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Looking at getting a compact table, would this be good?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TTv2, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Currently I have the Lee reloading stand with a LCT press on it. Works great, but I'm looking for something to clamp a powder measure to and I figured that if I'm going to get a table for a powder measure, maybe I should also consider one for mounting a press to as well, either the Lee APP press or an MEC Marksman.

    I was looking online for a table under $40 because I don't want a big table and I came across this at Harbor Freight for $26:

    image_16928.jpg

    They also have this one that fold for $18:
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    The one on top will be more sturdy, but the one on the bottom folds and that to me is a nice feature so when I'm done loading, I can store it easily. It would be more than adequate for mounting a measure to and maybe even using the $40 Lee "C" frame press for light duty stuff.

    This person already had the idea I have, but IDK how this setup worked for him:

    555697D3C59342A8BB19F87654801F13.app1_1580192714818_1_L1800.jpg
     
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  2. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    I'd go with the unfolding. Those folding horses won't fold nicely all rigged up and will be harder to work from.
     
  3. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    The idea with whichever table I bought was I was going to mount any press to a wood base board, then clamp that board to the table. That's actually how I have the powder measure set up, it's currently not clamped to a table, it's bolted onto a 12 inch long piece of wood with about 30 pounds of bullets as the counterweight.
     
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  4. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I mounted my Lee Turret press, a Lee C press, and powder measure to a piece of 1 inch oak, and then clamp it to a workmate. I do find that I need to put the powder scale on a different table.
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Col. Harrumph and GT1 like this.
  6. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    No, been there and done that.

    But a 2'x2' portable castered bench made from 2x4s worked well (see below).

    Since my 2'x3' portable reloading bench worked so well, when I wanted a compact reloading bench, I considered different option to include the same Harbor Freight tool stand. The thin top was replaced with 2x4s to create a 1'x2' top and I mounted the presses.

    [​IMG]

    While the resulting bench was solid with no flex, problem came when hard resizing effort tipped the bench. Even adding several hundred pounds to the base did not entirely solve the problem so I went back to the drawing board and worked on a new bench design.

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    The result was this 2'x2' box framed portable castered bench made from scrap lumber I had on hand. (Reason for using scrap lumber is the seasoned/dry 2x4s were solid as wet green wood would give too much, especially when torquing the mounting bolts ;) - Due to this reason, my 2'x3' bench was built with kiln dried 2x4s :thumbup:). Top was made from OSB reinforced with 2x4 screwed/nailed underneath to eliminate bench top flex.

    [​IMG]

    This picture is from my 2'x3' bench but shows the same 2x4 reinforcement under the top to eliminate bench flex. (2x4 piece was nailed/screwed at the ends to the box top frame and also to the top)

    [​IMG]

    And like my 2'x3' bench, casters from Harbor Freight furniture moving dolly (I think I paid $7) were used.

    [​IMG]

    Since I wanted a smooth waterproof top for easy cleaning, I got some thick vinyl fabric from Walmart and stapled to the frame. On one side, I got RCBS RS5 single stage press mounted which worked great.

    [​IMG]

    On the other side, I mounted a Lee Pro 1000 which also worked great. Since I always have plenty of bullet boxes and brass, putting some on the bottom shelf steadied the bench. Using plastic boot trays from the Dollar Store, I made fitted top covers to catch loose primers, brass, powder, etc. (Note that my smaller HF bench above used one of these trays for size comparison)

    [​IMG]
     

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  7. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    FWIW, here's my 2'x3' portable castered bench that I now use as my primary bench. I currently have Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro and C-H 205 single stage press mounted and contrary to many, I can resize thicker walled military .308 brass without moving the empty bench - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/mounting-a-press.848607/#post-11072171

    Here's pdf of plan, rough drawing and parts list of 2'x3' portable bench - http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=210769&stc=1&d=1432610198

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
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  8. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    Go as heavy and sturdy as you can fit into the available space
    You will not regret it with a reloading press in the long run! Harbor freight does have a nice wood top one.
    Jmho
     
  9. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Would be nice if I could see these pictures...
     
  10. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    You can't see the pictures?

    Are other THR members seeing the pictures?
     
  11. Gary Gill

    Gary Gill Member

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    I see the pictures. Mass is good for a reloading bench. Place a shelf near the bottom and use gallon jugs of water, sand bags or something heavy as ballast.
     
  12. ben293

    ben293 Member

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    LiveLife- was just thinking about your photos- seems about 50/50 the photos show up or it’s a little red X.
     
  13. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Before I built a heavy loading bench I used just a home made work bench fastened to a wall with two front legs sitting in the floor. Worked well with the Lyman T-Mag Press I used, and still have, for the down stroke of the ram. The up stroke, extracting the case would lift the bench from the floor if there was much resistance to the case or the expanding button. Pistol wasn't a problem If I recall just rifle cases like 30/06.

    Just something to keep in mind you will be trying to lift the bench on an up stroke of the ram.
     
  14. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  15. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    That's why I mounted my presses at the ends of the 2'x3' bench.

