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Another newbie question: Bench height?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Legionnaire, Mar 18, 2006.

?

What height should I build my rifle cartridge reloading bench?

  1. Standing height; like a shop bench.

    29 vote(s)
    58.0%
  2. Sitting height; like a desk.

    21 vote(s)
    42.0%
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  1. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    I'm about to set to work building my first reloading bench. I'm going to start working on rifle ammo, with an eye toward precision. For this application, is it better to build the bench to stand or sit while I work?
     
  2. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    Legionnaire,

    Some of this depends entirely upon you and the type of reloading you're planning on doing on that bench. I've built several benches and just finished one today.

    Here's a couple thoughts:

    Build one you can sit on a auto parts shop stool and reload. I built mine 30 inches tall, then added an oak "strong mount" to elevate the prise to where the bins mounted to the press are level with my shoulder while sitting at a stool. (BTW, I have a Hornady Lock N Load progressive I use most.)

    Build one you can carry through a stand house door without disassembling. 2 foot by three foot or so a good size.

    Built it hefty, but don't spend tons on materials.

    Particle board, overlaid with masonite (hardpaperboard, the brown stuff) makes for a good, durable, inexpensive top. Trim the sides with some 1 x 4 pine. Glue and screw together.

    Use two by four studs for the legs and framing. You can make it stronger by double two studs for the legs and cutting dado joints in the boards so the horizontal cross support boards rest on the vertical leg boards.

    Build a wall mount shelving unit out of pine. Use pegboard on the back of it to strengthen the middle of the shelves and to provide you a place to hang wrenches for dies. Make the bottom shelf big enough to hold your reloading manuals and books.

    Build a shelf underneath your bench made of OSB to hold other stuff and as a place to store cartridges in GI ammo cans. Why? Because these add lots of weight to help you stabilize a smaller bench.

    Bolt the legs and frame together, this makes for a bench that stays stable over time. Use washers and lock washers. The bolts should be the round headed type, can't remember the name.

    BTW, I built my bench entirely out of scrapes left over from other projects. Total cost to me was $5.00 for bolts, screws and $5.00 for the pine boards to build the shelf out of the cutoff bin at Home Depot.

    Hope this helps,

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  3. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Mine is in between a stand up and a sit down bench. I use a tall stool...No place for me to vote...
     
  4. dav

    dav Member

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    Standing height is much more versatile. If you get tired of sitting, you can work standing. With the length of the throw arm on presses, you cannot work at a desk height bench while standing. If you have to get up to load the press with more powder, lots easier to slide down off of a stool than to get up out of a chair.
     
  5. kart racer

    kart racer Member

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    I built mine where I could cut 96 inch 2x4's without waste,although my carpenter skills suck.For a bench top I used 2, 3/4 inch plywood sheets.With the 2x4's I doubled them up and bolted them together to make the legs.
     
  6. whipper

    whipper Member

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    Legionnaire,

    I hope this works, this is my bench, and I got this from the NRA Handloading book Published January 1981. (Hope I do not get in trouble for copyright violation) :uhoh: My Dad built it for me about 15 years ago and it works great.:D The top is made of tong and grove 2 X 4’s and the draws hold a lot of weight, almost 80 pounds in each very sturdy.
    reloding bench.jpg
     
  7. esheato

    esheato Member

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    I usually stand when I load, but I purchased a bar stool and it allows for a pretty good seat too. No where for me to vote either.

    Ed
     
  8. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Member

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    I think my bench is somewhere between sitting and standing. It's just right for sitting on a stool and pulling the press handle.

    I used the "EAA Chapter 1000 Standardized Work Table" (my review here; plans and instructions here). It's very sturdy (it's for building airplanes, after all) and easy to build.
     
  9. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

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    I kind of like to lean on my stool more than sitting on it. I suggest you make one on the high side and then start lopping legs off a bit if you find it too high.
     
  10. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Thanks for the feedback thus far. I like the idea of a slightly higher work surface with a stool. And Chawbaccer's idea of building one where the legs can be shortened make sense. At this point, I'm leaning toward the higher surface.
     
  11. ATAShooter

    ATAShooter Member

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    My top is 36" tall. And I park my lazy carcass on a barstool.
     
  12. scotty

    scotty Member

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    For me, it depends.

    When using the single stage press for low volume precision type loading, I prefer to sit on a bar stool. The bar stool is a few inches below bench height and puts the press at a very comfortable height.

