Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What material for reloading bench top?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Wayne02, Jan 24, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Wayne02

    Wayne02 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    197
    Location:
    Washington
    I have a very heavy duty bench in my shop that I am going to use for the reloading bench. This bench is made out of large timbers and is extremely heavy and stable. It currently has a plywood top over the timbers and has been used for mechanic work up until now, and it is pretty chewed up.

    I would like to put a new top over the plywood before I bolt the press down and start using it for reloading. The bench is 72" x 28" so I would like a piece of material this size. I looked around the local box stores for damaged or returned pieces of kitchen counter top but have not found anything yet.

    Is there other materials that would be suited for a reloading bench top? Something that is smooth, easy to clean, and robust?

    Thanks
     
  2. EHCRain10

    EHCRain10 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    Bristol VA
    Since you have timbers underneath of the table top, I would suggest MDF its cheap flat and very easy to work with. As long as your timbers are at least 2 inches thick you should be ok because the MDF will add some strength to the timbers.
     
  3. NorCalRanches

    NorCalRanches Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    I found a great deal on a couple bundles of Pergo laminate flooring. Some pattern that didn't match anything else the store had. Stuff is great. Tough, yet you can drill through it. Surprisingly chemical resistant. My only regret is I got a fairly dark color, a lighter color would be best.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    Just get a sheet of cabinet grade birch plywood in any thickness. Even 1/4" would work if the current top is very sturdy.

    Glue it down on top of the old top, and slap on a couple of coats of clear bar top finish.

    The light birch color will make finding things and clean-up easy.

    Also, sometimes, you can find scraps of white or light colored Formica at a floor covering store that would make a great top covering. They sell them cheap if they are too small to do a complete counter-top with.

    rc
     
  5. USMCJG

    USMCJG Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    I use two layers of 3/4" plywood glued and nailed together as my bench top.
     
  6. delta5

    delta5 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    What kind of wood do they use for butcher chopping blocks? Like the type that hangs out in front of the grills at the Waffle Houses...
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
  8. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,368
    I'd highly recommend using a sheet of PVC, for the size you need it would run about $100. We use this material on equipment and machinery we make & sell for Industrial applications. It's incredibly tough, cleans up well, and is very nice looking. Can be cut and shaped with common woodworking tools. I use it for all my reloading mounting plates.....good stuff!

    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=44947&catid=733

    45084p.jpg

    trimmer-swag.gif
     
  9. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2,783
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I'd just put a fresh plywood top on it and start chewing it up again.

    Not really... I'd probably just mount the press and get to business. :)
     
  10. drivadesl

    drivadesl Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    Orange County, NY
    My current reloading bench uses a 3/8" plywood top over 2X6's for strength. It works fine, but if I had to do it over, I would consider a formica or corian top. The standard sized formica tops come pretty reasonable from HD precut, just need to find one that fits your benchtop. The advantage is smoothness, and easy clean up so no oils or solvents will soak in, and spilled powder would wipe/sweep up easily. Just something to consider.
     
  11. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,564
    Location:
    Smyrna Tennessee
    Get one sheet of 3/4 cabinet grade plywood. Cut the first piece to match the top and piece the bottom layer from the rest. Screw the bottom layer to the table then put the solid piece on top and glue them together with liquid nails. Let it set for 36 hours and you are good to go. Get some teak oil & rub it in for a good finish.
     
  12. NorCalRanches

    NorCalRanches Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    I guess if you are just using it for reloading another smooth (the cabinet grade mentioned above) piece of plywood is fine. But I do gun cleaning/repair all on the same bench. The toughness and easy clean up of the laminated flooring is really nice. I was looking for formica but all the pieces in the 'reject' (or as I like to call it, the 'bargain') bin were too small.
     
  13. Winston_Smith

    Winston_Smith Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Messages:
    356
    Location:
    TX
  14. pbratton

    pbratton Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Sugar Land, Texas
    I found a place in town that had stacks of 8' laminated office doors that were taken out of office buildings during demo.

    It's a GREAT surface.
     
  15. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    For various heavy Work Benches, I usually use a Solid Core Wood Weneer or Masonite Veneer Door ( ie: Exterior grade/weight/thickness, solid-core, 'flat' - no panels )...Commercial or Residential Door.

    Miss-Bores ( Door Knob/Lock location to wrong spec) can usually be had very cheap ( 5 or 10 bucks ) from Commercial Door Shops.


    Add any edging one wishes...if one wishes.


    Re-Loading Bench wise, haven't finished mine yet...but, I plan to cover the Working surface with Wool Felt.
     
  16. Drail

    Drail Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    5,378
    I have always used ribbed rubber matting so things don't roll of the bench but spills can be cleaned up easily. It also keeps glare from overhead lighting from making your eyes tired.
     
  17. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,108
    Location:
    South Texas
    Another thing to consider are the back and side edges.

    If you use plastic, aluminum or even wood, leaving about 1" sticking up above the surface will prevent those "aw crap", there goes another primer/bullet/case/nut bolt/tool on the floor beind the bench.
     
  18. crawfobj

    crawfobj Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    I used a solid core door for mine. When it gets too scuffed, I'll resurface it with a sheet of formica. HEAVY and very sturdy...
     
  19. Hesenwine

    Hesenwine Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Bristol, TN
    I topped mine with that brown (Maonite? Fiberboard?) 1/4" stuff. It's very smooth on one side and rough on the other so it glues down really well and is almost indestructible. Cleans up easily and is not expensive. Underneath is 2 layers of 3/4" plywood glued/screwed together.
     
  20. Hey_Allen

    Hey_Allen Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    111
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    I ended up with a 'reject' formica counter top from a local home improvement warehouse store.
    To support it, I built a frame out of a couple of 4x4's on end, with 2x4's boxing it together, and some 3/4" ply strips across it's depth to allow me to glue the top down.

    It's surprisingly sturdy, and still light enough that it can be moved with a person on either end, even though it ended up over 6' long.

    If you find one that was for a kitchen counter, they usually have a round-over front lip, as well as a 3-4" back board built in, which takes care of small bits trying to roll off the back.
     
  21. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    6,512
    Location:
    Mount Desert Island Maine
    I used a sheet of 26 guage galvanized sheet steel. It is tough and you only need to ground the metal then the press and measure are automatically grounded. Static free is safe for me.:D
     
  22. Wayne02

    Wayne02 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    197
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks for the replies, it sounds like there are several options I can look into.

    I am a bit concerned about the current tops ability to take any sort of adhesive due to the many years of oil/grease/solvent soaking it has absorbed. I do have a sheet of 1/2 osb I could screw down on the existing top and that would give a clean surface for adhesion.

    I don't know if I've ever seen cabinet grade plywood, probably because I hang out on the cheap side of the plywood aisle. :) I take it that cabinet grade is smooth enough to finish without having to sand?

    Sounds like I need to get back to HD and Lowes and check some of this out.

    Thanks
     
  23. tunnug

    tunnug Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    arizona
    I used to work in a cabinet/countertop shop and we had what we called the bonepile, odd, damaged or leftover countertops in different sizes/colors, you could stop by any local shops and ask them about their ding & dent stuff, you could save quite a bit and they'll be happy to lower the bonepile size.
     
  24. benzuncle

    benzuncle Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Messages:
    304
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I skinned out the top of my bench with quarter-inch tempered masonite. It's hard and slick, lays flat and doesn't warp or buckle. The through bolts of my Lee Classic Turret press hold it in place along with a couple strips of half-inch plywood that act sort of like a baseboard along a wall. Because it isn't glued in place, if it ever gets too tore up, I'll remove it, use it as a template and make another.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page