? It is a bit blotchy, but I used the prestain conditioner. Oh well. I have great respect for people who can get the stain super even, but then again it is just 2x4 and plywood sheeting.

I was thinking about arranging the space so it won't be as crowded as my other bench. I was thinking to divide the bench in half, and then center each press in the middle. I was also thinking to put one Rock Dock on the bench, that way the 1050 can stay permanently installed, but maybe I might get another Hornady LNL AP for smaller batches and leave it all set up, skip the casefeeder. I also need to find room on the bench for the nice Dillon scale, as well as a Giraud trimmer. I might also move my Dillon super swager over from the other bench.

So should I start finishing or stain again? The can has plenty left in it. And am I better off with a polyurethane wiping varnish, or an acrylic based like the Formby's Tung Oil (it isn't) wiping varnish?

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=191318&stc=1&d=1384750618

GW Staar
November 18, 2013, 01:21 AM
Like I told you, blue stain and for that matter any water-based stain is beyond my experience. Sorry, but you're still on your own.

Only you can say whether more is better.....try a place where it don't show and see. An option also is to brush on the stain and not wiping it off. That would color the areas that didn't take stain......you can also tint the clear finish.

As for the finish, if you're going to have a top that resists dirt and grime you are going to need more than a wiping finish. Several coats of Urethane may work best. I went beyond stain and varnish on mine and glued on a Formica top.

If you decide you aren't getting what you want with the blue stain, you can always stain over it with a brown or paint it.

Blue68f100
November 18, 2013, 09:49 AM
I just used a sheet of 1/4" hard Masonite as the final top, screwed on. The smooth surface makes it easy to clean and can be replaced if needed.

trgt
November 18, 2013, 10:31 AM
> If I had room, I would go to Harbor Junk (freight) and get their table, I have seen it and it is heavy and will do the job.
> http://www.harborfreight.com/garage-...ood-69054.html

That's funny, I have one of these, part for me and partially for the kids. I c-clamped my press to it temporarily while I looked at building a wall mount, and then of course used it a bit. It was surprisingly stable! (Press is mounted on a strong arm mount, c-clamping to table was easy). I'll add some mounting holes to the table so I can use here when needed.

... got the table recently one of their 40% off coupons which made it nicer!

brickeyee
November 18, 2013, 05:33 PM
Buy some fl;at sawn 2x lumber.

Rip it into 1.5 in wide strips.

Turn each strip 90 degrees to make it lt now 'quarter sawn.'

Sandwich between twp layers (one on each side) of 3/8 inch underlayment (B-C type grade or better).

A layer of tempered Masonite on each side will further extend the life.

Shrinkmd
December 3, 2013, 07:33 AM
I messed up drilling the holes, and two were not in the right spot. I put a drill bit through the press and tapped on it to mark the spot, but somehow the right two holes aren't correct. I was able to drill from below and get another hole working, but the last hole is no good. I broke a drill bit off and had to pound it out. The expression, "when you realize you're in a hole, stop digging!" comes to mind.

So, in the clearer light of morning, what are my options? One thought I had was to move the press 3" to the left, use the two working holes, and just carefully redrill another two holes, and then use some wood putty to fill in the other two disasters. I figure I can just sand and stain those little holes, and then just throw another layer of finish over it so it won't look so bad.

I also saw on a woodworking site about cutting a plug, and using that to fill in a gap. So if I used a plug cutting bit I could make a plug out of plywood and it would look "nicer" but that would be lots more work.

Or, any suggestions on how I could just make that last crappy hole useable? I tried drilling it wider with larger drill bits, but I didn't have any other size 6" long bits. I also think that once I drilled the channel from below off center, that any attempt to drill again in the same area is making the bit slide off center. I don't have a drill press, but I have an attachment for a hand drill which allows you to set the angle and it rests against the surface so you can drill reasonably perpendicular holes (hey, the first two were good).

Would it make sense to fill the last hole up with wood putty as best I can, let it dry, and just try to redrill that one hole? Is there any other compound which I could inject into that messed up hole to let it harden and dry, so I can give it another try? The other three holes are good, and I like the location where it is, so in theory this would be best.

Thank you for all help and suggestions. I will try adding a picture or two as well later.

Sam1911
December 3, 2013, 07:53 AM
If you can open up the botched hole a little bit so that it will allow the bolt to pass through, just use "fender" washers (above and below the wood, if needed).

You really don't want to count on whatever you might use to fill the hole to resist any pressure. There certainly are very strong ways of repairing such things, but they're more bother and aren't necessary for what you're trying to do.

Shrinkmd
December 3, 2013, 07:56 AM
Tried that, but it wasn't going well. I did a bit more searching online on "fix misdrilled hole in wood" and got some ideas. I will try the dowel method I was just looking up. I figure if I get a nice 1/2" drill bit and some dowel that will plug up the whole mistake, and then I can redrill a nice 1/4" hole again through the repair area.