    Not only does mounting presses at the ends of bench allow you to roll the bench through any width doorway (even from tight hallways); due to weight vs leverage, allows resizing and "up stroking" of thicker walled military .308 cases with an empty bench. And after putting some weight on the bench with bullets/brass/powders/tools, there is sufficient weight/leverage for the bench to not move when resizing/up stroking rifle brass.

    As you can see from below picture, single stage press mounted at the corner of one end, there's essentially entire weight of bench holding the press steady to resize/up stroke. And with 11 layer bench top screwed to 2x4 frame, there is absolutely no bench top flex.

    [​IMG]

    11 layer plywood for stiff bench top

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
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  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I think a lot of guys drastically overstate how sturdy a reloading bench needs to be. I put together a tiny loading bench at a short term apartment years ago, and kept it to be portable for reloading at the range. Just a 2x2ft piece of MDF with a 1”x6”x2ft boat screwed to the bottom, clamped between the jaws of a Black & Decker Workmate. I’ve reloaded tens of thousands of rounds on that bench over the last 12-13 years. I sat in a chair to operate the press, keeping one foot pressed against the legs, and it has held up without a hiccup. I laugh sometimes when I think of the cost involved and the resulting weight of some of these butcher block type benches I see guys put together. Just way too much.

    This is the only old picture I have of that bench, but you can see the arrangement - I rotated the table for different functions. I had it set up here when we first moved into this house, before I put together a different arrangement. You can see the ends of the clamp boards on the bottom at the front, and the 1x6 strip clamped between them.

    CF3B9CE0-5D3B-4560-ABA3-2AF52D5F9F16.jpeg

    0895E047-7AD8-4551-9588-9B8844440CFB.jpeg
     
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  17. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    Are you going to need to be moving this thing around? The bigger you load, the more advantageous it will be to have a stationery table that you can bolt your equipment to. I'd just get a piece of thick plywood, put a 2X4 frame around the underside of it and mount it to the wall by whatever means you choose. You could use legs for the front, but if you do, make a provision for putting some weight on the legs to hold the table down. I just used 2X4s from the frame at a 45* angle back to the wall and mounted those to the wall too. Whatever shook that table was for sure shaking the house too.
     
  18. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Here's 2'x4' portable castered bench I built for a friend who was going to use it in his garage mainly for military .308 brass which accommodated a sorting bin to sort brass by weight/internal volume etc. Due to 2 feet width, the portable bench would also roll through any doorway, if he wanted to reload inside or move it. (Yes, same casters from HF furniture dolly were used for easy rolling of bench, even after heavily loaded with bullets/brass/tools)

    Even on smooth concrete floor, resizing thicker walled military .308 brass with LCT, the bench did not move. I showed him my 2'x3' bench which I was successfully resizing LC .308 brass with (Likely shot in machine guns with generous chambers that required a lot of resizing force) but he wanted more bench top surface area and he had plenty of garage floor space.

    To save cost, I used OSB for top but used two rows of 2x4 reinforcement under the OSB for stiff no-flex bench top. (Blue cover is thick clearance fabric cover from Walmart)

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  19. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    Another possibility is to build lightweight bench with a bottom shaft that will accommodate a 5 gallon bucket of lead or lead boolits! That way it can easily be separated to move around
    Just a thought
     
  20. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    I got the non folding table at Harbor Freight (and my first speeding ticket in the process :/ ) and put it together just now. Didn't bother putting the vaneer on either shelf as I'm planning to put heavy stuff on the shelves. A pair of 3/4" thick 2x2 plywood sheets will do just fine for that. Might also glue a thin sheet of plexiglass on to the top of the table, I think I'd prefer the smooth feel of that more.

    WP_20200222_03_45_47_Pro_LI.jpg
     
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  21. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    The Lexan/plexiglass will generate static so I would not recommend using it as a top. Besides it scratches real easy.
     
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  22. Professor Gascan

    Professor Gascan Member

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    I use the same HF fixed workstation for my reloading bench but I replaced the mdf top with plywood.

    I had Home Depot cut a 2'x4'x3/4" plywood project panel in half and glued the two pieces together for a 2'x2'x1 3/4" top.

    With my bullets on the bottom shelf and the thicker top it's very sturdy.
     
  23. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    The Black and Decker (which I have) looks a heck of a lot sturdier than the ones you posted about. It is more, but it won't buckle. Affixing whatever you are working on with Irwin C clamps will give a rock solid base for the work. I have even detached a barrel using the same and you might know the amount of pressure needed to get the barrel moving off. The height of the bench might not be to your liking, so please take a careful look at that aspect. Careful of the ones with the wheels, since the wheel locks may very well be the weakest part of the setup.

    Good luck.
     
  24. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Cut a piece of 1/2 or 3/4 plywood exactly to fit the space on the very bottom. It will be a shelf and you can put boxes of bullets, dies powder etc on it. The extra weigh will add to the stability.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  25. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Another low cost build option is to use free pallets available at the back of most Home Depot to build 2'x2' or 2'x3' bench.

    These pallets are often clean, made with seasoned hardwood that will require pre-drilling of nail/screw holes but you will end up with a very sturdy bench for the cost of hardware and bench top.
     
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