    When using the Dillon 550 mounted at the other end of the bench for volume loading, I prefer to stand. This makes it easier for me to keep an eye on what is going on at all the stations. The 550 is mounted on a Dillon strong mount which raises it above the bench just enough to make it comfortable to use while standing.
     
  13. nvshooter

    nvshooter member

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    I use the old kitchen table and chairs my parents bought in 1964. So much history in that table. I remember many, many times my dad yelling his head off at me and backhanding me across the face for stupid things I did. How could I ever use a commercially-produced bench after all those happy times?
     
  14. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Sitting and running a press doesn't work for me, been there and done that.

    My bench is 36" tall, lets me see what I am doing yet is at a comfortable height for me to operate the handles of the presses completely with just arm movement and without moving my body.
     
  15. dtalley

    dtalley Member

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    I have an small old sturdy desk that I converted. I agree that sometimes it is diffecult to reload sitting down but then I used what I had (I'm cheap) and have been getting by just fine. I agree that more room would be nice. I also have a large wooden table behind my desk that I use some also during case prep and such. Here is a picture of my desk after I set it up. I have added some lighting and a few nails to hold stuff.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2006
  16. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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  17. MarkV

    MarkV Member

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    My table top is 36" tall. This was about 10 minutes after I built it so it's a little messier now. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Thanks, all. "Bench height" wins! Just finished building my first reloading bench (literally put the tools away ten minutes ago). It's a 2x4 foot top, 36" high, based on the plans WayneConrad pointed me to. Thanks, Wayne! It has a 3/4" plywood top over a 2x4 frame, 2x4s doubled for the legs, and a secondary bottom shelf. Too late to take pics tonight, but I'll do so in the next couple of days.

    Thanks again, guys. Your help is why THR is the greatest!
     
  19. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Member

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    You're welcome! You just made my day. I can't wait to see pictures!
     
  20. OneFireStick

    OneFireStick Member

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    I built my bench from NRMA plans. The bench is at 40" for me at 6' tall which is waist high. It is at just the right height for standing or sitting on a tall barstool.
     
  21. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    That's a good, practical-szied bench that should have excellent structural integrity. Wayne, those are darn nice plans you provided links to. The only thing I would add is lots of bullets on the bottom shelf to add weight for stability when reloading.

    Legionnaire,

    Congrats on getting your bench together.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  22. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Member

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    And powder and brass and and and... :)

    He'll fill up that shelf, I'm sure, but he won't need to for stability. You can stand on that bench and do the Hokie Pokie.

    Ya know, all of us who've posted pictures of our new bench ought to start a new thread with "as built" and "a year later" pictures. The difference might be amusing. I keep adding shelves and other storage to my bench, and it keeps being full and needing more storage. It's kind of eerie.

    And you are very, very welcome.
     
  23. MarkV

    MarkV Member

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    Ya I think it was the third day of reloading that I said I needed a bigger bench. :)
     
  24. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    i was watching gun talk and they recomended right at your belt buckle / navel for bench height. i like a high bench with a barstool myself :)
     
  25. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    Wayne,

    You may be right. My bench is built very similarly, except I cut lap joints in 4 X 4's and added additional cross bracing to the lower shelf. Mine is only 2' X 3' and I've got mine on carpet. It's solid as a rock, very strong, but isn't real heavy and the carpet can cause it to rock a bit until I put the cartridges on the lower shelf. After that, it had enough weight to sink down in the carpet.

    I do agree your philosophy on benches change as you find out what you need. My original benches were 30" X 72" and weighed a ton (2" thick particle board shelving for a top reinforced by steel bars.).

    I now have a 24" X 72" bench for processing brass, a 24" X 36" bench for my Hornady Lock N Load AP and I'm building another 24" X 36" bench for my Lee Classic Cast press and the Lee Classic Turret press I plan on buying.

    Over the brass processing bench I have crude shelves built of metal brackets and 1/4" plywood. It works, but it's ugly. Over my Hornady bench I built a cabinet shelving unit that matched the bench. Looks much better. I plan on upgrading the brass processing bench for better appearance and to have a nice shelving unit in the future. I alsoI plan on having a nice shelving unit for my Lee bench I'm planning on building.

    For me, a moving into the new house experience or two taught me a couple of smaller benches are easier to get through the doors without any assembly and make for a more organized work area with more room to move around in. I also found a shorter bench I can sit at a chair and make notes but that has a "strong mount" so I can sit at a stool or stand is the best of both worlds.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
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