I feel really dumb making the mistake, but I sure did learn a whole lot from it (no pun intended). Here's hoping the repair goes well.

GW Staar
December 3, 2013, 11:00 AM
White or yellow wood glue and a wood dowel from home depot will fix it. Just slather glue on both surfaces to give the best coverage and slidability before it sets and drive it in. Let it dry then re-drill.

If your hole doesn't fit dowel sizes (even wallered out perhaps) just drill to the next larger sized dowel and proceed as above.

Measure twice drill once.......or even measure 4 times drill once!:D

If you'll put your press in place and using a china marker, mark inside the slots or holes while the press is sitting there you may have better luck.

(:rolleyes:well....that was a waste of time....while I typed away you posted that you already came up with that.)

brickeyee
December 3, 2013, 01:39 PM
I keep preses mounted on lengths of 2x lumber and use F-clamps to old them on the bench top.

Even 2x will flex under the clamps with my old 4x4 press.

I inlaid steel angle over the width of each board at each end to stiffen the wood.

No more flex, and the steel spreads the clamp pressure out and prevents crushing the wood fiber.

GLOOB
December 3, 2013, 02:36 PM
When you go to redrill the plugged hole, use a forstner bit, if you have one. Or make a small pilot hole. The dowel might want to push your hole off center.

deadeye dick
December 4, 2013, 04:33 PM
made my bench out of particle board with 6 coats of varnish for a smooth surface. Nailed or screw a 2x4 ledger board on the wall at the desired height and used 2 three and a half inch door hinges to fasten the top to the 2x4. This way it will drop down when not in use which saves space. I cut 2-- 2x2 legs with a 1/2 inch dowel sticking out of the top to pin it to the top. I drilled a 1/2 in. hole to accept the dowel pin in each corner. plenty strong! When I want to use it I just lift it up slip the legs under it and pin them in. Done

Shrinkmd
December 5, 2013, 08:15 AM
The dowels went in no problem. I squeezed them in my pliers to create some grooves for the glue, and tapped them home. I bought the forstner bits, so hopefully it will be no problem to redo the holes in the right place.

Different question, about the grade of fasteners. I have the universal mounting kit, but obviously the bolts don't reach. I purchased some standard grade 1/4-20 6" bolts. Would it make any difference to order some Grade 5 or Grade 8 bolts instead? And somewhere I read that if you use Grade 8 you need to match the washers and nuts also in Grade 8.

Any advice on the types of nuts/washers and if this would be useful?

Sam1911
December 5, 2013, 08:25 AM
:) For what you're doing the standard fasteners will be JUST fine.

Grade 5 and Grade 8 (and all the other designations) are for the sorts of pressures and tensions you generally need power equipment (motors, hydraulics, etc.) to break.

You're just pulling on a press arm with your hands. The basic Grade 2 stuff will work perfectly.

aka108
December 5, 2013, 02:06 PM
When we finished the house, carports and shop I had a nice pile of scrapwood and a few unused pieces of lumber. About 2 hours of labor and a couple of beer I had a reloading bench tied into one of the shop walls Plywood on top is half inch but supported by many crossmembers. Been there for 26 years. Wall cabinets were made from empty wood ammo cases. It is not a showpiece, just functional.

osteodoc08
December 5, 2013, 02:54 PM
I built a bench very similar to GW Staar's drawings out of 2x6 pine I was given. I've got several presses on it. Rock solid. I put in a plywood shelf and backer. It's almost 6' long. Weights a couple hundred pounds empty. Probably over 1000 with all the equipment and junk on it.

bgw45
December 6, 2013, 12:51 PM
When I started reloading I had no space to set-up. I did have a really old end table made in the days when "real" wood was used in furniture. I bolted a 1/4" boiler plate on it and mounted my press ( a Dillon 550 ) to the plate. I made many thousands of rounds from that unusual set up.

At another residence I made a table from 4X4 legs, brackets for decks, plywood stiffeners, a solid wood door and the old boilerplate. Still waiting for the girls to dance on it. They never show.....

HOWARD J
December 6, 2013, 02:42 PM
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/801/dsc03399k.jpg/

I have 3 benches
2 Sears
1 Wards
from early 1970's--1 1/8" thick
they are still holding up

Shrinkmd
December 6, 2013, 06:26 PM
I attempted again to drill the last two holes. I used a template, taped washers to the bottom of the cardboard, and fed all the bolts through the bottom of the press. I then used the two good holes and the bolts to make sure it was in the right place. I even drilled through the center of the washers for the holes.

Unfortunately, the two new holes were still just a bit too far to the side, and I couldn't mount the press. I filled up these holes with more dowels and wood glue, and I'll try again tomorrow.

What am I doing wrong? I will try using some white out or paint to dribble through the press mounting holes while it is bolted in place with the two bolts on the left side which are fine. This is very frustrating.

Any other ideas?

Sam1911
December 6, 2013, 06:50 PM
It's pretty difficult to drill a straight hole into the endgrain of a dowel. It tends to make your bit track off in a strange direction as the wood fibers run. Drilling and cutting is much easier to keep true going across the wood grain where you're shearing across the fibers. Heading straight into it gives the wood itself some say in the matter. Hence, I don't like using dowels for this sort of repair. (If this was a furniture or flooring repair, you'd be using a face-grain plug, not a dowel, and orienting the grain direction to match the substrate material.)

But how far off could they possibly be? If you're at all close, even sort of, drilling the two "bad" holes out bigger and using fender washers like I'd mentioned would get it mounted rock solid.

As to what you're doing wrong? Well, it's hard to say, not being right there to watch. Transferring layout lines and marks properly for drilling and cutting is really a very critical and fundamental skill every woodworker and machinist must learn, and it isn't easy.

Rule3
December 6, 2013, 07:00 PM
Anytime I have to attach something like a press that has 3 or 4 holes, I usually just mark one hole. Drill it and and attach it with a bolt so it's tight.

I then go and mark another hole, drill through the press mount if I can. If not remove the first bolt and drill the second hole. Etc Etc. If you try and drill all of them at the same time the evil Gremlins move it a fraction and nothing fits!.;) Even with a template if it is not perfectly flat or there is a fold in the template or bump in the wood it will be off. Are you drilling a starter or small pilot hole in the center first? Bolts usually do not fit due to the hole being not perfectly straight or 90 degrees to the flat top. if the angle ever so much they will not fit so you end up trying to ream them out larger.

Shrinkmd
December 6, 2013, 07:04 PM
Instead of using paint or trying to mark it while the press is partially mounted, would I be better off measuring the 3 or 3.5 inches across and marking it that way?

But if I mess up again, you're certain that enlarging the holes to 5/16 doesn't matter as long as I tighten everything up nicely with fender washers?

I'm still speechless that the template didn't work. I must have been off by the wiggle room of the 4 washers. Yet they were centered and I drilled right through the middle.

Sam1911
December 6, 2013, 07:20 PM
But if I mess up again, you're certain that enlarging the holes to 5/16 doesn't matter as long as I tighten everything up nicely with fender washers?The clamping pressure provided by a nut and bold won't be in the least reduced by the slight reduction of wood between the washers.

And you already have two tight holes that will keep the press from shifting if you bump it sideways.

GW Staar
December 6, 2013, 07:55 PM
It isn't rocket science, nor is it critical to build it like a swiss watch. Get the next size Spade Bit and drill them through. Fender washers are a must anyway, because you are going through a laminated beam of 3 2x4's and you want pressure on at least two of them if your spacing puts them between laminations. When you tighten the bolts nuts & fender washers (and add a lock washer after the fender washer) you will impress the fender washer into the beam where it will not shift.....therefore if you need 5/16" drill to do the job so be it.

I say spade bit, because you can waller it out even more if you need. (I would have started with a 5/16" wood spade bit in the first place, if I was drilling my bench for 1/4" bolts.)

I'm not sure why somebody thought you needed an expensive forstner bit......wrong tool that makes a simple job twice as hard.

Shrinkmd
December 6, 2013, 08:21 PM
Ha ha , I like the Swiss watch comment! I will try the "bolt down and mark the next hole" technique. But if that doesn't work out I'll just follow your advice and make bigger holes.

It is really nice how the two holes which work just drop right in, but if it isn't critical then I'm ready to cry uncle and move on. And I need to dab a little stain and then a bit more finish over some minor scrapes. I know the table is a workbench, but my finish came out nicely.

Maybe I should've taken wood shop in junior high instead of French. Although the shop teacher was a sadist. C'est la vie!

Shrinkmd
December 12, 2013, 12:39 AM
I loaded my first 100 rounds on the machine. I feel like Darth Vader must have felt when he blew up Alderaan. This machine is fully operational! I will post some pics later of the setup.

The 1050 is a dream to use, although I am very glad it was not my first reloading machine, or my first progressive. It is starting to make more sense to me, it's an intimidating piece of machinery. I understand why you wouldn't want to try and work up loads with this machine. It seems better suited to the "set it and forget it" approach. Although I appreciate how all the adjustments, with the exception of the swager and primer seating, are all locked in, so if I ever wanted to do a caliber change, all the settings stay constant. That was my gripe with the Hornady LNL AP, that getting the case belling and setting the casefeeder up to work correctly was too fiddly. But for now I have a pile of range 9mm brass to turn into loaded rounds!

Thank you to everyone who helped me out, especially GW Staar! The bench is rock solid, and the loader feels like it is welded on. At some point I'll need advice on what kind of shelves and whatnot I'll put behind the bench on the wall. But for now I can't wait to try out my first loads!

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